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Pakistan defers plan to resume trade with India: FM Qureshi

Pakistan will not resume trade with India until New Delhi decides to review its 2019 decision to revoke the special status of Kashmir.

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Pakistan on Thursday deferred its decision to allow imports of cotton and sugar from India until New Delhi reviews its 2019 move to revoke the disputed Kashmir region’s special status, the foreign minister said.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Federal Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The Cabinet resolved that this decision should be put off as it needs further deliberation,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a video statement. “It was a consensus opinion that normalizing relations with India is not possible until it reviews the Aug. 5, 2019, unilateral decision on Kashmir.”

Read more: Pakistan says no change in stance on Kashmir

Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee, the country’s top economic decision-making body, on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the imports, lifting nearly two years of trade suspension.

It came amid an apparent ease in tension between the two neighbors. In February, the militaries of both countries announced to honor the 2003 cease-fire agreement along a disputed border in Kashmir.

Only a day after the federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decided to restore trade ties with India, paving way for Sugar, cotton and cotton yarn import from the neighboring country, in the federal cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan the proposal was rejected.

India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan region, but both claim it in full. Since they were partitioned in 1947, they have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.

On Aug. 5, 2019 the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the country’s only Muslim-majority state with its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.

Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detained thousands of people, imposed movement restrictions and enforced a communications blackout.

Read more: Pakistan says no trade with India until it reverses Aug 5th action

Islamabad, as a result, suspended trade ties and downgraded diplomatic relations with New Delhi.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk