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Trade ties with India suspended due to ‘heavy duties’: Pakistan FM

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ISLAMABAD, May 19: Foreign minister Ishaq Dar has said that trade ties between Islamabad and New Delhi have remained suspended since 2019 due to the imposition of “heavy duties” by India on imports from Pakistan after the Pulwama attack.

In a written reply submitted to the National Assembly on Saturday, Dar, who also holds the deputy prime minister’s slot, said: “India decided to impose 200 per cent duty on imports from Pakistan, suspended the Kashmir bus service and trade across the Line of Control after the Pulwama attack.”

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According to the Dawn newspaper, Dar was responding to a question by Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Sharmila Faruqui seeking details about trade challenges faced by Pakistan in its relations with neighbouring countries, especially India.

In March, during a press conference in London, Dar highlighted the eagerness of Pakistan’s business community to resume trade activities with India. However, his office later clarified that Pakistan has no plan to resume trade relations with India which has been “non-existent” since 2019.

Pakistan downgraded its ties with India after the Indian Parliament suspended Article 370 on August 5, 2019, a decision that Islamabad believed undermined the environment for holding talks between the neighbours.

“We have consistently advocated constructive engagement and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India…,” Dar said on Saturday.

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The foreign minister said that the “onus is now on Delhi to take steps for the creation of an environment that is conducive to peace and dialogue”.

India has been maintaining that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan while insisting that the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment that is free of terror and hostility for such an engagement.

Islamabad and New Delhi have a long history of strained relations, primarily due to the Kashmir issue as well as the cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. (PTI)

 

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