New Delhi: In a dramatic U-turn, the Pakistani cabinet on Thursday (April 1) deferred the import of sugar and cotton from India.

The Pakistani flip flop comes, even as on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had given approval for import of white sugar from India up to 500,000 MT till 30th June and import of cotton till the same deadline.

Restoration of special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a key issue for Islamabad vis a vis import of sugar and cotton. 

Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “Cabinet deferred the decision till India reverses the  August 5 decision of 2019. Till that time it won’t be easy to normalize things.”

Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, speaking to reporters after the meet reiterated the same saying, “We have deferred the import of sugar and cotton till India reverse its decision of removal of Article 370 from Kashmir”.

India had abrogated Article 370 or the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in August of 2019. As a reaction to it, Islamabad recalled its envoy from Delhi, cut trade ties and people to people relationships by suspending train and bus services.

Pakistani government sources told Zee News that Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari, Sheikh Rashid, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Finance Minister Asad Umar had opposed the proposal by ECC of imports from India which led to the matter being deferred in the Federal cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, earlier today, sources in Delhi told Zee News they were okay with Pakistan’s decision to import sugar and cotton from India. Pakistan doesn’t require any permission to import from India as New Delhi hasn’t banned exports to Pakistan.

The development comes, even as there has been some positive sentiment by both Delhi and Islamabad. 

Earlier this year, militaries of both countries came up with a joint statement for observance of the 2003 ceasefire pace at the line of control. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on Pakistan’s National day on 23rd March, to which the latter had replied.

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