According to people familiar with the issue, Islamabad is responsible for restoring economic ties with India and Pakistan in 2019, a move that was made unilaterally by the government in Islamabad.
India, Pakistan’s neighbour, has also been deliberating whether or not to send relief after devastating floods there. Foreign organisations may submit requests to transport aid over Indian territory, and the government will evaluate them, according to the sources.
More than a thousand people have died and 33 million have been impacted by the floods in Pakistan, bringing to the forefront the issues of trade and humanitarian assistance. Pakistan’s finance minister Miftah Ismail said earlier this week that Islamabad can consider importing vegetables and food items from India to deal with shortages caused by the floods.
However, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s remarks during a media briefing on Tuesday connecting the restart of commerce to the resolution of the Kashmir issue were not well received by the Indian side, as per the sources.
The Pakistani side has issued conflicting remarks on the subject of trade. And what do you propose we do when commercial interests intersect with the conflict in Kashmir? Says one of the people there.
The people said that Pakistan was to blame for the resumption of commerce with India because it had unilaterally banned trade with India as part of a package of responses to New Delhi’s decision to abolish Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, dodged questions regarding trade and humanitarian relief at the weekly press conference.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has conveyed his sorrow over the devastation wrought by the recent floods in Pakistan. What he said has been witnessed by you. He has offered his deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the tragedy as well as those who have been injured. That’s all I can say about the help for now, Bagchi said.
There have been a lot of public pronouncements about the commercial element. He continued, “At this time, I have nothing more to add to the assertions Pakistan has previously made.”
In response to a question on whether or not aid may help improve relations between India and Pakistan, Bagchi called such a notion “very speculative.”
Modi expressed his grief about the flooding via Twitter on August 29. The devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan has left me feeling completely helpless. For those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy, and for those who have been injured, as well as for all those who have been affected by this natural disaster, we extend our deepest condolences. We wish for everything to get back to normal as soon as possible, he continued.
On Wednesday, Sharif tweeted his appreciation to Modi for his condolences over the flood-related deaths and property damage. The people of [Pakistan] are recognised for their resilience, and I have no doubt that they will be able to overcome the effects of this natural disaster and restore their lives and communities.
During a news conference on Tuesday in Islamabad, Sharif asserted that “there would have been concerns with business with India since genocide is going on there and Kashmiris have been denied their rights.”
And he said he was ready to “sit and chat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There just isn’t enough money in the budget for a war. To alleviate poverty in our many countries, we will have to pool our meagre resources, but we cannot live in peace until we find a way to address these issues.