New Delhi: Amid devastating floods taking a toll on normal course of life in atleast one-third part of Pakistan, the country’s Finance Minister will consult coalition partners of his government over importing of food items from India to fulfil food scarcity. The announcement came amidst criticism by the Opposition over the plan in wake of strained ties with New Delhi over the Kashmir issue post abrogation of Article 370.
“More than one international agency has approached the government to allow them to bring food items from India through the land border. The government will take the decision to allow imports or not based on the supply shortage position, after consulting its coalition partners & key stakeholders,” Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said in a tweet.
The idea to import edible goods from India was first floated by Ismail on Monday, when the country’s death toll crossed 1,100 and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, and thousands of acres of crops were destroyed due to rain-triggered flash floods that have wrought havoc across the country.
Meanwhile, Islamabad has decided to import onions and tomatoes from Iran and Afghanistan in the wake of an impending food crisis, triggered by flash floods in the country.
To mitigate the impact, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research in a meeting held in Islamabad on Tuesday announced that it will issue permits within 24 hours to facilitate onion and tomato imports from Iran and Afghanistan, according to a statement, reported by news agency PTI.
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The flash flood triggered by incessant rains has inundated one-third of the nation ruining farmlands and causing a threat of shortage of food supply with uneven price hikes of some essential commodities.
The key opposition party in the country, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf has lashed out at the Shahbaz Sharif-led Pakistan government saying that how the government could start trade with India ignoring the “atrocities” on the people of Kashmir.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif showed a lack of interest in resuming trade with India due to the Kashmir issue, as per the PTI report.
Quoting Dawn newspaper, the news agency reported, “The PM virtually ruled out the possibility of vegetable imports from India to overcome shortages caused by devastating floods, saying the two sides needed to talk about the human rights situation in Kashmir.”