After an almost month-long subterfuge, Imran Khan-led Pakistan government, today made a U-turn by restoring partial trade with India. Pakistan will now resume its import of life-saving drugs from its arch-rival. These medicines include life-saving drugs for cancer, tuberculosis and cardiac problems.
Interestingly, Pakistan imports 50 per cent of raw materials for medicines from India. In total, 820 chemicals for medicines are imported by Pakistan from India. At least 62 chemicals are those on which Pakistan is entirely dependent on India. At least 23 from these 62 are those which are life-saving drugs.
Though it is Pakistan’s submerging economy which has compelled it to emendate its decision, embarrassed Pakistan has placed the rifle on the local traders’ shoulder. Pakistan has tried to make-believe that it has bowed down to domestic pressure from its traders.
But the fact is that Imran Khan’s foolhardy decision to snap bilateral trades with India in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir had resulted in a massive economic and trade shock to the already near-bankrupt state of Pakistan.
Pakistan had called in a National Security Council meeting on August 7 in which it arrived at the decision of severing trade between the two countries, downgrading bilateral diplomatic ties with India and raising the issue of Kashmir in the United Nations Security Council among other things.
Amongst other things, the prices of tomatoes and other vegetables for the parody nation had skyrocketed after Pakistan had formally suspended trade ties with India on August 10.
It is pertinent to note here, that Pakistan gets its maximum supply of tomatoes from Madhya Pradesh in India. Many farmers in Mourya, Jhabua, Shajapur, Khargone and Ratlam districts in Madhya Pradesh export tomatoes to Pakistan. The trade takes place through export agencies in Amritsar via the Attari-Wagah border. During the peak season in October-November, 50-60 trucks, each with a capacity of 15 tonnes, pass through the border every day.
Pakistan had earlier too, in a fallout of the ghastly Pulwama attack, amongst other things, suffered a crunch in the supply of tomatoes. The tomato growing farmers of Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh had then decided not to export their produce to Pakistan.
India had then tried to isolate Pakistan internationally and had levied 200% customs duty on the Pakistani goods imported. This had then resulted in a massive economic and trade shock to the already near-bankrupt state of Pakistan. Then too, the trade suspension had not affected India as much as it did Pakistan.
Notably, Pakistan does not feature among India’s top 35 exporters and importers, while India stands on the seventh position in its list of exporters. Therefore, Imran Khan’s decision to suspends trade ties with India is bound to hit the parody nation dearly.
Since India has gone ahead to revoke Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, frustrated Pakistan has been investing all its time and energy in creating tensions for India but to no avail. Pakistan has tried every trick up its sleeve from downgrading bilateral trade with India to nuclear threats.