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Imran Khan had approved restoring trade ties with India as Commerce Minister, but rejected it as the Prime Minister

Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf has said that Imran Khan as Commerce Minister approved a limited resumption of trade ties with India, but he opposed it as a Prime Minister

One needs a very different kind of intellect to comprehend the bizarre reasonings given by Pakistani ministers when it comes to defending their boss Imran Khan. In one such incident, Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf has said that Imran Khan as Commerce Minister approved a limited resumption of trade ties with India on March 26 but as a Prime Minister he opposed it.

“He may be the same persons but wears two different hats,” was the bizarre reasoning given by the Pakistani NSA when asked about Imran Khan’s flip flop on trade with India.

Speaking to a Pakistani news anchor, Yusuf termed Imran Khan’s decision as an example of the “strengthening of institutions.”

This outlandish statement came on the heels of Imran Khan’s refusal of an official proposal of the Pakistan government to allow imports of cotton and sugar from India to control prices and cope with a shortage in the country.

As per reports, as the commerce minister, Imran Khan had reviewed recommendations of the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in favour of limited resumption of trade ties with India on March 26, and had approved the same. And six days later, the same Imran Khan rejected the proposal as the Prime Minister. A document accessed by News18 said that ‘ECC of the Cabinet is requested to approve the proposals for import of Sugar and Cotton from India’.

“The Honorable Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister-in-Charge for commerce has seen and authorized the submission of the summary to the ECC of the cabinet after adding criteria for allocation of quota to commercial importers”, the document had said, making it clear that as Commerce Minister, Imran Khan had authorised the proposal. But during a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday (April 1), Imran Khan rejected the ECC recommendations. The Pakistan PM had said in the meeting that the restoration of trade ties with India would give a “wrong impression to the people of Kashmir”.

On Wednesday, amid the fear of shortage of input in textile production, Pakistan had decided to lift the ban and import cotton from India. There was criticism in various circles in Pakistan about attempts for better ties with India when India had done nothing to change things in Kashmir. Especially since the bone of contention for the ban was also the abrogation of Article 370 which removed all riders for Jammu & Kashmir as being an integral part of India.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday rejected a decision made a day earlier by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to allow limited imports from India. Pakistan had unilaterally suspended trade with India in August 2019 to protest the changes in Jammu and Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had opined that there could be no normalization of ties until New Delhi reverses its decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India has, however, declined to comment on Pakistan’s flip-flop on the trade with the country.

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