ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his aides have been celebrating Pakistan’s entry to Amazon’s sellers’ list, but it has been reliably learnt that the e-commerce giant has yet to approve the country’s registration which is still under process.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and certain government officials have tweeted about this, calling it a major boost to the e-commerce sector that would create jobs for youth and women entrepreneurs, especially in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.

Sources told The Correspondent that two officers of the commerce ministry and foreign ministry misled PM’s adviser on commerce Razak Dawood on the matter of registration, resulting in an unsubstantiated and hasty announcement from the government.

A female senior joint secretary of the commerce ministry and an official of the Foreign Service in their excitement did not wait for the official response from Amazon and bypassed their reporting authorities to break the news as if it’s a confirmed event.

Sources say that the officials involved in misleading the government should have waited for a confirmation slip from Amazon vis-a-vis registration of Pakistani sellers. Action should be followed on their premature and hasty communication.

Officials are concerned that the “anti-Pakistan lobby” in India may create hurdles on Pakistan’s agreement with Amazon. “There is also a lingering fear about the presence of anti-Pakistan and Indian lobbies at Amazon’s office in Seattle,” they said, adding that Pakistan will be in an awkward and embarrassing situation if these groups managed to sabotage the membership efforts.

With regards to the premature announcement, it has been learnt that Pakistani officials in the USA have also raised their concerns. The talks pertaining to Pakistan becoming a member of Amazon’s sellers list had been going on for 19 months in Seattle, sources said, adding that the Pakistani consulate in Los Angeles was in charge of these negotiations.

The talks to get Pakistani sellers registered have been ongoing for the past 19months now, with the Pakistani Consulate in Los Angeles being the lead as it covers the area of Seattle, the US city where Amazon is based.

A direct response from Amazon in the matter is awaited but When contacted by the BBC, a spokesperson for Amazon said, “We are open to expansion; however, we don’t comment on our future plans”. In the absence of any clear response from Amazon, Pakistan’s entry to Amazon remains uncertain.

It may be noted that on May 6, Dawood, the commerce aide, took to Twitter where he announced that Pakistan’s registration process for sellers has been approved by Amazon, which led to a series of tweets from Pakistani leadership including the premier.

Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood took to Twitter to announce the news on May 6. Similarly, SAPM Shahbaz Gill made a tweet claiming that Pakistani sellers had been added to Amazon’s list.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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