The federal cabinet has refused to approve the proposal of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to resume the cotton and sugar trade with India, linking its resumption to the restoration of occupied Kashmir’s autonomous status.

Sources told The Correspondent that the cabinet deferred the summary of the ECC that had approved the import of cotton and sugar from India on Wednesday owing to the political fallout of the decision.

During the meeting of the cabinet, some members objected to the ECC proposal. According to sources, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Planning Minister Asad Umar opposed the proposal by the ECC which led to the matter being deferred.

That means the summary can be taken up at the next or any other cabinet meeting; it can also be approved through a circulation summary to the cabinet as well and would not be needed to be tabled at a specific cabinet meeting.

Following the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, in a comment to the reporters, said that the government has deferred trade talks with India until the restoration of Article 370 that had granted autonomy to occupied Kashmir.

On Aug 5 2019, India had scrapped the special status of Kashmir by abrogating the said article.

On Wednesday, the ECC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Hammad Azhar had approved the import of cotton and sugar with India to save cost.

His decision, however, resulted in a barrage of criticism by the opposition parties and his own colleagues who questioned the motive behind this move.

The opposition questioned the government over talks with trade with India that prompted Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari to respond. “Just for the record – All ECC decisions have to be approved by Cabinet & only then they can be seen as “approved by govt”! So today in Cabinet there will be a discussion on ECC decisions incl trade with India & then govt decision will be taken!,” she had tweeted before the cabinet meeting.


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