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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Pakistan to India: Will allow Afghanistan aid through Wagah

Calling it a goodwill gesture for their Afghan “brothers”, Pakistan said this will be done on an “exceptional basis” only for “humanitarian purposes”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: November 25, 2021 3:04:25 am
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran KhanPakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (File)

Pakistan on Wednesday said it has formally informed India about its decision to allow the transportation of an Indian humanitarian shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life saving drugs to neighbouring Afghanistan through its territory on an “exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes”.

Last month, India announced humanitarian assistance and requested Pakistan to ship the food grain via the Wagah border.

The chaotic withdrawal of western troops from Afghanistan plunged the country into a Taliban rule and prompted international agencies to halt humanitarian support and financial assistance to the war-torn nation. The United Nations has warned that the country is staring at a humanitarian crisis in food security apart from other basic amenities.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Monday that his government will allow India to send humanitarian shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through its territory after finalisation of the transit modalities.

“The decision of the government of Pakistan to this effect was formally conveyed to the Charge d’ Affaires of India at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said as a goodwill gesture towards the Afghan people, Pakistan decided to allow the transportation of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines from India.

Currently, Pakistan only allows Afghanistan to export goods to India but doesn’t allow any other two-way trade through the border crossing.

The Pakistan Foreign ministry said that wheat and medicines to Afghanistan will be allowed to enter through “Wagah Border on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes”.

Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had also requested Prime Minister Khan to allow India to transport wheat via Pakistan, suggesting that the Taliban government was willing to accept the humanitarian assistance from India.

India has contributed to the humanitarian requirements of the Afghan people. This included providing more than 1 million metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan over the past decade.

Last year too India assisted Afghanistan with 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in September.

However, Pakistan had blocked India’s efforts to provide wheat to the Afghan people, amidst the chill in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue.

Khan announced his decision to allow India to send the humanitarian shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s territory while chairing the first Apex Committee meeting of the newly established Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) in Islamabad on Monday.

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