Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Pakistan informs India it would allow wheat, medicines to be transported to Afghanistan

World News

Pakistan on Wednesday said it has formally informed India that his government will allow its territory to be used for the transportation of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving drugs to neighbouring Afghanistan. Calling it a goodwill gesture for their Afghan “brothers”, Pakistan said this will be done on an “exceptional basis” only for “humanitarian purposes”.

The wheat and medicines can be sent as soon as the transit modalities are finalised, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said.

“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 added that the food grains and medicines to be transported to Afghanistan would be allowed to enter its territory through the Wagah border.

Currently, Pakistan only allows Afghanistan to export goods to India. No other two-way trade through the border crossing is allowed.

Last month, India had announced that it would send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance. It had requested Pakistan to allow the food grains to be transported via the Wagah border.

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 provided more than 1 million metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan over the past decade. This includes the 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat that was sent last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in September.

However, following a period of cold relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue, Pakistan had blocked India’s efforts to provide wheat to the Afghan people.

Khan had earlier said that he would allow India to transport wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s territory. He had made the announcement while chairing the first Apex Committee meeting of the newly established Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell in Islamabad on Monday.

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