Pakistan’s poll considerations hold up trade pact with India

Tags: News
Pakistan has missed a self-imposed deadline for allowing all tradable items through land routes from India because of stiff resistance from land-owning elite in the federal cabinet, according to a media report on Sunday.

The two countries had agreed during a meeting of their commerce secretaries in September to open the Wagah border and other land routes for trade in all commodities, including agricultural produce, by the end of October.

A joint statement issued at the time had said a proposal for removing restrictions on trade via land routes had been sent to the cabinet, which would notify its decision before the end of October. However, the cabinet is reluctant to take up the proposal due to resistance from its members and parliamentarians, the influential Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday.

An unnamed official was quoted as saying that it appeared to be a very difficult decision for the government at a time when it is set to complete its tenure in the next few months. Leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party have said the next general election will most probably be held in May. No one can afford to take a decision that could send a negative message to voters, the official was quoted as saying.

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