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Pakistan Rejects India’s Wheat Transit Proposal

Pakistan has rejected India’s proposal to allow the transportation of 50,000 metric tons of wheat as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in Indian or Afghan trucks and has only allowed to let the shipment go under United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP).

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An official source said that the Indian authorities are propagating misinformation that Pakistan had objected to the transfer of wheat to Afghanistan.

A senior official of the Foreign Office disclosed on the condition of anonymity that Pakistan has already taken the WFP on board and the UN agency is ready to execute the plan.

However, India is not ready to involve the WFP and insisted on the shipment of wheat either in Indian or Afghan trucks, which is not a feasible option.

The source explained that “Since there is no two-way trade between Afghanistan and India through Pakistan, even New Delhi knows its trucks cannot be used for the transportation of wheat,” and added that India had been given permission to use Pakistan’s land route on an exceptional basis.

“Authorities feel that India is now dragging its feet after it realized that Islamabad was ready to create an exception for New Delhi’s humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan,” the source said.

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They remarked that the authorities had been lenient towards India because of the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan that Indian humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan must be facilitated in every way.

“It is because of this reason that Pakistan has informed India to complete the transportation at the earliest,” the official said, and mentioned that “the ball is in India’s court. There is no delay on our part”.

Pending Since October

The matter has been pending since October when India had announced the provision of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat for Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance. Pakistan had agreed to it but refused to let Indian or Afghan trucks carry the shipment.

Last week, the spokesperson for the Foreign Office, Asim Iftikhar, told the media that the decision to allow India to transport wheat through Wagah had been made on the basis of the humanitarian situation in the neighboring country, “and must not serve as a precedent for future shipments”.

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