Pakistan appears to have put conditions on the transportation of India’s humanitarian assistance offered to Afghanistan as Islamabad has been insisting on transferring wheat consignments using Pakistani trucks under the UN banner
Pakistan appears to have put conditions on the transportation of India’s humanitarian assistance offered to Afghanistan as Islamabad has been insisting on transferring wheat consignments using Pakistani trucks under the UN banner. Last week, India had said no conditionalities should be attached to humanitarian assistance.
Last week, after a month of a delay, Pakistan informed India of allowing transit permit to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and other humanitarian goods to Afghanistan through the Wagah border on an "exceptional basis" keeping in view the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan.
Officials of both countries are already discussing modalities.
According to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper, Pakistan had proposed transportation of wheat on Pakistani trucks to be operated by the United Nations. The Pakistani trucks under the banner of the UN would load wheat at the Wagah crossing and then take it to Afghanistan. It further proposed that India has to complete the shipment within 30 days and would pay for transportation.
Citing diplomatic sources, the report India had objected to it, saying no conditions should be attached with humanitarian assistance.
New Delhi is learned to have suggested that the wheat should be transported either in Indian or Afghan trucks.
“We are examining the response of the government of Pakistan. We are also working on the modalities with the Pakistan side. We believe that humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said last week during a press conference in New Delhi.
Despite differences, one Pakistani official said both sides might find a common ground, and some decision is expected this week, the report said.
India after meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow last month had informed that it intended to send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat for Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance to Afghan people, who have been going through a "tough phase".
Earlier this month, when the Taliban’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi visited Pakistan, he requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow India to transport wheat via Pakistan. Khan at the time had assured him that the country would positively consider the request.
Pakistan, which has traditionally undercut any Indian role in Afghanistan, doesn’t allow New Delhi transit permit through its land border for trade activities. The US-backed erstwhile Afghan government had for two decades kept asking Pakistan to allow transit for trade to India.
Importantly, Islamabad lately came under criticism for delaying the permission to Indian humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan which has been facing a severe shortage of food, medicine, and other essentials. Aid agencies have warned of famine as millions of people are at risk of starvation.
Over one million children are facing severe malnutrition due to a shortage of baby food amid the economic crisis.