Pakistan informs India about allowing transit facilities for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

In a major concession, Pakistan on Wednesday has formally informed the Indian Embassy in Islamabad about its decision to allow transit facilities to Indian humanitarian shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving drugs to Afghanistan on an "exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes"

Nov 24, 2021
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Pakistan-India

In a major concession, Pakistan on Wednesday has formally informed the Indian Embassy in Islamabad about its decision to allow transit facilities to Indian humanitarian shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving drugs to Afghanistan on an "exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes". The move came almost two months after India offered humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. 

On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that his government would allow India to send a wheat shipment of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through its territory after the finalization of the transit modalities, reported Dawn. 

Following the Taliban's takeover, the Afghan economy and banking system has almost collapsed, creating a severe humanitarian crisis.

In a statement on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office 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." It added that as a goodwill gesture towards the brotherly Afghan people, they have decided to allow the transportation of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines from India.

The shipment, the Foreign Office said, would be allowed to enter through the Wagah border crossing on an” exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes". 

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 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. 
(SAM)