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SOURCE: ANI

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday said that the country is currently assessing the flood relief plan and has not decided on the resumption of trade with India.

He made these remarks at the “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” meeting which was jointly launched by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations (UN) on August 30. Earlier on Monday, amid food security concerns due to catastrophic floods, Pakistan said that it could consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India,” according to a media report.

The country’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, while talking to media persons, said the country’s government “can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India” for the facilitation of the people in wake of the destruction of standing crops in Pakistan due to recent floods, Radio Pakistan reported.

In August 2019, relations between the two countries hit a new low after Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with India, recall its high commissioner from New Delhi, expel the Indian envoy to Islamabad and suspend bilateral trade.

On August 4, Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that there had not been any progress between India and Pakistan since 2019 regarding resumption of trade.

Asked whether there was any progress concerning the resumption of trade ties with Pakistan, the minister in a written response to the Rajya Sabha, said: “In August 2019, Pakistan announced the suspension of bilateral trade with India. Pakistan partially relaxed its ban on trade with India in September 2019 by permitting trade in certain pharmaceutical products.

There has not been any progress regarding resumption of trade with Pakistan since then.”

In June, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari emphasized the country’s interest in trade and engagement with India saying that Pakistan was isolated on the world stage due to past policies.

Over 5.7 million people have been affected in Pakistan as the country faces the worst rain-induced flooding in its history. The rescue, relief, and rehabilitation in the country continue.

At least 1,033 people have died while 1,527 have been injured since June 14 from the rains and floods, Geo News reported citing National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Cumulative data from June 14 from across Pakistan showed that 3,451.5 km of road has been damaged, 149 bridges have collapsed, and 170 shops were destroyed.

A total of 949,858 homes have been partially or fully destroyed. Out of the total, 662,446 homes have been partially damaged, and 287,412 have been fully destroyed. While 719,558 livestock has also been killed.

The floods affected the lives of millions of people after which the Pakistan government declared a “national emergency”.

Bilawal Bhutto delivered the keynote address at the launch event being hosted by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed by a video message from Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, will also deliver remarks in his capacity as the Chairperson of the “Relief Coordination Committee” constituted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Also speaking at the event were the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Islamabad, and the Assistant Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The FRP complemented the Government’s overall humanitarian response to the recent floods caused by unprecedented rains in Pakistan.