India

Pakistan will consider transit facilities of Indian wheat: Imran Khan

A file photo of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A file photo of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan will “favourably consider” transit facilities if Indian wheat is sent to Afghanistan, said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday. The offer has been welcomed by the Taliban administration in Kabul, which reiterated the call for urgent assistance to Afghanistan.

“The Prime Minister conveyed that in the current context Pakistan would favourably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes and as per modalities to be worked out,” a statement from the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office said. The UN’s World Food Programme has been planning to send a consignment of wheat from India to deal with the crisis of hunger in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s latest comments can help counter the unfolding tragedy.

The announcement came a day after Pakistan held the Troika Plus regional dialogue on the Afghan scenario, which drew participation from a delegation led by the Taliban’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. Mr. Muttaqi called on Mr. Khan on Friday, during which meeting the Pakistani leader assured the Taliban delegation of Islamabad’s help in dealing with the unfolding humanitarian crisis. Pakistan, too, would provide wheat and rice to Afghanistan, he assured.

Soon after the meeting between Mr. Muttaqi and Mr. Khan, a Taliban official welcomed the Pakistani assurance. “The Minister of Foreign Affairs requested the Pakistan PM for further facilitation at Torkham and Chaman crossings and for Afghan trade goods’ transit to Pakistan ports. H. E. Imran Khan pledged that Afghan transit via Pakistan would be significantly facilitated. Indian assisted wheat allowed to reach Afghanistan via Wagah port,” said the spokesperson for the Taliban’s foreign ministry, Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

The offer for transit through Pakistan has come two days after National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval hosted a meeting of NSAs, including those from Russia, Iran and all the Central Asian countries, which called for “urgent and unimpeded humanitarian assistance” to Afghanistan.

The Official Spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday reiterated the call for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan during a weekly press briefing.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 10:28:01 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-offers-help-in-transit-of-wheat-from-india-to-afghanistan/article37464299.ece