Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced that his government will allow India to pass through its land route to Afghanistan to deliver humanitarian aid of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat after it has been finalized by Islamabad and New Delhi.
"Pakistan’s decision to allow the 50,000 MT of wheat India has offered to provide Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance to go through Pakistan as soon as modalities are finalized with the Indian side," said PM Khan.
He made these remarks while addressing the Apex Committee meeting of the newly formulated Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) in Islamabad.
The AICC meeting was also attended by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister; Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan Army chief; and National Security Adviser of Pakistan Moeed Yousaf.
Khan also said that Pakistan will assist the return of Afghan patients who had gone to India for medical treatment and have been stuck there. In addition to this he also urged the international community to support Afghanistan and collectively help the nation to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
Earlier in the month of October, India had announced in-kind humanitarian assistance of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan and also extended a request to Pakistan to let India use the Wagah border to ship the food grains.
Over the past decade, India has contributed humanitarian aid to Afghanistan several times by providing over 1 million metric tonnes of wheat.
However, relations between India and Pakistan have been complicated amid the growing tensions over the Kashmir territory due to which Pakistan had reportedly blocked several routes restricting India to ship their aid to Afghan people through Pakistan.
Pakistan has currently kept the two-way trade routes passing through the borders for India and Afghanistan closed but allows Afghanistan to export goods to India
Khan also ordered an immediate shipment of in-kind aid to Afghanistan worth ₹5 billion during the AICC meeting. The shipment includes 50,000 tonnes of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters, and other items, according to the Radio Pakistan report.
He further reduced tax on exports to Afghanistan along with providing free Covid-19 vaccination for Afghan people who have entered Pakistan from the borders.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs is yet to respond to the announcement made by the Pakistan PM.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on November 11 had said that India was looking for all possible solutions that could help transfer the humanitarian aid to Afghanistan but has been facing difficulties due to lack of unimpeded access.