Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has hinted for the second time this week that the government may consider importing food items from India in light of the anticipated food shortage due to the ongoing flood crisis.
In a tweet on Wednesday, he said that multiple international agencies have approached the government requesting it to allow them to import food items from India through the land border. He said that the government will take this decision after assessing the supply shortage as well as after consulting with coalition partners and key stakeholders.
Responding to his tweet, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Muhammad Zubair said that Pakistan desperately needs essential food items, and therefore in the light of the on going crisis, politics will have to be dealt with later. “Not importing at cheaper rates within a short timeframe will be criminal.”
Just a few days ago on Monday, Miftah had said that importing vegetables and other food items from India could be ‘considered’ by the government. “We can consider importing vegetables from India. Turkey and Iran could also be other options,” the minister had said earlier.
Given the range of damage by the flooding, it has been speculated that salvageable crops and food resources will be sold by local farmers at exorbitant prices. Miftah said he was normally supportive of Pakistani farmers earning money and did not want to open imports. However, this was an “extraordinary situation” and if it came to it, trade with India would have to be opened.