Pakistan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Blames Trade Suspension with India for Food Prices Hike

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar has blamed the suspension of trade with India as the primary cause of price hike of food items in the country. The prices of tomatoes in Pakistan have skyrocketed to Rs.300 per kg. 

The statement from Hammad Azhar was recorded during a press briefing on the economic situation by the senior members of the economic team of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Azhar said that the food inflation and prevailing crisis was the direct result of the suspension of trade with India along with seasonal factors and the role of the middleman. 

He further said that the Central Government had begun taking action by taking the matter up with provincial governments to set up Sasta Bazaars to provide immediate help. The government also plans to effectively use the magistracy system to ensure relief to the public. Azhar said that the government expected the inflation to start decreasing in January-February 2020. He alluded that as per experts, the economy will be stabilised and move into recovery mode leading to higher growth rates. 

The remarks from the minister come after the price of tomatoes, a staple in most households of all income backgrounds hiked to Rs.300 per kg creating panic among the masses. The professed future steps of the Imran Khan administration to protect the nation’s economy is to create policies which felicitate job creation. He said that the economy has improved with effective reforms, improvements in external and fiscal accounts. 

Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties with India and had suspended bilateral trade on August 5, following the abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian Central government which granted special status to the states of Jammu and Kashmir. 

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