ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has allowed import of life-saving medicines from India in order to provide relief to patients.

The Ministry of Commerce has issued Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) to allow import and export of medicines to and from India. Earlier, the officials of Ministry of Commerce had claimed that Pakistan would import medicines and vaccines from China after suspending trade with India. However, the government has now decided to revive import of medicines from the neighbouring country.

In August, Pakistan’s National Security Council had decided to suspend bilateral trade with India after Indian government’s decision to issue a presidential order to repeal Article 370 of the Indian constitution. On August 09, the Ministry of Commerce had issued an SRO for suspending trade ties with India including banning all kinds of imports and exports after getting approval from the federal cabinet. Official figures of bilateral trade between Pakistan and India showed that Pakistan’s exports to India stood at $263 million in last financial year and imports from India $1.499 billion in 2018-19.

In the aftermath of Pulwama incident, exports from March to June 2019 got slowed down as it stood at $14 million in Feb 2019, $7 million in March 2019, $4 million in April 2019, $3 million in May 2019 and $4 million in June 2019. In earlier months of last fiscal year, the monthly exports were hovering around $21 million to $44 million on monthly basis. Imports from India remained in range of around $101 million minimum to $150 million maximum on monthly basis in last fiscal year.

The Indian government had imposed 200 per cent duty on imports from Pakistan after Pulwama attack, besides withdrawing most-favoured nation (MFN) status. According to official data, imports from India had declined by over 36 per cent in four months (February to June) in wake of Pulwama attack. Imports from India remained $965 million from February-June 2018 whereas this year the figures have declined to $611 million in the corresponding period. Pakistan had not imposed any duty on Indian products on that time.