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Pakistan’s Imports from India Jump 28% Despite Trade Ban

Islamabad – Pakistan’s imports from India have surged again despite the ongoing formal trade embargo between the two nations.

Sources say imports from India rose 28% year-on-year in January 2024, totalling $32.6 million compared to $25.4 million in January 2023.

This continues a trend of dramatic import spikes seen in February and May last year.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has put on hold the appointment of a Trade and Investment Officer in India.

Official trade between Pakistan and India has been suspended since August 2019, after India revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir under its constitution.

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Despite political tensions, informal trade has persisted through third-party channels. The latest data indicates efforts to normalise economic ties have stalled amid strained relations.

Experts say unofficial imports via Dubai likely account for the rise. Demand for essentials like tomatoes, onions and pharmaceuticals is being met through indirect trade.

While the import ban exempts life-saving drugs, cumbersome procedures hamper direct imports. Traders opt to import via Dubai to fulfill urgent needs.

The new numbers reveal Pakistan’s continued economic reliance on India despite the severing of political ties. However, sources say the momentum for restoring formal trade channels has dissipated under the current environment.

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