Almost a month after Pakistan said it will allow transportation of humanitarian aid for the Afghan people via the Wagah land border crossing, New Delhi has not been able to ship any wheat as Islamabad has not finalised modalities.
The Indian side made the proposal for sending 50,000 tonnes of wheat and medicines via Wagah on October 7 and received a response from Pakistan only on November 24. On December 3, Pakistan said it will allow Indian relief materials to be shipped via the border crossing only in Afghan trucks.
“The transportation of wheat via Wagah is yet to begin as we are still waiting to hear from the Pakistani side on all the modalities,” a person familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.
People familiar with the matter said the tardy approach of the Pakistani side was surprising as even the Taliban setup in Kabul raised the issue with the Pakistan government in view of the urgent need for food items amid a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. A Taliban delegation led by acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi that visited Islamabad in November specifically discussed the issue of allowing the shipment of wheat from India with top Pakistani leaders.
On November 12, well before the formal approvals were conveyed to India, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office tweeted on his meeting with Muttaqi, announcing the prime minister’s assurance to “favourably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat” from India.