Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday refuted media reports saying it had expressed readiness to talk on the restoration of the India-Afghanistan trade route through its territory.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi rejected the media reports after US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass was quoted as saying by an Indian newspaper that Pakistan had approached Afghanistan earlier this year and indicated willingness to resume trade between Afghanistan and India through its land.
“Pakistan has not agreed to consider Afghanistan-India trade through our land,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
Pakistan does not allow India to use the land route for trading with Afghanistan, arguing that “technical and strategic” issues connected to transit trade should be resolved first.
Bass was quoted as saying by an Indian daily that a political settlement in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s long-term interest.
“Increased trade in both directions, increased connectivity through central and south Asia through Afghanistan, those are all missed opportunities if Pakistan has its sole focus on perpetuating the status quo,” Bass was quoted as saying.