Pakistan’s Senate wants ban on Indian cotton imports

Islamabad: The Pakistani senate committee on National Food Security and Research has asked the government to stop the import of cotton lint from India.

Committee chairman Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, chairing the meeting on Wednesday, said the country’s agriculture economy would be ruined if the import of 0.5 million bales of cotton from India through the Wagah border checkpost was not stopped, Dawn online reported.

It observed that the last season showed a 30 percent decline in cotton production, and added the figure could rise if immediate measures were not taken.

There is sufficient stock of cotton lint available with the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, so there is no justification to import cotton, observed the committee.

It also sought a report from the ministry of commerce on the import of cotton lint from India.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan endorsed the recommendation.

The committee asked the government to immediately announce the intervention price for cotton as harvesting season is fast approaching. Punjab has already asked the federal government to announce the intervention (support) price.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan during a meeting with representatives of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on Wednesday said his ministry would work in collaboration with the provincial governments to increase the production of cotton.

The meeting also discussed the role of Trading Corporation of Pakistan and the effect of import policy of cotton.

Khan said the government’s prime concern was to protect the interests of farmers besides boosting textile exports.