Pak PM''s nod for onion exports for orders finalised before ban

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Rezual H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 12 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister YousufRaza Gilani today allowed traders to export onion to India fororders contracted before January 4, the day a ban was imposedon supply of the commodity via the Wagah land border.

The Prime Minister''s directive, which was forwarded tothe Commerce Ministry, will apply only to orders that werefinalised by Pakistan traders before the ban was imposed andfor which payments had already been made by Indian importers,sources in the Pakistani government said.

The ban on the export of onion to India via the landroute will remain in place, sources said.

Authorities said they had imposed the ban to stabiliseprices in the domestic market, which they claimed had surgedafter the onion exports began in mid-December.

However, Pakistani traders have opposed the ban, sayingsales to other countries were continuing without anyhindrance. Traders from Punjab, Pakistan''s most populousprovince, pointed out that onion was being freely exportedfrom Karachi in Sindh province to Sri Lanka, Malaysia,Indonesia, Dubai and Mumbai in India, and said the stopping ofexports via Wagah amounted to discrimination.

Traders said orders for over 4,000 tonnes of onion hadbeen finalised before the ban was imposed.

Indian merchants had blocked the supply of tomato toPakistan for a day to protest the ban. Pakistani traders saidthis pushed the price of tomato up to Rs 100 a kg in thedomestic market.

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