Pakistan is yet to take a decision on India’s request for resumption of onion exports through the Wagah land border crossing. Earlier this week Pakistan banned exports to India via Wagah, reportedly in order to stabilise prices in their own domestic markets.
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Sharat Sabharwal has taken up the matter with Pakistani authorities, who have not yet conveyed a formal response to the request to resume exports, officials of the High Commission told reporters. Efforts are also being made to get Pakistani authorities to clear consignments that had already been contracted, the officials said.
Customs officials and traders in the eastern city of Lahore, from where the consignments were being sent to India, also confirmed that the ban had not been lifted.
Officials said they were awaiting word from the Commerce and Foreign Ministries, which would decide on India’s call for resumption of exports. Pakistani authorities stopped onion exports via Wagah on Wednesday, ostensibly to control surging prices in markets across the country.
Officials and some trade lobbies contended that prices had risen since the exports to India began in mid December. Sources said concerns about the under invoicing of onion consignments sent via the land route had influenced the decision to ban exports through Wagah.
Exports by sea are still allowed as the invoicing system for maritime consignments is less vulnerable to irregularities, sources said. Contrary to media reports that Pakistan might face a shortage of onions in the coming months due to exports to India, sources in business circles said the output in areas like Sindh had been good despite the devastation caused to agricultural lands by last year’s floods.
Prices of onions in various parts of the country have shot up by Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kg since Thursday after Pakistan curbed exports through the land route. Onion exports began late last year after prices registered a sharp rise.