Pak to Fill Up Trade Minister Post in Delhi Vacant for 5 years

In a sign that Pakistan may consider resuming trade ties with India, the new government has decided to appoint a trade minister in the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi. The post had been lying vacant for close to five years, or since well before Pakistan snapped all trade ties because of India's decision to revoke the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir in August, 2019.

According to reports from Islamabad, the decision to appoint Qamar Zaman, as trade minister in India was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif.

Zaman is a Pakistani bureaucrat from commerce and trade service. Diplomatic sources said he had nothing to do with Qamar Zaman Kaira, an adviser to PM on Kashmir, or the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Known as minister (trade) in the high commission, the official handles issues related to trade and investments. In his response to a congratulatory message from his counterpart Narendra Modi, after Sharif took over as PM, he had said peaceful and cooperative ties between the two countries are imperative for the progress and "socio-economic uplift of our people and for the region".

Official sources here described the development as positive, recalling that it was Pakistan's decision to call off all trade with India. While Modi called for an atmosphere free to violence and terrorism, Sharif too raised the issue of J&K in his letter to Modi.

Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote to the UNSC president on Tuesday accusing India of using the Delimitation Commission in J&K to carry out "demographic engineering in a bid to convert Muslim-majority constituencies to Hindu-majority ones".