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Biz camaraderie across the border

india Updated: Jun 21, 2006 01:23 IST
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India, Pak businessmen seek to cut trade via Dubai

WHENEVER a Pakistani wants to wear a Lakhnawi sherwani, he has to look to Dubai. Lakhnawi sherwanis and angrakhas are hugely popular in Pakistan. Similarly, Lucknow’s famous chikan work is a rage in that country as is Shahnaz Hussain’s range of herbal products.

But sadly, none of these are directly available to the Pakistanis, who often have to get these products from Dubai at abnormally high prices.

Similarly, Pakistan’s dry fruits, its bareeza —-a ladies cloth — among several other things are in high demand among Indians, who too take the Dubai route to get these things. 

Driven by simple business sense, a group of traders from both sides are currently busy finding a more direct approach to possible trade ties between the two countries.

“Why can’t we get these products directly rather than procure them from a third country?” asked Muhammad Idrees Tabassum, leader of a 13 member Pakistani delegation that is here in Lucknow to promote trade links between the two nations.

“Why can’t we have a bareeza showroom in Lucknow, Mumbai or Delhi. Similarly, if Shahnaz’s range of herbal products can be easily bought from showrooms in foreign countries, why can’t we have one in Pakistan,” said Muhammad Idrees while talking to HT.

Irfan Ahmad, secretary of the UP chapter of Pak-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), UP chapter, said, “We are trying to convince the governments of our respective countries to make laws that promote bilateral trade and foster peace, love and prosperity between the two nations.”

Both felt that India and Pakistan share a common history, dresses, traditions and have mutual love for each other. “Still, trade among the two nations has always been a problem. We are seeking a one-window system where traders of both the countries pay their custom duties at airports, seaports, railway stations etc and be free to purchase goods from both India and Pakistan,” they said. Muhammad Idrees said that they were holding talks with the head of the Federation of trade and commerce in Pakistan and similar efforts were under way in India.

During their Lucknow visit, the Pakistani delegation visited Lucknow markets and took samples of the city’s famed zardozi work, chikan products etc. “Our exercise is basically aimed at bettering the trade links and we would continuously strive for easing the tension between the two countries,” he added.

Irfan Ahmad warmed the hearts of the Pakistanis with his couplet saying, “tum aao gulshan-e-Lahore se chaman bardosh, hum aayein subah-e-Benaras ki roshni lekar.”  The Pakistani delegation was felicitated later in the evening at a function in Aminabad.