Emphasising the importance of peaceful relations for both India and Pakistan, a visiting delegation of Pakistani Parliamentarians and members of assemblies said that relations between the two countries must not be hold hostage to any single event or issue.
The 20-member delegation, here on an invitation from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, will interact with the Indian Parliamentarians in New Delhi. The delegation arrived through the Attari border.
Addressing a press conference, Haider Abbas Rizvi, a Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Karachi, said: "Compared to the rest of the world, South Asia is a little behind in development and India Pakistan tensions have a lot to do with it. We must move forward and let bygones be bygones." He added that if relations improve, both countries could spend a portion of their budget on other activities like trade and development.
On the trade front, he said that the Attar-Wagah route was vital, but the real boom in trade would come when the Karachi-Mumbai trade route is functional.
Saeed Ghani, another senator from Karachi, said: "We cannot remain focused on areas of disagreement. It is important to move ahead. Both India and Pakistan must understand that if we are stuck on issues of Kashmir or Siachen, we cannot maintain a deadlock. We can move ahead on issues of agreement."
He added that he would demand increased emphasis on trade relations and a more liberal visa policy.
Bushra Gohar, MNA from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said, "We don't need to look for differences. Peace is the only option."
Punjab finance minister Parminder Dhindsa, welcomed the Pakistani delegation.
He said: "For Punjabs in both the countries, it is important that both nations have good relations. There has been an improvement in visits of delegations, but the recommendations of these meetings sometimes get stuck at the implementation stage."
Dhindsa added that the Attar-Wagah trade route must be free from barriers and export and import restrictions must be removed.
Pakistani delegate Mansab Dogar said that international forces were creating differences between India and Pakistan.
Delegation perturbed over allegation
The Pakistani delegation seemed a little upset over the reception given to them upon their arrival at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari. Delegation members claimed that the authorities did not welcome them with warmth. They claimed that their luggage was opened and checked, despite the fact that they were Parliamentarians.
"We are not very happy at the way we were treated," said Abdul Rashid Godil, MNA from Karachi.