Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that during the ongoing visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to the country, the Central Government should persuade him for opening trade from borders of Punjab so that impetus could be provided to the economy of the state.
Talking to reporters here on the fourth day of his thanks giving tour of the Lambi Assembly segment, the chief minister said, "The visit assumes significance as improving of the bilateral ties between both the neighbouring countries along with promotion of trade would benefit both the countries in general and Punjab in particular."
He said that Punjab being a land locked state had been a victim of the wrong policies of the successive Congress governments at the Centre, who have virtually ignored economic development of the state.
However, he said that if the borders of the state were opened for cross border trade with Pakistan then it would prove to be a major boon for the farmers of the state, who were on verge of economic disaster due to the exorbitant hike by the Central government in the agricultural inputs.
The chief minister said that opening of trade from the state would open new avenues for the traders and the farmers of Punjab through Pakistan could establish trade links with the other countries of Arab world, where the demand of things produced in the state was very high.
He said that the SAD-BJP government had been regularly pursuing the Centre to open the Hussainiwala and Attari borders for trade with Pakistan but their efforts had proved futile.
Badal said that the Centre must ensure that while exporting agricultural commodities to Pakistan it should give preference to Punjab, which was the food bowl of the country. "Punjabis have a lot of expectations from the current historic visit of Zardari to the country, so the central government must take initiative for safeguarding the economic interests of the state," he added.
Replying to another query regarding the criticism of the state government by the Congress on the appointment of 21 chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS) in the state, the chief minister said that it was in the interest of the state as it would give adequate representation to all the communities and areas of Punjab.
He said that the CPS would also play a vital role in the development of the state as along with the officers they would also provide imperative feedback to the state government from grassroots level.
"In addition to it the administrative experience gained by these political leaders during their stint as CPS will also help in producing capable ministers and chief ministers for the state in future," he added.