Talk of Ludhiana developing into a major industrial town, playing host to international exhibitions is no exception for the ‘Manchester of India’. The four-day Indo-Pak Trade Expo (IPTE), which culminated recently, is one of the latest examples of the same.
HT City interacted with young and old Pakistani traders at the trade expo about this visit to their neighbouring country.
For starters Muhammad Junaid Lakhani, a 17-year-old student from a college in Karachi, couldn’t hold his excitement about visiting India for the first time. Accompanied by his father, he shares, “This being my maiden visit, I was highly elated to cross the Wagah Attari border. Minutes before we crossed, I quickly updated my Facebook status so that I could share this joy with my friends back home. Many youngsters in Pakistan dream of visiting India at least once in their lifetime. The wish isn’t limited to only the elderly.” He also wishes to tour every famous tourist attraction of India and would love it if he got a chance to meet comedian Kapil Sharma, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and cricketer Virat Kohli.
On the other hand, India’s diverse culture is what appeals the most to Lahore’s Umair Shahid, 22. “People across the world know about India’s cosmopolitan and secular spirit which, in itself, is a welcoming gesture. The other day, I was in Amritsar where I visited the Golden Temple and explored the Holy City. For a while, I forgot I was in a foreign land rather and instead felt blessed and wished for fortification of peace and love between India and Pakistan. The fact that we have a similar lifestyle and that there are no language barriers, makes coming here all the more fascinating,” says Shahid. The community kitchen at the Golden Temple was the highlight of his visit and he wishes to bring more of his friends to the temple in the future.
Interestingly, Samina Waqar, 47, observes the level of freedom observed by Indian women is more than those in Pakistan. “I have visited India before as well and each time I come here, it always comes to my mind that women here have more freedom and are more aware about their rights as compared to Pakistan but I am glad that with passage of time, society in Pakistan is seeing many constructive changes with regards to women,” he says. Meanwhile, Tahir Alam (57) and Ziad Hamid (60) maintain that they can never forget the warm hospitality of Indians and above all believe that such exhibitions and cultural exchange programmes between India and Pakistan can go a long way to foster friendly relations and keep the two countries connected.
Talking of the ‘India-Pakistan 2015 Cricket World Cup Match’ played in Australia on February 15; their eyes remained filled with love for India despite their own country’s defeat. “The deserving team wins, as per the module. In this match, it was the Indian team that played superbly well and they deserved the victory. Most importantly, India is Pakistan’s brother so why should achievement of one brother pinch the other. We all must respect sportsmanship,” says Hamid. Another youngster from the Pakistan at the exhibition shares his Facebook status with us, “Tum Jeeto India, still we love you brother!”