Trade must go on, says head of Pak delegation
Terming 'trade' as a great unifier, Sohail Lashari, who is heading a delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said healthy trade relations was the only way ahead for India and Pakistan.punjab Updated: Aug 26, 2012 00:46 IST
Terming 'trade' as a great unifier, Sohail Lashari, who is heading a delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said healthy trade relations was the only way ahead for India and Pakistan.
Lashari, who reached India as part of a 23-member delegation, was addressing a gathering at the Khanna Paper Mills, which was now sending newsprint to Pakistani papers.
"We have seen enough and I feel the time has come to move forward. I feel both India and Pakistan must focus on benefiting each other with trade," he said.
Talking to reporters, Lashari said the two countries needed to improve the trust element. "Businessmen are very cautious when they make investments. Both countries must assure that no matter what happens, the trade should not get affected."
He said, "Every time an untoward incident takes place in India or Pakistan, we react by banning things. And the relations become sour. We need to come out of this mindset. The trade must go on."
India and Pakistan have great potential and if they work together their dependency on other countries will reduce, he added.
Lashari hoped that the restrictions on imports from India through Attari would be removed and many more commodities would be allowed to be traded through this route.
He said people of Pakistan were waiting for a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hoped that that would pave a new way for peace and prosperity in the region.
Welcoming the delegation, Suneet Kochhar, director of the Khanna Paper Mills, said, "In the current scenario, both nations need economic boost. Since there was hardly any geographical distance, both can benefit to a great extent."
Kochhar stressed that the time had come when both countries moved on and ignored the past. "Free movement and people-to-people contact must be improved."
Kochhar said, "We are already sending newsprint to Pakistan and we expect that more orders will flow from across the border."
Praising the Indian newsprint quality, All Pakistan Paper Merchant chairman Khamis Saeed Butt said, "Till date, we depended on other nations for the paper but now most of our issues have been resolved."
He said the Attari border had great potential and the governments of the two countries must look forward to make the most out of this route.
Tayyab Aijaz, a paper importer from Pakistan, said, "Since Pakistan had limited resources, most of the people in business there were in losses. The Indian paper can change their fate."
The delegation will also go to Delhi to hold trade talks.
Garbage heaps annoy visitors
The visiting delegation from Pakistan seemed unhappy with the sanitation conditions of Amritsar city. They expressed shock over the garbage scattered all around the city.
In his address, Lashari said, "It is shocking to see that there is lot of garbage in the city of Amritsar. Each city is known from its cleanliness and we were shocked to see filth scattered all over the place."