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Trade can bring both countries closer:Shahbaz Sharif

Lahore: A Pakistan-India business roundtable was held under the auspices of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade at Chief Minister Secretariat, in which Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal, members of Indian delegation, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Provincial Ministers, assembly members, investors, traders and industrialists of both the Punjabs were present. A common business council was established during the business roundtable for promotion of bilateral trade, which will consist of ten members each from the both sides. The common business council would take steps for establishment of joint industrial zones, holding of business conferences and increasing trade relations. During Pakistan-India business roundtable, an agreement was signed between PHD Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lahore for promoting business relations.

Addressing on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif welcomed Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal and his delegation to Lahore, and said that it is a matter of great happiness. He said wars have pushed Pakistan and India into poverty, hunger and unemployment. He said the history has separated the two nations but history has also made them neighbors. Therefore, there is a need to work together for the progress and prosperity of the people in order to change the course of history. He said, like good neighbors, India and Pakistan must live together and resolve their issues through mutual negotiations. The Chief Minister said that both the countries are spending billions of rupees on the import of goods throughout the world but by promoting mutual trade through Wahga border, both the countries can save precious foreign exchange. He said investment and mutual trade can bring the two societies together and it is the need of the time to take steps for promoting trade ties. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said it is time to forget the bitterness of the past and plan for the future, by strengthening bilateral relations through mutual trade and business ties. He said the President of Pakistan Muslim League-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is a resolute and visionary leader who has the capability of changing the course of history. He said during the prime minister ship of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, sincere efforts were made to bring Pakistan and India closer and as a result of his efforts, the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to Lahore and the historic Lahore Declaration was made which was aimed at promoting mutual cooperation between the two neighboring countries. He said the Indian Punjab has made progress in many sectors and we can share skill, expertise and technology. He said by promoting mutual cooperation in the fields of industry, agriculture, energy, sports and other sectors, people of both the countries can get rid of their problems relating to poverty and unemployment. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said we can strengthen our mutual relations by holding sports tournaments in cricket, hockey, kabbadi, wrestling and other sports. The Chief Minister nominated 10 members for the common business council including Senator Pervaiz Rahisd, Advisor Zaeem Hussain Qadri, secretaries of different departments and well-known industrialists, while the Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab also nominated ten members from his side including three provincial ministers, industrialists and government authorities.

Addressing on the occasion, Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal said that it is an historic day as the two brothers have got together for promotion of trade and business ties. He said if Pakistani Punjab would take two steps for cooperation, the Indian Punjab would take ten steps in this regard. He said today’s world is of business and trade and both the countries would have to work together on the economic fronts. He said the delegation of Indian Punjab which is on the visit consists of six ministers of the cabinet, industrialists and businessmen, whose aim is to ensure boosting of trade and business cooperation. He said we would have to share our experiences and enhance trade through Wahga border manifold. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that holding of Pakistan-India business roundtable in Lahore is a welcome step, and we would have to sit together to plan for a bright future for our coming generations. He hoped that under the dynamic leadership of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, further steps would be taken to promote mutual trade, business and financial ties which will have a long-term positive and significant change. The participants of the roundtable gave their suggestions for further promoting trade relations. Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal presented key of a tractor to the Chief Minister Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for Agriculture University Faisalabad. Exchange of gifts also took place on the occasion. Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board Dr. Muftah Ismail presented welcome address on the occasion.

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