Kamran Y. Mirza
Chief Executive,Pakistan Business Council
The holding of the 2nd Aman ki Asha (AKA) India-Pakistan Economic Conference is of great significance. It provides tremendous satisfaction to the advocates of economic cooperation between India and Pakistan as a means for achieving lasting peace. The PBC, which became a partner of the AKA initiative this year, has been one of the strongest advocates of trade normalisation with India. In fact, in April 2011, this was one of the major issues on which PBC was able to develop consensus of all the major political parties. However, PBC is also conscious of the fact that for unleashing the economic potential of South Asia, a level playing field has to be established and tariff as well as non-
tariff barriers need to be dismantled by both countries.
The Pakistani critics of normalisation of trade with India point out, correctly, that Pakistan, despite having been granted MFN status by India 16 years ago, has not been able make inroads into the Indian market. Not all of this can be attributed to poor quality and an inability to maintain standards. These critics are also not convinced by the rationale that such barriers are not Pakistan-specific and go on to highlight the fact that these barriers are more stringent in areas in which Pakistan currently has a competitive advantage. Pakistan has the right to expect that India, being the dominant economy of South Asia, must be more accommodating of Pakistan. PBC is therefore of the strong view that for trade normalisation to maintain momentum, the benefit must accrue upfront on both sides of the border.
It is sincerely hoped that 2nd AKA will provide a framework for discussion on the way forward for trade normalisation in South Asia. We at the PBC trust that our Indian guests will appreciate the goodwill that exists on this side of the border. Hopefully, on their return to India, they will act as the catalyst for creating an environment in India that will help improve relations between the two countries. It would be appropriate to state here that enhanced trade between the two countries has ramifications well beyond it, as this region has seen much conflict. The people of South Asia deserve a far greater degree of prosperity, which can be possible if there is peace.
The PBC is a business policy advocacy platform, currently comprising 38 of the largest corporations/business groups, including multinationals. One of the PBC's major objectives is the creation of an environment that fosters rapid economic growth and which enables Pakistan to be more competitive in the regional and global markets.
Group Managing Director,
the Jang Group
It's with great pleasure that we wish friends from India a warm welcome. The business leaders attending the 2nd AKA Indo-Pak Economic Conference represent the most magnificent assemblage of economic icons of the two countries on a single platform,ever. For this fact alone, AKA deserves praise. It is a matter of great satisfaction for us that a peace movement the Jang Group launched two years ago in partnership with The Times of India under the banner of Aman ki Asha is moving from strength to strength, that too, in very testing times. To my knowledge, this is first of its kind media-led peace movement,attempting to build bridges between two countries with a 60-year history of animosity and mistrust.
Following the success of the 1st AKA Economic Conference, we are delighted that CII and the PBC have signed an MOU with TOI and the Jang group to further economic collaboration between India and Pakistan. This augurs very well for both countries.
The AKA movement works on a three-pronged strategy: resolution of disputes through dialogue, increased people-to-people contact and the promotion of economic cooperation.
Mutual economic interests remain the key driver for the peace process. Our approach was correct: India and Pakistan managed to make the most fruitful engagement over the last one year on the economic front. This is what we had dreamt of.
We hope that the second conference manages to make a bigger impact by setting a post-MFN agenda that can harness the potential of both countries and bring a paradigm shift in their relations to ensure peace, progress and prosperity for their people.
We are grateful also to the Prime Minister of Pakistan who, by inaugurating this conference, has shown his government's commitment to the normalisation of relations and to a pragmatic economic agenda that relies on increasing bilateral as well as regional trade.
Monday, May 07, 2012
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw