Nearly 100 Indian and 350 Pakistani business leaders at the 2nd Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak Business Meet strongly endorsed the peace process and efforts to build close economic and trade relations
Exciting developments are underway in wake of the Second Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak Business Conference held in Lahore on May 7-8, 2012, a landmark gathering of some of the most influential Pakistani and Indian business and corporate leaders. The unequivocal support of the delegates and other participants, including high-powered business persons and politicians from both sides, was most
encouraging in taking forward the objectives of the Aman ki Asha initiative launched by the Jang Group and the Times of India, launched on Jan 1, 2010.
The Conference, partnered by the Pakistan Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry, was the largest and the most high profile in the history of both countries. Nearly 100 Indian and 350 Pakistani business leaders attended, and strongly endorsed the peace process and efforts to build close economic and trade relations between the two South Asian neighbours. In parallel with the trade and investment tract, the Aman ki Asha committees on healthcare and capital market also held meetings.
The consensus by the major political parties on Aman ki Asha's objectives regarding peace, dialogue and trade between India and Pakistan was highly encouraging. Speakers included Pakistan's top political leadership including Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. They all agreed that Pakistan-India peace process is vital for the prosperity and welfare of the people
of the two countries.
In his inaugural address Prime Minister Gilani stressed the need to build relations based on mutual trust. Economic collaboration, he agreed, could serve as a bridge for peace, a cherished goal of his government. Expressing strong confidence in the business leaders of both countries, he likened them to ambassadors of peace.
The two-day deliberations covered a broad spectrum of economic and trade issues. Delegates discussed the vast opportunities and challenges, looking beyond the grant of Pakistan's most favoured nation (MFN) status to India and easing non-tariff barriers on Pakistani imports.
They recognized that in the post-MFN scenario many sectoral adjustments and realignments may need to take place.
The consensus was that while some sectors may be adversely impacted, the overall impact of a freer trade regime would be overwhelmingly positive for traders and consumers of both countries. In fact, participants expect a six-fold increase in the Pakistan-India trade volume from the current $2.4 billion level to $15 billion by 2015.
Delegates called for the economic integration of South Asia and urged both governments to take "all steps necessary to realize the tremendous potential of the region". They resolved to aggressively push the agenda for peace and economic cooperation.
The Conference took several decisions, foremost among which was the agreement to set up a dedicated group comprising Pakistani and Indian business leaders to lobby with their governments to provide a facilitative regulatory framework to allow for greater economic collaboration.
The delegates reiterated that the six sectors identified in the Delhi Declaration 2010 constituted low hanging fruit and had the greatest potential for collaboration. These were: textile, energy, information technology, agriculture, healthcare and education skill development.
Committees on IT, textiles, health and education sectors are already active and delegates agreed that the remaining should be formed as soon as possible. They also saw strong potential for cooperation in the chemicals sector.
Delegates at the Conference decided to strongly push for easing the visa regime and urged both governments to open all the trade routes that had existed prior to 1965.
They also strongly recommended that restrictions on cell phone roaming facility be removed, banking
relations be established immediately;The capital market committees in their meetings resolved to push for cross-border equity investments, listing and trading of scrips.
The participants decided to make the Aman ki Asha Economic Conference an annual event. The Third
Economic Conference will be held in New Delhi in 2013, again partnered by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Pakistan Business Council in collaboration with Aman ki Asha of the Jang Group and the Times of India group.
Wednesday, May 23, 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.
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