LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Commerce Minister Khuram Dasgir have welcomed India’s plan to debottleneck jamming of containerized traffic with sufficient security arrangements at customs bonded warehouses at Attari–Wagah, sources said.
Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry Sri Anand Sharma met with Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif who was accompanied by Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Khurram Dastgir Khan, High Commissioner of Pakistan to India Salman Bashir, and Pakistani business tycoon Mian Muhammad Mansha along with other senior officials from Pakistan.
The sources said that both the sides reached an agreement that with the growing volume of trade by land route, the working hours at Attari-Wagah can be further enhanced and even contemplated for 24/7 operating conditions, the details of which would be discussed at an appropriate time between the Commerce Secretaries of both the countries.
Both sides also agreed that ongoing technical talks for electricity transmission line and bilateral trade of power and gas between India and Pakistan need to be revitalized, so that there is tangible progress for actual flow of gas and power between both countries.
It was committed that Dastgir would be meeting with Sri Sharma in January 2014 as part of the initiatives of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and SAARC business delegations.
The Pakistani side suggested that even prior to this meeting appropriate official level talks could be initiated to set the ground for rapid momentum on the trade normalization roadmap.
Sharif welcomed the ‘India Show’ that has been planned in Lahore in February 2014 and invited Sri Sharma to visit Pakistan. It was also noted that the Joint Business Council meetings have also been scheduled in Pakistan in January/February 2014 and it was hoped by both sides that continuous increasing engagements between business communities would pave the way for deeper bilateral economic cooperation, including opening of bank branches on reciprocal basis which would help facilitate bilateral trade.
Both sides admitted that enhanced economic engagement would provide a more stable foundation for bilateral peace and prosperity for the people of both the countries.