Notwithstanding the recent setbacks to the political relationship between the two sides, the business community in Karachi as well as prominent citizens is of the strong opinion that the only way forward for both India and Pakistan is peace, friendship and economic prosperity.
“We must learn from history that war gives nothing but destruction and war itself can be defeated by peace and friendship, as we have witnessed around the globe. We need to learn from Germany, France, Turkey and China that trade is one of the important dividends from the prevailing peace that can change the future of the people of the sub-continent in a short span of time,” S.M. Muneer, president, India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry told a group of India journalists and visiting Indian business community on Friday.
Talking about the recent unfortunate incidents along the line of control (LoC), Mr. Muneer said the subsequent media outburst on both sides gave a setback to these relations showing the fragility and vulnerability of the process. “Both sides had taken a number of confidence building measures and trade enhancement steps during 2012 and we strongly believe that relations will slowly rebound. We have the option of either continue fighting like fools or prosper together like wise people,” he added.
In fact, the same sentiment was echoed by Zuber Malik, president, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry who said that despite the political setbacks, there has been good progress on trade and economic fronts. “We are not concerned with the balance of trade as long as trade is taking place. Trade is an important player on both sides and it is win win situation for both the partners. We want a strong political and economic relationship with India and its people and hopefully this will be reflected in the coming years,” he remarked.
Similarly, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Muhammad Haroon Agar said the recent incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) had not impacted trade exchange between the two sides at the grass roots. “It is important that Pakistan confer the Most Favoured Nation Status (MFN) on India as it would help i0mprove the sentiment and send a positive signal to the other side. We cannot be hawkish all the time as fighting will not help any country,” he added.
In fact, the Pakistan Trade Expo, being held in Karachi from September 25 to 29, has attracted a large number of buyers and sellers from 56 countries but has a meager Indian participation which is being talked about among official circles here. However, it is learnt that to address this issue, a bigger “India Show” is being held in February 2014, at Lahore in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Commerce and Industry Ministry. Initially, this show was to be held in September this year but had to be postponed as the political temperature had risen tremendously in India over some incidents along LoC and other places.