Raymond became the first Indian outlet to open its doors to Pakistani customers in the posh locality of Clifton here, a move lauded by business community as a step towards closer trade ties between two neighbours.

The Indian suiting and fabrics conglomerate formally opened its first shop on Friday in Pakistan’s financial hub.

Najmus Saqib, a director of NexSource, which has got the right to run the Raymond outlet in Pakistan, said he saw the opening as the first step towards more Indian brands coming to the Pakistani market. “The interest from our clientele has been very encouraging, and it does not surprise us because Raymond is also known internationally and has some 40 international outlets,” he said.

“I also see this opening as a small step towards more free trade between the two countries,” he said.

Mr. Saqib said Raymond had shown interest in entering the Pakistan market initially and they took up the challenge.

“In Karachi and Lahore the wealthier and upper middle-class people are very conscious about their appearances, and business and casual suitings are always popular in our city,” model and television host Ali Saleem said.

Amin Hashwani, President of the Pakistan India Business Forum, said the opening of the Raymond outlet was a positive sign for business and trade between the two countries. “We have always stressed for equal opportunity for business community in both countries. People should not be surprised by opening of Indian brands and outlets because Indian films are already doing great business in Karachi,” he noted.

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