Sukhbir talks of ‘Punjab-Punjab’ after Pakistan visit


    Chandigarh, (IANS) Hoping that the economic landscape of the region would change in times to come, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said his five-day visit to Pakistan has resulted in major “Punjab-Punjab initiatives”.

    Badal, accompanied by a 45-member delegation, held talks with the Pakistan Punjab government, trade and industry leaders and others to boost trade between India and Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land border checkpost, 30 km from Amritsar.

    Concluding his visit Friday, Badal said: “My visit to Pakistan resulted in major Punjab-Punjab initiatives. This could transform the economic landscape of whole region.”

    Badal said the joint business committee constituted by both Punjabs (of India and Pakistan) “is going to be a game changer and it would change the economic landscape of whole region”, a Punjab government spokesman said here.

    He said that once Attari-Wagah point was given full port status for trade and the border routes at Hussaniwala, Fazilka and Khemkaran were also opened for trade and traffic, the area would emerge as the economic hub of South Asia.

    “The days of battles with bullets are over. Now, both Punjabs have to collectively excel in the economic battle,” he said.

    Pakistan is expected to give most favoured nation (MFN) status to India next month.

    Trade and industry leaders in both countries seek that the list of items traded through the Attari-Wagah land border be increased from the present 137 items to 6,000, as is being done through the ports of Mumbai and Karachi.

    India has already set up a Rs.150 crore state-of-the-art integrated checkpost (ICP) at Attari to meet the growing volume of trade and passenger traffic between both countries.