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Pakistani business house calls for reviving trade with India to bail out ailing economy

Plight of Pakistanis continue

Pakistan, to fix its economy, must reset it ties with India at the earliest: this is what one of the most prominent business tycoons of the cash starved nation has said.  Amid deepening economic crisis, Mian Muhammad Mansha, chairman of Nishat Group, one of the largest and most diversified business houses of Pakistan, once again raised the pitch favouring resumption of trade and economic ties with India while encouraging people to people contact.

He added that Pakistan, much like India, must implement tough reforms for economic wellbeing.

“..Trade with India will open up many business opportunities. If China can have vibrant trade and business ties with India despite its territorial disputes, why can’t we? I think there’s nothing better than having good relations with your neighbours. And you can’t change neighbours,” he recently told local newspaper Dawn. He added that trade and tourism need to promoted between the two countries.

Mansha noted that India sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) only once and never had to revisit the multilateral agency for any programme and that was possible due to prudent economic and policy decisions.

“Foreign companies are flocking to that country. This is because Indians have implemented tough reforms to facilitate investors and investment,” he said.

Mansha said that trade with India will open up a host of opportunities.

He also said that Pakistan needs to overhaul the regulatory system along with implementation of structural changes to address the economic crisis.

He pointed out that Pakistan’s business regime must be such that it attracts investors —both foreign and domestic.

Mansha has been vocal about resetting ties with India. Earlier he that the need of the hour for Pakistan was to take a regional approach to economic development. “Europe fought two great wars, but ultimately settled for peace and regional development. There is no permanent enmity,” Mansha said in a statement.

Several policymakers in Pakistan are also of the opine that Pakistan must bury the ghosts of Kashmir and move ahead with pragmatic policy decisions which will help the economy.

Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan has never been significantly high. But since 2019, following the abrogation of Article 370, trade between the two countries has remained suspended. India, which had a massive faceoff with China in 2020, continued with trade and economic activities with Beijing. Similarly, India and Bangladesh trade is booming as well despite several thorny issues including that of the Teesta-river water sharing treaty.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s hopes of resuming the $6.5 billion IMF loan programme is dwindling. The country, which is staring at a default, is likely to reach out to China and other “friendly nations” for help.

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