LAHORE: Resuming trade between Pakistan and India will pave the way for settling other political and territorial issues between the two largest South Asian nations, tycoon Mian Mohammad Mansha said on Thursday.
Better ties with its neighbour might even help Pakistan come off the so-called grey list of the FATF anti-money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog and ease its difficulties in dealing with the International Monetary Fund, Mr Mansha, the chairman of Nishat Group, told Dawn on Thursday.
There are “many synergies” between the two countries that could come into play once trade begins, said Mr Mansha, whose businesses range from textiles to cement to banking to automobiles.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in 2018, which made foreign firms more cautious about investing in the country. It has since fulfilled most of the conditions required to move out of the list. Mr Mansha didn’t elaborate on how better relations with India could help Pakistan in this regard.
Says better ties with neighbour may help Pakistan come off FATF’s grey list
In an interview with The Indian Express last week, Mr Mansha said he believed it was time Pakistan and India resumed trade and improved relations for their betterment.
“I feel very passionately that we need to get our things sorted out with India. Now whatever the issues that are impeding, let them be there. But once they come to one another’s country, through trade, tourism — religious tourism or normal tourism — I think the doors will start opening,” he was quoted as saying.
Disputes between countries should not impact bilateral trade, he said and mentioned India’s continued imports from China despite border issues.
“I think there’s nothing better than having good relations with your neighbours. And you can’t change neighbours,” he said.
If something was cheaper in India, there was no reason Pakistan should look elsewhere, he said, adding that he was aware that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was not against resuming trade with India.
He said trade could begin between the two countries, with Pakistan importing cotton from its neighbour and exporting cement.
Bilateral trade took a hit after India doubled tariffs following the Pulwama attack in February 2019. Later that year, Pakistan stopped trade with India after India’s controversial decisions in the Occupied Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2022