Islamabad: Pakistani businessmen who intend to invest in India should be given legal cover to ensure that no future government in Delhi reverses the decision to allow investments from Pakistan, a leading trade lobby has said.
The Pakistan-India Business Council (PIBC) urged the Indian government to "provide legal and constitutional cover to investors from Pakistan so that no government in future could reverse" the move to allow the entry of Pakistani investments.
The Indian government's recent move to permit direct investments from Pakistani investors is "a big decision for which the leadership of both countries deserves appreciation", the PIBC said in a statement.
"The decision is in line with the vision of Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of India," said PIBC chairman Noor Muhammad Kasuri.
Kasuri said the Pakistan People's Party-led coalition has been working to normalise relations with India and the decision on investments "will not only bring the two nations close to each other but also pave the way for finding solutions to longstanding disputes".
Pakistan's Commerce Secretary Muneer Qureshi said last week that the two countries will have to ink a bilateral investment treaty to resolve emerging issues related to investments.
"When investments are made, issues will emerge and then some kind of arrangement will be required to resolve bilateral issues. In order to resolve these issues on the investment front, Pakistan and India will have to sign a bilateral investment treaty," Qureshi said.
Qureshi said Pakistan's major players in the textiles sector may invest in India though it would be difficult for small and medium enterprises to make a breakthrough in the Indian market.
PIBC chairman Kasuri further said that President Asif Ali Zardari's proposal for setting up joint economic zones on the India-Pakistan border should be considered by India and a committee set up for working on the matter.
He proposed that the Indian government should set up special economic zones for Pakistani investors and give them concessions. This should be reciprocated in Pakistan by accommodating Indian investors in industrial zones, he said.