Amritsar: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Sunday called for opening of a second trade route between India and Pakistan through Hussainiwala border, and requested External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to take up the issue with his Pakistan counterparts.
In his inaugural address at the South Asia Free Media Association`s (SAFMA) 8th Regional Conference here, Badal said a second trade route on the lines of the one already existing at the Attari-Wagah border was need of the hour to give impetus to the bilateral and cultural ties.
All the physical barriers need to be eliminated for promoting people to people contact and fostering goodwill, friendship and amity in the South-Asian region, Badal was quoted as saying by an official release.
Badal also pitched for development of a corridor between Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak in India and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, and called for resolving all bottlenecks in this regard on priority basis.
The Chief Minister appreciated the role of SAFMA in creating a cordial atmosphere in the region, especially between India and Pakistan, besides setting the agenda for regional cooperation among SAARC countries.
Media has played a proactive role as the fourth pillar of democracy and initiated the process of social and economic affinity amongst the countries of the region, he noted.
Badal also backed issuing of multiple visas to journalists from SAARC countries.
He sought cooperation from SAFMA in setting up of a South Asian Economic and Parliamentary Union, which, he said, could lead to the formation of an `Asian Economic Union` on the lines of the European Economic Union.
In this context, India and Pakistan could play a leading role as some remarkable progress had already been made in this direction by these two countries by opening the Attari-Wagah border for trade, Badal noted.
He, however, called for increasing the quantum of business being done through the Attari-Wagah trade route.