‘Conducive milieu prevailing between India, Pak’

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with an Indian business delegation that is accompanying Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on a visit to Pak.

Updated: Feb 16, 2012, 18:50 PM IST

Islamabad: An "enabling environment" was
prevailing between India and Pakistan to promote trade
relations and people-to-people contacts, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with an
Indian business delegation that is accompanying Commerce
Minister Anand Sharma on a visit to Pakistan.

The people-to-people interaction and exchange of
high-level visits of parliamentarians would strengthen
"meaningful and productive contacts", the premier said.

Recalling his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh at Mohali during the semi-final of the cricket World Cup
last year, Gilani said Singh was a "sincere leader who was
committed to normalise relations between India and Pakistan".

He said the visit to Mohali had also given him an
opportunity to meet the top Indian leadership, including
Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Gilani further said he was looking forward to the
Indian Prime Minister`s visit to Pakistan.

He said his recent meeting with an Indian parliamentarian
delegation was a "step in the right direction" as far as
people-to-people contacts were concerned.

Gilani added he was looking forward to the visit of
the Lok Sabha Speaker to Pakistan. The premier asked R B
Mittal, the leader of the business delegation, to convey his
best wishes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Indian businessmen expressed their resolve to
build durable trade relations between the two countries. They
expressed gratitude over the hospitality extended to them in
Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

The businessmen said there was an "environment and
momentum to enhance trade between the two countries and leave
a worthwhile legacy for coming generations", said a statement
issued by the premier`s office.

The delegation called for the setting up of a
India-Pakistan business forum to facilitate business
activities on efficient and meaningful grounds. India and
Pakistan yesterday signed three agreements on cooperation in
customs matters, mutual recognition of standards and
redressing of trade grievances to boost bilateral trade.

The pacts were inked following talks between Commerce
Minister Anand Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom
Amin Fahim. The Pakistan side said it is committed to switch
over to a negative list regime for trade with India by the end
of February.

The Pakistani cabinet this week deferred a decision
on implementing the negative list after some ministries
expressed their reservations over the move.

PTI