The 4 day Made in Pakistan Show, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), opened at Himachal Bhawan, Sector 28, here in Chandigarh on Wednesday and Attracted good crowds, especially women. The Show was formally inaugurated by Mr Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, UT Chandigarh.
“In the present scenario of global slowdown, regional ties are the best answer. India and Pakistan need to look beyond politics, towards shared economic gains. Both countries should take advantage of similar cultures, eating & wearing habits and lifestyles etc. There is immense demand for each other’s products in both countries. Fairs like Made in Pakistan and Made in India should be organised in both countries to showcase the best products and articles”, said Mr Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, UT of Chandigarh while inaugurating the 4th edition of CII Made in Pakistan at Himachal Bhawan on Wednesday.
CII is organising Made in Pakistan show in association with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Pak World Trade & Expo Centre.
Major attractions at the Fair included Differently designed Swiss Lawn suits especially for summers, bridal, chiffon and cotton suits and dress material, kadhaidaar, chudi daar, tilla goti, theme based and airliner, Ijal (dhoti) style suits, casual kurtis, Taily dresses and classy sarees, special ittar, ethnic wear from Multan, Islamabad, beautiful Rosewood furniture from Karachi, original Afghani & Peshawari dry fruits, jewels & gems from Rawalpindi, colourful glass lamp shades, season’s fabrics and artistic fashion wear from Gujrawala, attractive and eye-catchy footwear like Punjabi juttis from Lahore, Green onyx marble masterpieces, brass handicrafts, show pieces, paintings, melamine cutlery, dry fruits, sports goods and kitchenware etc from all parts. Nearly 145 delegates from Pakistan arrived in Chandigarh to take up 78 stalls.
“Made in Pakistan, a CII initiative is a step towards bringing the two countries closer. CII believe that People-to-people connect is the best way to promote cultural and trade ties”, said Mr Pikender Pal Singh, Regional Director, CII Northern Region. “This event being an annual feature, people of the Tri-city get the benefit of a wide range of interesting and seasonal products from across the border right here in the city. Last year CII had taken various business delegations to Pakistan to strengthen trade ties. We would continue that effort this year as well ”, he added.
Mr Man Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council said people connect is the force behind this initiative. “People look forward to this event. The response on the first day has been overwhelming, with the venue packed with visitors. This speaks for the demand of Pakistani products here in the tricity. Be it a cricket match between India and Pakistan or fairs like these, they bring people closer,” he added.
Mr Khurshid Barlas, Convener, Exhibition Committee, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Chief Executive, Pak World Trade & Expo Centre shared that “There has been a rise of 66 % in trade between India & Pakistan last year. Progress in a country sweeps regions, as in America, Europe or the ASEAN. Our focus should be economics, not politics. Trade will bring with it the imperative of peaceful co-existence. The two nations need to rework trade dynamics, and an on-arrival visa is the first step. We request easier visa norms,” said Mr Barlas.
Mr Barlas advocated for multiple visas for a year, eventually three and five years at both ends and youth exchange programmes. “It is in through these exchanges that we can sow the seeds of a peaceful future and see that the new generations do not share the lack of love and trust some of us grew upon,” he added.
It is the bonds of culture and tradition we share that brings us back, said M A Shehzad Khan, Palmist and Astrologer, who has been part of all four editions of Made in Pakistan. Mr Khan says he receives many calls back home in Pakistan from his clients at Chandigarh, Amritsar and Ludhiana.
The exhibitors from diverse areas across Pakistan are here from Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi and Gujranwala. Women form the larger part of the delegation.
“We have a majority of women exhibitors, driving their own businesses. We are surely shedding some myths about our restrictive society,” said Mr Barlas.
Faizan and Fawad, the young faces of the CII exposition from Karachi, who have studied fashion in Pakistan and are taking forward the family business, say the response is good.
The brothers visit India several times a year and have this to say about Chandigarh: “You get to see a fresh perspective in the city on Indo-Pak relations. We are not here to talk politics. We’re here to do business.” They encounter a positive approach here, they say. The two have business contacts in Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and more cities.
Mrs Anila Iftkhar, President, Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Multan, says expositions such as these, which use people-to-people contact to take business forward, are a must for women entrepreneurs looking to foray new markets.
“SAARC countries understand each other better. We are the same culturally, traditionally. Therefore, intra regional trade is a good proposition vis-a-vis trade with, say Europe, where language is a barrier,” she said.
“We come here, meet people, understand the market and can extrapolate demand for our goods. The feedback boosts business in the long term,” adds Mrs Iftkhar. On the first day, the women’s wear and gold plated jewellery items were the biggest draw.