LAHORE – SALMAN ABDUHU - Thousands of people, including families and children, thronged the Indian Show being held at Expo Centre on Sunday but sale remained almost zero as most of items were very costly due to heavy taxes and duties.

Contrary to the expectations of the local business community, who wanted Indian high tech components and machinery to be displayed with a view to exchange and enhance technical cooperation between the two countries, only light jewellery and few stalls of clothing and some kitchen items were put on display there.

‘The India Show’ being organised for three days by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry attracted a large number of Lahorites, who visited limited stalls of jewelleries and garments with passion and zeal. But interestingly, the sale remained almost zero, as majority of the stall holders complained that no order was booked. The reason behind thin sale was more than 30 percent duty on sale of every item in the exhibition. Besides, there is a huge gap of currency value between Indian rupee and Pakistani rupee. Likewise, dollar in India is equal to Rs42 while this is worth Rs90 in Pakistan. All these reasons made the Indian goods very costly. Hence, though every stall was full of ladies and no place was left empty due to rush of the visitors, but none of them had the courage to purchase any item owing their high cost.

Around 90 stalls were erected in hall 2 of the expo centre and most of them were decorated by gold, precious stones and artificial jewellery items.

FPCCI zonal committee chairman Kh Khawar Rashid said that the business community was expecting that manufacturing sector would exhibit their industrial and high tech machinery and tools but nothing was seen in the show in this regard. He said that people are zealous and passionate to meet and visit each other here at this platform but commercial activities were missing there.

He suggested that the FPCCI should also arrange such kind of ‘Pakistan Show’ in India to exhibit Pakistani products, as there is a tremendous demand of our goods.

 “Thousands came today,” exclaimed Indian stallholders as well as the local visitors, who stopped talking a while to have a quick drink.

“We knew that there are thousands of visitors and more are coming to see the exhibition but we didn’t know the number. There were many people than what we expect however they are just checking the items, as none of them purchased it.. ‘we were not ready for it,” said Rajesh Khanna, a stall holder of Bhola Nath Brothers Jewellers.

Near after-noon, the road behind the Expo Centre was blocked with many motorists trying to get into the parking lots. Long queues formed outside the exhibition hallway where thousands of people wait for their turn to get in.

“We did not expect this crowd, I was shocked,” said Hafiz Muhammad Ahmed, regional convenor on the FPCCI Gems and Jewellery Committee. According to him, the large turnout was expected, so a security procedure was put in placed by the organiser of Expo centre.

Speaking on the occasion, FPCCI Chairman, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said visit by Indian trade delegation would help promote trade and business relations between the two countries.

He said FPCCI favours good relations between the two countries as these could result in enhanced trade volume and subsequently progress and prosperity of both the countries.

He said that positive results are coming out the visit of Pakistani trade delegation to India adding the issues related to enhancing cooperation and visa policy would be resolved soon.

The Gem & Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC) Regional Director North Mr Kewal K Duggal, while talking to The Nation said that the GJEPC has crossed Wagah border to enhance trade ties with Pakistan.

He said that the apex body of the Indian gems and jewellery industry has participated with 18 member companies in ‘The India Show’ being organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry. The show will last for 3 days, a first of its kind, this initiative supported by GJEPC aims to strengthen the trade ties between the two countries and leverage the huge potential of gems and jewellery trade.

Commenting on India Show, Mr Rajiv Jain, Chairman, GJEPC, said: “Pakistan is already sourcing Indian goods from free trade centers like Dubai, Hong Kong and therefore this show is a good platform to closely understand each other and deal directly. While the show is a b2c platform, it is a good beginning and the Indian manufacturers have come to Lahore with a positive mindset to deal with Pakistani businessmen and enhance mutual trade relations in a globalization era.”