LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that if Pakistan and India march forward jointly and peacefully, their development can surprise the West, adding wars give nothing except miseries.

Addressing various functions in Indian Punjab, he said it was high time for Pakistan and India to end confrontation and start the journey of peace, friendship and mutual cooperation for the sake of the people.

Speaking at a reception hosted by Indian Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Badal Singh Parkash, Shahbaz Sharif said if the European countries could come closer to each other despite hatred and enmities of centuries, why Pakistan and India could not do so for the betterment and welfare of the people. He said division of India was the decision of history and no one could remove the borderlines between both the countries. He said the people and governments of both the countries could certainly demolish those walls which were hampering development, prosperity and security of the region. He vowed: “We can definitely remove such walls jointly as are creating hurdles in cooperation in research, technology and journey of peace and security,” he asserted.

Speaking to a big gathering on the occasion of the final of Kabaddy match between India and Pakistan in Ludhiana, Shahbaz said victory of either country in this match was the victory of both the neighbours as they wanted to forget bitterness of the 66 years. He said: “Now we have to promote love, trade and business between the two countries for prosperity and progress of the peoples on both sides of the border.

He urged the Indian Punjab CM to let Lahore host the next World Kabaddy event or the two sides should share the matches. He also invited the people of the Indian Punjab to visit Lahore where he would entertain them with Puri, chanay, bhaji, pathoorey, halwa and ghee ki choori.

He said both Punjabs should join hands to combat poverty and unemployment by benefiting from the experiences of each other. He vowed to make the two Punjabs the most peaceful part in the region with joint efforts where love and affection would foster. The CM concluded his address with lines from Amrita Singh’s poetry, “Ajj Akhan Waris Shah nu kitay qabran wichon bol.”

Meanwhile, speaking at Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan could greatly benefit from the development of Indian Punjab in agriculture sector. He said “If we manage to take important decisions towards security, peace and progress, our future generations will pray for us, but if we miss the opportunity, it will be hard to make up for the loss”.

Shahbaz expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would succeed in taking important decisions with regard to mutual trade in the next few days and a meeting of commerce secretaries of both the countries was also going to be held soon.

Meanwhile, extraordinary protocol has been given to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during his visit to India. Wherever Shahbaz Sharif went, besides beautifully decorating the routes of the cities, illumination had also been arranged during night.  After arrival in Indian Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal accompanied Shahbaz Sharif to all functions. Diplomatic circles were of the view that the protocol being given to Shahbaz Sharif was normally given to the heads of other countries in India.