LAHORE -  After a long tension of almost three years between the arch-rival countries, a delegation of around 50 businessmen of Saarc member countries including India has arrived Lahore through Wagha border under the banner of Saarc Chamber to attend the second round of 68th Executive Committee being held in Punjab provincial capital on Saturday (today).

Earlier, on Thursday, a 25-member delegation of Pakistani businessmen had reached Amritsar via Wagah border to attend its 68th Executive Committee meeting’s first round. The SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry has decided to hold its 68th Executive Committee Meeting jointly in Amritsar and Lahore with a view to ease the nervousness and strengthen the sole aim of regional chamber to spread the peace and harmony in the South Asia.

The 50-member delegation included SAARC CCI President Suraj Vaidya, Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President (India) Vinod Juneja and the delegates consisting of members from eight countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan.

The SAARC CCI vice president said that the delegation will attend various high powered meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan.

The businessmen held a Press Conference on “Peaceful Pakistan and International Investment” organised by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and industry at Custom House Wagha Border Lahore.

Malik, addressing the briefing, appealed to the SAARC member countries to join hands together and move forward. He further shared that deeper commitment at the political level is inevitable to make SAARC effective and realise its fundamental goals and unleash the true socio economic potential of the region.

He reinforced that the private sector of the region is committed to socio economic integration of South Asia. He said that the business community of the region believes in harmony and advocates regional economic integration to address the major challenges the region faces including job creation and poverty.

FPCCI Vice President & Regional Chairman Manzoorul Haq Malik said Pakistan is a peaceful country with lots of trade opportunities of joint venture which should be traced and flashed through media.

SAARC CCI President Suraj Vaidya, while addressing a press conference said the CPEC would benefit the whole Saarc region, adding that the only viable way to uplift the downtrodden strata of the SAARC region is to make joint efforts. He believed that the initiative of holding SAARC CCI Executive Committee meeting in Amritsar and Lahore will go miles in projecting a positive image of SAARC countries within and outside the region.

The leadership of the private sector of South Asia is of the opinion that regional economic cooperation between SAARC member states will help to unleash the true economic potential of South Asia. He said that SAARC States offers a fine mix of historical and geographical diversity and SAARC CCI allows the amalgamation of intellect to the benefit of all member states. Numerous opportunities of mutual cooperation in countless sectors are there to be explored in various sectors eg tourism, information technology, textile, milk, agriculture produces, rice, cotton, mines and minerals.