ISLAMABAD  -  While giving credit to the trade agreements that Pakistan signed with other countries over the years, Federal Minister for Commerce told the Lower House that the country’s exports to China alone have increased by 400 per cent.

He mentioned that there were flaws in the trade agreements and in future Pakistan would have to do a lot of homework before signing any agreement with any country.

The minister said that Pakistan is much more interested in boosting trade with India and it will open all the trade avenues in future after consultation with the concerned stakeholders.

While providing details about the trade agreements of Pakistan made with other countries, the minister told the house that there were four trade agreements signed with different countries during the last five years.

These agreements include Trade in Services between Pakistan and China, Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia, Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), and SAARC Agreement on Trade in Service.

The present government has aimed to open trade routes for India through Sindh and Southern Punjab borders apart from using sea routes.

The minister told the house that commerce ministers of Pakistan and India had held a meeting on January 18, 2014 in New Delhi, India. During the meeting, the two sides reached an understanding on increasing working hours at Wagah/Attari with the objectives of round the clock operations and the proposal will be implemented after consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

The minister further stated that during the visit of Indian commerce minister to Pakistan back in February 2012, the two sides, among other things, had agreed that possibilities of opening of Khokharapar/Munabao route for trade would be explored in consultation with the stakeholders.

He said that presently, there are infrastructure issues like lack of road network for operationalization of routes for trade and non-availability of customs setup at ports.  This ministry is in the process of consultations with the relevant stakeholders to develop the infrastructure at Khokharapar/Munabao for trade purpose. He said that in addition, the sea route will also be used for boosting trade.

On the subject of hunting of Houbara Bustards in Pakistan, PTI chairman Imran Khan and other opposition lawmakers strongly condemned the government policy to allow hunting of Houbara Bustards by the foreigners, particularly by the dignitaries from the Arab countries.

Imran said that India has banned the hunting of Houbara Bustard, but Pakistan has allowed it just for ‘gifts’ for the people of certain countries.