LAHORE - Indian commercial attaché Arvind Saxena, while assuring business community of introducing a businessmen-specific flexible visa policy very soon, has announced to issue six-month visas with three entries to PAAPAM managing committee members.

At a luncheon meeting hosted by Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) here at Royal Palm Country Club, he stated that the association’s chairman, former chairman and all managing committee members will be facilitated and they would have the facility of visiting India thrice in six months, without intimation to any government agency including Police.

He agreed with the proposal by members of PAAPAM to ease India visa procedure for the whole business community to increase people to people contact.

Saxena said that Pakistani businessmen were always facilitated whenever they intended to visit their counterparts in India and over 5,000 businessmen have been issued visas in the last six months alone.

On the issue on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the Indian diplomat made it clear that Pakistani businessmen should not be afraid of Indian NTBs which were not at all Pakistan specific and were debatable.

Addressing the meeting, PAAPAM Chairman Nabeel Hashmi, said that PAAPAM is seeking for technical collaborations with Indian companies for high tech auto parts manufacturing in Pakistan. He said that PAAPAM was looking forward to develop contacts with Indian manufacturers, besides analysing the possibility of joint ventures with them.

The decision of Indian government for allowing investments in India is a positive step, but the procedures are not clarified for Pakistani investors, which should be flexible if the step was taken honestly for enhancing trade in the region.

Hashmi also noted PAAPAM’s support to formally invite the Original Equipment Manufacturers belonging to all sectors (Two & three wheelers, cars, truck, buss & tractor), of India to visit Pakistan and setup manufacturing facilities here to cater for the Pakistan and CIS countries. He noted that this can be a win-win situation for both countries and their auto sectors.

He further stated that transferring financial funds, non-acceptance of letters of credit issued by Pakistani banks and vice versa need to be addressed also.

Business community is happy with the Federal Cabinet decision to grant Most Favoured Nation status to India but it definitely wants that all genuine reservations of various sectors must be removed through discussions.

He said trade promotion is the only way to minimise the political tension in the region and the two neighbouring countries should not mix trade with politics, and business community should be allowed to carry on trade without hurdles. If we will have strong trade relations, the political relations will get better automatically, he observed.

Senior PAAPAM member Usman Malik who also spoke on the occasion said that expanded border trade would be highly beneficial for both Pakistan and India, adding, further efforts to facilitate trade could become an effective tool to progress and prosperity.