Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today described as historic his visit to Pakistan and said people on both sides realised that the language of economics was more beneficial than language of bullets.
He said people of two Punjabs - in India and Pakistan - were eager to boost trade, commerce, culture and sports ties. "They have realised that the language of economics was more beneficial than language of bullets," he told reporters here at the end of his five-day visit to the neighbouring country.
"We have laid a solid foundation for mutual cooperation in trade and commerce between two Punjabs and now the onus is on respective countries to carry forward the dialogue," he said.
He said the likely decision of giving full port status to Wagah will give the two Punjabs an opportunity to boost their economy.
Badal said the Joint Working Committee for trade and commerce constituted during visit would have 10 members each from both Punjabs and work out a blue print for increasing commerce and industrial ties.
He said Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has also agreed on the proposal of Joint Industrial Zones in both parts of Punjab in which entrepreneurs of both sides could set up their industries and their units would be treated on par with local industry.
Badal said he has also raised the issue of Visa Consulate at Lahore and Amritsar to facilitate travel documents to the traders and pilgrims.
He said he has asked Sharif to persuade his government to open Hussainiwala and Suleman Ki (Fazilka) borders to facilitate increased trade and commerce between both sides.
He hoped the Governments of both countries would take early decision on spot visa for those above 65 years and children.
Badal said he has requested Sharif to provide better infrastructure in ICP Pakistan to fasten the clearance of goods movement. He has also raised the issue of proper coordination on either side of border.
He has also requested Sharif to persuade his government for release of Sarbjit and other innocent Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistani jails and had completed their term or were held in petty crimes.
Badal said he has invited Sharif and his cabinet colleagues for the finals of World Cup Kabaddi and added that he has accepted the invitation.
Sharif has also agreed to attend the meeting of Joint Business Committee along with his cabinet colleagues, he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister said he has requested Sharif to initiate student exchange programme to encourage people to people contact. "We both have agreed for promotion of religious tourism," he said.
Badal said he has requested Sharif to persuade his government to open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib and hand over the upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan to SGPC.
Describing sports diplomacy as best diplomacy, Badal said both Punjabs have agreed to have bi-annual Punjab Cup in the games of Cricket, Hockey, Wrestling and Tug-of-War.
Badal said he has also requested Speaker of Pakistan Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal Mohammad to organise matches between MLAs of Punjab Assembly and Members of Provincial Assembly of Pakistan Punjab in the games of cricket and if possible in Kabaddi also.
He said that he had also suggested promotion of medical tourism as Punjab has the best infrastructure.
Badal also said that talks between two chambers of commerce were quite fruitful and they have jointly decided to take forward this dialogue.