ISLAMABAD: The business community has welcomed the Indian decision to allow investment by Pakistani nationals in India, stating that it would further economic development in Asia.
India’s decision to relax the ban on investments from Pakistan was made in April 2012 after Pakistan announced to grant MFN status to New Delhi.
Pakistan has never imposed restrictions on investments by Indians.
Hailing the move, President FPCCI Haji Fazal Kadir Sherani said that it will definitely benefit Pakistani investors and industrialists.
“What will be more interesting for Pakistan is when the Indian authorities lift the ban on Indian investors investing in Pakistan,” he added.
He also suggested that both countries should enhance the scope of trade with joint ventures and said, “India is a major market and Pakistani manufacturers and exporters should make the most of it by aggressive marketing of their quality products.”
Former President Saarc Chamber Of Commerce Tariq Sayeed said: “The decision will go a long way in eliminating poverty and help uplift the standard of living of 40 million people who live well below the poverty line on both sides of the border.”
On bilateral trade relations, he said that normalisation of trade with India was in the interest of both countries as “it would help strengthen their national economies and boost economic activities in the region.”
India Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry president S M Muneer suggested that all NTBs in the way of bilateral trade should be removed and all decisions taken in the past, particularly the opening of bank branches in both the countries should be implemented.
Mr Muneer also congratulated Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on the major move and appreciated the efforts of High Commissioner of India in Pakistan Sharat Sabarwal, Commercial Counsellor of India Arvind Sexena and Minister (Trade) of Pakistan High Commission Naeem Anwar.
Meanwhile, the leadership of Saarc Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Saarc CCI) has hailed the Indian government’s decision allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) from Pakistan, terming it one of the strongest confidence building measures to improve bilateral relations.
Saarc CCI president Vikramjit Singh Sahney in a statement said that the step is a breakthrough in the history of both countries.
“It will not only augment bilateral cooperation manifold but also compliment efforts for meaningful implementation of SAFTA,” he said.
Mr Sahney said that enhanced economic cooperation will help bring both nations closer, adding: “It is a very positive gesture showed by the Government of India and will give Pakistani enterprises an ample opportunity to make investment in almost all sectors.”
He hoped that both governments will soon announce flexible visa regime to further bilateral economic cooperation in the region.
SCCI vice president Iftikhar Ali Malik called the decision ‘first productive step’ towards regional development of South Asia.
“Opening up of investment opportunities in regional countries will have multi-dimensional effect on economic cooperation. The countries need to pave way to avoid double taxation and help create mutual strong economic zone in South Asia,” he said.
He called the criticism by certain quarters as ‘unjustified, adding: “The move will not drain money out of Pakistan. Those who want to invest overseas are already doing it in UAE, Europe and North America – but that is all in real estates or stocks which are risky ventures. In this case, we can have more investments in manufacturing and production sides which will help Pakistan develop a vendor industry in India while the Indians will come to Pakistan too.”
Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry have also welcomed the decision by India.
RCCI president Jawed Akhtar Bhatti said that good relations between Pakistan and India can change the fate of the South Asia.