LAHORE: Russia wants to develop trade ties with Pakistan, like China, and can be instrumental in eliminating joblessness in Pakistan in a few years, said Russian Business Council for Cooperation Pakistan chapter Vice Chairman Noor Habib Shah.

Speaking at a reception hosted in his honour by former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry at a local hotel on Wednesday, Mr Shah said Pak-Russia trade could open new opportunities for businessmen from both countries.

Mr Shah, who is also chairman of the Russian-Pakistani community and resides in Moscow, announced joining the PTI and claimed that party Chairman Imran Khan’s untiring struggle against corruption and corrupt rulers was being valued at the international level.

He said Russia-Pakistan cooperation could help eliminate joblessness in a few years. Russia wanted to develop trade ties with Pakistan like China, he said, adding that some 6,000 containers daily entered Russia after 45 days of travel. However, through Pakistan, he said, containers could reach different Russian states within a few days. The Pakistan route could help reduce time and investment drastically besides earning substantial foreign exchange. Pakistan could import diyar wood, which was abundant in Russia, he added.

He also said that Islam was the second official religion in Russia, adding that Europe’s biggest mosque was situated in Moscow and a large proportion of the Russian army comprised Muslims. With the changing geo-political situation, he said, Pakistan had earned an important strategic position in the region.

Mr Chaudhry welcomed Mr Shah in the PTI fold and claimed that a massive number of Pakistanis serving overseas supported the party. He said overseas Pakistanis were earning and sending billions of rupees in foreign exchange to Pakistan. However, he said, the incumbent government had not taken required steps for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis.

He stressed that traders in both countries should pay exchange visits and expand their businesses.

PTI Lahore urban president Waleed Iqbal, Ghulam Mohyuddin Dewan and others were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2017

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