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ISLAMABAD, Jan 6: Around 125 dealers, retailers and exporters put on display gems and jewelry in the first-ever exhibition held in the capital on Thursday.

The two-day 'Gem Bazaar', organised by Pakistan Gems and Jewelry Development Company (PGJDC), was inaugurated by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. The first-ever exhibition in the capital brought precious stones produced and prepared in Pakistan in one roof being thronged by the gems and jewelry lovers.

A large number of foreign diplomats, gem traders and residents of the twin cities attracted to the stalls as they offered variety of stones like emerald, ruby, peridot, aquamarine, tourmaline, turquoise, topaz, lapis, sapphire, kunzite, coral, tanzanite, amethyst and jewelry studded with the gems.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production while inaugurating the bazaar said, “The work of Pakistani craftsmen is marvelous. All the stones extracted from Pakistani mines became more precious after being cut and polished by the craftsmen in artistic manners.”

He said that Pakistan was rich in mineral resources including vast deposits of precious and semi-precious gemstones. He said that the government was taking concrete measures to enhance the gemstones export.

The minister said that the government had set the target to enhance the annual export of gemstones from $300 million to $1.5 billion within three years. He said that the government had established PGJDC to improve the capabilities of craftsmen and exporters to meet the challenges of the international gem and jewelry market.

“The government is well aware of the smuggling of precious stones and is taking steps to control the menace to meet the target of annual export,” he said and added that the sector was enjoying zero rate customs duty and sales tax on imports of gold, silver, platinum, palladium, diamonds and gemstones.

PGJDC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bashir Ahmed Abbasi said that there was a great potential in this sector but a lot of work was required to be done to organise this sector on modern and strong footings. He said there was a great demand of Pakistani gemstones, mineral specimen and traditional Pakistani stone jewelry in the international market.

He said that PGJDC was developing the sector while improving the lapidary skills, mining and technology upgradation of the gemstones. He said that five training centers in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Gilgit were providing training to the manpower to fulfil the growing demand of the mining market. He said that PGJDC would soon establish another training centre in Muzaffarabad.

He said that the Pakistani exporters would participate in international exhibition scheduled to be held in US to explore new markets. He said that the Pakistani exporters had participated in gems and jewelry exhibitions in Germany, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Dubai and earned appreciation from international buyers due to their modern techniques.