Thousands of people visited a wide range of stalls, a book fair and a cultural show on the final day of the First Punjab Expo organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) as part of the Lahore Shopping Festival (LSF).
The weeklong Lahore Shopping Festival, which concluded on Sunday, generated economic activities worth around Rs150 million, said an LCCI spokesman. The success of the festival at the Expo Centre showed that the private sector could bring the country out of the economic mire, he added.
At the First Punjab Expo, the visitors showed a keen interest in Indonesian and Iranian products in particular. Large crowds of people, particularly students, also attended the book fair. The main outdoor event of the festival on the last day was a cycle race from the LCCI to the Expo Centre which had around 100 participants. It was scheduled to be followed by the closing ceremony of First Punjab Expo, but that was delayed because the stalls continued to get large numbers of visitors.
“The tremendous response from Lahoris has convinced us that we should organise the LSF every year, and we will,” said LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik. He said that the festival aimed to promote economic activities in the Punjab and it had achieved the goal. He thanked the Punjab government for its help in holding the event. He said that the LCCI would continue to arrange such events to get the economy back on track.
Shehryar Ali Malik of the Guard Group, the sponsor of all the outdoor events during the festival, told The Express Tribune that they had received excellent feedback about the vehicle rally organised during the LSF. “We are now planning to conduct a Tour de Pakistan car rally soon to boost the sport and the soft image of Pakistan in the world,” he added.
Sirdar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa, the chief guest at the closing ceremony, praised the LCCI for arranging the festival, because events like the LSF showed the world that Pakistanis were determined to get their rightful place in the global market and would fight for the economic revival of the country.
“If we are really sincere and serious about getting out of the present economic logjam, we will have to chalk out an elaborate action plan aimed at reducing our dependence on external assistance and learn to rely on available resources, even sacrificing some comforts in the process to achieve our long term goal of progress and prosperity,” Khosa said.
He said that the festival had promoted business and economic activities in the province and the Punjab government would continue to help the LCCI stage more such events. After the concluding ceremony, a cultural show featuring local dances was held.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2011.
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