Trade with India: Zardari hints at opening Sulemanki border

Published: April 20, 2012

President says he is also examining the possibility of connecting Multan with India. PHOTO: APP

OKARA: President Asif Ali Zardari, while addressing a gathering in Okara, hinted at opening Sulemanki border and said that Pakistan is willing to have dialogue with India on all issues, and is also open to trade with the neighbouring country.

The president said that he is also examining the possibility of connecting Multan with India.

“A politician’s last weapon is dialogue. If you’re not talking today, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to talk tomorrow,” he remarked.

After offering a prayer for the soldiers buried in Siachen, the president questioned the possibility of a unilateral withdrawal of troops from the “world’s highest battlefield”.

“How can there be a unilateral withdrawal? Have we been sitting for 10 years doing nothing? Yes, our soldiers are being sacrificed but we are a nation who makes sacrifices.”

Hitting back at PML-N

Boasting his dissemination of power to the parliament and provinces, Zardari criticised Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for “accumulating” 17 ministries to himself. “This is the difference between Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and other parties… How can one person handle 17 ministries?”

He added, “I had power, I could break down the parliament, but I diluted it in every form and distributed it.”

“What these parties do not understand is reconciliation. If you cannot reconcile with other parties, how can you have good relations with other countries when you’re in power?” he further questioned.

Reader Comments (27)

  • Apr 20, 2012 - 5:21PM

    Jiye Zardari, Jiye PPP, but please do something about managing monetary and fiscal policy properly, economy is getting screwed cause u guys have a few idiots in the Govt, lol.
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  • Salman Raza
    Apr 20, 2012 - 5:23PM

    Well done Zardari. Economic cycles come and go. If we have peace and trade with India. It will completely change this country. Make this possible and u will go down in history for a President who finally broke the ice with India.Recommend

  • Kamran khan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 5:47PM

    Who needs sitcom when we got PPP(gov)
    Classic

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  • Qaisrani
    Apr 20, 2012 - 5:51PM

    Jiya Zardari.We welcome your statement Mr President.Despite all odds,you are doing well.

    Nawaz Shareef today asked the defence forces to build 10,000km capable missile to counter India’s 5000Km Agin missile.Arms race again.Pathertic Mr NS.

    We want peace and trade with India not arms race and war.

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  • Qaiser K. Ahmed
    Apr 20, 2012 - 5:58PM

    Look up the River Indus Treaty between Pakistan and India and determine if India is abiding to the agreement or not? My own study shows that India is not. Let’s get this agreement sorted out before we open any new doors for India.

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  • unbeliever
    Apr 20, 2012 - 6:06PM

    @Qaiser K. Ahmed:
    will you share your studies with the readers on ET or would like to be among the very few who possess such studies but never reveal them.Recommend

  • Ch. Naseer Ahmad
    Apr 20, 2012 - 6:43PM

    @Qaiser K. Ahmed
    If at all there is some complaint, the Indus Rivers Basin Treaty Provides for a mechanism for dispute resolution and a party can use the said procedure for remedy. However my view is that the government of Pakistan holds the view that India abides by the treaty, which it should in the interest of peace and amity. Even during war in 1965 and 1971 and during grave tension latter the treaty remained in effect and it has been no body’s case that it was violated. Therefore it is not fair to make accusations with little reason, although sometimes the politicians are inclined to do that, quite often for their narrow ends or as a diversionary tactic.

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  • truth
    Apr 20, 2012 - 6:53PM

    I dont understand, how india became so trustworthy in just couple of days. Aren’t we be cautious every step we take. I am not against the trade with india but bluntly opening all the doors is eyebrow raising

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  • Asadullah Qazi
    Apr 20, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Salman Raza:
    No way, trade with the ENEMY will never be beneficial to us,Its just like hitting below the belt of Pakistan, for God sake, condemn these trade policies with the country who always broke into war and ill treated the treaties, don’t you know about the ”’safe-water from Pakistan”’ plan, don’t you know about the 170 dams built in Kashmir, don’t you know the treatment of Kashmiris by their Army,, Understand As A PAKISTANI! and Not as an individual looking for his own interests.;

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  • Behold
    Apr 20, 2012 - 7:13PM

    So strange . . .All of a sudden he is swinging doors open to India. Yes, very much eyebrow raising!! . . .Worth the scrutiny!

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  • Pakistan Khan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 7:19PM

    A good move. Zardari should be given credit for some positive developments in the country despite all odds. Of-course, “Memogate” brigade is going to find some conspiracy theory behind it. Well done democracy, well-done Zardari

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  • Indian
    Apr 20, 2012 - 8:27PM

    @Asadullah Qazi: have you read history or not. It was pakistan who started all the wars against India. Read Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan report on it.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 20, 2012 - 8:55PM

    These are the big steps that the rightwing is afraid of. That is why they have not given any civilian particularly PPP govt to work even for a month in peace and harmony. The mullah/military/judiciary offensives keep going and yet they demand performance from the coalition govt? No wonder Gen Mush threw these PCO judges and their families in detention. Why should the people of Multan and Sindh not benefit from the trade with India? They have no problems with India and have a lot in common. We have tried wars and hatred for 60 years let us give peace and democracy a chance and prosperity would follow. Recommend

  • Raheem Bukhsh
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:09PM

    What is point of having trade agreements with India when our industry is on the verge of a collapse? It ll just make Pakistan a market for Indian goods. Mr President we are not interested in such trade agreements when our own industry is being destroyed by you. Such agreements cant hide your incompetency, corruption and shortsightedness. PPP in post ZAB era has always brought curse to Pakistan, just this time they got 5 years means more destruction. India is planning you to make desert by 2015.

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  • ukmuslim
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:32PM

    @Raheem Bukhsh
    through technology transfer, collaborations, partnerships. these are all business norms. learn the new ways of doing business in today’s world. win-win situation for every party.

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  • Ch. Naseer Ahmad
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:02PM

    Trade is the prime reason of all human development since the beginning of time. Trade is a great educator, a great incentive for development, for new strides for in technology and basis of all global or National Power. Therefore only ignorant would oppose the opening of trade particularly in a country which is suffering from ignorance, educational, social and economic backwardness and under-development and poverty.

    The Government should open and connect adequately as many international gates as it is feasible and possible at, near Sialkot, near Ganda Singhwala, near Minchinabad, near Khokharapar, in the northern area and Kashmir, so that there is free flow of trade of goods and services for the full benefit of people of Pakistan and beyond.

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  • Zardari
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:06PM

    Unless government subsidies are given to the struggling Pakistani industrial and textile
    sectors. All we will do is import cheap Indian goods, and since the government doesn’t have
    money for subsidies to counteract India’s influx of goods into Pakistan, this will lead to a trade deficit and further damage Pakistan’s economy! So at best it’s a useless move from Zardari

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  • Pakistani
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Please do this

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  • Mirza
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:54AM

    At a minimum it would provide everyday commodities at a low rate to poor citizens. They could use the savings in other areas to improve their lives. Free trade is going to reduce corruption as every country goes through this phase. The economic engine would push and pull us out of our bad habits. Who is going to continue to buy defective or expensive goods if they have a choice? No wonder the prophets of loot are feeling the heat because they would have open markets and competition.

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  • WoW
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:57AM

    @Zardari:
    Pakistan has been for years buying Indian goods through Dubai. Now just cut the middlemen and the extra sea freight. This is the saving in the pockets of Paki. I leave the calculations to you.

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  • s shah
    Apr 21, 2012 - 2:41AM

    @Asadullah Qazi: And what is your solution? Virulent hatred and enmity for another 63 years? What kind of a solution is that to anything? And what gives you the right to speak for all Pakistanis? It is easy to preach hatred and a 100 years war on a full stomach. We want peace with India and prosperity for Pakistan, InshaAllah.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 21, 2012 - 2:45AM

    @WoW:
    You said it like it is! Thanks for that.
    Pakistanis cry against the price hike every day but when it comes to making a real longterm change, the vested interest resists. Of course these rich and powerful would not be able to make extra money and fix prices when there is open and free market. It would bring the quality up and prices down.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • Raheem Bukhsh
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:09AM

    @UKMUSLIM
    Does zardari has such wisdom? sorry dear he is not competent enough. PPP does not have the ability to do all such things.

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  • Fatima
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:29AM

    India asked for laboratiry tests of each colour of textile from an Indian Laborator, on top of 27.5% duty, you think they are actually open heartedly welcoming Pakistani Textiles ?
    if Yes then why doesnt the same laboratory approval policy with Chinese Textiles ??

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  • Gul
    Apr 21, 2012 - 4:19AM

    Khokhropar is the historic trade route. It has been closed since 1965 war. It should also be opened for trade. Pakistan should open trade on its entire border with all neighboring countries after every 100 kms. Free trade would close doors to wars and open doors to peace and prosperity.

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  • G. Din
    Apr 21, 2012 - 4:36PM

    @Fatima:
    “if Yes then why doesnt the same laboratory approval policy with Chinese Textiles ??”
    Because Pakistan comes with its own baggage. Never compare. Comparisons are always odious. You can compare two entities only if they are nearly similar. Are Pakistan and China similar by any standard?

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  • Apr 21, 2012 - 6:46PM

    A very good idea. GATT allows liberal rules for border trade.. The towns across the border would benefit greatly from exchange of local produce particularly food products.Pakpattan would be a good point for trading. Lot of Sikh yatris could come over. They are devotees of Baba Farid

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