KARACHI: India’s High Commissioner in Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has called for respect for leaders from both the countries, when questioned about the removal of Quaid-e-Azam’s portrait from Aligarh Muslim University during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Saturday.
“I don’t want to say much about what happened [at Aligarh University] but I would say that we should respect leaders of both countries,” said Basaria.
The Quaid-e-Azam’s portrait had been put at Aligarh Muslim University back in 1938 which remained there for eight decades. It was removed on April 30 as apparently fanatic mindset has overtaken secular values of India.
Later, Bisaria also had a seflie with the foundation stone that was laid by Mahatma Gandhi in 1934 at the KCCI, which was known as Karachi Indian Merchants Association before the partition.
Bisaria opined that the relations between the two neighbouring countries cannot remain hostile for long, but they cannot either turn positive overnight.
“Baby steps need to be taken to gradually normalise the relation between the two countries,” he said, adding that in the beginning, India would first be easing visa process on humanitarian grounds for senior citizens and children.
According to a report, 500 patients from Pakistan visit India’s big hospitals for treatment.
The high commissioner estimated the trade potential between the two countries at $30 billion, but said the actual volume of the bilateral trade “roughly totals $6-7 billion”, including $2.2 billion in direct trade and $4-5 billion through a third country.
He said the volume of trade between India and China is $85 billion “despite a dispute between the two countries, just like India and Pakistan have”.
Bisaria declined to comment on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying that India had its own stance on that, but “from a general perspective, it’s good for connectivity in Asia and connectivity of hearts”.
He noted a ‘great positivity’ between the peoples of the two countries and stressed the need for civil society and pressure groups to persuade their respective governments to garner better relations. He also called for building institution-to-institution relationship.
He said that acts of terrorism “hamper the peace process and send us years back”.
When asked about resumption of bilateral cricket series between Pakistan and India and if and when the Indian cricket team would be visiting Pakistan, the high commissioner said it would hopefully happen soon.
“India cricket team would be coming to Pakistan soon… but when it will happen is a billion dollar question,” he said.
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