M A I N   N E W S

Pak Punjab CM coming; visit set to boost CBMs
Jangveer Singh/ TNS

Chandigarh, December 11
The Punjab-Punjab connect, set to happen with Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif’s visit, is expected not only to bridge people-to-people ties between the two Punjabs but also the two nations, as the visiting dignitory meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 16.

On the Agenda

* Better trade ties across Wagah border

* Study collaborations in power, education and agriculture

* One-on-one contact between Pak and Indian traders

Pakistan Punjab has a representation of nearly 60 per cent in Pakistan’s parliament and the Sharif family is the most important after the Bhutto clan. It is in this backdrop that the Indian government is reaching out to Sharif during the course of his visit to Punjab. Sharif is visiting Punjab for four days, starting December 14.

Sharif’s visit is set to boost confidence building measures initiated by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during his visit to Pakistan Punjab last month.

The Punjab Government sees this confidence building exercise as a precursor to better trade ties across the Wagah border.

“We have already laid the groundwork for Punjab-Punjab prosperity and growth,” says Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia. He says the government wants to use this strength to ensure people-people growth between the two countries.

Majithia says besides attending the closing ceremony of the ongoing World Cup Kabaddi tournament, Sharif will concentrate on three fields during his visit.

This includes examining the development ushered in by the Bathinda refinery as well as the thermal power plant being built by the Vedanta group in Mansa district.

He will also examine the scope of non-renewable energy sources by visiting the 1 MW solar power plant at Phullokheri in Bathinda.

Pakistan Punjab is keen on learning from the state’s experience in developing energy sources quickly as well as possible tie-ups in the future.

The other two fields of Sharif’s interest include studying the strides made in establishing technical education institutions as well as modern agriculture practices.

The Pakistan Punjab government is keen on studying the steps taken to help small farmers earn a better livelihood by establishing low-cost net houses for vegetable cultivation as well as increasing dairy production.

Sources say emphasis will also be laid on real term ties between traders and industrialists from both countries.

The Pakistan CM will be accompanied by a team of 25 leading traders and industrialists and are expected to ink agreements with the Indian counterparts during the course of the visit.

The Pakistan CM will also meet representatives of the hand tool, sports, leather, textile and automotive industry during his stay here.





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