Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 24
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has called for strengthening of trade and people-to-people ties with Pakistan and revival of Indo-Pak Punjab Games to defuse tension and promote better relations between the two neighbours.
At an informal luncheon meeting with Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Sohail Mahmood, the Chief Minister expressed concern over the declining trade levels between the two countries due to escalation in tension along the borders in recent months.
Capt Amarinder was in favour of reviving the Indo-Pak Punjab Games, which he had introduced during his previous tenure as a Chief Minister, saying sporting events could play a pivotal role in boosting people-to-people relations on both sides of the Punjab border. The games had been launched earlier in 2004 from Patiala, with events in a dozen disciplines, including hockey, cycling, athletics, gymnastics, polo, handball, wrestling, badminton, volleyball, tug-of-war, shooting and kabaddi.
The High Commissioner was also of the view that more people-level contacts between the two nations could help pave the way for long-term peace and stability in the region. It was important for the development and progress of both the countries that they work in a spirit of harmony to promote the welfare of their respective people, he added.
The Pak envoy raised the issue of repatriation of prisoners who had completed their terms from both sides and said various clearances required from the authorities should be expedited for the purpose.
Both Capt Amarinder and Sohail Mahmood underscored the need for promoting bilateral trade as a means to further the peace process.
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