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Pakistan, India should bury the past: Shahbaz

15 December, 2013

LUDHIANA: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday that people of Pakistan and India should bury the past and "demolish all walls that hinder progress".

"Demolish all the walls which hinder the prosperity and progress of both the states," the chief minister said before the start of final Kabaddi match between India and Pakistan in Ludhiana.

Shahbaz said that people on both sides of Indo-Pak border should learn from the countries of the European Union, which have buried their past and joined hands to bring about progress in their respective areas despite the fact that there is not much common among them. On the contrary, he added, "Punjabis have almost everything in common."

"We share a common heritage having natural bonding of language, culture and cuisine… the need of hour is to identify the area of friendliness and peace to herald a new era of unprecedented development across the border," he said.

"In the past, we have moved slowly towards this goal but it is the time to run so that an atmosphere of warmth and affection in the region could be created," the chief minister said. Shahbaz also underlined the need for promoting love, harmony and trade in the South Asia region. "We should work together for making this region the best in the world," he said, adding, "We should sit together for resolving all the issues."

According to the chief minister, there is need for promoting trade and bilateral relations between Pakistan and India. He said Pakistan would take steps for the betterment of the people of this region. The chief minister said both countries would have to work together for ending unemployment and poverty besides bringing improvement in the lives of the people of this region.

Meanwhile, chief ministers of both the Indian and Pakistani Punjab are set to sign an agreement today to identify mutual areas of interest and cooperation. A high level committee of officers and vice chancellors of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Ludhiana, University of Agriculture Faisalabad and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and AnimalSciences University has been constituted by the two chief ministers to finalise the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Shahbaz mooted the proposal of a protocol agreement during deliberations at the PAU to which Indian authorities responded positively.

Both governments agreed to encourage people-to-people contact as part of this protocol exercise besides cooperating with each other in agriculture, animal husbandry, agro processing and industrial and trade ventures.

The chief minister also appreciated the initiative taken by Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who led a delegation recently to Pakistan to strengthen bilateral ties between East and West Punjab. He also lauded Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for providing free power to farmers.

Badal said that visits by leaders of the two countries should not be mere formalities but they should be result oriented to benefit the entire region. Calling for relaxation in the visa regime between both the countries, he said that it would help free movement of the people from both sides of the border and strengthen the brotherhood between the neighbours.


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