Islamabad: “Hassel free movement of goods through Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Wagha Border will foster bilateral trade manifold and help achieve envisaged target of trade to the tune of $ 7 billion in next two year” This was stated by Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) at the occasion of the opening ceremony of ICP performed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram at Attari-Wagah border in presence of Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Perneet Kaur, Union Minister of State for Planning, Ashwani Kumar and Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.
The ceremony was also attended by Commerce Secretary Mr. Zafar Mehmood and his Indian counter as well as Mr. Tariq Iqbal Puri CEO of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. Mr. Tariq Sayeed, former President of SAARC CCI represented FPCCI while Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik represented SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Pakistan Chapter in this august gathering attended by more than 100 businessmen from both countries.
SAARC CCI leaders, President Vikramjit Singh Sahney from India, Vice President Iftilkhar Ali Malik and former President of SAARC CCI Tariq Sayeed from Pakistan in their joint statement regarded the ICP as a landmark achievement in the history of Indo-Pakistan relationship and congratulated Indian and Pakistani Governments for taking this bold initiative.
“We have witnessed a lot of development in bilateral relations since April 2011 when Commerce Secretaries met, paving the way for exchange of visits at Ministerial level, followed by the recent visit of President Zardari and now the starting of Integrated Check Post, which is commendable” said Mr. Sayeed and added that he expects a major breakthrough during the scheduled visit of Indian Prime Minister in near future.
Iftikhar Ali Malik regarded the recent development as an outcome of the persistent efforts by the Private Sectors of both countries, which generated the much needed political will, required to unleash the potential of bilateral trade.
Muhammad Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General of SAARC CCI, while regarded it as a turning point of indo-Pakistan economic relations said that the success of the ICP will largely depend upon the level of facilitation including increase in number of tradable items, flexible Visa facilitation mechanism, removal of Non-Tariff Barriers procedural hurdles and above all committed efforts and positive approach to achieve the envisioned trade target.
ICP is the first project of India constructed along the international border. It spreads over an area of about 130 acres and constructed in a span of two years at a cost of nearly Indian Rs. 150 crore. This much awaited check post is expected to boost trade between India and Pakistan five times more in the coming years. It will also give a fillip to people to people ties between the neighbouring countries. Pakistan is having a similar ICP at its own side at Wagah.
The ICP will operate 12-hours from 7 am to 7 pm everyday. This would substantially increase the trade movement on both sides leading to higher returns for traders. Two gates will now operate, against the one that till today had been a major cause of traffic congestion on the route, causing enormous unwarranted delays.
For more information, contact:
SAARC Chamber Of Commerce and Industry
Apex Business Organization of SAARC
House No. 397, Street 64, I-8/3, Islamabad- Pakistan
Tel: +9251 486 0611 -3, 831 6023
Fax: +9251 831 6024