Saturday, August 28, 2010
By Laleh Habib
KARACHI: Several of Pakistan’s most influential and experienced individuals in the Textile industry came together on Thursday to discuss economic cooperation with India, at a meeting convened by Aman ki Asha, the joint peace initiative between the Jang Group and The Times of India Group. The participants decided to establish the Aman Ki Asha Textile Forum. This Forum would first commission a working paper from experts to identify the trade regime in both countries related to textile sector. On the basis of this report, the Forum would interact with counterparts in India in order to promote business relations between the textile and related industries of the two countries.
This was the second of a series of committee meetings being organised by Aman ki Asha with the intent of fostering bilateral trade relations between the two countries. There are six such committees, formed as an outcome of the economic conference organised by Aman ki Asha in Delhi, India in May this year. One of the conclusions reached at the Delhi conference was that the mutuality of economic interest is likely to be the single greatest driver of peace between Pakistan and India. The Delhi Conference had decided to form committees representing the six most robust segments of India and Pakistan’s economies, that is, textiles, IT, healthcare, education and skills development, energy and agriculture.
These committees are to work towards increasing trade and investment and also develop policy recommendations that Aman ki Asha can take forward. Entrepreneurs, experts and leaders of thought from each of these sectors have been invited to join the committees. And now, with the inaugural meetings underway, plans for bringing the Pakistani and Indian committees together are developing.
The Aman ki Asha Textile Committee includes Bashir Ali Mohammad, Chairman of Gul Ahmed Textiles; Shahzad Saleem, CEO Nishat Group; Mian Latif, Chairman Chen One; Wajid Jawad, CEO Associated Industries; Iqbal Ibrahim, CEO of Orient Textiles; Nadeem Abdullah, CEO of Sapphire and Yaqoob Ahmad, CEO of Artistic Milliner. Also present at Thursdayís meeting were Shahrukh Hasan, Group Managing Director of the Jang Group and Amin Hashwani of the Hashwani Group of Companies. Senior journalist Babar Ayaz moderated the discussion.
Experts agreed that there is a lot of scope for collaboration between India and Pakistan within the textile sector. Iqbal Ibrahim pointed out that India and Pakistan have unique strengths and advantages and can complement one another, with the potential of together becoming a force to be reckoned with in the international textile industry. Some impediments and caveats that stall progress were identified. It was agreed that the Indian textile industry is extremely complex and that increasing trade between the two countries will not be easy. However, all present agreed that it is a goal worth striving for.