Prominent Pakistani businessman Mian Mohammed Mansha says it is time for Pakistan and India to re-establish relations and trade. Mansha, who was nominated in a presentation by Credit Suisse Leaks at the beginning of the year, recently told The Indian Express that both nations have “a lot of synergies” that can come into play once trade picks up. “I am very excited that we need to resolve our disputes with India. Now, it doesn’t matter what issues stand in the way, let them be there. But once they come to each other’s country, through trade, tourism – religious tourism or natural tourism – I think the doors will start to open,” he said. Mansha advised Pakistan and India to solve the Kashmir problem with “small steps” to “reduce temperatures.” In terms of the broader spectrum, he also spoke of opening up Bollywood to Pakistani actors and the Indian Premier League (IPL) to Pakistani cricketers. The 75-year-old industrialist widely considered to be the most important voice in Pakistan’s business sector urged that trade with India be re-established during a session of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier this year. Speaking to the Indian daily, Mansha reiterated what he said at the meeting, saying that if India could continue to buy from China despite border concerns, there was no reason why Pakistan should not start its business with its neighboring rival. ‘’There is nothing like maintaining good relations with your neighbors. You cannot change the neighbors,” he added. He bolstered his argument by saying, “I’m a businessman. That’s why I say if something is cheaper in India, why should I buy it outside of India? There is a lower cost of transportation (from India).” ‘’There is so much stuff we could buy. We (the Nishat Group) manufacture Hyundai automobiles. Hyundai India is huge. We could buy parts that are less expensive in India than in China, for example. And you do a lot of trade with China, too. Your imports from China are enormous, and if you consider this, you also have problems with China over territories and all that,’ he explained. Pakistan had prohibited trade with India in August 2019 as a result of Prime Minister Modi’s decision to abrogate the status conferring the special status of autonomy of Kashmir. In this respect, Mansha commented, “I think we have to move forward on resolving the Kashmir issue, we could take small, small steps. I believe we need to reduce the temperature.” He proposed a revival of cross-border trade and bus services that enabled families on both sides to interact and do business with each other. He also suggested flying via Sharjah for tourism to Kashmir.
Photo: Hindustan Times