File photo.

Attari Border/Lahore/Chandigarh, November 5, 2012: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was today accorded unprecedented warm welcome in Pakistan as he crossed over to Pakistan leading a 45 member trade and industrial delegation to strengthen bilateral trade ties.

Speaker of Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal, who was waiting at Wagah Border line affectionately, hugged Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as he crossed over to Pakistan side.

Those who came specially to receive Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, included Rana Sanahullah Khan, Education Minister Mujtaba Sujah, Member of National Assembly Parvez Malik and a huge contingent including of political, industry and trade delegations.

Accompanied by Punjab Minister including Industry Minister Anil Joshi, Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka, PWD Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon as Sukhbir Singh Badal stepped on Pakistan soil, he was showered with floral petals from the crowd standing on the both sides of road.

The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister was given guard of honour by the full contingent of Punjab Police.

Badal and dignitaries had a brief meeting in the waiting lounge of the ‘Sarhad’.

He was flown from Attari Border to Lahore in a special government helicopter, in which leading members of delegation accompanied him.

Talking to media persons in Pakistan, Badal said that he has come with a great hope as improvement of trade and industrial ties between Eastern and Western Punjab would change the economic profile of whole region benefiting both countries.

He said that trade route through Wagah could be a line of prosperity for the both countries as increasing trade to Central Asian Countries through road route would be economically beneficial for both nations.

Adding, he said that he was hopeful that both countries would agree to give Wagah Border the status of full port, which would be the economic propeller for the whole region.

Talking about the sports ties, he welcomed the resumption of cricket ties between both countries and said that with Asian Kabaddi and upcoming World Cup Kabaddi, India and Pakistan can collectively work to ensure Olympic status to the traditional game Kabaddi. He said that he would like that coaches of both countries should groom the budding talent in the villages.

Monday, November 5, 2012