India-Pakistan Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue on Sharing of Experiences on Governance and Democracy

March 12, 2016; Jaipur, India - Joint Statement

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  1. The third leg of the third India-Pakistan Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue on Sharing of Experiences on Governance and Democracy was held in Jaipur, India on March 12, 2016.

  2. The third meet saw Rao Rajendra Singh, MLA and Deputy Speaker Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan, in the chair in the Dialogue facilitated by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) and the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS). Participants included Members of Parliament and State/Provincial Legislatures from Pakistan and India, practitioners and subject-experts from the two countries who raised key issues and reform ideas covering the themes of Promotion of Agriculture and Tourism.

  3. A special thanks was offered by the delegates for Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, MP, for facilitating this cooperation between CUTS and PILDAT and in his leadership and facilitation of the Dialogue.

  4. Participants acknowledged that experiences on good governance in India and Pakistan in development of agriculture and tourism provide great potential for exchange of ideas and cooperation. The forum of the Dialogue for exchange of ideas in this regard was appreciated.

  5. Participants stressed on the need for more avenues of interaction and learning between the two countries. They agreed that each delegate has a responsibility to carry forward the proposals discussed for policy reform in two countries. Need for a time-bound roadmap in this regard was also highlighted.

  6. Participants also underscored the need for facilitating greater engagement of youth in the two countries in areas including democratic and governance development.

Tourism

  1. Through discussion at the Dialogue, the Participants agreed that enormous potential of cooperation on tourism promotion exists in the two countries which remains untapped.

  2. Participants believed that tourism offers a key avenue of promoting peace between India and Pakistan. In addition, they stressed that the two countries must explore avenues of promoting nostalgic and religious tourism as well. An exceptional example offered in this regard was that of respect and following of Sheikh Burhan-al-Din dargah in Rajasthan which is equally popular among Muslims and Hindus.

  3. Lack of an efficient and relaxed visa regime was highlighted as a major stumbling block in promotion of tourism between Pakistan and India. Delegates urged the Governments of Pakistan and India to adopt citizen-friendly visa regime allowing free access to citizens of the two countries.

  4. Delegates also stressed that potential for promotion of India-Pakistan tourism must be tapped especially in areas bordering the two countries. In addition, both sides supported opening up of more points across the border, such as Khokhrapar Monabao, to facilitate travel and trade opportunities.

  5. The preferred scheme of tourism promotion for the two countries should be to focus first on in-country tourism, followed by promotion of regional and international tourism in the two countries.

  6. Participants highlighted the potential of learning offered by the good practices of the Palace-on-Wheels Train and a dedicated Tourist Police within regular Police Stations, where required.

  7. One of the proposals offered for joint tourism promotion between the two countries focused on facilitating the opening of offices of Tourism Development bodies in each other’s country.

  8. Delegates believed initiatives also need to be taken to encourage Sports and Cultural tourism between the two countries.

  9. Participants from both sides felt that one of the major impediments in promotion of tourism in the sub-continent was indeed the prevailing security environment which could only be overcome by bridging the trust gap between the two neighbouring countries. Besides, there was a dire need to share intelligence and mutual cooperation in fighting terrorism.

  10. Delegates called upon the political leadership of both countries to work together to address disputes hampering the relationship between two countries.

Promotion of Agriculture, with Special Focus on Arid Agriculture

  1. In the session focussing on learning from each country’s effective agricultural practises, participants noted that both the countries were beset by similar set of challenges in this regard. These include growing populations and limited land resources; depletion of groundwater and climate change which lead to frequent droughts and volatility of prices of agricultural products.

  2. Delegates noted joint solutions could be adopted including area expansion or intensification, greater technological development, diversification in the form of high value crops, greater spending on information dissemination and agricultural research.

  3. Indian experience suggests that Price Support Mechanism is not the only sustainable solution for agriculture sector development. Similarly, in the Indian experience, promotion of live-stock farming in areas facing water scarcity has proved more successful.

  4. Participants supported promotion and development of solar farming in arid areas. Need for research and cooperation for research in the sector were also stressed. The two countries must also focus on development and use of organic farming practices in the agricultural sector.

The Pakistani Delegation, joining the Dialogue in Jaipur, included (in alphabetical order by First Name in the sequence of Members of Senate, National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and Experts) Senator Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum, (Punjab; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – PML-N); Senator Saud Majeed, (Punjab, PML-N); Mr. Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA, (NA-82 Faisalabad-VIII, Punjab, PML-N); Parliamentary Secretary for Finance; Mr. Shehryar Afridi, MNA, (NA-14, Kohat, KP, PTI), Mr. Asad Qaisar, MPA, (PK-35 Swabi-V, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PTI) Speaker Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, MPA, (RSW-156, Sindh, Pakistan Muslim League – Functional – PML-F); Mian Mehmood-ur- Rashid, MPA, (PP-151 (Lahore-XV), Punjab, PTI), Leader of Opposition, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab; Dr. Najma Afzal Khan, MPA, (RSW-320, Punjab, PML-N); Mr. Muhammad Ali Nekokara, Former SSP, Pakistan Police and Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle, Former IG Police, Sindh & Balochistan, Pakistan.

With Rao Rajendra Singh, MLA, Deputy Speaker, Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan, Shahpura, Rajasthan, BJP; in the chair, the Indian Delegation included (in alphabetical order by First Name in the sequence of the Members of the Legislative Assembly and Experts) Mr. Chhotu Singh, MLA, Chairman, Standing Committee on Environment, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, BJP; Mr. Anand K. Tripathi, Joint Director, Department of Tourism, Jaipur, Government of Rajasthan; Dr. Arvind Mayaram, Former Finance Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Former Secretary Ministry of Minority Affairs of Government of India; Dr. Edward Dickinson, Expert Policy Implementation, Systems Design, Operations Development and Quality Improvement; Mr. Gyan Prakash, General Secretary of Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR); Mr. Kelly Bains, Former Officer, Indian Police Service; Dr. L. R. Yadav, Head of Agronomy Depart, Sri Karan Narendra Agriculture University; Dr. N. V. Patil, Director ICAR-National Research Centre; Dr. Pratap Singh Birthal, Director, IDS; Dr. Rashmi Dickinson, co-founder India Inspiration Initiative and ex-British Senior Civil Servant; Dr. S. J. Singh, Director of Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute, Jaipur; Mr. Sanjay Pande, Additional Director, Department of Tourism,  Jaipur, Government of Rajasthan; Ms. Sarita Kumari Ghanerao, Managing Director, ShaJay Enterprise & ShaJay Exports and Mr. Shital Prasad Sharma, Director, State Institute of Agriculture Management, Jaipur. 


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