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

October 08-09, 2015; Karachi, Pakistan - Joint Statement


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

  1. Pakistan-India Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue on Sharing of Experiences on Governance and Democracy was convened in Karachi, Pakistan on October 08-09, 2015.

  2. The Dialogue mainly focussed on three themes: Agriculture, Business and Investment and Tourism.

  3. Participants from the two countries believed that Experience-Sharing on Governance through the Dialogue has been much more useful than anticipated, agreeing that experience sharing and dialogue on governance and democracy should not be hostage to political and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

  4. Participants also believed that experience sharing may be extended between Pakistan’s Provinces and other States of India as well.

  5. Representatives of both Pakistan and India recognised and appreciated the initiative of PILDAT, and its partner in India, CSDS, to foster these Dialogues. They urged that this initiative be continued and reinforced.

  6. Participants conducted candid and comprehensive discussions on the present status of the Agriculture, Business and Investment and Tourism in Pakistan and India. At the outset, it was acknowledged that, while there are no two views about the need of improvement of bilateral relationship among the two neighbouring countries leading to peace, stability and order in the region, the two countries, owing to their unique common history and similarities in models of Governance and Democracy, can and should, cooperate on learning from each other on good practices on improving Governance and Democracy focussed on improvement in the lives of the citizens of the two countries.

  7. Agriculture
  8. The two sides agreed that both countries must focus on improvement of Agriculture as a major sector of growth. Legislators and Citizens must join hands to lobby for comprehensive, growth-oriented reforms in agriculture in both countries.

  9. Participants believed that a Joint Forum of Farmers between India and Pakistan should be created to facilitate mutual learning and exchange of good practices. They also proposed facilitating a Joint Kisan Festival facilitating interaction among farmers from Pakistan and India.

  10. Participants from both Pakistan and India proposed for facilitation of continued linkages between the farmers community, subject specific academics and citizens organisations between both countries.

  11. Discussing water conservation and smarter options to use water for harvesting, the two sides agreed that a more efficient use of rainwater in both countries is required.

  12. Land Reforms and the Mechanization of the Agricultural Sector were unanimously agreed upon as key areas that required concentration by representatives of both India and Pakistan. It was agreed that policies needed to be made such that through Land reforms and only smart subsidization of agricultural equipment the production and yield of crops could be increased.

  13. Challenges, like the raising of net availability of food grains, tackling poverty and hunger, un-availability of water due to its misuse, adulterated pesticides, smuggling of seeds and their poor quality mixing, high electricity Tariffs, lack of awareness of existing agricultural schemes and subsidies, low literacy rate, and malpractices in the distribution of agricultural products and its affects on the development of the sector in both Pakistan and India, were also discussed. It was unanimously decided that there needed to be a presence of forums for the sharing of problems faced by farmers (Kisan) in both Pakistan and India.

  14. Participants believed that the two countries must utilise existing forums to resolve water disputes.

  15. Investment
  16. The two sides discussed in detail the business and investment scenarios and strategies in play in both countries.

  17. Focusing especially on the model of Gujarat in India, participants believed that greater avenues of learning could be used from the Gujarat model to understand how the State managed rapid industrialisation and investment in business.

  18. Underscoring the need for equitable distribution of growth, the two sides agreed that lessons must be drawn from disparity in rapid progress among the Indian States. While economic growth is the key, it should be progress-oriented without losing sight of equitable benefit to the people.

  19. Participants believed that efforts should be made to utilise land route for trade between the two countries.

  20. Members present agreed upon an increased professional autonomy for the private sector and e-governance for the growth of the Business and Investment in both countries.

  21. Tourism
  22. Participants believed that even though both India and Pakistan have similar sites and heritage for promotion of tourism, India has better utilised the potential of Tourism and Pakistan may learn from successful examples of promotion of tourism from India.

  23. Both India and Pakistan have a great potential of promotion of religious tourism and this can also be used by both countries as a source of promoting better ties. Joint Working Group on Tourism involving Legislators and Public Officials from both sides can be created to promote Religious Tourism.

  24. Participants also highlighted the need to review and improve visa policies by both the countries to facilitate touristic movement.

  25. Members of the State Legislatures from India and from Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan stressed that Visa-free travel of SAARC should also be extended to include Legislators belonging to Sub-National Legislatures.

Delegates from India included Members of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, Mr. Mangi Lal Garasiya (Indian National Congress) and Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr. Kuljit Singh Nagra (Indian National Congress) from India.

Experts who joined the Dialogue from India included Professor Jagrup Singh Sekhon, Chairman, Dept. of Political Science, Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, Professor Hemant Kumar Shah, Head, Department of Economics, H. K. Arts College and Professor Sanjay Lodha, Professor Department of Political Science, University College of Social Sciences & Humanities, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Delegates from Pakistan’s Senate included Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, President, National Party (NP), Balochistan.

MPAs from the Provincial Assembly of Sindh included Dr. Abdul Sattar Rajper, MPA, (PS-22 Naushero Feroze-IV, Sindh, PPPP), Mr. Faqir Dad Khoso, MPA, (PS-72 Jamshoro-II(Old Dadu-II), Sindh, PPPP), Mr. Fayaz Ali Butt, MPA, (PS-77 Dadu-IV (Old Dadu-VII), Sindh, PPPP), Syed Hafeezuddin, MPA, (PS-93 Karachi-V, Sindh, PTI), Ms. Kulsoom Akhtar Chandio, MPA, (RSW-135, Sindh, PPPP), Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, MPA, (RSW-156, Sindh, PML-F), Dr. Muhammad Rafique, MPA, (PS-31 Khairpur-III, Sindh, PML-F), Ms. Nusrat Bano Sehar Abbasi, MPA, (RSW-157, Sindh, PML-F), Eng. Pesu Mal, MPA, (RSM-163, Sindh, PPPP), Ms. Saira Shahliani, MPA, (RSW-144, Sindh, PPPP), Dr. Seema Zia, MPA, (RSW-159, Sindh, PTI), Mr. Shafi Muhammad Jamot, MPA, (PS-129 Karachi-XLI, Sindh, PML-N), Ms. Shamim Mumtaz, MPA, (RSW-138, Sindh, PPPP) and Ms. Sorath Thebo, MPA, (RSW-158, Sindh, PML-N).

MPAs from the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan included Hon. Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Acting Speaker, Balochistan Provincial Assembly, MPA, (PB-41 Awaran, Balochistan, PML), Mr. Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Minister, Interior and Tribal Affairs and Prisons and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Balochistan Provincial Assembly, MPA, (PB-24 Dera Bugti, Balochistan, PML-N), Sardar Raza Muhammad Barrech, MPA, (PB-4 Quetta-IV, Balochistan, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party) and Dr. Shama Ishaq, MPA, (PBW-59, Balochistan, National Party).

The MPA from the Provincial Assembly of Punjab was Ms. Bushra Anjum Butt, MPA, (W-354, Punjab, PML-N).

Pakistani Experts who spoke at the Dialogue included Mr. Muhammad Asif Khan, Agricultural Economist, Mr. Muhammad Sabir Principal Economist, Social Policy and Development Centre, Karachi, Pakistan and Mr. Salman Javed Chief Operating Officer (COO), Khyber International (Pvt.) Ltd. (GSA for Korean Air) and Former M.D., PTDC.

Following Background Papers, published by PILDAT and shared among participants can be downloaded here in PDF format: