Despite tensions at the border, Pakistan-based businesses have made their presence felt at the CII Ludhiana Fair on Friday.
“Women love Pakistani suits, crockery, furniture whether there is tension at the border or not,” said Shahdiya Fahed, a Lahore-based garment designer at the fair launched by the adviser to CM Mahesh Inder Singh Grewalon Friday at Government College for Girls(GCG). “I have been part of exhibitions across north India and have always been well-received and generated good business.”
Not everyone feels the same way, though.
“I had come four years ago and the response was lukewarm. This time, the number of stalls are also less. So we are only hoping of good business in the weekend,” said crockery-seller Javed Iqbal from Gujjranwala.
In 2012, Pakistan was represented by 25 stalls. This year, it has come down to five. The reduced number notwithstanding, people-to-people interaction is a sure way of spreading goodwill, Iqbal believes.
“The common man needs business and when Indians come to Pakistan, they too focus on how to generate more business, same as us. We never give a thought to the relationships between the two countries. It is all at top level,” said Iqbal. “People give are loving and affectionate. We never think about strained relationships. However if they improve at the top level, business will grow in leaps and bounds.”
The fair, which continues till December 14, also features spices from Afghanistan, home decor from Thailand and also artisans from other states of India.