Businessmen demand direct air links between Pakistan, Maldives
Pakistan’s Ambassador-designate to Maldives Vice Admiral (r) Ather Mukhtar visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) and exchanged views with President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed to further improve bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Maldives.
Senior Vice President Tahir Abbasi, Vice President Saifur Rehman Khan and others were also present on the occasion.
Ather Mukhtar said that Maldives was quite better in tourism while many areas of Pakistan including north region have great potential to promote tourism and added that promoting bilateral cooperation in tourism between Pakistan and Maldives would be his top priority. He said that Pakistan should focus on improving tourism infrastructure and skills development of people to attract more tourists. He said that providing better facilities to local tourists would entice more foreign tourists to Pakistan.
He said Pakistan can export many products to Maldives including rice, fruits & vegetables and pharmaceuticals and urged that business community should accelerate efforts for promoting exports to Maldives. He assured that Pakistan Embassy in Maldives would extend all possible cooperation in these efforts.
Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said tourism industry in Pakistan has great potential to achieve rapid growth and close cooperation with Maldives in this area would be beneficial to Pakistan.
He said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Maldives was far less than the actual potential of both countries and its main reason was absence of direct air links between both countries. He stressed Pakistan and Maldives should focus on establishing direct air links that would improve trade volume between them.
He said Pakistan’s sea food and dry fruits have also good potential for exports to Maldives for which direct air connectivity was needed as trade through sea route was quite expensive between both countries.
Tahir Abbasi, Saifur Rehman Khan, Naeemur Rehman Piracha, Khalid Chaudhry, Naveed Malik and others also spoke on the occasion and shared useful ideas for improving two-way trade between Pakistan and Maldives.