This has been a season of many firsts between India and Pakistan and the westerly winds managed to sweep away the Indian capital with Pakistani lifestyle and fashion. The four-day long exhibition Lifestyle Pakistan held at Praghati Maidan, New Delhi from 12th-15th April 2012 elaborated not only the huge demand for Pakistani lawn and muslin in India but also the acceleration of the trade process between the two countries. With over hundred top Pakistani brands exhibiting in the event in categories ranging from fashion textiles, jewellery, designer furniture and leather goods, Lifestyle Pakistan as able to project a quality, high-end image for Pakistan. The key exhibitors included Gul Ahmed Textiles, Orient Textile Mills, Nishat Linen, Khaadi, Junaid Jamshed, Bareeze, Needle Impressions, Bonanza, Lakhani Silk Ltd and many more. The exhibition was definitely one of the concrete steps taken by both India and Pakistan to enhance bilateral commerce and open new channels for shipment of goods.
Bilateral trade between the two countries is USD 2.8 billion, although the informal trade, mainly via countries like Dubai and Singapore, is estimated to be USD 10 billion. “Informal trade is many times more than the formal (one) between India and Pakistan. We have to ensure that the gap between formal and informal trade disappears,” said Mr. Anand Sharma, the Indian Commerce Minister, while inaugurating the exhibition. This was the first collaborative exhibition of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO). “Lot of movement has happened in the last one year, the (trade) normalisation is going very fast,” said Mr Tariq Puri, C.E TDAP during one of his interactions with the media. Lifestyle Pakistan was directed towards creating a platform where the business industry of both the countries could constructively come together and it showcased the best of Pakistan.
The dominant aspect of the exhibition was definitely Pakistani fashion that wowed Indian public, leaving our brands sold out. Lawn lovers thronged the venue during the exhibition while Delhites were enthralled by the ingenious creations flaunted at the fashion show of the Gala Dinner held at the 13th of April. Hosted by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Pakistani Commerce Minister and TDAP, it left the selective audience awe-struck by the bold yet classy traditional designs of renowned brands and designers such as Gul Ahmed, Faiza Samee, Honey Waqar, Asim Jofa etc. Indeed interesting opportunities were gained and much demand was cultivated for our fashion in India. The dinner was also followed by to the delight of all spell bounding performances by Ali Zafar and Sanam Marvi.
Overall it was an action-packed, successful venture that created ripples of positivity across India. Such initiatives definitely lay ground for hope and better relations with our neighbours, putting us en-route to the much needed regional cooperation.