Pakistan, Azerbaijan must create direct banking channel to expand trade: RCCI

President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Zahid Latif Khan. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 04 July 2018

Pakistan, Azerbaijan must create direct banking channel to expand trade: RCCI

ISLAMABAD: Azerbaijan and Pakistan have to establish direct banking channels and air connectivity, lift off tariff barriers, and create alternative rail and road networks, as well as visa free agreements to enhance bilateral trade relations, said President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Zahid Latif Khan on the eve of the Business Opportunities Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The RCCI president added that there is a need to explore new avenues of joint ventures and trade connectivity under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“CPEC has now become a reality on the ground. Pakistan will become the hub of regional connectivity as CPEC will put it on a center stage due to new its energy infrastructure and trade routes,” Latif Khan was quoted as saying by AzerNews.

The RCCI president concluded reminding that Azerbaijan has always been very friendly towards Pakistan, which was among the first three countries to recognize Azerbaijan immediately and reestablish diplomatic ties in July, 1992.

The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) is organising Business Opportunities Conference and the 31st International Achievement Award ceremony in Azerbaijan’s capital city on July 4-5.

The events will be aimed at promoting business and investment opportunities of Pakistan in Azerbaijan’s business community.

Over 450 Pakistani participants representing tourism, pharmaceutical, chemical, plastic, textile, surgical goods, furniture, food, construction and other industries will be attending the events.

Further, Pakistani and Azerbaijani business communities are going to hold B2B meetings, which Khan also noted that this initiative would lead to creation of new joint ventures in the future.

India demands Pakistan release accused 'spy' after world court ruling

Updated 11 min 17 sec ago

India demands Pakistan release accused 'spy' after world court ruling

  • Kulbhushan Jadhav is a former navy officer
  • ICJ ruled that Pakistan review his death sentence and give him proper representation

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday demanded that Pakistan release an alleged spy after the International Court of Justice called for a review of a death sentence against him.

The arch-rivals each declared victory after the world court ruling made late Wednesday. But with 49-year-old Kulbhushan Jadhav still held in secret, his case risked setting off new tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Jadhav, a former navy officer, “is in the illegal custody of Pakistan under fabricated charges” as he welcomed the court ruling.

“Yesterday’s judgment is not only a vindication of India and Mr.Jadhav but for all those who believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of international conventions,” the minister added.

Jaishankar insisted that Jadhav “is innocent of the charges levelled against him” and had been forced to confess without access to a lawyer.

“We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith.”

The ICJ said Pakistan must give India consular access to the prisoner, give Jadhav proper representation and review the death sentence. But it rejected India’s demand that Jadhav be freed.

Pakistan said Jadhav was detained in its southwestern province of Baluchistan in March 2016.

It released a “confession” video in which Jadhav said he worked for Indian intelligence. A military court sentenced him to death in 2017.

According to Indian officials, Jadhav retired from the navy in 2001 and was running a “logistics” business in the Iranian port of Chabahar.

India insisted he was taken captive in Iran before being moved to Pakistan and then forced to confess.

It started an ICJ case in 2017. Throughout the hearings, Jadhav has been kept under strict lock and key in Pakistan.

Apart the video in which he said he graduated from India’s premier defense academy and began to help Indian intelligence in 2001, the only sighting of Jadhav was when his mother and wife saw him for 40 minutes on December 25, 2017.

Indian officials say relatives reported that he appeared to have been tortured.

Relations between the neighbors frequently boil over. They have fought three wars since independence in 1947 and staged air battles on their border in February.

New Delhi frequently says there can be no improvement in relations until its neighbor takes action to rein in militant attacks in India.

Keeping up the rivalry, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said late Wednesday that “truth and justice have prevailed” with the ruling.

His Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan hit back through his Twitter account.

“Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release and return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India,” Khan said.

“He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law,” Khan added.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the incident is a “clear case of Indian state terrorism.”

Media in the two countries also claimed victory in the case.

“India Wins in World Court,” said a Mail Today headline. “Justice in International Court,” declared The Indian Express.

“Pakistan vindicated” ran a banner front-page headline in Pakistan’s Express Tribune.