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Nationalist groups in AJK condemn India for stripping IoK of its special status

Rawalpindi:    (Parliament Times)     The gems and jewellery sector can play a vital role in economy of Pakistan, contributing immensely in earning of foreign exchange and providing employment opportunities. There is need to focus on non-conventional sectors to increase exports of the country. Our industry has huge potential for value addition and profitability but due to lack of apprehension, this industry is far below our regional competitors, who are engaged in the mining, cutting/polishing and trading of gemstones.

This was stated by Malik Shahid Saleem, President, the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday. He informed that RCCI is going to organize three day 2ndGems and Jewelry exhibition on August 23-25 in Islamabad. He said that the exhibition would provide opportunity to the businessmen to showcase the best of Pakistani gemstones, diamonds, jewellery, watches and mineral specimens from across the country.

Giving details, the RCCI chief said that the main purpose of this expo was to attract foreign investment in non-conventional sectors like Gems and Jewelry and to promote small and medium enterprise (SME). There will more than 50 stalls of different items including precious stones, gems, ornaments and silver, Gold and diamond jewelry. A technical convention with respect to cutting, polishing and certification of gems will also be held on the sidelines of the Expo. He also demanded for an Expo center in Rawalpindi for the display and exhibition of Gems stones. Pakistan is a country with a population of more than 200 million people and a rich tradition of craftsmanship in jewellery manufacturing. Skilled/semi-skilled labour force is available at relatively lower rates, which offers a comparative advantage to the country. Their skill enhancement through training would lead to greater competitiveness, he added.

Pakistan always focused on traditional sectors to increase exports, however, we must look for new opportunities and sectors like Gems and Jewelry to attract foreign investment as countries like Thai land, Sri Lanka and Central Asian states have shown interest, he added.

He also mentioned that Pakistan is rich in natural resources of gems and stones. The mineral-laden mountains in Pakistan have rich natural resources. The Country is home to numerous arrays of gemstones he informed.

Similarly, our workers and experts are also skillful. The Government should come forward and add incentives here to reduce taxes on import of machinery and other raw material used in this sector, he further added.

Malik Shahid Saleem informed that Pakistan has enormous wealth of expensive gems such as ruby, emerald, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, peridot, aquamarine, spinel, pargasite, diopside, moonstone, pink topaz, sapphire, zircon, feldspar, agate, serpentine jade, epidote, pink beryl (morganite), purple beryl, sphene, zoisite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and kunzite etc.

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