British Airways announces ‘first ever’ direct flights to Lahore from October

British Airways suspended flights to Cairo for seven days starting Saturday as a precaution to allow for an assessment of security there, the airline said in a statement. (File/ AFP)
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Updated 16 September 2020

British Airways announces ‘first ever’ direct flights to Lahore from October

  • Airline resumed flights to Pakistan after more than a decade last year in June, already flies to Islamabad
  • British High Commissioner calls this “sign of confidence in Pakistan and the deepening ties between the two countries“

ISLAMABAD: British Airways has announced this week it will begin flying direct from the Pakistani city of Lahore to London Heathrow four days a week, commencing on October 14, 2020.

The airline resumed flights to Pakistan after more than a decade last year in June. It first flew to Islamabad in 1976.
“The ‘City of Gardens’, Lahore, will be the second city in Pakistan that British Airways will connect to London, US and Canada, the British high commission said in a statement.

“The airline already flies every single day from Islamabad, connecting friends and family as well as business contacts,” the statement said, added that flights would be operated by a Boeing 787-8 departing from Heathrow Terminal 5 and landing at Lahore’s International Airport.
“The first ever British Airways flights to Lahore is a sign of confidence in Pakistan, and the deepening ties between our two countries,” British High Commissioner in Islamabad, Christian Turner, said. “I hope it will open up even more opportunities for business links, people-to-people ties and tourism.”

Moran Birger, Head of Sales for The Middle East and Asia Pacific, said: “Our new services from Lahore will connect two of Pakistan’s biggest cities with London, and offer seamless transfer options to Manchester, the United States and Canada.”
“This new flight from Lahore represents our continued investment in Pakistan, and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board,” Birger added.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.