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Jul 31 - Aug 06, 2000

Chinese minister reaffirms cooperation

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said on Sunday that the rapprochement between Beijing and New Delhi will not affect the long friendly relationship with Pakistan.

He said his visit to Pakistan would strengthen the friendly and all-weather ties between the two countries. Mr Tang was talking to reporters at the Islamabad airport after his arrival from Karachi where he stayed overnight. He is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan for talks on regional peace and security, besides exchanging views on international issues of common concern.

The foreign minister, who flew to Karachi late Saturday night after a day-long stop over in New Delhi, was welcomed by his counterpart Abdul Sattar.

During his stay in New Delhi he met Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpai and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh.

Mr Tang who will have two sessions of talks with Mr Sattar, was scheduled to open discussions in the hilly resort of Murree later Sunday evening. He will return to the federal capital on Monday.

He will call on President Rafiq Tarar on Monday and Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday before heading for Thailand.

Agencies add: He assured the Indian foreign minister that China-Pakistan cooperation should not be viewed as a threat to Indian interests in South Asia.

Mr Tang said the Sino-Indian rapprochement would not affect further development of the relationship between Pakistan and China.

"Between China and Pakistan we enjoy this profound and traditional friendship. And our relationship is marked by an all-weather relationship. Therefore it is not possible at all for the developments and improvement of China-Indian relations to affect further development of China-Pakistan relations," he said.

Mr Tang will hold two sessions of talks with Sattar and sign two agreements.

Pakistan may not get IMF relief by November

Pakistan is not likely to obtain a new IMF assistance programme before November as a number of hurdles in the way are yet to be crossed. To start with, the Fund has not yet received even the interim strategy paper on poverty reduction and growth which Islamabad is required to prepare in consultation with all the stakeholders, including the poorer sections of the society to qualify for the new programme.

Next, the Fund needs to get prior approval of the important members of its executive board, like the US and its other partners in Group of Eight (G8) to even look at the Pakistan's interim strategy paper seeking assistance from the Fund's new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) programme which has replaced the earlier Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF).

LPG supply assignment acquired

SHV Energy Pakistan has acquired an assignment of 112 metric tons per day of LPG supplies from PARCO through competitive bidding.

The company will market PARCO gas under the brand name of pearl gas, said SHV in a statement on Wednesday.

Currently, the company is gearing up to receive and distribute the PARCO LPG allocation expected to commence from September with the commissioning of PARCO's mid country refinery near Mahmood Kot, Multan.

SHV has pledged an initial investment of $100 million into the development of LPG business in the country. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company sees considerable LPG growth in the country by providing it to remote areas, hoping to invest in filling plants and related infrastructure.

Government to check tax leakages

The federal government has taken an initiative to stop mis-reporting of tax deposits and leakage of income tax through fraudulent ledgering of deposits.

A steering committee has been proposed by the Central Board of Revenue to create parameters for a system of reconciliation of the tax collection reports with the actual amounts of taxes deposited in a given period. National Bank of Pakistan and Auditor General of Pakistan would be asked to name their relevant officials as members of the steering committee.

Five EoIs for Pak Saudi Fertilizers

Privatization Commission has received five expression of interest (EOIs), from the leading groups for the pre-qualification to participate in the process of privatization of Pak Saudi Fertilizers Ltd (PSFL).

The sales turnover of the unit exceeded Rs3.8bn during '98-99 and the share of the company in local urea market has been around 15%.

Total pre-tax profit of the unit during '98-99 exceeded Rs2bn and the total profit for the last five years was about Rs7bn. Urea fertilizer produced by the company has ready local market and export potential. There is availability of natural gas from the nearby Mari Gas Field and main raw material for the unit.

EoI invited for sale of cement co

The Privatization Commission on Monday invited interested parties to participate in the bidding for the purchase of assets belonging to Associated Cement (Rohri) Ltd.

According to PC sources, the bidding will be held on Sept 16, 2000 at 1000 hours at the Privatization Commission Office, Islamabad in accordance with the methodology detailed in bidding documents.

Chinese FM meets Musharraf

Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji reaffirmed in his greetings to Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf the importance attached by the Chinese leadership to developing the close cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad.

Mr Zhu's goodwill message was conveyed by Mr Tang who called on the CE on the last day of his three-day visit to Pakistan on Tuesday.

Declared defaulter

The Lahore Stock Exchange has declared its member Mian Muhammad Saeed, as defaulter. The member had earlier been suspended for non-settlement of the transactions.

A notice issued by the LSE stated that the Governing Board of Directors in its meeting held on July 21 considered that the suspended member LSE, Mian Muhammad Saeed 'had failed to pay his outstanding dues of the LSE Clearing House despite several notices and opportunities'.