Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday his country
assigned "special importance" to its relations with Pakistan, and
stressed the need for establishing "mutually beneficial bilateral
Mr Putin was speaking at a ceremony where Pakistan ambassador
to the Russian Federation, Syed Iftikhar Murshed, had presented his credentials
to him, said a press release of the Pakistan Embassy in Moscow issued on
President Putin referred to his recent meeting with the chief
executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in New York. He described the meeting as
The ambassador conveyed warm greetings and good wishes from
the president and the chief executive to the Russian president which were warmly
Masood Haider adds from New York: Pakistan and Russia
reaffirmed their support to the efforts being made by the UN secretary-general's
special representative as well as under the "Six-plus-Two" mechanism
to resolve the Afghanistan conflict.
At a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly session
on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and Russian Foreign Minister Igor S.
Ivanov held in-depth discussions on the Afghan situation.
They also stressed the need for strengthening bilateral
They expressed satisfaction over the recent ministerial
meeting of the Six-plus-Two group, and concurred that there could be no military
solution to the Afghan conflict.
Mr Sattar welcomed President Putin's decision to send his
special envoy to Pakistan. During the past week, Mr Sattar had held meetings
with the foreign ministers of Belgium, Bhutan, Cuba, Germany, Kuwait, Laos,
Libya, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, US, and Vietnam. The ministers had evinced
understanding and desire to promote cooperation with Pakistan.
Rice support price raised by 10%
The government has enhanced rice support price by 10 per cent
(Rs20 to Rs35 per 40kg) in different varieties and allocated Rs1 billion to
Passco for purchasing the paddy crop at the new rates.
The decision on the new support price and other measure was
taken at an emergency meeting, presided over by chief executive Gen Pervez
The meeting, attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz,
Commerce Minister and Advisor to the chief executive on agriculture, M. Shafi
Niaz, was briefed by agriculture secretary Dr Zafar Altaf about the existing
rice crisis and possible solutions.
World Bank holds talks on $350m loan
A high-ranking World Bank mission comprising senior officials
from policy, power and infrastructure and banking and finance sectors held
negotiations with the Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on a $350 millionstructural
adjustment loan (SAL) of on Thursday.
The World Bank side was represented by Mr John Panzer, senior
Joe Pernia, division chief banking & finance, Jaarda
Leeuwen, principal analyst and John Wall, country director for Pakistan.
The mission reviewed the reform programme in the areas of
energy sector, banking and civil services and governance and expressed
satisfaction over the pace of implementation.
TCP payment to ginners
Trading Corporation of Pakistan has made the first payment
against procurement of 100 bales of cotton in Sindh at the rate of Rs1,935 per
A TCP official said here on Thursday that the corporation has
so far purchased 5,200 bales of cotton with a grade Box 3 of Pakistan Cotton
Standard Institute (PCSI).
PTCL to extend internet facilities
The PTCL has made elaborate plans for the extension of
Internet facilities to maximum cities on local call charges-basis. These plans
are aimed at promotion of Information Technology in the country.
As per plan approved by the government and formally
inaugurated by the President of Pakistan on Aug 17, the PTCL will connect 262
cities with Internet by October 2000. While till June 2001, over 400
cities/towns will get the facility.
Boosting trade with China
The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, said on Monday
that his government was taking steps for the development of Northern Areas and
boosting trade with China and Central Asian states.
"We intend to open this region for trade with China and
Central Asian Republics," he said while speaking to the participants of the
International Silk Route Festival at the newly-inaugurated Lalak Jan stadium.
He said the government planned to lay a network of roads
linking Chitral, Hunza, Skardu, Chilas and other parts of Northern Areas to
promote tourism and trade activities in the region.
2 airports, 2 seaports may be privatized
The government is considering a proposal for granting
handling concessions of two airports and two ports to the private sector, says
privatization commission chief.
"Concessioning of Lahore International Airport and
Quaid-i-Azam International Airport as well as two ports in Karachi is being
studied," the PC chairman, Altaf Saleem, told envoys of European Union at a
briefing held at the French embassy on Wednesday.
He said a decision had already been taken to privatize
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation.
The progressive group, headed by Sardar Mohammed Ali Jogezai,
have won all the eight seats in the annual elections of Balochistan chamber of
commerce and industry held on Thursday.
UK-based traders to get all facilities
British-based Pakistani traders and industrialists will be
provided all possible facilities and incentives for investment in different
sectors of Balochistan.
"We will give full protection to foreign investors and
their invested capital," Justice Amirul-Mulk Mengal extended this assurance
to Pakistani businessmen based in United Kingdom who called on him at the
Governor House on Wednesday.
Businessmen Group, led by S.M. Munir, has swept the elections
of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for the year 2000-2001,
bagging all the ten seats.