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Oct 16 - 22, 2000

One-year performance

The CE defended the one-year performance of his government, saying any aspersion on it was "malicious propaganda". However, he said, this did not mean that he was claiming the performance was ideal.

Some external forces, he said, wanted to "destabilize his government and him" and intelligence reports substantiated this assertion. Some internal elements whose interests were going to be adversely affected by the new local government system were also a part of the plan, and since the devolution plan had deprived many bureaucrats of their power, they, too, were worried about their future. NAB affectees had also joined the bandwagon and utterances of all these people cumulatively were creating an impression of despondency. For their own interests, Gen Musharraf said, such people were raising the old issues like the release of the 30-year-old Hamoodur Rahman Commission report.

Rejecting the allegation that Pakistan today stood isolated in the comity of nations, he claimed that relations with countries like Iran and Egypt had improved and with European Union and UK stabilized.

As for relations with China and the Middle East countries, he said they were already very close.

He said the Kashmir issue had been projected at the international level, adding that as a result of Pakistan's efforts, countries like USA, Russia and UK were now directly dealing with Afghanistan.

About the recent defence deals between Russia and India, Gen Musharraf said cooperation between them had already been going on. As for steps by Pakistan to counter the situation, he said, "our strategy is to maintain minimum nuclear deterrence and this policy will be adhered to."

He said though arm deals had been signed, their execution was quite a different issue. He implied it was not necessary that every deal signed between the two countries would be implemented.

Gen Musharraf told a questioner that it was India which was responsible for firing from across the Line of Control. Pakistan, he said, had to respond only in self-defence. He pointed out that recently an opportunity was created for talks between Pakistan and India but it was stifled by New Delhi.

Regulations on bourses' alliances by March

A framework of regulations on the alliances and integration of stock exchanges may be finalized when the Asia-Pacific regional committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) meets at Kuala Lumpur in March next.

The regulations would be broadly based on the discussions of the committee's two-day meeting held at Bhurban earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan commissioner, Tariq Iqbal Khan, told newsmen on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by 20 delegates from 13 countries, he added.

TCP to pay Rs40 extra premium for lint cotton

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan has decided to pay an extra premium of Rs 40 per maund over and above the prevailing prices of lint cotton for a particular grade/staple being procured by the organization.

Official sources told on Wednesday that the TCP had revised its cotton operation plan 2000-2001 and submitted it to the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet. The ECC is likely to approve the plan in its meeting on Oct 16, they said.

The government, the sources said, had also asked the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to start paying the premium to the growers/ ginners.

The purpose was to encourage the growers and ginners to produce "contamination-free" cotton, they added.

30% LC margin to retard exports

The imposition of 30% cash margin by scheduled banks and stringent measures for early repatriation of export proceeds have created difficulties for industry as well as export trade.

This was stated by a spokesman of APTMA Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig while briefing newsmen at APTMA House on Wednesday.

He cautioned that if LC margin was not removed on import of machinery and raw material it will retard the ambitious programme of expansion and BMR initiated by the textile industry under 'Textile Vision 2005."

Pakistan to attend energy moot

Top-level representatives from at least 60 countries, including Pakistan have confirmed attendance at the seventh international energy forum slated for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from Nov 17-19, the authoritative Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported on Monday.

Donors may cut $92m aid

International donor agencies may withdraw $92 million support for Social Action Programme (SAP) due to the government's failure in fulfilling its obligations in social sector.

Informed sources said on Saturday that the donors had informed the government that the undisbursed $92 million (Rs5.5 billion) was being withdrawn because of the failure of the concerned agencies to put in place certain credible system to run SAP effectively.

Pakistan was earlier getting $267 million annually from the multi-donor support, led by the World Bank, which had subsequently been reduced from 0.4 per cent GDP ratio to 0.2.

Sources said that the donors had agreed to "renegotiate and remodify" the SAP to make it a success story. In this regard new proposals had been made by the government.

Razzak stresses increase in exports

Pakistan needs long-term investment in information technology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and engineering sectors in order to boost the exports.

This was stated by Commerce and Industries Minister, Abdul Razzak Dawood at a forum organized by Pakistan German Business Forum on Saturday.

"We need investments right now to further increase our exports so that targets can be achieved," he said.

Duty exemption on raw sugar import

Duty exemption for import of raw sugar is being notified next week to attract increased imports and meet the shortage in the country. The sales tax on sugar is also being imposed on daily transaction basis, from next month.

Steps are also being taken to regulate the raw sugar import by allowing only the manufacturers to place orders for import. The commercial import of raw sugar is causing leakage of sales tax.