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Mar 05 - 11, 2001

Ghalib and Information Technology

A seminar on Ghalib held last week at the Pakistan Arts Council in collaboration with Greenwich University. "Ghalib aur Information Technology".

Dr. Ishrat Husain in his presidential discourse said that with IT at hand, the message of Ghalib's poetry, his humanistic approach towards life and vision, unfolding itself with the passage of time could now more effectively be sent to people at large. The area of human knowledge, with each scientific discovery, has been expanding, he said. First, it was gramophone, then television, also satellites, now computers and IT, and with the click of a button, the entire world unfolds itself before our eyes. Ghalib's greatness lies in his deep study of nature and the scientific knowledge he had derived out of it.

About 15 per cent of his poetry was based on scientific principals, he observed and said that with increasing awareness and knowledge the inner meaning of Ghalib's poetry would be known to people in coming years.

Earlier, Ghazi Salahuddin said Ghalib was a great humanist and a secular person. Poetry, fine arts, study of nature, philosophy and culture were the essentials of society, and not the development of technology and science alone. Creativity, he said, could not be obtained without literature and poetry. He said cinema, TV, the Progressive literary movement and the new scientific traditions had greatly helped in the study of Ghalib's poetry and now IT could be harnessed to carry his noble and thoughtful message around the world.

Talat Husain had come with a fine selection of letters depicting different phases of the great poet's life.

Shahabuddin Shahab read out a Persian naat and a Persian ghazal of Ghalib's. His Tehtul Iafz delivery of both in Persian accent was superb.

However, the Vice Chancellor of Greenwich University, Seema Mughal's paper was liked by the audience.

Famous poet Tabish Dehlavi recited his verse he had composed at the 100th anniversary of Ghalib some 31 years ago.

NIT & UBL Strategic Alliance

Since inception NIT has made a significant contribution towards mobilization of individual savings for investment at the national level. In order to further improve and encourage investment, NIT and UBL have entered into a strategic alliance through which NIT sale counters shall be established at prime UBL branches. NIT will utilize the selected branch network of UBL as an outlet for its investments. This joint venture is a cost-effective proposition for NIT to reach maximum number of customers with minimum financial outlay.

In the initial phase, the NIT's sale/repurchase operations would commence from two designated branches of UBL, namely Shamsheer Branch and North Nazimabad Branch. In due course of time five more sales counters will be installed in Karachi and the facility would further be extended to the major cities i.e. Lahore Rawlapindi, Islamabad and remote areas of the country.

Nit sales counters will be equipped with latest information technology to provide on-line information on stock market position and NIT rates. The NIT sales staff will be available to provide investment services and investment related information to its customers from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all working days and 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM on Saturdays. The project will be in addition to the existing NIT sales network of 24 branches.

The NIT/UBL project envisages to offer additional options to NIT retail investors, with major emphasis on the individual investors residing in remote areas of the country. As such NIT expects to attract personal savings by utilizing the UBL branch network already operating throughout the country. From the point of view of UBL, NIT sales counters are expected to add to the customer base of UBL which, in return, should also expand the deposit base. In addition, after the implementation of the Riba-free economy, the UBL will have an edge over other banks by having an Islamic investment tool. It is pertinent to note that the NIT's investment is almost Riba-free.

NIT, the largest open-ended mutual fund in the country with around 70% share of the total Mutual fund industry has around 65,000 unitholders and is actively working on different products to enhance customer base. NIT offers the advantage of well diversified portfolio to its investors, without the capital outlay needed to develop one for themselves. The joint venture will help in improving investment climate in Pakistan.

Sysnet Education and University of Cambridge — Unveiling New Standards of Excellence

Sysnet Education (Pvt.) Ltd., has become affiliated with Cambridge International Examinations, a Local Examinations Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, during an affiliation ceremony held at the Sheraton, Karachi, on February 25, 2001.

The affiliation ceremony was inaugurated by Dr. Fred Burke, Regional Director, Cambridge international Examinations, South Asia and Mauritius, together with Danesh N. Dubash, General Manager, Sysnet Education.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Fred Burke mentioned, The joining of hands of Cambridge International Examinations and Sysnet Education will prove immensely beneficial to candidates, in helping leverage themselves to the forefront of their relevant industries, explore new horizons and set new benchmarks of quality".

Danesh N. Dubash, General Manager, Sysnet Education, while at the ceremony, commented, "we are proud to be affiliated with one of the world's leading academic institutions and hope that this affiliation will lead to even greater strengthened ties, in times to come, which will in turn further benefit and refine the Pakistani youth to conquer tomorrow's challenges".

This new affiliation will enable the internationally recognised Cambridge International Examinations to be held at the Sysnet Education location, in Karachi. Under the umbrella of Cambridge International Examinations, Sysnet is now registered to offer training and online testing for Cambridge Skills and Career Awards". Through these educational experiences and examinations, candidates are provided with a competitive advantage, to further either job prospects or an academic career.

Part of the Sysnet Group, Sysnet Education is the established leader in network management training since 1995 and has been committed to enhancing the quality and professionalism of the networking industry. With a combination of a convenient training location, state-of-the-art equipment and the finest instructional talent in the industry, Sysnet Education provides an unparalleled learning experience.

Synectiv — opens showroom in Lahore.

Synectiv Pakistan the largest retailer / distributors of cellular products opened their showroom in Lahore recently.

Synectiv has an aggressive expansion plan to develop retail chain across the country with a concept of "One Stop Shop" providing complete cellular solution under one roof that includes choice of Top leading Brands Handsets, Accessories, One Year Warranty and Effective After Sales support.

Synectiv is also the first ever in Pakistan to introduce "Rent-a- Mobile" at Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi.

New intel mobile processor delivers best performance and Minimal power consumption for sub 3-pound notebooks

Intel Corporation announced a new addition to its family of low-power processors for small mobile PCs. The Low Voltage mobile Pentium® III processor 700 MHz featuring Intel® SpeedStep™ technology delivers the best performance, lowest power consumption and extended battery life to new categories of mini-notebooks weighing less than 3 pounds. This processor is shipping in volume today with systems available from leading PC vendors.

"Intel is absolutely committed to developing mobile processors and technologies to deliver the best mobile experience," said Don MacDonald, marketing director of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "This power efficient mobile processor consumes less than l watt of power while delivering the best performance and extended battery life available today for mini notebooks."

Intel's Low-Power Technologies

All of Intel's mobile processors are specially engineered to meet the performance, power, cooling and size requirements of mobile PCs. The Mobile Pentium III processor featuring Intel SpeedStep technology can dynamically switch clock frequency and voltage, depending on whether the computer is running on batteries or is plugged into AC power. When running in Battery Optimized Mode, the processor runs at a lower frequency and lower voltage, significantly lowering CPU power consumption while still delivering high performance. When a user plugs into an AC outlet, the notebook automatically switches to Maximum Performance Mode, increasing the frequency significantly. Users also have the freedom to select the Maximum Performance Mode even while running on batteries. Making the switch is as easy as clicking an icon at the bottom of the screen — and no reboot is required.


MCB has added another ATM at Sui Southern Gas Building, Sir Shah Suleman Road, Near Civic Centre, Karachi to its over 80 ATMs across 12 cities. The MCB ATM card can be used globally via Cirrus and Maestro network of more than 5.4 million points. The ATM was inaugurated by Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Managing Director (Sui Southern Gas) in a simple ceremony. Other prominent personalities present included Mr. Inam-us-Samad (Deputy MD) Sui Southern Gas, Mr. Aftab Manzoor-President & Chief Executive MCB, Mr. Ali Munir-Head of Financial Control, Mr. Aarij Ali-Head of Consumer Banking, Mr. Amjad Farooq-Head of IT and Naseem-ur-Riaz-EVP-Engineering & Maintenance.

NBP Provides Rs. 400 M Financing Facility

National Bank of Pakistan signed an agreement for syndicated financing facility for Pakcom, a limited company providing cellular telephone services in Pakistan.

National Bank approved the financing facility to the extent of Rs. 400 million, against total financing amount of Rs. 1,100 million. ABN Amro Bank has arranged the facility for Pakcom. The amount of this syndicated loan will be sued largely for working capital requirement and some to be used for balance sheet restructuring of the country.

"We are happy and confident that this financing facility will provide further boost to the cellular business in the country and will also lead way to the introduction of next generation products in the market, so vital for the growth of national economy", Mr. Ali Raza President National Bank of Pakistan said at the signing ceremony.

The first tranche of Rs. 500 million under this syndicated financing comprising NBP's portion Rs. 400 million and ABN Amro Bank's portion of Rs. 100 million, is scheduled to be drawn down within 2 weeks of signing of the loan documentation while the next tranche of approximately the same amount is planned to be availed by Pakcom by the middle of this year.

MCB National refinery branch at korangi industrial area, Karachi shifted to its newly constructed premises.

In line with Banks Mission statement, "To become the preferred provider of quality financial services in the country with Profitability and responsibility and to be the Best Place to Work", MCB has transferred its National Refinery branch to its new premises. It was inaugurated by Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman MCB, jointly with Mr. S.M. Muneer, Vice Chairman MCB.


The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) has maintained the rating of 'A3' (A Three) of First Habib Modaraba (FHM). This is one of the two Modarabas which have been placed in the 'A' category rating by PACRA. The rating denotes an outstanding financial condition with a consistent record of above average performance.

While assigning the rating, PACRA has recognised the sustainable improvement in the performance of the Modaraba and further strengthening of high quality asset portfolio. The rating also takes into account the steady growth and ability to maintain a consistently good performance by FHM despite the continuing difficult operating environment. The effective risk management policies demonstrate the management's ability to meet the challenges of the prevailing recessionary conditions.

Dividend Announcements by Members of Modaraba Association of Pakistan

Modaraba Association of Pakistan is pleased to announce that for year ended 30th June 2000, around 2/3rd of the Members declared dividends. An analysis of announcements by members shows that:

5 members declared dividends ranging from 21-l/2% upto 30%.
4 Members declared dividends between 15 to 20%.
6 Members declared dividends between 10 and 15%.
Finally, 9 members declared dividends up to 10%.

Despite the fact that 9 members declared dividends between 15 and 30%, only 2 Modarabas are quoted on the Karachi Stock Exchange in excess of Rs.10, the rest are quoted below par.

One Modaraba, which has declared cash dividends consistently in excess of 15% in the last 5 years, is quoted below par, at only Rs.9.50 only per certificate of Rs.10. A Modaraba, which has declared cash dividends in excess of 20% in the last 2 years, is also quoted below par, at Rs.4.80 per certificate of Rs. 5.19 of the remaining member Modarabas who declared dividends, are all quoted below Rs.6.50 per certificate.

Despite the dividend announcements highlighted above, and the fact that only 2 Members are quoted above par on the Karachi Stock Exchange, clearly indicates that the public perception regarding Members of the Modaraba Association of Pakistan is misplaced.