June 18 -
Riba deadline frozen by a year
The Supreme Court on Thursday extended for one year the
deadline for the implementation of its judgement which had declared all forms of
interest-based banking un-Islamic.
The deadline, which was to expire on June 30, was extended to
June 30, 2002, with another possible extension if the government showed
sincerity in the implementation of the judgement. A four-member Shariat
Appellate Bench had on Dec 23, 1999, upheld the Federal Shariat Court judgement
declaring all forms of interest un-Islamic, and set June 30, 2001 as the
deadline for the implementation of the judgement.
The four-member bench on Thursday held: "We don't doubt
the intentions and sincerity of the Government, because according to documents,
produced by the Attorney General, the work is being done and obviously it would
take more time as it is (a) gigantic task and requires deeper application of
mind by all concerned." The United Bank had filed an application, seeking
suspension of the judgement till Dec 31, 2005. The federal government, too, had
sought the extension to Dec 31, 2005.
Headed by Justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, the Shariat Appellate
Bench refused to grant the time demanded by the UBL and the federal government
through Attorney-General Aziz A. Munshi. "We would only allow time to the
government till June 30, 2002 within which time the government will take
effective steps for the implementation of the judgment and the court would also
be in a position to know as to what substantial steps have been taken so that
their bona fides may be judged." "Such prayer cannot be allowed.
However, we would only allow time to the government till June 30, 2002."
Ishrat warns against money laundering
State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Husain on Thursday warned banks
that they should not become conduit for money laundering.
"I would not pretend that it is not there. I know it has
been happening," said the governor referring to money laundering in
Speaking as chief guest at a seminar organized by Financial
Markets Association, he said banks must be extremely careful in transacting
businesses making it sure that they do not have an element of money laundering.
He said money laundering had emerged as a critical issue world over adding that
heads of almost all central banks of the world focused on it when they met in
Basel last week.
He said the State Bank would have to have a full police force
if it had to check money laundering through conventional methods. So he asked
banks to start self-policing not only to check money laundering but also to
ensure that they do not indulge in any unethical practices.
Sindh Cabinet, which met on Thursday under the chairmanship
of Sindh Governor Mohammedmian Soomro, approved the Sindh Privatization
Commission Ordinance-2001 providing for the establishment of a Privatization
Commission in the province.
The Ordinance, on coming into effect, will provide for
implementing the privatization policy of Sindh government; a fair and
transparent process of privatization to secure transactions resulting therefrom;
utilization of the proceeds of privatization for the retirement of government
debt and for poverty alleviation.
National health policy unveiled
The much-awaited national health policy 2001, with a motto of
"health for all" and aimed at protecting the countrymen from hazardous
diseases, promoting public health and upgrading curative care facilities, was
unveiled on Tuesday.
Unfolding the much-awaited policy, Dr Abdul Malik Kasi, the
federal health minister, told reporters that the new policy viewed the health
sector investments as part of government's poverty alleviation plan.
Reduction in income tax on cards
The government is considering 4 to 5 per cent reduction in
income tax for the corporate sector in the budget for 2001-2002 to be announced
on June 16. Official sources said on Tuesday that the current rough 45 per cent
corporate income tax will be brought down to about 40 per cent with a view to
helping document the economy. The organized sector, which was paying due taxes,
sources said, would be offered some concessions in the new budget. And the
unorganized sector will be encouraged to become the part of the formal sector by
having some 'new incentives' the budget would be carrying.
China assures of help for Gwadar sea port
The Chinese Communication Minister, Huang Zhendong, said on
Saturday that China would extend all possible assistance for the development and
expansion of Gwadar port.
The Chinese minister held out the assurance during a visit to
Gwadar. He was accompanied by members of his entourage, besides Federal
Communication Minister Javed Ashraf Kazi, Secretary Communication Iftikhar
Rashid and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Lu Shu Lin. Huang Zhendong observed
that Gwadar Port project enjoyed an extra-ordinary importance for the economic
development of Pakistan and there was a need for its completion on priority
Mobilink, Ufone sign agreements with PTCL
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) signed
interconnect agreements with Mobilink and Ufone on Monday. First two agreements
were signed with Paktel & Instaphone on June 7, 2001. These agreements come
in the wake of Calling Party Pay (CPP) regime in the country under which
incoming calls on mobile phone were made free.
The signing ceremony was attended by Chairman Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Maj Gen Khalid Bashir, Chairman PTCL Akhtar
Bajwa, Chairman Mobilink Javed Saifullah, Chief Executive Mobilink Al-F. Barry
and Chief Executive Ufone Arshad Khan. Chairman PTA expressed his satisfaction
on the agreements and termed it a very significant step forward.