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Aug 13 - 19 , 2001

Pakistan to demine areas in Lebanon

Pakistan has agreed to dispatch very shortly 300 troops besides training 12 Lebanese officers here to carry out demining operations around Beirut and Southern Lebanon.

President General Pervez Musharraf and Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Al-Hariri also agreed here on Wednesday to strengthen relationships in the field of defence, training, diplomacy, commerce and trade besides other areas of mutual interest. "We have already reached agreement on demining assistance to demine areas around Beirut and Southern Lebanon and about 300 troops will be sent to Lebanon as soon as possible to assist our brothers," said Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Speaking to journalists at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime minister following talks spanning over an hour here at the chief executive office, the president said his country was ready to train as many Lebanese officers as required.

The prime minister of Lebanon Rafic Al-Hariri said the two sides had very fruitful discussions and the President had promised to assist Lebanon in demining operations by Pakistan Army. "Usually they train five to eight officers but this year we will send 12 officers," said Mr. Hariri.

The prime minister said: "We have agreed to exchange visits of ministers concerned to try to strengthen economic relations and find ways in which Pakistan can benefit from Lebanese position as a commercial hub of Arab world and Europe".He said he had been given a warm welcome here and Lebanon considered Pakistan as a friendly country and the president as the brother of Lebanon.

To a question about strategic relationship, the Lebanese Prime Minister said: "We are facing very similar challenges and... we stand by with Pakistan and support Pakistan to be a member of the United Nations Security Council". He said the two sides have to get together in many fields for the benefit of both.

BoI in search of investment potential

Pakistan will hold investment conferences in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and China during October-November this year. Sources close to Board of Investment say similar conferences will also be held in Japan, South Africa and Australia later on.

They say the Pakistani businessmen can explore the possibility of promoting in the above-listed countries the investment and business opportunities in Pakistan in the following areas: (i) mineral development (ii) oil and gas (iii) information technology (iv) agro-based industries and corporate farming (v) privatization programme (vi) small and medium size enterprises (vii) tourism and (viii) businesses well suited to overseas Pakistanis.

The sources said BoI has informed the business community of the government's plan to hold investment conferences in the countries and has asked them to identify some specific projects that businessmen want to undertake as joint ventures with their counterparts in these countries.

Merger of four companies proposed

Ibrahim Group proposes to merge four companies under its fold - Ibrahim Textile Mills Limited, A.A. Textile Mills Limited, Zainab Textile Mills Limited and Ibrahim Energy Limited - into the flagship company, Ibrahim Fibres Limited. All five companies are listed at the stock exchanges.

The meeting of the board of directors of five companies held separately in Lahore last Saturday, approved the "scheme of arrangement for amalgamation" of companies into a single entity.

A senior executive at the group declined to reveal the modalities of the merger, saying that it would be premature to reveal more until the scheme has received sanction of the court and the approval by shareholders. But analysts believe that the management is looking forward to completing the paperwork by end-September and will be able to issue a combined balance sheet of the merged company for the year to end December 31, 2001.

Shaukat, Qazi meet Chinese premier

Foreign Minister Shaukat Aziz and Communication Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi on Thursday had a meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji at People's Great Hall, during which wide-ranging matters of bilateral interests were discussed.

"I had a very useful meeting with Chinese Premier for developing socio-economic relations and strengthening the ongoing efforts to maintain peace in South Asia," Shaukat Aziz told APP. He said he delivered a special message of goodwill by President General Pervez Musharraf to the Chinese prime minister.

Great scope exists for Sinopec investment

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin on Thursday said that tremendous potential existed for Sinopec investment in the oil and gas and privatization of petroleum sector that would open up new vistas of bilateral relations.

He was talking to the Sinopec delegation headed by vice President, Qin Xianghua, at a farewell meeting. Usman Aminuddin said that Sinopec delegation during its stay in Pakistan had had fruitful discussions on the prospects of oil and gas collaboration, investment opportunities in the privatization of petroleum sector, and assured them his all-out support and cooperation in this regard.

OGDCL, PSO sell-off by 2002

Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will be privatized by the first quarter of 2002. Minister for Privatization Altaf M. Saleem stated this here on Tuesday during a meeting with a five-member Chinese delegation visiting Pakistan to evaluate prospective opportunities for investment in the oil and gas sector.

Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for OGDCL and PSO will be invited later this year and their privatization would be completed by the first quarter of 2002, Saleem said. Briefing the delegation about the opportunities in country's privatization programme, Saleem highlighted the transaction relating to the government's working interest in nine oil and gas fields.