Oct 15 - 21, 2001
WTC incident to cause loss of $1bn to Pakistan: WB
The World Bank believes that events following the
September 11 attacks on New York and Washington have dealt Pakistan a
"sharp economic blow", estimated to cost the country at
least US $1 billion this year alone, and fears that the figure could
rise if the situation in Afghanistan is not resolved in the short
This is stated in a World Bank press release issued
after talks between bank president James Wolfensohn and visiting
Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Wednesday. Mr Aziz was said
to have assured Mr Wolfensohn of Pakistan's commitment to stay the
course with the reform programme and accelerate its implementation.
The finance minister also met the chairman of the
Export-Import Bank of the US, Mr John E. Robson, and discussed
financing of transactions to supply US commercial aircraft to
While there is renewed interest in Pakistan
following Islamabad's decision to join the anti-terrorist campaign,
the World Bank press release points out that much before this, in
March, a gathering of international donors had commended Pakistan's
commitment to address long-standing problems of poverty, education and
health and, in parallel, to tackle corruption and other policy and
institutional constraints to business activity and growth.
World Bank lending to Pakistan in the previous
financial year is $374 million and is slated to increase during the
current fiscal year. Mr Wolfensohn was reported to have assured Mr
Aziz of the Bank's continued support. "We have been immensely
impressed by Pakistan's reform programme, which started two years
ago," he said. "Of course, right now, as the country faces a
particularly challenging period, we will be there to help it keep that
reform programme on track. It is a programme which targets poverty and
which brings a powerful new discipline into the country's institutions
to remove unnecessary obstacles to growth. It is a real opportunity
for all Pakistani people to build a sustainable future and we must not
lose sight of that, even at this most difficult time."
Germany assures Pakistan of help through IMF, WB
Pakistan has suggested a broad-based coalition
government in Afghanistan with representation from all sections,
saying that "no regime can be imposed by outside powers".
The Germany's state secretary of foreign affairs,
Juergen Chrobog, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that
President Gen Musharraf had made that suggestion to German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder during a telephonic conversation on Tuesday.
President Musharraf, according to Mr Chrobog, told the German
chancellor that a broad-based coalition government would be acceptable
to the Afghan people.
He said Gen Musharraf had emphasised that no regime
could be imposed on Afghanistan by outside powers. The two leaders, he
added, had discussed the post-Taliban scenario in Afghanistan. He
stated that the German chancellor had assured Gen Musharraf of
increased economic cooperation and support in the international
financial institutions, including the Paris Club, the IMF and the
EU for new treaty with Islamabad
Relations with Pakistan climbed up the European
Union's foreign policy agenda on Monday as the bloc's 15 foreign
ministers promised to "continue and develop" political ties
with Pakistan and said they were ready to sign a new cooperation
treaty with Islamabad.
The European Commission has been instructed to look
into plans to revive the agreement which was put on ice following a
military take-over in the country in October 1999. Diplomats say the
EU is also considering an unprecedented package of budgetary aid for
Islamabad in addition to increased humanitarian assistance.
Pakistani textile officials meanwhile are
discussing improved access to the EU market for the country's textile
and garment exports. The turn-around in EU-Pakistan relations is
directly linked to Islamabad's support for the US anti-terror campaign
in Afghanistan, say officials.
Hubco AGM in December
Hub Power Company Limited on Thursday announced
that its share transfer books will remain closed from December 12 to
December 21 (both days inclusive) for holding of Annual General
Meeting during this period.
As US-led operation against terrorism continues,
Pakistan has come under the spotlight of British media. The amount of
coverage Pakistan is getting is unprecedented. Each and every day,
leading British newspapers bring out several stories about anti-US
demonstrations in Quetta and other cities of Pakistan. Almost all
reports describe Pakistan's support to the US-led action as crucial,
and the tone of the press is extremely friendly.
HBFC to work on interest-free basis
The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved
amendments to the House Building Finance Corporation Act, 1952, to
bring its provisions in line with a decision of the Shariat appellate
bench of the Supreme Court and render its functions interest-free.
According to the proposed amendments, the
corporation will not borrow on interest basis (which in the first
place is not practised for rupee transactions in the banking sector
PTCL, NP sell-off delayed: Altaf
Pakistan's major privatization transactions have
been delayed due to prevailing situation, arising out of September 11
terrorist attack on America and subsequent air strikes against
"Under these circumstances bigger transactions
like PTCL, National Power Company and off-loading of the government's
shareholding in 9 oil wells have been delayed," said Minister for
Privatization Altaf M. Saleem.
LPG companies asked to reduce prices by 20pc
The federal government has directed the liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) companies to reduce consumers prices by at least
20 per cent and base future pricing on six monthly revision in
Official sources said that these directives have
been issued under rule 18 (2) of LPG (production and development)
rules 2001 following inability to implement a two month old decision.