Oct 22 - 28, 2001
Bush gets authority to lift all sanctions
The US House of Representatives on Tuesday evening
passed by voice vote a bill that gives authority to the president to
waive all sanctions against Pakistan, including democracy sanctions.
The way is now clear for the United States to
resume all kinds of economic and military aid to Pakistan till 2003.
Although, one-time waivers were earlier permitted with regard to some
restrictions, this is the first time in a decade that Pakistan will be
entirely free of American sanctions.
The US administration had even before the Sept 11
attacks decided to seek waivers for all anti-Pakistan sanctions, but
democracy, or Section 508 sanctions, that under the US law come into
effect immediately a civilian, elected government is deposed through a
military coup, were proving an obstacle, with Congress reportedly
baulking at lifting them. But Pakistan's transformation as the key
battle-line state for the US-led military operations in Afghanistan
dramatically changed the mood in Congress.
The bill was first rushed through the Senate
proposing waiver of all tiers of sanctions, which has now also been
approved by the House.
With regard to Section 508 sanctions, while blanket
waiver authority has been given to the president for the current
fiscal year, for the year after, the president will have to certify
that a waiver will facilitate the restoration of democratic governance
in Pakistan and is important to the US efforts to respond to, deter or
prevent acts of terrorism.
The legislation, which runs through till October
2003, includes waivers of sanctions under the Missile Technology
Control Regime and the Arms Control Act, prohibitions relating to loan
defaults and the ban on transfer of excess defence equipment.
Following approval of the legislation, the US will
be able to release an economic aid package for Pakistan which is
believed to be in the vicinity of $600 million, including $100 million
announced by President Bush in September.
Japan reluctant to write off debt
President Gen Pervez Musharraf called on Japan to
boost its financial support, including a debt waiver, as Pakistan
struggles to cope with a flood of refugees following US bombing
attacks in Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday.
President Musharraf made the request during a
30-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi, the officials said.
"Referring to five billion dollar loans from
our country to Pakistan, President Musharraf requested Prime Minister
Koizumi to write off the loans," a Japanese foreign ministry
Mr Koizumi vowed to continue backing Pakistan but
showed no intention of waiving its loans to the debt-ridden country.
"I would like to support Pakistan from a
financial point of view," Mr Koizumi was quoted by the official
as telling the president. "But our basic stance is that a debt
waiver is not desirable," Mr Koizumi said.
Britain to give £15m for Afghan refugees
Britain has decided to further offer 15 million
pounds for Afghan refugees, says the visiting British secretary of
state for international development Clare Short on Wednesday.
She is here at the invitation of finance minister
Shaukat Aziz to extend financial support for Afghan refugees and for
poverty- reduction in Pakistan.
According to a statement made by the British High
Commission she said that Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries
in the world. "It has some of the world's highest child and
maternal mortality rates, disability is common as a consequence of the
large number of land mines that litter the country, health and
education services have virtually disappeared, and women and girls
have suffered grievously from the restrictions imposed on them by the Taliban."
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ICC moot rescheduled
In view of the current situation, the "ICC
Regional Foreign Direct Investment Conference" which was to be
held on November 11-12, 2001 has now been rescheduled for February
16-18, 2002, says a press release.
Pakistan and United States on Tuesday agreed on the
formation of a broad-based government in Kabul having representation
from the Northern Alliance as well as 'moderate elements' of the Taliban.
"We both agree that all elements, including
the Northern Alliance and southern tribal leaders," should have
representation in the future political set-up, US Secretary of State
Colin Powell said after talks with Pakistan team headed by President
Gen Pervez Musharraf.
The three-hour discussions included a session of
one-on-one meeting between President Musharraf and Mr Powell.
"When you say broad-based it means all will have to have an
opportunity," Mr Powell said, laying emphasis on 'all'.
Nagina Cotton Mills Limited proposes to invest Rs14
million in 2 million right shares of Rs10 each, at discounted price of
Rs7 in the associated company — Pacific Leasing Company Limited.
European Union governments Wednesday promised a
swift signature of a new cooperation treaty with Pakistan, with
diplomats also recognising that any future broad-based post-Taliban
government in Afghanistan would have to live in peace with its neighbours.