Oct 29 - Nov 04, 2001
Pakistan reaches understanding with IMF
Pakistan has reached a "broad
understanding" with the International Monetary Fund on a major
poverty reduction loan, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said after talks
with IMF officials on Thursday.
Aziz also said the Paris Club group of creditor
states had scheduled a session to discuss a separate request for
"substantive debt relief" in December.
Pakistan is burdened by some $36 billion of debt,
of which around $15.5 billion is with the World Bank, IMF and other
institutional lenders and $12.5 billion with Paris Club states.
Aziz said talks held with delegations from both the
IMF and the Paris Club on Thursday had been "very
constructive", but said the amount of any IMF loan was still
open. "We have a broad understanding on the modalities of the
(poverty reduction) programme. The amount obviously depends on many
other factors," Aziz told a news conference.
Earlier this week, the IMF said in Washington it
was "highly satisfied" with progress made in agreeing the
terms of economic reforms Pakistan would adhere to in return for a
potential three-year poverty reduction loan.
IMF officials have also said it is too soon to put
a figure on the size of the new loan.
Federal minister currently visiting Algiers to
attend the 26th annual meeting of Islamic Development Bank, also held
important bilateral consultations with delegates from countries of
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE on Wednesday, adds APP.
Turkey backs broad-based Afghan setup
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Thursday
supported the idea of forming a broad-based government but stopped
short of saying anything about inclusion of moderate Taliban in the
proposed future political setup in Kabul.
"This is not the right time to talk about
whether this or that group should be included in the broad-based
government," Mr Sezer said at a joint press conference with
President Gen Pervez Musharraf here at the President House.
The Turkish president, however, underlined the need
for ensuring representation to all the social and ethnic groups in the
future political dispensation in Afghanistan, mentioning the word 'Pakhtoon'
Peshawar peace moot seeks UN, OIC help
Attaching extra significance to former king Zahir
Shah's role to resolving the conflict, the conference of Afghan elders
and leaders on Thursday called upon the Organization of Islamic
Conference and the United Nations to cooperate with them in convening
Loya Jirga to put an end to the crisis.
Organized by the Assembly for Peace and National
Unity of Afghanistan (Apnua) at the Nishter Hall, the two-day
conference concluded on Thursday after adopting eight unanimous
Apnua convener Pir Syed Ahmad Gillani presided over
the conference which was attended by some 1,500 Afghan notables,
former Mujahideen commanders, tribal elders, various chieftains and
religious leaders, representing various ethnic groups.
One of the resolutions pointed out that the US-led
military strikes might cause the fall of the Taliban regime which, it
warned, would create political vacuum. The country might slip into
another spell of anarchy and bloodshed, if the vacuum was filled
through a military operation.
Riyadh to stand by Islamabad in need
Saudi Arabia on Thursday assured that it had and
would stand with Pakistan whenever the national interests of either
country were challenged.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told
newsmen after meeting with President Pervez Musharraf that he had
brought a message of friendship and solidarity for the people of
Pakistan from the King and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
About Pakistan's economic difficulties, the special
envoy of King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia said the kingdom would
not leave Pakistan in lurch. "We stand together and whatever
Saudi Arab can do it will do."
The Privatization Commission has decided to
disinvest the government's 49 per cent shares in the Allied Bank of
Pakistan (ABL) through a public auction.
The commission has invited Expressions of Interests
(EoIs) from interested parties who desired to be pre-qualified to take
part in the bidding process for the government's equity stakes,
equivalent to 51.97 million.
Pakistan has been offered $800 million immediate
"cash grant" by the United States and its allies to help
improve its economy. "We will be very soon provided this net cash
grant of $800 million in addition to $600 million for Afghan
refugees," said minister for finance Shaukat Aziz.
Unfolding his economic assistance package jointly
being sought from the US, European Union and International Financial
Institutions (IFIs) at a news conference on Saturday the minister said
that Pakistan has been offered a substantial budgetary support as well
as debt relief.
ABAMCO acquires Security Fund
ABAMCO Limited, the fund management company
announced on Wednesday that together with its subsidiary —
Confidence Financial Services Limited — they had acquired the
(entire) shareholding in Security Fund Management Limited — the
investment advisor to Security Stock Fund Limited (a closed-end mutual
Director General Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (Opec) has appreciated the reforms agenda
initiated by Pakistan for the revival of the economy and offered to
provide finances to the private sector in the country.
Offer to this effect was made at a call on meeting
of Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz with Opec Director General at
Algiers, says a message received on Thursday.