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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Nov 12 - 18, 2001

Four vital objectives achieved, says CE

President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday that his government's principled support to the international effort for combating terrorism has helped Pakistan achieve four major important national objectives including assuring integrity and security of Pakistan.

Presiding over the cabinet meeting, he listed these objectives as integrity and security of Pakistan, safety of its strategic assets, avoiding any damage to the Kashmir cause and rehabilitation of the national economy. The meeting was also attended by the provincial governors.

Gen Musharraf emphasized that the diplomatic and economic gains accruing from Pakistan's principled policy far outweighed the material losses it was suffering during the current crisis in the region.

According to informed sources, the President said Pakistan has not gone for any quid pro quo or sought any deal for supporting the Americans to combat terrorism. He said he was happy to note that there was a growing realisation that Pakistan should be fully compensated through new access to markets as well as generous bilateral and multilateral support.

The US government has lifted the remaining sanctions against Pakistan, with Congress allowing President Bush to extend any financial support to Pakistan. There were reports that US was considering to offer one billion dollar to Pakistan. Washington and its coalition partners have already committed $800 million cash grant beside $600 million for Afghan refugees.

Rumsfeld plans to visit Pakistan

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to visit Pakistan, India, Russia and some Central Asian states next week.

On Tuesday, Mr Rumsfeld for the first time publicly acknowledged the presence of American ground troops in Afghanistan amidst reports from Pakistani sources of defections in the Taliban ranks.

He said a "modest number" of the US ground troops were in Afghanistan to provide logistics and liaison support.

The troops, Mr Rumsfeld said, were in the north helping the anti-Taliban forces, and other ground troops had gone in and come out of southern Afghanistan.

Thar coal project

Pakistan on Tuesday asked a Chinese company to carry out, as soon as possible, the feasibility study of Thar coal project so that the mega project could be implemented on a fast track basis.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Usman Aminuddin and a three-member visiting delegation of Shenhua Group of China held a meeting and discussed details of the project.

Ma Jun, the general manager of Shenhua, leading the delegation, briefed the minister about the development activities of the group in China.

N-assets under foolproof controls

Pakistan on Thursday reassured the international community that its nuclear assets were under foolproof custodial controls, and brushed aside apprehensions about these falling into the hands of extremists.

"Dedicated formations of specially equipped forces have been deployed for ensuring the security of Pakistan nuclear installations and assets," Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said in a statement read out at the daily briefing of the Foreign Office.

Flood feared as bombing cripples Afghan dam

US forces on Thursday crippled Afghanistan's biggest hydroelectric complex after two days of their heaviest air raids.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined a chorus of world leaders seeking a swift end to the US-led military action, but appeals for a pause in hostilities during Ramazan brought mixed responses including a strong rejection by Afghan opposition forces fighting the Taliban.

UN not working on new setup

The UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Thursday said that the United Nations has not received a mandate to form government in Afghanistan nor he was aware of the Taliban's role in any future broad-based setup.

Answering questions at a crowded news conference, the UN special representative said, "I am not involved in installing a government anywhere."

He said the UN is not constructing a government in Afghanistan, but under a new added mandate given by the international community, the world body is entrusted with the task of providing humanitarian assistance and preparing for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Aid package finalization during CE's NY visit

An economic aid package being worked out by the United States for Pakistan may be given final shape during General Pervez Musharraf's meeting with President George Bush in New York on November 10.

The US has already announced grants so far worth over $600 million.

Progress of the military campaign in Afghanistan and regional security issues will be among the other subjects dominating the talks.

A formal White House announcement on the Musharraf visit also makes it a point to say that the October 2002 elections in Pakistan will be part of the talks' agenda.

Businessmen optimistic about economy

A group of business executives from multinationals and local companies expressed their determination on Wednesday to convert the present crisis situation into opportunities for Pakistan.

"Pakistan has resiliently met the most tough time of its history when there were more than 150 sanctions imposed by the US and other countries", Qazi Sajid, president, Pakistan Chapter of International Personnel Management Association (IPMA), said in his opening remarks of the meeting on Wednesday.

Germany revives economic assistance

Germany agreed on Sunday to provide 150 million Deutschmark(DM) financial support to Pakistan that includes DM 50 million economic aid and DM 100 million debt- equity swap for two years.

Besides this, DM 100 million will be made available through Hermez Bank as supplier's credit. Germany will also assist Pakistan in getting financial support and debt relief from multilateral and bilateral forums. Germany has also declared Pakistan "the priority-partner country", said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Dutch help for refugees assured

The visiting Dutch Prime Minister, Wim Kok, has said that his country would extend all possible help and assistance to the displaced Afghan families, besides taking active part in reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

During his visit to the Kacha Ghari refugee camp on Sunday, the Dutch premier asked the refugees to demonstrate tolerance and patience over the US strikes, as, he said, it would follow a comprehensive political process and humanitarian assistance to help reconstruct the war-torn country.