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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Jan-07- 13, 2002

Zhu, Musharraf discuss regional stability

President Pervez Musharraf told China on Thursday he was willing to work to ease tensions with nuclear rival India through dialogue, amid concern their crisis could boil over and upset global stability.

"Pakistan hopes for peace, opposes war, and is willing to work to ease the current tensions through dialogue," Xinhua news agency quoted President Musharraf as telling Prime Minister Zhu Rongji at a meeting in Beijing on Thursday evening. But Musharraf also told Zhu Rongji that the Pakistan government would act according to its sovereign and people's interests, and at the same time was taking necessary measures to fight terrorism and restrict radical forces, Xinhua said.

The Chinese prime minister praised Pakistan's insistence on pursuing dialogue and peace under tense circumstances, but called on both sides to exercise the utmost restraint to preserve peace in the region.

"It is in the interests of both countries and the expectation of the international community for both Pakistan and India to maintain the utmost restraint, and safeguard the peace and stability of South Asia," Zhu Rongji was quoted as saying.

Musharraf was in Beijing for an overnight visit en route to the seven-nation Saarc summit from Jan 4-6.

The United States and China called on Thursday for the rivals to use diplomacy to prevent their crisis escalating.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned in Dhaka that the mounting tensions could boil over and create "enormous problems" for global stability.

And ahead of Musharraf's arrival, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan warned that war between India and Pakistan would be destabilising for all of Asia.

Saarc leaders meet in hope of peace

India and Pakistan are expected to spell out their widely awaited approaches on Friday to ease a threat of war that has anguished the world and overshadowed an ambitious social and economic agenda that had brought together the seven regional countries together in 1985, diplomats of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) said on Thursday.

The early signs were that both sides were prepared to put in hard work and compromises to remain unnoticed by the global glare that will follow them for all of three days in Kathmandu and at their retreat at a mountain resort, diplomats said. However, both sides were sticking to their statements that no talks were likely at any level in Kathmandu.

Leaders assure Musharraf of full support

A wide spectrum of political leadership on Sunday assured President Gen Pervez Musharraf of their full support in case of war, and appreciated government policy of exercising "patience" and "restraint" in the face of Indian provocations.

Indian massive troop buildup on the eastern borders and government's Afghan policy were discussed at a marathon meeting attended by over 30 heads and leaders of political parties, a political source said.

French minister meets VCOAS

French Defence Minister Alain Richard called on Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) General Mohammad Yusuf Khan at the General Headquarters on Wednesday.

He remained with him for some time and exchanged views on matters relating to professional interest. Secretary Defence Lt-Gen Hamid Nawaz (retired) was also present.

Later, the French defence minister left for Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He was seen off by Additional Secretary Defence Maj-Gen Mohammad Ashraf Chaudhry at PAF Base.

Blair due on 7th

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will hold one-on-one talks with President General Pervez Musharraf on Jan 7, on the current tension between Pakistan and India.

Mr Blair would arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Jan 7 after having talks with Indian leaders, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday. He would return to London on Jan 8, they added.

During the talks, Mr Blair would discuss 'pressing issues' and current tension between Pakistan and India over Kashmir dispute, the sources said.

Relief for Wapda, KESC consumers

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority on Saturday reduced the Wapda and KESC tariff by an average 9 paisa and 13 paisa per unit, respectively, for the quarter beginning Jan 1.

The decision to give a relief of 9 paisa per unit to Wapda consumers and 13 paisa per unit to KESC consumers, except for those consuming less than 50 units a month, has been made in the quarterly review of the tariff.

PTCL to invest in Paknet shares

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited has decided to invest an aggregate sum of Rs150 million in 15 million ordinary shares of Rs10 each in Paknet Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.

Joint venture prospects bright for UK, Pakistan

The chairman, international association of British Pakistanis Khurshid Ahmad, has offered full cooperation and some direct trade relationship to the business community of Sialkot for enhancing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Great Britain.

He was addressing a joint meeting of local traders, industrialists and exporters at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday, after visiting various industrial units in Sambrial, Daska and Sialkot amid tight security.

The president, AJK Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zulfiqar Abbasi, the chairman, Mirpur Dry Port, Raja Muhammad Jamil and the president, Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Daud Ahmad Chatta were also present in the meeting.