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POLICY

June 10 - 16, 2002

MUSHARRAF SATISFIED WITH ALMATY MOOT

The Almaty conference is a great diplomatic victory for Pakistan as the participants fully appreciated Islamabad's stand to resolve all controversial issues with India peacefully and through dialogue, said President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

"The whole world is disappointed and dismayed over the belligerent attitude of the Indians but this is very gratifying for us that Pakistan's efforts for de-escalation had been widely acknowledged by 14 countries out of 16 members of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)," he further said.

Talking to reporters in his plane while returning from Almaty to Islamabad late Tuesday evening, he pointed out that the new effective forum of CICA had been created and Pakistan was its founding member to play an active role for promoting political and economic interests of member states.

"Everybody observed India's isolation in the Almaty conference," the president said, adding that Russian President Putin was particularly disappointed over India's refusal to sort out issues through dialogue. "I have been invited by Mr Putin to visit Russia and I have accepted his offer and I am sure it will increase political and economic cooperation between the two countries."

When asked whether the outcome of the conference would lead to further tension with India, the president said he did not think so. "The world is interested in de-escalation and the good thing is that pressure is mounting on India to sort out issues through dialogue," he said, adding that today the United States, Russia, China, the European Union (EU), CICA, the OIC and all other international forums were seeking peaceful resolution of issues between India and Pakistan. "But it looks as if India is in deep trouble and wants some face-saving to pull back its troops from the borders," the president maintained.

PC FINALIZING CONTRACT WITH MERRILL LYNCH

The Privatization Commission is finalizing an advisory services contract to be signed with Merrill Lynch for the sale of 51 per cent shares in Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL) within a 12-month schedule.

A Privatization Commission statement said the government intended to ensure that fair proceeds from the privatization were obtained no matter when the privatization occurred.

The government decision to increase PPL well-head price gradually over five years meant that transaction has to be carefully structured to ensure that the sale proceeds were not adversely affected which would require more work.

NWFP MAY SET PORS TARGET AT RS3.6BN

The NWFP government is likely to set Provincial Own Receipts' (PORs) target for the next financial year at over Rs3.6 billion, making nominal changes in its revenue generation plan for the on-going financial year, sources told on Wednesday.

The target, if set at the same benchmark, would apparently be Rs48 million less than the Rs3.692 billion target which had initially been set for the financial year 2001-02. However, the up-coming financial year's PORs' target appears to be Rs55 million more than the Rs3.587 billion downward revised target for the financial year 2001-02.

SOOMRO OPENS BANK BRANCH

Sindh Governor Mohammedmian Soomro said it was gratifying that PICIC had turned around and emerged as a strong and vibrant financial institution.

Speaking at the inauguration of New Challi branch of PICIC Commercial Bank, the Governor observed that by resuming long-term financing PICIC had taken a major step towards fulfilment of its principal mandate of accelerating economic growth through industrialization.

PROVINCES TO GET MORE FUNDS

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that provincial finance commissions awards are being finalized to offer additional Rs34 billion to the provinces in the next budget.

Talking to reporters on way to Islamabad from Almaty on Tuesday evening in his special plane, the president said that imposition of 2.5 per cent additional General Sales Tax would be allowed to the provinces in the next budget so as to ensure financial devolution from provinces to districts.

PAKISTAN TO PAY $1.8M TO INDIA

Pakistan will pay to India an amount of $1.8 million as "data transmission charges" during the upcoming season for advance flood forecast and daily information supply on river situation, official sources told.

India, however, will not provide flood data on Thein Dam on river Ravi and Reasi on river Chenab, the sources said. An agreement to this effect was reached during the meeting of Permanent Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW) concluded in New Delhi.

DE-REGISTRATION

A total of 2,788 companies applied for de-registration under the Companies Easy Exit Scheme (CEES) launched by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan for companies which were not doing any business and were without any assets and liabilities, according to an official source.

Karachi, not unexpectedly, leads all other cities in the number of companies seeking exit 1,213. From Lahore, 863 companies had applied for de-registration, followed by 265 companies registered in Islamabad which would like to be struck off the companies register.

AGOSTA

France looks set to resume work "very soon" on Agosta-90B submarine that French naval employees were working on when 11 of them were killed on May 8 in a terrorist attack on the bus taking them from their hotel to the Karachi naval shipyard.

RS1.8BN EMBEZZLED

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has detected misappropriations to the tune of Rs1.88 billion in WAPDA's yearly audit for 2000-2001.