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 1. INTERNATIONAL   2. INDUSTRY
 3. FINANCE  4. POLICY
 5. TRADE  6. GULF

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POLICY

June 24 - 30, 2002

VOLUNTARY INTEREST ISLAMIC, OBSERVES SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) approved the payment of voluntary increase on borrowed money.

Justice Munir A. Sheikh, senior member of the apex court's Shariat Appellate Bench, said it had been pointed out that the Prophet (PBUH), at the time of returning money, had voluntarily directed Hazrat Bilal to pay more on the principal amount.

The judge stated that it had been defined as "Husne Ada" and that the saying of the Prophet (PBUH) had the status of law for the Muslims. He said the counsel, defending the earlier judgment, which had declared all kinds of increase on the principal amount as Riba, should not attempt to minimize the act of the Prophet (PBUH).

The court indicated that hearing of the case might conclude on Friday, as Advocate Ismail Qureshi, member of the Jamaat-i-Islami, defending the judgment of the Shariat Appellate Bench, had been asked to complete his argument within half-an-hour on Friday.

Advocate Ismail Qureshi started the defence of the Riba judgment by arguing that the government had filed the petition after the time required under the Supreme Court rules had passed and thus the petition should be dismissed immediately.

The counsel was informed by the court that the review petition had been filed by UBL (United Bank) and that the government had supported it as a respondent.

Mr Qureshi stated that the Shariat Appellate Bench had invited prominent jurists and bankers of international repute before delivering the judgment, which should not be reviewed on the filing of affidavits by two bureaucrats the finance secretary and the deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

He said that the government lawyers relied heavily on the writing of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in support of their contentions. He said he would establish that the Ulema of the time had not recognized Sir Syed Ahmad as a religious scholar and that his interpretation of the Holy Quran and Sunnah was defective.

ORDINANCE TO PROTECT LOCAL INDUSTRIES

The government on Wednesday promulgated a safeguard measures ordinance that would protect indirectly the local industries.

Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood said on Wednesday that the ordinance had been approved by the cabinet and would come into force immediately. Mr Dawood said the ordinance would provide protection to the local industry by restricting the quotas of those products which were causing damage to the industry.

GOOD PROSPECTS FOR PAKISTANI COS IN CHINA

Pakistani insurance companies have been asked to contact China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) if they intend to set up their business in the Chinese market.

The companies may send their relevant documents to the commission, as a first step for undertaking the business in the growing Chinese market.

After reviewing the documents, the companies to be declared eligible will be sent application forms to formally apply, seeking approval to set up their branches, joint ventures, or wholly owned companies, a senior official of the CIRC told APP on Wednesday.

PROVINCES TO GET 2PC OF GST

The federal government has decided to transfer 2.5 per cent of the 15 per cent General Sales Tax (GST) amount to provinces to enable them run their respective local government administrations.

Official sources told that the decision came at a meeting presided over by President Gen Pervez Musharraf, on Thursday.

With the decision, the federal government would transfer an additional amount to the tune of Rs32 billion to provinces during the year 2002-03, they said.

INAM UL HAQ MADE NEW FOREIGN MINISTER

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Inam ul Haq, as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. "But the notification is still to be made," said Minister for Information Nisar Memon during a briefing on Wednesday after the cabinet meeting.

EOIS FOR LCFL INVITED

The Privatization Commission on Tuesday invited the interested parties to submit their expressions of interest (EoIs) for the acquisition of a minimum 75 per cent share of Lyallpur Chemical and Fertilizers Limited (LCFL), a company established by Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) in 1954.

According to a handout issued, LCFL was an unlisted public limited company registered under the Companies Ordinance 1984. The company has two units one each in Faisalabad and Jaranwala.

The principle object of the company is to produce sulphuric acid, super phosphate and zinc sulphate.

378 TAXPAYERS LISTED IN LTU

The federal government has notified a list of 378 taxpayers in the jurisdiction of the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU), Karachi, to be effective from July 1, 2002.

The CBR issued a notification for the purpose of central excise duty (CED) if livable on the taxpayers would fall in the Jurisdiction of LTU.

PROVINCES TO RECEIVE RS193BN

The government has earmarked Rs193.512 billion for the provinces from the federal receipts in the budget 2002-03 on the basis of the National Finance Commission award of 1996 against the current year's estimated allocation of Rs189.97 billion.

Of the allocated amount, Punjab will get 57.88 per cent, 23.28 per cent will go to Sindh, 13.54 per cent to the NWFP and Balochistan will receive 5.30pc.

EDUCATION SECTOR

An amount of Rs2.6 billion has been earmarked for the education sector in the budget 2002-03 against Rs2.5 billion allocated in the current fiscal year.

MINE PROJECTS

The government has allocated Rs342.697 million for the mine development projects in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2002-3.