July 01 - 07, 2002
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS PROPOSED
The government on Wednesday unveiled its proposed
constitutional package that seeks to restore the discretionary powers
of the president and the governors to remove the prime minister and
chief ministers, respectively.
A cabinet meeting, presided over President Gen
Pervez Musharraf, extensively discussed the proposals with a view to
improving the performance of political and democratic institutions of
the country. There are 29 constitutional amendments proposed by the
National Reconstruction Bureau headed by Lt-Gen (retd) Tanvir Naqvi.
"These are only proposals which are being made
public to solicit the opinion of the nation, and after one month the
federal cabinet and the National Security Council will meet to
finalize the issue," Information Secretary Syed Anwar Mahmood
told a press briefing.
The package proposed that the term of the National
Assembly should be reduced from five years to four years. The number
of NA seats have been proposed to be increased from the existing 207
Muslim members to 357 members.
A major amendment has been proposed in Article 58
(Dissolution of the National Assembly). The existing provisions of the
Constitution say that the prime minister shall hold the office
"during the pleasure" of the president, but the president
shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied
that the prime minister does not command the confidence of the
majority of the members of the National Assembly, in which case he
shall summon the National Assembly and require the prime minister to
obtain a vote of confidence from the assembly.
According to the proposed provision, if in the
opinion of the president, the cabinet with the prime minister at its
head is responsible for serious abuse of authority or failure to check
corruption or compromise on national security interests or violation
of the Constitution, he may, in his discretion, relieve the prime
minister and the cabinet of their functions and appoint another member
of the National Assembly under clause (2) as the prime minister.
EOIS INVITED FOR BANK ALFALAH
The Privatization Commission has invited
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from the interested parties for
disinvesting a minimum of 28 per cent equity stake in Bank Alfalah
Limited through an open bidding process.
The PC has asked the parties submitting EoIs that
they must also get requisite clearance from the State Bank prior to
bidding for the acquisition of equity stake. EoIs should be
accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee, which must reach the
Privatization Commission by Saturday July 20, 2002.
SBP POLICY TOWARDS NEW FOREIGN BANKS
The new foreign banks wanting to enter the local
market would be required to set up incorporated subsidiaries,
according to the State Bank sources.
However, the existing foreign banks can open up
more branches under the current rules and procedures, they added.
In a way, the SBP would formalize a situation that
has existed, in actual practice, for the past few years. The central
bank had suspended issuing licences for new commercial banks as the
economy was considered over-banked. However, the acquisition of
locally incorporated banks by foreigners was permitted. These included
Union Bank and Schon Bank.
Now, the franchise for branches of new foreign
banks is suspended and instead, the new applicant would have to float
PAKISTANIS IN FOREIGN EMBASSIES TO BE TAXED
The government is likely to bring all Pakistani
nationals working in the foreign embassies, consulates under tax net.
Well-placed sources told on Wednesday that a formal
letter has been sent to the foreign office by Central Board of Revenue
(CBR) for seeking details of all those Pakistani nationals working
Foreign office would sent letters to all embassies
and consulates for the same to get the list of Pakistani nationals
with details of salaries income getting from the respective embassies,
the sources said.
DOHA BANK QUITTING PAKISTAN
Doha Bank is exiting Pakistan, the General Manager
of the Bank Salah Jaidah was reported as saying by the Middle East
Economic Digest. Jaidah, who took over as the General Manager of the
bank in July 2001 , said that Doha Bank was closing its Lahore Branch
and had decided to sell its branch in Karachi to a Pakistani
Doha Bank is the second Gulf Bank in less than a
month to announce plans to close operations in Pakistan. Emirates Bank
International earlier announced it was selling its Pakistan branches
to the United Bank.
UNIVERSAL LEATHER & FOOTWEAR
Tuesday, the company told the stock exchange that
an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders held on June 20,
had approved buy-back of 631,055 shares at Rs80 per share. It is an
interesting development for the country's corporate sector. The
decision of Universal Leather & Footwear Industries Limited to
repurchase its own shares, is only the second such offer by a listed
company in Pakistan. Alhamd Textile Mills Limited — a slightly known
textile mill at Multan — had made the first ever buy-back offer of
shares in April, thus written a new chapter in the country's corporate
SSGC PLANT TRANSFER TO PPL OKAYED
The shareholders of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC)
approved the transfer of purification plant, situated at Sui, to
Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) through a special resolution
unanimously passed in an extraordinary general meeting held on
The resolution also allowed the transfer of related
assets of the plant to the PPL, says a press release of the SSGC. The
purification capacity of the plant is 850 mcfd.