21 - 27, 2002
Next polls on basis of joint electorate
The federal government, which is set to unveil the
election schedule in July, announced on Wednesday the first part of
the constitutional package by declaring that elections would be held
on joint electorate basis.
It was also announced that existing seats of the
National Assembly had been increased from 237 to 350, including 60
seats for the women.
Reserved seats for the minorities have been
abolished and 25 new seats created for the technocrats.
National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) Chairman
Lt-Gen Tanvir Hussain Naqvi (retired) said at a press conference that
only educated persons, with the minimum qualification of graduation,
would be able to contest the polls. Polling method for the general
seats would remain same but for the election of women, proportional
representation system was being introduced.
The system of separate electorate was introduced by
the late Gen Zia and it was included in the Constitution through the
controversial 8th Amendment. Last elections on joint electorate basis
were held in 1977.
In a related development, Chief Election
Commissioner Justice Irshad Hasan Khan (retired) took oath on
The president also issued an order under which the
Election Commission will be reconstituted, having a member from each
province. Earlier, the EC consisted of two members and a chairman. Now
it will have four members and a chairman.
The retired general said special seats for women,
which ceased to exist in 1993, had not only been revived but also
increased to 60.
Ten special seats for the minorities had been
abolished, and now they would be eligible to contest against any
general seat from any constituency and cast their votes in their
respective constituencies, he pointed out.
Private television channels allowed
The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved an
ordinance allowing establishment of TV channels in private sector.
The cabinet meeting, which was presided over by
President Pervez Musharraf, approved the draft of PEMRA Ordinance
2002, allowing the setting up of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
The PEMRA will have a chairman and nine members to
be appointed by the president. The chairman of the authority will be a
Smeda to get $200m from ADB next year
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide
$150-200 million loan to the Small and Medium Enterprise Development
Authority (Smeda) by April next year under Trade Enhancement Finance
Programme for the SMEs development.
This was stated by the chief executive officer,
Smeda, Iqbal Mustafa in a press conference on Wednesday.
Under the first phase, he said, the Bank will
provide one million dollars grant to Smeda in April for technical
Smeda is also likely to get $10 million from the
European Union (EU) for undertaking institutional building of SMEs in
Pakistan, he said adding that the Ministry of Finance is currently in
the process of negotiating these loans with the EU.
Besides this assistance, the World Bank has also
provided $200,000 to carry out investment climate survey for promotion
of local and foreign investments.
USAID set to reopen mission
The United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell,
announced on Thursday that the United States had decided to reopen the
mission of the US Agency for International Aid and Development in
Resumption of USAID mission will allow the US
government to target its assistance programme to areas identified by
the government of Pakistan as priority areas, including education,
health and human development.
Shaukat leaves for Tokyo
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz is scheduled to leave
for Japan on Friday to attend the meeting of 'Steering Group on
Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan' to be held in Tokyo from Jan
Kohinoor Textile Mills Limited has announced swap
ratios for merger of other two group units with the company.
Shareholders in Kohinoor (Gujar Khan) Mills Limited
(KGM) will receive one share in Kohinoor Textile Mills (KTM) for 3.422
shares held in their company, while shareholders in Kohinoor Raiwind
Mills Limited (KRM) would get 2.326 shares in Kohinoor Textile for
each share held in Kohinoor Raiwind Mills.
China and Pakistan renewed their commitment on
Tuesday to continue cooperation in the defence sector.
The top-ranking military officials of the two
countries at their formal talks discussed ways and means to further
strengthen their cooperation.
The Ministry of Finance is paying Rs42 million
every year to its 23 consultants posted in various sections and
attached departments besides $3.9m (Rs234m) a month to a foreign
consulting firm , and logistic facilities to five advisers.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the foreign consulting
firm, is being paid $3.9 million under the Project for improvement in
Financial Reporting and Auditing (PIFRA).
Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan, one of the
country's oldest DFI, that helped build the country's industrial
edifice, will be privatized with a clean balance-sheet and on the
franchise value of its commercial banking licence, sources said.
For the past few years, the State Bank has
suspended issuing licences for commercial banking. Those wanting to
float a commercial bank are intended to be tempted to purchase IDBP.
The bank has 370 employees and 19 branches in major cities. The staff
is expected to be reduced radically through a separation scheme.