But the 342-seat lower house of parliament voted
Jamali by the barest of majority that will force him to walk on a tight
rope in keeping his multi-party coalition together while sharing power
with President Pervez Musharraf.
Jamali, a former chief minister of Balochistan, got
172 votes out of 329 votes cast, against 86 bagged by Maulana Fazlur
Rehman of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) and 70 by Shah Mahmood
Qureshi of the People's Party Parliamentarians (PPP).
The PPP, which came second with 81 votes, was damaged
when 10 of its members went over to the PML-Q at the risk of being
unseated after the anti-defection clauses of the partially revived
Constitution are restored and the 60-seat MMA was bolstered by support
from the 19-seat PML-N and some smaller groups.
"Consultation is necessary in most matters and
God-willing I will move ahead by taking various parties, including the
PPP and MMA, into confidence," Jamali told the House in a brief
post- election speech.
"There will be no fake cases instituted by me
against anyone, no dossiers will be opened and nobody will be
harassed," he said amid cheers and added: "I hope they will
also not harass me."
"We all have to work together," Jamali said
as he referred to the issue of internal security in Pakistan, which is a
key ally in the US-led war against terrorism.
THIN MAJORITY FOR CONTINUITY, REFORMS
The National Assembly has elected a leader of the
house (prime minister-elect) who has vowed to continue reforms and
policies pursued by President General Pervez Musharraf.
For the time being, it would help sustain business
In a media interview earlier this week, the prime
minister-elect Zafarullah Jamali said that "continuity is the name
of the game for any government. The governments change but the basic
policies do not change." But when the time comes for any change,
whenever it is needed, the parliament will be taken into confidence, he
The consistency in policies, a long time demand of
trade and industry, sustained by outgoing government, is planned to be
reinforced by retaining at least two members of the President's economic
managers' team: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and Dr. Ishrat Husain. The
governor of the State Bank has got another term of three years. He was
due to retire in December.
RETURN ON NSS TO FALL IN JANUARY
The government has so far not decided the new coupon
rates of 10-year Pakistan Investment Bonds which serves as a benchmark
for return on National Saving Schemes. But one thing is clear: The
coupon rates of PIBs of not only 10-year but of other maturities will
fall in the wake of the 1.5 per cent cut in the State Bank discount
rate. And in turn the return on defence saving certificates/special
saving certificates and other modes of national saving scheme will also
The market knows this. It is eager only to know the
extent to which the rates will fall. The government had last revised the
coupon rates of PIBs in end-February this year. The rates were fixed at
9 per cent for three-year; 10 per cent for five-year and 11 per cent for
10-year bonds. The rates of return on national saving schemes were last
cut by 2.5 per cent in July. Next revision is due in January 2003.
'STABILITY KEY TO ATTRACTING INVESTMENT'
Political and economic stability and an improved law
and order situation will help attract a lot of investment.
This was stated by Tetra Pak Pakistan managing
director Lars Norrman while talking to reporters after a function held
to mark the sale of one billion tetra packs. However, Mr Norrman said,
despite violent incidents that took place in Islamabad, Karachi and
elsewhere in the country, it was not bad working in Pakistan. "We
feel safe here as Pakistanis are very friendly and offer fantastic
SOFTWARE USERS ASKED TO GET LICENCE
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has warned all
the companies to get their software licensed by December 10, otherwise
legal action will be initiated against the infringers of the copyright
"BSA has halted its enforcement activity in
Pakistan and given the users and sellers of pirated software 30-day
period to become legally compliant," BSA director (Middle East) Al
Redha told a seminar.
QATAR-TO-PAKISTAN GAS PIPELINE
Pakistan resumed talks on a "Gas Sales and
Purchase Agreement" with Crescent Petroleum of Sharjah for the
import of natural gas from Qatar as Crescent said it was no more
interested in gas sales to India.
Both sides separately told that "progress"
was made in the talks on the draft GSPA of Gulf-South Asia (GUSA)
Pipeline Project that was submitted to the government of Pakistan by
Crescent Petroleum last year.
NO NEED OF FRESH IMF AID, SAYS ISHRAT
Pakistan won't need fresh aid from the International
Monetary Fund after the current programme ends in 2004, thanks to a
surge in remittances and debt rescheduling , the State Bank Governor
Ishrat Hussain said.
The rise in foreign exchange reserves toward $9
billion — a record for Pakistan — has enabled the country to have
"a very comfortable external liquidity position," he added.
The current three-year $1.3 billion IMF lending
programme began in December last year and is slated to end by December