POLICY

 

Dec 28 - Jan 05, 2003

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

IRAN CALLS FOR BETTER STRATEGIC RELATIONS: JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ

Iran and Pakistan have called for immediate de-escalation of tension between Islamabad and Delhi in a joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Pakistan.
The two countries also called for peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan,

 

and stressed the need for resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people.

The four-page joint communiqué, released, outlined the highlights of the Iranian president's three-day state visit, essentially conveying Tehran's desire for enhanced strategic cooperation with Islamabad.

The two sides underlined the importance of a gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan for economic development of the region and called for an early completion of the project.

The communiqué indicated the resolve on both sides to strengthen bilateral relations by enhancing cooperation in all fields, particularly political, defence, economic, commercial, cultural, science and technology.

The two sides also called for increased interaction between parliament of Pakistan and the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran to promote mutual understanding on bilateral, regional and global issues.

The official talks that focused on bilateral, regional and global issues laid emphasis on enhancing cooperation between the two countries, said the communiqué.

While expressing satisfaction over the growing positive momentum in the friendly relations between Pakistan and Iran, the communiqué said, both sides agreed to enhance interaction through regular exchange of high-level visits.

ISHRAT FOR MOBILE BANKING

The State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain wants Pakistani banks to go ahead with M-banking and M-commerce as number of cellular phone holders is on increase.

Speaking on the inauguration of Habib Bank's E-Banking and internet services, the State Bank governor that it was a big day in Pakistan's banking.

Calling Habib bank a 'jewel in the crown' he hoped that other banks will also follow the suit and come out with a variety of internet related products to serve their clients.

$4BN MORE ANNUAL INVESTMENT REQUIRED

Due to alarming increase in the total national population, Pakistan needs $4 billion additional annual investment to maintain its current level of GNP per capita.

Making a presentation on "Population, development and Pakistan: experiencing the population equation" during a workshop, Dr Mohsin, UNFPA's Islamabad-based advocacy adviser, said the net annual addition to the total national population of the country required $4 billion additional investment in Pakistan every year to maintain its current GNP per capita level of $430.

Pakistan is experiencing 3.1 million net addition every year in its 146 million total population making the country all set to get doubled its population in the year 2035.

As 3.1 million people are adding up to the total national population every year, Pakistan, Dr Mohsin said, needed $1.3 billion to help them have GNP per capita of $430.

WB WANTS SUBSIDIES ON POWER TO END

The World Bank has called upon Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to end subsidies on power with a view to remove their fiscal imbalances.

In its "Annul Report 2002", released, the World Bank said that there was a need for power reform in South Asia. "In virtually every country of South Asia, but particularly in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, large subsidies for power have become the single largest source of fiscal imbalances".

Reduction of these subsidies, the Bank urged, is an essential step to restoring national and substantial fiscal balances and to freeing resources for much-needed investments in infrastructure and social services.

PAKISTAN SEEKS DELETION FROM INS LIST

Pakistan has formally asked the United States to remove its name from the list of nations whose citizens are being considered a security risk.

Visitors from such countries have to register with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, besides being required to appear for special interviews, submit their photographs and fingerprints.

FOUR ACCORDS SIGNED WITH IRAN

Pakistan and Iran signed four agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding Tuesday to enhance bilateral relationship. The agreements relate to trade, plant quarantine, and science and technology.

The signing ceremony held at the foreign office was attended by ministers of both the countries and members of the Iranian delegation.

DEBT COORDINATION OFFICE SET UP

A high-level Debt Policy Coordination Office has been set up in the Ministry of Finance to deal with debt problems. "The office will start functioning from January 2003," said its newly appointed director general Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan.

He told that he had accepted the offer which was MP-1. However, he said he would continue to work as the economic adviser to the ministry of finance till the appointment of the new adviser.