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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Dec 31, 2001 - Jan 06, 2002

Habib Allied International Bank set up in UK

State-run Habib Bank and partly privatized Allied Bank have set up Habib Allied International Bank that would take over their business in the UK from January 1, 2002.

In future, the bank can also open branches in the countries constituting European Economic Commission with the approval of the UK authorities.

The two banks signed the shareholders agreement on Tuesday at HBL head office, says a press release. HBL president Zakir Mahmood and ABL president Khalid A. Sherwani signed the agreement on behalf of their banks. State Bank deputy governors Rashid A Chughtai and Taufiq Husain were also present at the occasion.

"The primary objective of selecting United Kingdom is the importance of London as a major world financial centre and presence of substantial Asian community in the UK," says the release.

"Furthermore both HBL and ABL have long historical presence in the UK." HBL has been operating in the UK for more than 39 years and ABL for 23 years. "The focus of the partnership is to provide high quality saving products and banking services to the worldwide Asian and African communities with business or family connections in the UK. It aims at establishing as a market leader in trade finance for UK/Pakistan trade and for trade between the UK and other countries where HBL is represented." HBL overseas presence covers 26 countries.

According to the press release, Habib Allied Bank has been incorporated with an initial paid-up capital of 25 million pounds subscribed as to 90.5 per cent by HBL and 9.5 per cent by ABL.

The bank will take over the existing operations of six branches of HBL and four branches of ABL. The board of directors will consist of maximum 10 members nine from HBL and one from ABL.

5pc more NBP shares to be off-loaded

The government has decided to offer an additional 5 per cent government shares in the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to accommodate applications for a total of 37.3 million shares, which have been oversubscribed.

The Privatization Commission (PC) received overwhelming response from the public for this offer and received 27,546 applications for 103 million shares amounting to Rs1.04 billion, which, according to the PC, indicates the public confidence in the government's privatization programme and economic policies.

Top mly officials review border situation

The top-brass of armed forces met on Monday and decided to substantially increase troop deployment both along the Line of Control and the international border to foil any aggression by Indian forces.

The chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Muhammad Aziz, presided over the meeting at the staff headquarters in Chaklala to discuss what was termed a very alarming situation created by massive military buildup on borders by India.

The three services chiefs, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, some Principal Staff Officers and key officials of the defence ministry attended the meeting.

Sources said the meeting decided to substantially increase the number of troops as well as military equipment along the LoC and the international borders. Instructions to this effect were issued to the concerned quarters immediately after the meeting.

2 leasing companies licence cancelled

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled the licence of two leasing companies for their inability to raise paid-up capital to Rs200 million as required under the law.

An SECP announcement said on Monday that it has decided to "cancel the licence to undertake leasing business of two leasing companies, namely Asian Leasing Corporation (ALC) and English Leasing Limited (ELL) owing to the violation of rule 7(3) of the Leasing Companies (Establishment & Regulation) Rules 2000."

POL prices fall yet to reflect in utility bills

Benefits of steep fall in petroleum product prices since beginning of October has yet to be reflective on energy and gas rates which continue to be high for all segments of consumers, including domestic and industry.

While increasing energy and gas prices the government on many occasions took the plea that this is being done due to higher international prices of crude oil.

However, major reduction in petroleum prices after October 1, 2001, has not registered sympathetic fall in power and gas rates which continue to be at post-October 1, 2001 level.

NCSS goes into operation

All the three stock exchanges of the country got on the National Clearing & Settlement System on Monday. The news was broken by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Khalid Mirza at a press briefing early in the day.

The NCSS would be implemented in phases and initially two shares Indus Motors and B.R.R. Modaraba have been put on it. The number of the shares to be inducted on the NCSS would be increased in phases, said Mirza, adding it would take some time, say 4-6 months, before all the stocks were put on the newly introduced unified clearing system.

Pakistan to give Rs6bn to Afghanistan

Pakistan announced on Saturday Rs6 billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and humanitarian assistance. "With generous international assistance in sight , the people of Afghanistan can look forward to an end to their travail," President Gen Pervez Musharraf said in his message to Hamid Karzai, the new head of Afghan interim government.

Pakistan will also reopen its embassy and consulates in Afghanistan as soon as administrative arrangements are finalized through mutual consultations.