Sep 01 - 07, 2003  
ISSUE # 35  

The heads of the seven South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be meeting at Islamabad in January 2004. On this important occasion, the summit is likely to declare the Saarc region as free trade area, as the spadework for this purpose has already been done. The Kashmir issue, which is certainly one of the main irritants in creation an open market in the South Asian Region is also likely to be sorted out as both India and Pakistan, are expressing their willingness to resolve the problem.




Pakistan seems to be enjoying best of its economic times but benefits have not really trickled down to masses. The collaboration among the players within various sectors and patronage by the government are deemed to be responsible for the artificially high profits posted by the corporates. Ministry of Industries and Monopoly Control Authority may be the major culprits but one can draw a long list of other culprits.


The elected government has not been able to conclude any major transaction as yet. External factors may a serious impediment but the regime has not been able to establish its commitment to the process of privatization. While locating financially strong buyers may be a time consuming exercise, the delay in listing of state owned enterprises at local stock exchanges and offer of shares of these entities is beyond comprehension.