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Offline $(\/)@®T T®@D3®

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2008, 08:32:28 PM »
Pakistanis sign anti-terror petition




By Our Special Correspondent

LONDON, Oct 10: An anti-terror petition in Pakistan has attracted
almost 63 million signatures in what is believed to be the biggest
lobby effort anywhere in the world.

A report in the Guardian on Friday said a third of Pakistanis signed
up to denounce acts of terrorism in a campaign titled Yeh Hum Naheen —
This is Not Us — over a period of just four weeks.

"That easily shattered the previous record for the largest petition,
the 24 million people who signed the Jubilee 2000 campaign against
developing world debt. Children over the age of 11 were allowed to
take part, given the young age at which extremism is taking hold in
society," observed the paper.

At least 91 terrorist attacks have taken place in Pakistan since July
last year, when the country started to descend into a spiral of
violence in which more than 1,200 people have died.

Yeh Hum Naheen, financed by British and Indonesian Muslim businesses,
launched last year in Pakistan with a hit song featuring some of the
country's biggest stars, including Ali Zafar, who has a fan-base in
Britain.

"The power to stop all this happening lies with the people," said the
founder of the campaign, Waseem Mahmood, a British-Pakistani media
consultant. "The government and foreign powers really can't do
anything about it. This is about giving people a common platform to
fight terrorism."

He said that all 62.8 million signatories had to verify their
identity and most of the names were collected in face-to-face
canvassing, though it was possible to take part by text message and
online. Campaigners are verifying the milestone with the Guinness
World Records. The cream of Pakistani actors have backed the
campaign, as well as the media industry, with free airtime and full-
page newspaper advertisements donated in a promotional blitz that
kicked off this week.




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Re: Latest News
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2008, 08:32:28 PM »

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2008, 09:36:49 AM »
World Bank to lend $1.4 billion, DFID doubles aid


WASHINGTON (October 13 2008): The World Bank has pledged to provide $1.4 billion support for Pakistan in the current year, which can be front-loaded to fast track investment projects and budgetary lending. The amount includes $600 million for investment portfolio and $800 million for budget support as macroeconomic stabilisation programme moves forward.

The offer, first made by World Bank President Robert Zoellick at a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari last month in New York, was reiterated Saturday as Pakistan's Adviser on Finance met with the Bank's Managing Director Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Tareen and his team of top economic mangers had also discussed development co-operation with WB Vice President on Friday. Meanwhile, Department for International Development has doubled its economic assistance for Pakistan to UK pounds 586 million. Minouche Shafik, Permanent Secretary of DFID told the Pakistani delegation that the Department plans to expand its development work to federally administered tribal areas and Balochistan.

The Advisor to Prime Minister also had productive meetings with German Minister for Economic Co-operation and Development Ms Wieczorek-Zeul, United States Under-secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, Reuben Jeffrey and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Daniel Sullivan. The German Minister vowed to provide support for social safety nets and also offered debt swap for HIV AIDS and Malaria Global Fund. The U.S. officials reaffirmed Washington's continued support

for Pakistan's economic development. Tareen also discussed bilateral co-operation with Afghan Finance Minister Anwar ul Haq Ahady.

Shaukat Tareen briefed his interlocutors about the current economic challenges and blow impact of the war on terrorism that Pakistan being the Front Line State has to face on its economy. He spoke of the tough and difficult measures that have been taken by the elected government. He also expanded on Pakistan's program to deal with these challenges including social safety nets for targeted subsidies. The Finance Adviser urged donors' support for Pakistan's efforts to pull itself out of the current difficult phase. He also highlighted the impact of global financial crisis on developing countries, particularly on those intending to access capital market but cannot do so because of liquidity crunch.

The World Bank, DFID, US and German officials appreciated the courageous measures taken by Pakistan to correct the macroeconomic imbalances and reaffirmed their commitment to support the country in meeting its economic challenges and establishing safety nets for the poor.

The Pakistani delegation including Governor State Bank Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Economic Affairs Division Farrukh Qayyum and Economic Minister at the Pakistani embassy in Washington Wajid Rana also participated in a number of events including the WB-IMF Constituency Meeting, SAARC Finance Governors Meeting and the International Monetary and Finance Committee meeting.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2008, 01:45:14 PM »
World must help Pakistan wipe out terrorism’



Monday, October 13, 2008
WASHINGTON: Pakistan Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has said the international community must help Pakistan morally, politically and economically to successfully eradicate terrorism.

He was addressing three different groups of students and faculty members at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Pakistan, he said, stood at the threshold of a “transformational moment”. This “transformation involves moving from authoritarianism to democracy, from militancy to economic prosperity and from narrowly-defined ideologies to pluralism”.

Haqqani said there was a complete identity of views between the elected civilian leadership led by President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani. “All institutions in Pakistan have now realised that the strength of Pakistan lies in strengthening Pakistan’s constitutional foundations. No individual and no group alone can ensure the security and integrity of Pakistan,” he stated.

In his address to the Yale South Asian Studies Council, he said Pakistan’s elected leadership seeks close cooperation from Afghanistan in ensuring that the Pak-Afghan border becomes secure. “This marks significant progress from the era when the two countries constantly played a blame game instead of working together in ensuring that al-Qaeda and the Taliban no longer pose a threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the rest of the world.”

He said the Pakistanis continue to believe strongly in the justice of their case on Jammu and Kashmir. “But Pakistan will continue to engage with India so that the relationship between our countries moves from an adversarial one to one of cooperation that benefits both nations economically and, particularly, in the sphere of trade”.

He said the US understood the importance of respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty and the Pakistanis would not allow enemies like al-Qaeda or friends such as the United States to violate Pakistani sovereignty. He said that the vast majority of Pakistanis recognise terrorism as a threat to Pakistan’s existence and also realise that friendship with the US is in Pakistan’s interest.
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Re: Latest News
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2008, 01:46:18 PM »
Pakistan diplomat calls for joint NATO-Pakistan border force



Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, has suggested the formation of a joint border force of Pakistani and NATO forces to increase co-ordination to curb terrorist activities along the Pak-Afghan border.

He has also suggested the force should come under the command of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kiyani.

Mr Haroon said he believed such a force would help end the misunderstanding and tension between the NATO and Pakistani forces, improve co-ordination between the two forces on action against terrorists and save the lives of many innocent people in the Tribal Areas of the country.

Haroon, who is scheduled to meet President Asif Ali Zardari will discuss matters pertaining to Pakistan's role in the war on terrorism.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2008, 09:14:13 AM »
Tareen hopes to bridge $4 billion gap

WASHINGTON (October 14 2008): Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tareen on Monday ruled out the possibility of the country defaulting on its international payment commitments and voiced the confidence to bridge the financing gap of $3 to 4 billion in a year through a range of measures including additional resources from financial institutions.

Tareen, who led Pakistan at the World Bank-IMF meetings, told Washington-based Pakistani journalists that Pakistan is expecting $2 to 2.5 billion additional support from the IFIs including the World Bank, Asian Development and Islamic Development Bank to overcome the financing gap.

The adviser to prime minister said the government wants to front load the assistance committed by the World Bank to overcome difficulties in the next 12 months. He was confident that the country would get additional $1.5 to 2 billion dollars in foreign remittances if they are channelled through the government sovereign banks. The World Bank has pledged to provide 1.4 billion support this year.

"We are making multiple arrangements and also have back up plans," Tareen said, adding both budgetary support assistance and development projects assistance will help. Pakistan, he said, will also welcome assistance from Friends of Pakistan meeting next month in Abu Dhabi.

Brushing aside suggestions of worst-case scenarios by some experts he cited Pakistan's success in bringing down fiscal deficit from 7.4 percent last year to 4.3 per cent this year. He said the maturity of Sukuk bonds in January will ease the financial pressure. The trade gap was $20 billion and the country was facing over a billion month current account gap.

'We basically are encouraging reserves to meet day to day requirements " the Sukuk (bonds) maturity we will meet in a very timely manner, even if the aid is not forthcoming immediately from Friends of Pakistan initiative."

"We will have enough resources for an orderly move forward." The adviser said the government is also looking at both short-term and long-term measures, trying to correct imbalances in macroeconomic indicators. "We are also working on a multi-points simultaneous agenda to provide safety nets to needy people, to give skill based training, provide health insurance, employment, so they basically come out of poverty " we will also increase tax avenues and cut expenditure on wasteful expenditure".

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tareen highlighted Pakistan's development requirements in a host of fields as he met Sunday with leaders of international financial institutions, who appreciated the government's efforts for economic stability.

Tareen also had a meeting with Iranian Finance Minister Dr Shamseddin Husseini and discussed efforts to promote bilateral co-operation in various fields including oil and gas as well as trade. At a meeting with Lars H Thunnel, Executive Vice President of International Finance Corporation, the adviser spoke of Pakistan's development needs in infrastructure, mega dams, energy and financial sector reforms.

The IFC leader applauded Pakistan's economic stabilisation programme and reassured expansion of its portfolio in Pakistan in the areas of infrastructure development, energy including dams and financial sector reforms as well as privatisation in Pakistan.

Tareen also met with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and discussed with him the current global financial crisis and its impact on developed and developing countries, the strategy of IFIs to handle the crisis and regulatory regime proposed to avoid such recurrences in the future.

The communique issued by G-7 Finance Ministers also came under discussion. The IMF Chief appreciated the hard decisions that have been taken by Pakistan to eliminate subsidies, improve tax revenues and manage expenditure.

Tareen also met with senior officials of the rating agencies - Standard and Poor's and Moody's - and apprised them of the democratic government's programme to meet current challenges and stabilise the economy. Earlier, the adviser represented Pakistan at the World Bank Development Committee meeting.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2008, 09:24:39 AM »
FBR to conduct internal tax surveys

RECORDER REPORT
ISLAMABAD (October 14 2008): The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to conduct internal tax surveys to bring the potential persons into the tax net for which data verification exercise would be done in the field formations to broaden the tax-base. Sources told Business Recorder on Monday that the board has decided to improve the internal monitoring mechanism for broadening the tax-base.

The respective director general identified potential sectors like real estate sector etc which require necessary monitoring and enforcement. Some of the commissioners disclosed the names of the big businessmen, who have availed the tax amnesty scheme to legalise their un-disclosed assets and income.

In this regard, names of few potential persons were also shared, who were earning huge income but not filing returns/statements required under the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, sources added. During the meeting, the director generals also shared information about the persons/units, who were detected by the field offices and subsequently brought into the tax net.

Meanwhile, FBR Chairman Ahmad Waqar has called for concerted efforts coupled with innovative steps to broaden the tax base and increase revenue collection. "It is important that the measures we take to broaden the tax base should be proactive and not reactionary in nature and such measures should be part of an in-built mechanism relying on solid data," he said while speaking to senior tax officials who gathered in the capital on Monday to attend the 2nd Director Generals' Conference to review and improve the pace of revenue collection for the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

The conference was attended by all director generals of the three Large Taxpayers Units (LTUs) and 13 Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) located across the country. Member Direct Taxes Irfan Nadeem, Director General Internal Audit Iqbal Muzaffar and other key officials also attended the conference which reviewed various organisational matters, including those concerning submission of tax returns, payment of taxes and tax facilitation.

Ahmad Waqar said the meeting of director generals and senior officials once in a quarter was a good exercise but it could be more productive and result-oriented if the discussions and deliberations were focused and a due care was taken by all to follow up faithfully on the decisions taken in previous meetings.

He exhorted tax officials, especially those manning LTUs in big cities like Karachi and Lahore, to show more vigour and dedication in enhancing the pace of revenue collection. He said the officials were also required to improve their image for them to be seen as facilitators and friends of taxpayers besides helping improve the image of the organisation. He also urged officials to provide taxpayers with maximum help and support, especially in matters pertaining to claim of genuine refunds which should be granted without any delay.

However, Waqar cautioned the officials against unscrupulous elements who took an undue advantage of the facilitation provided to them to run away with fake and bogus refunds. He observed that cases involving delay in refunds claims had surfaced in considerably in recent times but such cases could be disposed of easily by tax officials by cross-checking payment of income tax, if due, by such taxpayers. "If followed, such an attitude and approach can strengthen the tax integration process, which is a major theme of the tax reforms," he added.

The chairman also drew the attention of the officials to the overall micro and macro economic situation with a view for them to studying the nature and scope of impact it could have on the overall revenue generation and tax collection. "Studying the impact of the changing economic scenario on the tax collection should be an ongoing activity for the tax officials," he said.

Earlier, the meeting decided not to extend under any circumstances the last date for the filing of income tax returns and discourage the trend as observed in certain RTOs of extending the time for submission of returns on the due date beyond the office hours. It further decided to widely publicise the investment tax scheme to increase its acceptance among the public.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2008, 09:34:11 AM »
Privatisation ministry divided into two

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has divided the Ministry of Privatisation and Investment into two ie Ministry of Privatisation and Ministry of Investment. According to a memorandum of the Cabinet Division, in terms of rule 3(2) of the Rules of Business 1973, the prime minister has bifurcated the Ministry of Privatisation and Investment with immediate effect. In this regard, the Cabinet Division has issued necessary instructions. The two ministries will be Ministry of Privatisation comprising Privatisation Division and Ministry of Investment consisting of Investment Division. Necessary amendments in the Rules of Business 1973 will be made accordingly.


PSMA Punjab elects new chief

By our correspondent

LAHORE: Javed Kayani has been elected unopposed as chairman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Punjab Zone for the next term. He was elected in the annual general meeting of the association held on Saturday. According to a spokesman for PSMA Punjab Zone, the meeting was attended by all member mills. He said that all members reposed confidence in Javed Kayani and assured him of their full cooperation for successful functioning of the sugar industry and the association. He said that the newly-elected chairman also assured his best of efforts for the welfare of sugar industry and establishing research & development facilities to promote better quality sugarcane and to specially look after the interest of growers.


BoI chairman

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has lauded the appointment of its President Saleem H Mandviwalla, as the Chairman Board of Investment (BoI). Lasbela Chambers said that after the appointment of Mandviwalla the flow of local and foreign investment in the country, particularly in sectors like power generation, alternative energy, mines and minerals, infrastructure development, engineering goods, agriculture, textile, computer software development would accelerate at a sustained pace contributing to the growth of econom

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2008, 09:00:35 AM »
Dollar demand pushes rupee to record low
 
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Shahzad Anwar

KARACHI: The rupee fell further against the US dollar in inter-bank market on Wednesday as it closed at a record low of Rs80.70 compared to Rs79.80 a day earlier.

Some bankers even quoted Rs80.95 to a dollar but according to market sources no deal materialised at that level.

It was the third consecutive day when the rupee came under severe pressure as consistent demand from importers and oil companies and short supply was the basic factor for hurting the currency’s position further.

Market sources are of the opinion that in case the same supply position persists, the rupee would find itself under strain in the coming sessions as well. There was some news of State Bank’s intervention but market sources did not confirm it.

Under the present market situation, the rupee seems vulnerable to more falls but there are chances of a possible rebound if dollar supply gets better through SBP intervention or arrival of export proceeds into the monetary system.

Dollar demand has been rising for the last many days but SBP’s intervention on Wednesday last week provided some relief and helped increase overall supply in the market, supporting the currency’s demand. The demand is coming basically from oil companies as well importers.

“It was not that the demand for dollar had come down resulting in some increase and stability in the market but in fact, it was better supply which helped ease pressure from rupee, but as soon as these dollars were sold, pressure has again arrested the national currency,” Syed Nabeel Ahmed at Khanani & Kalia International said.

Some bankers said that physical shortage of dollars was key factor, which needed to be fixed on a permanent basis. Though State Bank of Pakistan is taking necessary steps to control free fall of rupee, it is already finding difficult due to consistent pressure on country’s foreign exchange reserves, foreign exchange inflows are almost on a halt and no immediate financial assistance is coming in.

The market sources said that biggest threat to the market was the supply, which can only be managed if there was a constant inflow on account of remittances, foreign investment, financial assistance and exports. But overall, only the remittances are showing a healthy trend while all other elements are posing serious challenge to the economic managers to manage the entire situation under the present circumstances.

According to the latest statistics from the State Bank, remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis continued to rise as an amount of $1.88 billion was received in the first quarter (July-September 2008) of the current fiscal year. That represented an increase of $378.61 million or 25.22 per cent when compared with the same period of last fiscal year.

The SBP said that out of the total amount, $0.11 million was received through encashment and profit earned on Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates (FEBCs) and Foreign Currency Bearer Certificates (FCBCs). During September 2008, Pakistani workers remitted a record amount of $660.35 million, almost $144.3 million or 27.96 per cent up when compared with $516.05 million sent home in September 2007. The previous highest amount remitted in a single month was recorded in July 2008, when overseas Pakistanis sent $627.21 million.

The dollar started new day at its overnight exchange price of Rs81 for buying on Tuesday and was trading at Rs82 for buying and Rs82.50 for selling till late evening. This indicates another loss of Re1 in rupee value against dollar.

The demand, being the major reason behind rupee’s fall, continued to come in high volumes today as well while physical shortage of dollars further dented rupee’s position. Some of the dealers were quoting even higher rates but market settled between a price range of Rs82.50 and Rs82.70. The physical intervention by State Bank in the form of providing dollars to exchange companies also remained slow which added more fuel to the overall supply position of the market.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2008, 09:34:17 AM »
Duty on diesel exports to Afghanistan cut by 50pc
 
 
No relief for Pakistani consumers as oil prices ease in global market

Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: In the wake of decreasing prices of petroleum products in the international market, Pakistan has cut fixed regulatory duty on export of high-speed diesel and superior kerosene oil to Afghanistan by almost 50 per cent with immediate effect.

Under the prescribed formula, price differential claims have come down owing to a sharp fall in petroleum product prices in the international market, paving the way for a substantial cut in export regulatory duty for Afghanistan.

Earlier, the regulatory duty on export of high-speed diesel to Afghanistan was slapped at the rate of Rs14.27 per litre in September, which has now been reduced to Rs7.28 on the basis of price differential claims.

The regulatory duty on export of kerosene oil was Rs17.31 per litre in September, which has been reduced to Rs8.83 in October on the same basis of price differential claims.

Although the PPP-led government has not yet fully passed on benefits of decreasing oil prices in the international market especially diesel prices to its own consumers, it moved abruptly for giving benefits to neighbouring Afghanistan, which spared no chance to tarnish the image of Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a special guest at the swearing-in ceremony of President Zardari and the PPP government’s move to pass on duty benefit to Afghanistan seemed to be a bid to appease its war-torn neighbour.

Total export of petroleum-related products to Afghanistan stood at over Rs24 billion during the last financial year (2007-08). The government decided to impose regulatory duty on export of diesel and kerosene oil to Afghanistan last month because it was subsidising the consumers of Kabul at the cost of national kitty. The price differential claims reduced substantially in the wake of decreasing prices of POL products in the international market and Islamabad moved ahead for giving benefits to exporters in Afghanistan.

However, according to FBR’s announcement, the federal government has imposed regulatory duty equivalent to the price differential claims in rupees per litre on the export of high speed diesel and superior kerosene oil to Afghanistan.

According to amended notification SRO(I)/2008, the government has stated that regulatory duty equivalent to the price differential claims (PDC), in rupees per litre, of high speed diesel (HSD) and superior kerosene oil (SKO) as notified by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, plus 1 per cent of prevalent consumer price to cover for foreign exchange loss, shall be levied on the export of HSD and SKO to Afghanistan.

The rates given in the table shall remain in force till an amendment is made by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural resources on the basis of their calculations. The exports of HSD & SKO made to Afghanistan shall be contingent upon strict adherence to the procedure, terms and conditions laid down in the Export Policy Order.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2008, 09:36:46 AM »
Donor support for Pakistan not enough: Tarin
 
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: Citing massive losses of precious lives as well as pressure on economic front in the wake of ongoing US-led war against terrorism, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin has complained to the donors in Washington that their support to Pakistan has not been enough to meet economic needs.

“A very negligible portion of these costs is defrayed by our partners,” the adviser told participants of a joint annual discussion held on the occasion of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington.

He said Pakistan was not merely facing economic consequences of the global crisis in the wake of rising oil and food prices in the recent past, but was also playing the role of a frontline state in the war on terror.

“If on the one hand, more than 100,000 of our troops are battling a ferocious militancy, on the other, our people in the main cities as well as in the federal capital are becoming victims of suicide bombings. The loss of life and economic cost imposed by this war is now rising to an unbearable level,” he added.

He said Pakistan also had to face the challenge of democratic revival as well after rendering great sacrifices. But unfortunately, the elected leaders have inherited an economy that was encumbered by the burden of subsidies accumulated due to unanticipated shocks of oil and food prices.

Despite the gravity of the challenges, the government has not abandoned the resolve to move forward and to do things right both in standing up to the call of fighting the militancy as well as in preserving the market economy that we have evolved during the last two decades, he added.

Pakistan, he said, may be amongst the few countries who have successfully adjusted to the unprecedented increases in petroleum and electricity prices by eliminating nearly all the subsidies.

The pain inherent in this adjustment, he said, can be gauged by the fact that these prices have nearly doubled or will be doubled at the close of the adjustment.

The country also successfully met the challenges of food shortages both through timely imports as well as by aligning domestic agriculture prices with international prices.

On the monetary side, Islamabad is fighting rising inflation by interest rates adjustment and by containing the monetary growth. “We have also set the goal to adhere to a zero net government borrowings target from the central bank,” he made it clear.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2008, 09:41:26 AM »
USAID to assist Pakistan in energy sector
 
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: USAID has assured increased assistance to Pakistan in the energy sector to meet the current energy deficit.

This was stated by Anne H Aarnes, Mission Director USAID in a meeting with Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, M Salman Faruqui at the Planning Commission on Wednesday. It was a preliminary meeting to discuss Pak-US energy dialogue, which has not been held for the last two years.

Faruqui apprised the delegation of the acute problem of energy shortage currently being faced by the country and emphasised on the need of a fast track power generation programme. He also informed the delegation of the government’s plan to introduce a mass transit programme that would substantially save energy and ensure easy and economical mode of transportation for the public.

He stated that Pakistan needed international assistance to implement the above mentioned programmes.

Aarnes said that USAID was willing to assist Pakistan in energy sector. She said that USAID would focus on empowering Pakistan’s energy policy and energy efficiency & capacity under the Energy Development Programme.

The USAID will assist Pakistan by providing two full time technical experts supported by short term technical assistance for energy strategy formulation, implementation and support for energy policy dialogue. Technical assistance will also supply targeted feasibility studies in energy resource development, energy efficiency, transactions support and pricing.

The energy efficiency and capacity component of USAID will develop the private sector market for energy efficiency by facilitating firms, conducting public information campaigns on energy efficiency including plans to minimize damage to business from blackouts. Capacity building activities will assist human resource departments in power sector companies to develop and implement coordinated training programmes for staff at all levels.

Aarnes further stated that besides energy sector, the USAID will also assist Pakistan in private sector development, agriculture, and knowledge management.

The Deputy Chairman appreciated the assistance offered by USAID and said that this assistance would help restore macro-economic stability in the country.

Advisors, secretary, members, and chief economist Planning Commission participated in the meeting from Pakistan’s side, whereas Mary Beth Goodman, Counselor for Economic Affairs, Emy Meyer, Economic Growth Office Director, Aazar Bhandara, Economic Growth Advisor, and Syed Farrukh Hussain, Country Coordinator attended the meeting from USAID.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2008, 03:27:58 PM »
Deposed judges stand retired: Law ministry

Updated at: 1345 PST, Thursday, October 16, 2008   

ISLAMABAD: Federal law ministry has said that all remaining deposed judges have been retired, adding they will get pension and other incentives.

According to the sources of law ministry, Supreme Court had validated the suspension of judges on November 3, 2007, while a notification was also issued in this regard. Therefore, the judges who were recently reappointed, took fresh oath, the sources said.

Besides, eight more judges are also likely to be inducted in the Sindh High Court during next few days.

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« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2008, 03:29:42 PM »
In-camera parliamentary session underway

Updated at: 1225 PST, Thursday, October 16, 2008   

ISLAMABAD: The joint session of both houses of Parliament is underway at the Parliament House in Islamabad today (Thursday).

Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza is presiding over the in-camera parliamentary session.

In today’s session, the lawmakers will open debate on briefing given by the Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman on national security.

Sources said that the parliamentarians would ask question about ongoing military operation in tribal areas and overall security situation in the country.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is also expected to attend the session. The prime minister will answer the queries raised by members of parliament regarding government’s policy.

Meanwhile, strict security measures have been taken before start of parliament’s session.

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« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2008, 03:33:58 PM »
Rulers afraid of independent judiciary: Imran
 
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Our Correspondent

LAHORE

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said rule of law cannot be established without independent judiciary and alleged that the present rulers were fearful of independent judiciary.

Imran Khan said this while addressing the lawyers’ community on the invitation of Lahore High Court Bar Association here on Wednesday.

He said that the whole nation considered Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as a symbol of independence of judiciary. The objective of independent judiciary would be achieved with the reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry, he added.

Judiciary would have to be made independent to set the country on right track, he maintained.

Democracy does not come through elections, he said, adding an independent judiciary protects an independent election commission.

‘We will continue to stand with Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry until he remained adhered to his stance,’ Imran Khan announced.

He said, ‘We don’t acknowledge Asif Ali Zardari in terms of three references, first of all Zardari was administered oath by unconstitutionally, secondly he concealed assets from the nation and thirdly he got indemnity from charges of corruption through National Reconciliation Ordinance.Ó

He said National Reconciliation Ordinance was a shameful law.

He further said National Reconciliation Ordinance was a black law which was promulgated to favour Zardari. Its promulgation was a dark chapter in the country history, he added.

Tribesmen are patriotic people and they have fought a war for the sake of Pakistan, therefore, a war cannot be won against them, he said.

Anti-Pakistan forces are active, he said, adding there should be a ceasefire immediately in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and dialogue process should be started with tribesmen, he said.

He said he did not accept Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and President Zardari whom Dogar administered oath.

Mr. Khan further said the government was fighting US war on its soil but our leaders were stuck to their claim that it was Pakistan’s own war.

If it was not so then why the government was getting financial aid from the US to wage the war against their own citizens, he expressed concern.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chief said the public through February 18 elections gave verdict against Musharraf and in favour of restoration of Justice Chaudhry and peace in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) through dialogue.

But the policies of present government suggest that it is the sequeal of previous government. He said the tribal people always backed Pakistan in every difficult situation but the government was victimising them under the garb of war against terrorism.

Whatever is going to be result of this US imposed war on terror Pakistan will suffer its disastrous outcomes, he added.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #53 on: October 16, 2008, 04:24:30 PM »
Farahi to be recovered soon: police

Updated at: 1540 PST, Thursday, October 16, 2008   

PESHAWAR: The CCPO Peshawar Dr. Suleman said on Thursday that Afghanistan’s ambassador-designate to Pakistan Abdul Khaliq Farahi would be recovered soon.

Talking to media persons in Peshawar, Capital City Police Officer Dr. Suleman said that efforts were underway for the safe return of abducted Afghan envoy. He said that intelligence reports were being gathered in this regard.

He hoped that Farahi would be soon recovered with the help of intelligence reports. He said it was still unclear who had abducted Farahi and where was he kept.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2008, 09:22:07 AM »
Industrial associations to work on power tariff dilemma
 
Friday, October 17, 2008
By M Farhan Zaheer

KARACHI: Industrial associations of Karachi are trying to carve out plans and find ways to overcome the power tariff dilemma, the single biggest problem of industry these days.

“The steep rise in the tariff of electricity is bound to add to the cost of production, rendering industries incompetent and leading to the closure of these units,” said Nisar Sheikhani, Chairman SITE Association of Industry.

Industries are furious over the high electricity bills sent by Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) to its industrial consumers in SITE area. A number of members have approached SITE Association of Industry (SAI) to ask what steps does SAI envisages to counter the high electricity tariff announced by Ministry of Water and Power vide SROs 1042 and 1043 issued on Oct 4, 2008.

The SAI has therefore, called an immediate general body meeting on Saturday the 18th of October at 4pm at the SAI office with the agenda to discuss in detail the recent increase in KESC tariff and to evolve a strategy to counter this increase.

Sheikh Fazle Jalil, Chairman, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) said we have passed a resolution on Tuesday October 15 among our members and asked our members and non-members to submit their electricity bills in associations’ office and then KATI would count all the bills on old rates and then pay to KESC.

The recent increases in electricity bills of industrial units are as high as 56 per cent, which is not feasible for running the industry, he lamented. He said the government should act proactively. Otherwise, things would go out of control, as on one hand power rates are surging and on the other hand people are deprived of power and facing severe load-shedding.

Traders had approached us and said that they can not go on with such high power rates and asked us to invite other industrialists to unanimously shutdown all the businesses. We do not, however, need to take any serious step which may harm the country and destabilise the government, he warned.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2008, 09:22:48 AM »
DFID assistance likely this month
 
 
Friday, October 17, 2008
By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: State Bank of Pakistan expects to receive first tranche of the approved assistance of 50 million pounds from UK-based Department for International Development (DFID) in the ongoing month, aimed at expanding the outreach of microfinance to five million borrowers by 2012, The News has learnt.

The cash-strapped central bank is waiting for dollar or any other foreign currency in a bid to build up its rapidly depleting foreign currency reserves.

The SBP and DFID have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Financial Inclusion Programme (FIP) and both sides are now working out details for the release of amount out of the total 50 million pounds.

“It is expected that DFID will release its first tranche in the ongoing month or by early next month,” a source in the donor agency told The News here on Thursday.

The programme, under which money will be disbursed to FIP through SBP, will focus on mobilising much-needed market-based resources for the microfinance sector.

The DFID will provide first loss guarantee of up to 10 million pounds from its grant financing. The programme will heavily invest in innovative technology-based products for the poor and will also support liquidity in the microfinance sector under the prevailing cash crunch situation in the financial market.

The outcome will directly contribute to the Millennium Development Goal 1, which is “reduce income poverty by half by 2015”.

When Dr Saeed, in charge of FIP in State Bank, was contacted over phone at his office in Karachi, he said they were working out details of the programme, but did not exactly know when DFID would release its first tranche. “It is better you ask this question to DFID people,” he said.

Sources said more than 17 per cent of Pakistan’s population (27 million) lives on less than $1 a day and 73 per cent (116m) lives on less than $2 a day. Impressive economic growth of the past four years and successful financial sector reforms have not really addressed persisting inequalities among regions, classes and between genders.

The outreach of microfinance and other financial services to the poor and marginalised groups in Pakistan remains very low as compared to other Asian countries. Penetration rate of microfinance borrowers is 2pc in Pakistan against 35pc in Bangladesh, 11pc in Indonesia, 29pc in Sri Lanka and 25pc in Vietnam.

The FIP aims to transform the financial market with a clear objective to provide equitable and efficient financial services to the otherwise excluded poor and marginalised population.

At present, there are only one million microfinance borrowers in the country. Under the FIP, Pakistan has set a target of reaching out to three million microfinance borrowers by 2010 and five million by 2012.

In addition to the microfinance sector, the FIP will focus on developing financial inclusion policies and interventions for small and medium enterprises, rural population and low-income housing sector.

The FIP will not only provide better livelihood opportunities for the poor and marginalised groups but it will also offer insurance against shocks, improved skills and higher investment in health and education at the household level.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #56 on: October 17, 2008, 09:24:18 AM »
Chinese CEOs affirm further investment in Pakistan
 
Friday, October 17, 2008
BEIJING: A number of heads and chief executives of key Chinese corporate sector called on President Asif Ali Zardari here at the State Guest House on Thursday and exchanged views with focus on augmenting economic cooperation between the two countries.

Prominent Chinese entrepreneurs told President Zardari that they believed that investment climate was hospitable and secure for further investment in the country.

They told the President that they intend to avail of investment opportunities in Pakistan.

Those who met President Zardari included Chief of China National Petroleum Corporation, China Mobile, Huawei Technology and ZTE Electronics.

The delegation led by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Jian Jiemin assured the President on behalf of CNPC to continue cooperation in trade and seismic activities.

Talking to media, the Director General of CNPC Zhang Xin said that his company was already carrying out large-scale construction in Pakistan.

“Right now CNPC has over 300 employees working in Pakistan and all of them are very safe,” he said.

Zhang said that during the meeting with President Zardari the two sides discussed further cooperation in oil exploration, trade and investment in refining and services sector.

Chairman China Mobile Wang Jianzhou said that this year his company has invested $200 million and plans to expand its project by further investing $600 million.

Wang said that for acquisition of PakTel, China Mobile had paid $400 million and also made further investment of $400 million for improvement of its network.

The chairperson of Huawei Technology Ms. Sun Ya Fang said after meeting with President Zardari that over 1600 local employees were working in her organization in Pakistan. She said that both sides talked on how to make further expansion in telecom sector.

She said that Huawei Pakistan is the number one telecom solution provider and is the only vendor serving all the mainstream telecom operators of the country such as PTCL, Ufone, Mobilink, Telenor, Warid and Zong etc. Chairperson Huawei donated one million dollars for establishment of e-Government project in Pakistan.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2008, 09:24:58 AM »
Tackling power crisis
 
Minister for immediate plan of action

Friday, October 17, 2008
By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf has directed the National Power Control Centre (NPCC) to chalk out a plan of action on war footing to minimise load shedding in the country.

He stressed that all concerned authorities should collectively come forward to fight the prevailing challenge faced by the nation due to load shedding which not only caused inconvenience to the people but also adversely affected the economy.

He made these observations while chairing a high-level meeting with the NPCC to review the current power situation here on Thursday. Adviser Additional Secretary of Ministry of Water and Power, MD PEPCO, GM NPCC and senior officials of the Ministry and NPPC attended the meeting.

The GM NPCC briefed the meeting about the objectives and functions of the National Power Control Centre. He informed the meeting about the current power generation and the steps being taken to handle the prevailing power crisis of load shedding in the country.

He informed the Minister that due to low flow of water from Tarbela and Mangla, the hydel generation had been badly affected. Similarly the shortage of gas supply to some power plants also affected the power generation capability of a number of power houses.

The Minister directed the NPCC to devise a rationale strategy for tackling the prevailing crisis and emphasised the need to work with dedication and efficiently. He said that there would be no compromise on efficiency and added that there would be no place for poor performers. He categorically warned the concerned quarters that unscheduled load shedding would not be tolerated and violators of this policy would be treated with iron hands, he added.

He also directed the Ministry to approach the concerned quarters including the Petroleum Ministry to provide the required gas to these plants for generating maximum power. He also desired that provincial governments review their indents on realistic basis from Tarbela and Mangla dams enabling the generation of more power to cope with the shortage of electricity.

The meeting also decided to take certain measures to expedite repairs of some of the units of the plants for increasing the power generation in the country to minimise load management in the country.

The Minister also inspected the NPCC system where he was told about the functions of the system and the operational mechanism which he appreciated. He directed the staff working there to work dedicatedly for which they would be properly rewarded.

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Re: Latest News
« Reply #58 on: October 17, 2008, 09:26:33 AM »
Govt urged to plug holes in
 
 
 
economy instead of seeking foreign relief

Friday, October 17, 2008
By Mansoor Ahmad

LAHORE: Relief package, if provided by Friends of Pakistan, would be beneficial only if it is accompanied with economic stabilisation policy and government initiatives to revive the manufacturing sector.

Economic experts have urged the government that instead of waiting for any international relief it should plug holes that are affecting the macroeconomic stability and marginalising the manufacturing sector. They advised the government to revisit its trade regime and institute prudent barriers to stop unnecessary imports. The rupee, they added, would stabilise once the trade deficit falls to manageable level.

Economists agree that the global financial crisis has not impacted financial institutions of Pakistan, but the recession in global markets will certainly impact the export sector, which was under immense pressure even before the present government assumed power.

They said the government should weigh positive and negative aspects of the present global economic crisis. They said the positive impact for Pakistan is that the commodity rates have registered a sharp decline. Crude oil is now available at half the rates prevailing in July-August this year. This would reduce the import bill by around $5 billion.

Similarly, they added edible oil rates have come down from $1,200 per ton to $569 per ton. This would reduce the edible oil import bill by $650 million. They say if the surge in remittances maintain the current trend depicted in the first quarter of this fiscal this would add another $1 billion to the reserves.

Because of the global recession, Pakistan would lose substantial exports of textiles that account for almost 60 per cent of total exports. They say 80 per cent of these exports go to the US and European Union, the regions that are in deep recession. Exports of less preferred items like bed wear would be drastically reduced, as consumers in the developed world are cash-starved.

They say another negative impact on economy is the steep decline in rupee value that is fuelling inflation at a time when the economy is in recession. They said that the huge depreciation of the currency has deprived electricity consumers, agriculturists and transporters of the massive decline in crude oil rates in the global markets.

They said more than 25 per cent depreciation in the rupee has almost halved the benefits of reduced oil rates to Pakistani consumers.

The greatest challenge they added is the revival of textile sector, which owes over Rs516 billion to the commercial banks.

Most of the industry is in trouble and has stopped servicing its loans. They said that the banking sector that survived the global financial crisis might not be able to withstand the looming defaults by textile sector.

They say the central bank should defer the principal and interest payments of textile sector by one year so that cash crunch faced by millers is reduced and they could buy the cotton that is at harvesting stage. They say cash starved banks would not be providing loans to defaulting industries for purchase of cotton.

They say the new government has taken some prudent steps in eliminating the subsidies. This they added would help the country in reducing its budgetary imbalances. They say the next step should be to curtail non-development expenses. The decision not to reduce the petroleum rates was probably taken to boost government finances in case the bail out package does not materialize or is delayed.