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Pak, US striving to bring breadth to ties: Haqqani

WASHINGTON: Pakistan and United States are working to bring predictability and breadth to their relationship through strategic dialogue in contrast with transactional nature of the past bilateral ties, Islamabad’s ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani said.
He also told a gathering of American experts and South Asian policy analysts at Washington’s Atlantic Council that Pakistan seeks peaceful relations with its neighbors India and Afghanistan on the basis of mutual trust and respect.
“We have decided to move past the transactional nature of the relationship —- and that means we have to create a level of predictability and some breadth in the relationship through the mechanism of strategic dialogue,” he observed after touching upon ups and downs in Pakistan-US relations over the past decades during which their ties centered on security considerations.
Elaborating his point, Haqqani cited three rounds of high-level strategic dialogue between the two countries this year, which, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, represents the most extensive US engagement with any country in the world.
“That basically reassures Pakistan that this time around the US is not going to walk away in any precipitating manner as they did soon after the imposition of Pressler (amendment) sanctions following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Haqqani said in a discussion moderated by Shuja Nawaz, who heads South Asia Center at the Council.

US envoy due in Seoul amid NKorea N-plans

SEOUL/ WASHINGTON: The top US envoy on North Korea heads to Seoul on Sunday to discuss ways to thwart Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions amid fresh concerns about its uranium enrichment programme.
Stephen Bosworth’s visit to the main regional powers this week comes amid a flurry of reports about the North’s developing nuclear programme. Analysts say the reports are part of the North’s time-honoured strategy to gain leverage in negotiations.
Bosworth will meet his South Korean counterpart Wi Sung-lac and the country’s foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan, today for talks on ways to resume stalled aid-for-disarmament talks with the North, officials said.
A foreign ministry official in Seoul said reports that the North was building a uranium enrichment facility would also be raised during his visit, but could provide no further details.
Bosworth will travel to Tokyo and Beijing after his stop in Seoul. South Korea’s Wi will also go to Beijing on Monday.
Sources familiar with the North’s nuclear ambitions said in Washington on Saturday that a US nuclear scientist saw hundreds of centrifuges in the North this month, adding to worries it is seeking a second way to obtain fissile material for atomic bombs.
Atomic experts who visited the North’s main nuclear complex this month also reported seeing construction of another new facility, believed to be an experimental light-water reactor, and there have been reports of activity at a nuclear test site.

Israel troops suspended on Gaza abuse

JERUSALEM: An Israeli court-martial handed down suspended prison sentences on Sunday to two former soldiers who forced a Palestinian boy to search for suspected booby traps during the Gaza Strip war, the military said. The ruling meant the ex-conscripts, who were last month convicted of reckless endangerment and conduct unbecoming, are free but face a minimum 3-month jail term if they commit another crime. They were also stripped of their ranks as reservists.
While serving in Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas-led guerrillas on Jan 15, 2009, the two infantrymen helped storm an apartment building in the Gaza City district of Tel Al-Hawa. Rounding up residents, they ordered nine-year-old Majed Rabah to check baggage for hidden explosives, said the Israeli verdict, which drew on witnesses accounts.
When Rabah failed to open one bag, the soldiers pulled him back and shot at it, endangering everyone present, the verdict said. The boy was later returned to his family unharmed, and the verdict made no mention of any booby traps being found. In Gaza, Rabah cried foul at Sunday’s sentence.
“It’s unfair. They should have been jailed for a year or two,” he told Reuters.Rabah’s mother, Afaf, called for the Israelis to be brought up before an international war-crimes court. Efforts to have Israel’s military and government leaders prosecuted abroad have spiraled since the war, which killed some 1,400 Palestinians.
The soldiers found guilty in the Tel Al-Hawa case were discharged as first sergeants but the court-martial in southern Kastina demoted them to sergeants.
Israel Radio quoted them as saying they would continue to serve as infantry reservists, annual duties that entail training, patrols and even combat. “They were kept on as Israel Defence Force commanders, and we need people like these in the military,” the ex-soldiers’ lawyer, Ilan Katz, told reporters.-Reuters

No to Jerusalem-less settlement halt: Abbas

CAIRO: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday that he will not return to the negotiating table with Israel without a settlement freeze that includes annexed Arab east Jerusalem. The Palestinian leader also hit out at US efforts to persuade Israel to agree to a more limited freeze applying only to the rest of the occupied West Bank in return for a raft of political and security benefits, saying he wanted to have nothing to do with such deal-making.
“If it does not encompass Jerusalem, in other words if there is not a complete freeze on settlement in all the Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, we will not accept it,” Abbas told reporters after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
“If Israel wants to return to its settlement activities, then we can’t go on. A settlement freeze must include all of the Palestinian territories and above all Jerusalem,” Abbas said.
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed on September 2 but collapsed three weeks later with the expiry of a 10-month Israeli freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.

Ireland eyes 100bn euros in bailout

Irish finmin recommends Cabinet to apply for EU, IMF programme
DUBLIN: Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said he would recommend to cabinet that government should apply for a financial bailout programme from the EU and the IMF. Ireland’s cabinet was to hold an emergency meeting to finalise a four-year deficit crisis plan seen as key to winning the international bailout and easing fears about the future of the euro.
There will be a meeting of the government, I will propose to my colleagues that we should formally apply for a programme,” Lenihan told RTE state radio. He did not specify the size of the bailout, but agreed it would run to billions of euros.
“Certainly, it will not be a three-figure sum,” he added.

232MW power ship switched on

Ashraf, Qaim jointly inaugurate power plant
Plant to help minimise energy crisis: Ashraf
2500MW from Engro in next two yrs: Qaim

KARACHI: The biggest ship power plant of the world with a generation capacity of 232 megawatt electricity was switched on Sunday here at Karachi Port by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf jointly.
On the occasion, Raja Ashraf said plant would help minimise power crisis in Karachi while CM Qaim said government would also receive 2500MW electricity during the next two years from Engro under an agreement.
Addressing the ceremony, the Federal Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that this ship has the state-of-the-art power plant which would supply power to Karachi while meeting all international environmental standards. He said the plant would help minimise power crisis in Karachi.

Govt in a tight spot on RGST

ISLAMABAD: The government is known to be facing great difficulties in manipulating the GST (general sales tax) reforms Bill 2010, according to its whims. The 3-day meeting of the standing committee for finance was scheduled to be convened on 22 Nov 2010, by chairman Senator Ahmad Ali and would review the GST-Reforms Bill 2010 and prepare committee’s recommendations in NA session commencing on 23rd Nov, where its approval would also be sought.
Sources have informed that there was a possibility of government enjoying the support of only four committee members out of a total of 13, in asserting its agenda.
The remaining nine, which include MQM, PML-Q, JUI-(F), PML-N and JI members, arrayed against the Bill, are likely to give quite a tough time to government’s aspirations regarding GST reforms.
However, not sitting idle, the government has also hastened its ministerial efforts to win over the reservations and grievances of its coalition partners, ANP, MQM and JUI, regarding the controversial Bill. -Online

KSE last wk Offshorers shop $2.87mn shares

KARACHI: The buying momentum of offshore investors continued in first two trading day of the last week in the local bourses as it attracted fresh net inflow of
$2.87 million, as per the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited (NCCPL) data.
On the other hand, positive activities continued at local bourses as KSE 100-Index closed up 0.85 per cent or 91.98 points at 10,966. Weekly average volumes plunged 58.2 per cent to stand at 69.47 million shares versus  166.1 million shares traded a week before last mainly because investors preferred to stayed sidelines ahead of Eid holidays. As per details, foreign investors deciding for buying fresh positions bought shares worth $4.8 million and sold $1.93 million, resulting in net buying of $2.87 million during the last week.On daily basis, foreigners invested $1.6 million and $1.26 million on Monday and Tuesday. On the other hand, biggest weekly selling was witnessed from banks which sold $6.93 million of shares in the local bourse against the buying of $5.83 million, thus turning the net selling worth of $1.1 million.

Oct spreads up 8bps YoY

KARACHI: Weighted average banking spread have surged by 8bps YoY in the month of October, mainly led by fall in deposit rate, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Average spreads of the banks in the country reached 7.49 per cent in October 2010 against 7.41 per cent witnessed in same period last year.
During the month, outstanding loans issued by banks were charged an average interest rate of 13.32 per cent (including zero mark-up) while outstanding deposits were rewarded at an average rate of just 5.83 per cent (including zero mark-up).
If we compare on MoM basis, the spread dipped 8bps where they were 7.57 per cent in September 2010.
Cost of deposits increased by 6bps at 5.83 per cent while they were 5.77 per cent in previous month. However, lending cost dipped by 2bps on monthly basis to 13.32 per cent.

EU vows Pak food security assistance

ISLAMABAD:  The Europe-Aid Director for Asia and Central Asia, Dirk Meganck has vowed that European Union will continue its support for combating rising food prices and ensuring food security in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is a great country, a great nation with a great potential and a large population but it is also a country affected by big problems, big calamities while the greatest calamity has been the recent floods. The ones who have suffered the highest in this country are those living in the rural areas amounting 60 to 70 per cent of the population and the people living in these rural areas contribute greatly to the economy,” he said while addressing a large gathering of small-scale farmers belonging to Farmer Interest Groups at Village Karsal in district Chakwal. Earlier the delegation was warmly welcomed and presented cultural Turbans and gifts by the farmers, said a news release issued today. Lauding the role of the implementing partners, FAO and WFP, Meganck expressed his pleasure to see the funds of 40 million euros have been utilized in a very good way, in ways to rebuild communities and to provide a sustainable environment, as sustainability is very important.

India on fire as Iran cleric voices truth about IHK

New Delhi:  In a move that could further strain friendly ties, India has lodged a strong protest over Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks describing Kashmir as one of the world’s besieged regions, along with Gaza and Afghanistan. Sources say India has issued a démarche to Iran for these comments by the supreme leader.
Khamenei in his message to Hajj pilgrims also appealed to the Muslim elite worldwide to back the “struggle” in Jammu and Kashmir, equating the state with the “nations” of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Sources added that India has conveyed its disappointment and abstained from voting on a UN resolution criticising Iran’s human rights violations.
Moreover India Friday summoned the Iranian charge d’ affaires and conveyed its “deep disappointment” over comments on Kashmir emanating from Tehran.
“We have conveyed to the Iranian authorities our deep disappointment and regret that they have chosen to disregard our sensitivities and chosen to question our territorial sovereignty,” a government source said. External affairs ministry’s Joint Secretary YK Sinha summoned the Iranian charge d’ affaires to his office Friday and conveyed the Indian government’s sentiments, said sources. It was pointed out this was not the first time as Khamenei had also made a similar statement in July this year.

We’ll secure our full tenure: PM

President no longer has the power to dissolve Parliament’
Orders study of flood affectees’ power/gas bills, loan waivers’ proposals
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has again made it clear that government will complete its full five-year term for the sake of democratic stability in the country. While giving an interview to a private TV channel, Prime Minister said the legislature has been elected for five years, those who wish its early dissolution, were, therefore, not sincere with the nation.
He said that PPP-led government very well knows how to tackle issues adding Parliament is the best forum to resolve lingering problems, stressing we respect Parliament’s supremacy.
He said the government would overcome all the problems it’s faced with and it respects all the institutions of the country.

US to stay in Afghanistan after 2014: Obama

Lisbon: Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva receives US President Barack Obama at the Presidential Palace before the start of the Nato summit in Lisbon.-Reuters

Pak, India set for combustible thriller

GUANGZHOU: Pakistan and India Friday dismissed suggestions of “frayed nerves” as arch rivals geared for a combustible hockey clash in Asian Games on Saturday. Group B match at Aoti hockey stadium, where winner will book a semi-final place, gives Pakistan a chance to avenge two humiliating defeats at India’s hands this year.
India won 4-1 at the World Cup in March and then dished out a 7-4 hammering at last month’s Commonwealth Games, both times at home in New Delhi.
Pakistan hope to turn the tables on neutral territory. “If we play as well as we are capable off, we will give Indians a good response,” said Pakistan’s coach Michel van den Heuvel. “We have the team to win the tournament.”

China to assist Pak’s sports uplift

GUANGZHOU: Pakistan hopes China will help accelerate its transformation from a sporting minnow to another Asian dragon. “We need help in almost all sports, especially swimming and track and field. We have so much to learn from China,” Syed Arif Hasan, president of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), said in a media interview here.
“Without a doubt, China is a sporting giant in Asia and the world, and its help is crucial to the development of sports in Pakistan.”
China has sent some of its best table tennis, swimming and wushu coaches to Pakistan, which has already reaped the rewards at the Asiad, courtesy of Ijaz Ahmed’s silver medal in the men’s sanshou 75 kg.
Arif Hasan said he wants to go one better and put his athletes in a Chinese training environment that extends beyond the vision of a handful of imported coaches. “I’d like China to give our athletes opportunities to train and compete in China with local Chinese athletes, which is something that would definitely help us improve,” he said, adding that he plans to write a letter to that effect to Liu Peng, president of the China Olympic Association. In return, Pakistan could help China’s cricket and field hockey teams, he said.
Unlike China, which derives great patriotic pride from its athletes’ sporting success, Pakistan has a low budget for sports and sports infrastructure.-PPI

ZURICH: Two FIFA executive committee members were banned and fined, one for bribery, over allegations they had offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Four other officials were also banned and fined in an unprecedented move by soccer’s world governing body, which has been shaken by the case and is under huge pressure to show that the contest will be clean and transparent.

ZURICH: Two FIFA executive committee members were banned and fined, one for bribery, over allegations they had offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Four other officials were also banned and fined in an unprecedented move by soccer’s world governing body, which has been shaken by the case and is under huge pressure to show that the contest will be clean and transparent.
Nigerian Amos Adamu was banned from all-soccer related activities for three years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,130) for breaches of five articles of FIFA’s ethics code including one on bribery. His fellow executive committee member Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, was banned for one year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs for breaching articles on general conduct and loyalty.

Girls get the first gold for Pakistan

Beat B’Desh in Asiad Women Cricket
KARACHI: Pakistan women’s cricket team opened the gold medal account for Pakistan in the Asian Games on Friday, crushing Bangladesh by ten wickets to win the first-ever Asian Games women’s cricket tournament in Guangzhou. After winning the toss, Pakistan skipper Sana Mir invited Bangladesh to bat first, and her players dismissed them for 92 runs in the allotted 20 overs.
For Bangladesh, Salma Khatoon scored 27 and Romana made 17, while for Pakistan, Nida Rashid claimed three and Sana took two wickets. Pakistani openers reached the target with more than four overs to spare. Nida played an unbeaten inning of 51 runs, which included seven boundaries, while there were three boundaries in Javeria’s unbeaten 39.

Waqar calls for separate squads

ABU DHABI: Coach Waqar Younis suggested that national cricket team should have separate teams for Twenty20, ODIs and Test matches. “I think time has come for us to think on these lines, we must have separate teams for different formats with specialized players for each format,” he said ahead of second Test against South Africa starting Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
He insisted all three different formats required a different approach from coaching staff and players. “We have lot of talent in  Pakistan and that is why I believe we should now think about having separate squads with specialists. Obviously some players do quality for all three formats or two of formats.”
He said upcoming tour of New Zealand will help Pakistan build their combination for World Cup. “It is going to be an important tour for us in the sense that we can finalise our combination for keeping in mind conditions we will encounter in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh during the tournament.”
He said he was hoping to see ODI squad perform better and improve their finishing abilities. “In recent series we have lost some very close matches which we should have won due to basic mistakes, so, we are working hard on our fielding and ability to finish off matches.”-PPI

What oil near $90 may mean for OPEC policy

OIL prices are at a 25-month high and approaching $90 a barrel, raising the question of whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise output. The 12-member OPEC which pumps more than a third of the world’s oil, has kept its oil output target at 24.84 million barrels per day (bpd) for almost two years since announcing a record supply cut after prices slumped in 2008.
It meets on Dec 11 in Quito, Ecuador. Oil hit $88.63 a barrel on Thursday, the highest since October 2008. It has been supported by the new round of US economic stimulus which has weakened the US dollar, record Chinese demand and falling US inventories.
Following are scenarios on what the rising oil price may mean for OPEC policy.

Lisbon Nato moot seen as watershed in Afghan war

ISLAMABAD: The Nato summit in Lisbon this weekend will mark a turning point in the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan as it lays out a roadmap to end combat operations by 2014, the top US envoy to the region said on Monday.
But that won’t spell the end of the international presence in Afghanistan, said US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. “From Lisbon on, we will be on a transition strategy with a target date of the end of 2014 for Afghanistan taking over responsibility for leading the security,” he told reporters in the Pakistani capital.
“We have a transition strategy. We do not have an exit strategy.”
He stressed that 2014 would not be a repeat of 1989, when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in defeat and the West turned its back on its former proxy battleground, leaving it a cauldron of Islamic militancy and civil war. The Taliban emerged from this stew as did Osama bin Laden.
“This does not mean international force will leave completely, and it definitely doesn’t mean we’re going to repeat 1989 when the US turned its back on Afghanistan as soon as the Soviets left.”
Many in Pakistan and Afghanistan still point to the abandonment as the United States’ original sin and the cause of many of the region’s problems.

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Tuesday clarified that the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) would not be imposed on food items, lifesaving drugs, and education sector. Talking to newsmen at National Broadcasting House here, he said food items like wheat, rice, pulses, vegetables, fruit, and edible oil would remain exempt of this tax.
The minister explained that the export industry would also be exempt from levy of the RGST to the extent of products meant for exports but the items being consumed in the local market would come under the net of the RGST.
He said that as the farming sector now enjoys better facilities, it has been decided that the RGST would be applicable to agricultural inputs like fertilisers, pesticides and agricultural machinery.

President, PM call for ensuring implementation of 18th Amendment
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday urged the nation that on Eid-ul-Adha   the brothers and sisters affected by floods/terrorism should be a part of their celebrations.
In his separate message to the people of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said, “On the festive occasion of Eid-ul-Adha I call upon my countrymen to remember their less fortunate brethren. Even as we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha it saddens me that so many of our people are living in misery brought by unemployment, low wages, or lack of justice.”

Nation celebrates Eid-ul-Adha today

ISLAMABAD: Nation would celebrate Eid-ul-Adha with traditional zeal and religious fervour today (Wednesday).
The day would dawn would special Eid sermons where Ulema would stress for unity of Ummah and prayers be held for the prosperity and well being of the country. The largest Eid congregation in the federal capital would be held at Faisal Mosque.
In Rawalpindi main Eid congregation would be held at Liaquat Bagh while in Lahore, biggest Eid congregation would be held at Badshahi Mosque. Eid congregations would also be held at Data Darbar, Masjid Shuhada, Masjid Wazir Khan and Bagh Jinnah.
Special prayers would be offered for the independence of Palestine and Kashmir and sustainable peace in the region.
Ulema and Khateebs from different schools of thought would deliver special sermons and lectures to highlight the significance of the day.
To celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims sacrifice animals according on any of the three days of Eid. Different slaughtering points have been set up in different places of federal capital for the convenience of the people. -Agencies

Govt handpicks four lawmakers

Parliamentary Committee for Judicial Appointments
MQM, ANP unhappy over being neglected by govt
Special Correspondent/ Agencies
ISLAMABAD: The names of four members of Parliament belonging to Treasury Benches for the 8-member Parliamentary Committee for making senior judicial appointments under Article 175(A) of the Constitution were finalised on Tuesday.
In a statement spokesperson to the President, Farhatullah Babar said names were finalised in the light of the recommendations made by the Prime Minister in a meeting with the President. He said four members of the Parliament belonging to Treasury comprise of two senators and two members of the National Assembly.
He said two National Assembly members nominated as members of the Parliamentary Committee, including Aftab Shaban Mirani from Sindh and Asma Alamgir Arbab from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The two Senators nominated to the Parliamentary Committee, including Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari from Punjab and Sabir Baloch from Balochistan, he added.

Plea against Rs72/kg sugar

No sugar shortage in country, says Bijrani
ISLAMABAD: A petition filed in Lahore High Court Tuesday challenged Rs72 per kilogramme rate of sugar. The Government of Punjab has recently fixed sugar at Rs72 per kilogramme. Meanwhile, the court called reply from the federal government within two weeks over a petition in which government’s decision about imposition of Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) and flood tax have been challenged.
Meanwhile, federal minister for industries and production Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani has said that there is no shortage of sugar in the country, it is the hoarders who are to be blamed and without the help of the provincial governments this problem can not be solved. Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani in a statement said that the hoarders are creating this shortfall of sugar in the country. The provincial governments should take action and organise its machinery to deal with the hoarders and without the help of all provincial governments this problem can not be solved.
He informed that an ICC meeting was held on Nov 11 and in that meeting it was informed that during January-October seven and a half million tonnes of sugar was bought by the traders from the sugar-mills which never reached the local market.
Since January 2010 till Oct 2010, 2 million 75 thousand tonnes per month has been produced whereas the limit set by the government was 3 million 50 thousand tonnes per month. He further informed that he presided over a meeting of the Pakistan sugar association meeting in which the representative of the association Jawad Kiyani has categorically said all the sugar has been sold from the sugar mills and not even a single bag is left. -Agencies

4M C/A deficit shrinks by 55pc

KARACHI: Pakistan’s current account deficit squeezed by 55 per cent to a provisional $533 million during the first four months of current fiscal year from $1.177 billion in the same period of last year which is highly encouraging for economic executives, showed State Bank of Pakistan’s data, released Tuesday. Higher remittances and a lower trade deficit compared with last year were the reasons for the narrowing of the current account deficit, according to the TFD analyst.
According to the latest official data, remittances from Pakistanis working overseas rose 13.3 per cent to $3.5 billion in the first four months of the FY11.
However, on a month-on-month basis, the current account surplus narrowed in October. In October, the current account stood at a provisional surplus of $35 million, compared with a surplus of $424 million in September.
The lower surplus from September to October is mainly due to a higher import bill stemming from rising international oil prices

Japanese Parliamentary minister calls on President

Japanese Parliamentary minister calls on President
Special Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Monday said Pakistan was a natural conduit for trade and energy for Central and West Asia and urged Japanese government to raise its  stakes Pak energy sectors, adding Pak hold huge potential of investments.

Talking to Makiko Kikuta, Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign affairs who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, he invited the Japanese investors to invest in the SEZs exclusively setup for Japanese investors.

Foul proof security could have saved Benazir Bhutto’s life: FIA investigative team

ISLAMABAD: FIA investigation team probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has disclosed in its report that if foul proof security arrangements had been made by the law enforcing agencies than she could have been saved adding that she was killed through a conspiracy.
The report further disclosed that Baitullah Mehsud had paid Rs 0.4 million each to two suicide bombers for carrying out the suicide attack at Liaqat Bagh where the former premier was addressing the rally.
FIA sources told that a complete indictment report presented by the FIA team before the Anti terrorism court reveals that police had not made adequate security arrangements for the Benazir Bhutto rally at Liaqat Bagh and she was not given an extra ordinary police cover. Furthermore the sudden removal of security from the rally prior to departure of Benazir Bhutto is itself a question mark.
The report further says that police have committed criminal negligence by not taking affective security measures. While washing away of crime scene and not performing post mortem of Benazir Bhutto is also a serious crime and action should be taken against the involved.
Sources told that alleged mastermind of Benazir Bhutto Assassination Baitullah Mehsud paid Rs 0.4 million each to two suicide bombers to carry out the attack. After which one bomber blew himself up near the vehicle of Benazir Bhutto while the second one was set to blow himself up at Liaqat Bagh intersection. Record of conversation between Baitullah and suicide bombers has been obtained.

Grand Mufti preaches peace, denounces terror

Rulers responsible to protect peoples’ life, property & honor’
MECCA: The Muslims can face the formidable challenges only with enforcement of the principles of Islam, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Al-Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah said here on Monday in Hajj sermon. The rulers are responsible for protection of life, property and honour of the citizens, speaking at Masjid-e-Nimra to a mammoth gathering of Muslims, the Grand Mufti said.
He said Islam opposes terrorism but Muslims are subjected to oppression in various parts of the world, why the United States and Europe are silent over this oppression. Muslim youths are being misguided today, he said, the poverty-hit young men are being taken to the path of misguidance, the Grand Mufti said and called the rulers and the people to join hands to confront this problem.

Banks stood firm in crisis: SBP

KARACHI: The banking sector in Pakistan has been able to withstand headwinds from weakening macroeconomic fundamentals since 2007. Although banks face increased credit risk, the overall sector is well placed to withstand modest shocks as they build their inventory of government securities.
This was stated by the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Shahid H Kardar in a message embodied in SBP Annual Report on the working of the Bank (Performance Review) for the year 2009-10 (FY10) which was released Monday.
‘Furthermore, in response to emerging dynamics in the macro-financial environment, the SBP has rationalised the minimum capital requirement and its implementation schedule, which will provide breathing space to the banking sector in this difficult macroeconomic environment’, he said, added that State Bank continued to strive for a balance between price stability and support for economic growth while safeguarding the soundness and stability of the financial system during FY10.
While highlighting some of the key policy measures undertaken by SBP during FY10, Kardar said in response to a
changing inflation outlook, SBP adjusted its stance on monetary policy. The decline in inflation during the initial months of FY10 and a relative improvement in the macroeconomic situation, allowed the central bank to ease its monetary policy stance, he said, added that as the growing fiscal deficit and unexpectedly low external receipts increased risks of a relapse into macroeconomic instability, and as inflationary pressures resurfaced in H2-FY10, SBP decided to pause the easing cycle and subsequently increased its policy rate in July and September 2010.
SBP Governor pointed out that the exchange rate during FY10 continued to reflect market conditions, which helped narrow the external imbalance and improve macroeconomic stability. Foreign exchange reserves, which were at $12.425 billion at the close of FY09, increased by $4.325 billion to reach an all time high of $16.750 at the close of FY10, he said and added that SBP’s decision to enhance banks’ Foreign Exchange Exposure Limit also strengthened the market’s capacity to handle larger volumes of foreign exchange transactions without additional volatility in the exchange rate. -Agencies

KSE EOGM maybe delayed further

KARACHI: The upcoming Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) of Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) is likely to be delayed further as the apex regulator have decided to formulate a committee which will negotiate the brokers over the issue that chairman of the exchange should be a member of the bourse. It should be noted that a meeting of KSE Board of Directors held with the Chairman Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Salman Sheikh on Monday. ‘We may postpone the meeting further after SECP has said to make a committee to solve the issue”, said a director KSE. It is worth mentioning that previously the EOGM was scheduled on Nov 4 but was then adjourned till Nov 22.
The agenda of the meeting was to amend the Articles of the Exchange that the chairman of the exchange should be a broker as members think that a broker-chairman will understand the market better. The issue of broker-chairman came to fore after the present Chairman Zubyr Soomro had expressed reservations on Margin Trading System (MTS) which was approved by KSE board of directors. Further, the four letters that were written by SECP to KSE on the appointment of acting Managing Director and some other issues were also discussed in the meeting on Monday. It was decided to work with mutual consensus in the future.

Key rate may go up half per cent

Monetary Policy on Nov 29
KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan will announce on Nov 29 its monetary policy for the subsequent two months, Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the central bank said Monday.
“It is likely that the central bank will continue to hike the key policy rate, by at least 50 basis points (0.5 per cent), considering the fiscal indiscipline and to counter inflation” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive at Topline Securities Ltd.
In the last monetary policy review on September 29, the central bank increased its key policy rate by 50 basis points to 13.5 per cent in a bid to curb deepening fiscal deficit and combat rising inflation.
State Bank of Pakistan governor, Shahid Kardar said government had borrowed 184 billion rupees ($2.15 billion) from the central bank since July 1, added this can fuel inflation as it increases money supply.
“Inflation for next month could be between 17 per cent and 18 per cent due to a hike in sugar prices and electricity tariffs, which means the central bank could further hike the policy rate,” said Khalid Iqbal Siddiqui, director at Invest and Finance Securities Ltd. -Reuters

Obama’s Asia frustrations raise protectionist risks

The risks of a wave of  protectionist sentiment on Capitol Hill just got higher after President Barack Obama struggled to win over wary leaders of export-driven Asian economies. Obama’s message to trade surplus nations during his 10-day swing through Asia was unwavering: the path to global prosperity  is not “simply paved with exports to America”.
But if he was heard, he is not being heeded. “The failure of movement of the Chinese does not bode well  for heading off new trade restrictions (in Congress),” said Fred  Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International  Economics in Washington.
“If we can’t get the two sides to tango, this is going to cause continued problems for world growth and potential future crises, and in the short run for potential protectionist outbreaks.”
Even before last week’s G20 summit, China and Germany had quashed Washington’s proposal to set numerical targets for current account imbalances that risk destabilizing the global economy. When the leaders of the group — whose economies account for more than 80 percent of global output — met in Seoul, there was no agreement even on how to identify such imbalances.

Seoul G20 shows shift of power from old order to new

* Seoul G20 shows shift of power from old order to new  * Stalemate on imbalances calls U.S. leadership into question  *  Without coordination, global adjustment could be disruptive
Economic power is leeching from  the old world to emerging markets. The politics of globalisation are not keeping pace with this shift. And that makes it hard to agree joint action to tackle urgent issues such as how to reduce China’s external surplus.
The Group of 20 summit in Seoul amply corroborated each of these truisms. The risk now is that, in the absence of policy coordination, a purely market-driven adjustment of global economic imbalances will be messier than it need be.
And where market forces are not allowed to prevail, as is the case with China’s exchange rate, the temptation for politicians in the United States and Europe to try to force the adjustment through tariffs and import barriers can only grow.
“There is a pervasive sense that the G20 has reached the limit of cooperative efforts towards rebalancing of the world economy,” said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University professor and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

Security of Iranian Envoy upped

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has enhanced the security of Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakiri after receiving threats from Taliban, private TV channel reported.
The report quoting the sources of Interior Ministry said that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan, Mashallah Shakri received threats from banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and he informed the government through diplomatic sources.
After the threats, the government has tightened the security of Iranian envoy. The security agencies have started the operation to investigate the people, who threatened the ambassador. On the other hand, Shakri has limited the activities. The security of other envoys also has been beefed up. -APP

Millions march into Mina as Hajj begins

Al Qaeda denies plot to target Muslim pilgrims
MAKKAH: The hajj begins in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of thousands of people set out on a journey from Mecca to Mount Arafat through the valleys of Mina and Muzdalifa. It is expected that this year’s hajj will be attended by some 3.5 million people.
Recently a special light-rail metro was opened, connecting Mecca with the valleys. The following year, when construction is completed, every six hours the light-rail metro will carry up to half a million people. Hajj is one of the five compulsory duties of a Muslim, guaranteeing him pardon for all sins and the attainment of eternal bliss in the life hereafter.
On the other hand, Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula denied on Sunday it would stage any action to coincide with the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia after a Saudi minister said such an operation could not be ruled out.
“We are against any crimes against pilgrims, Hajj is a pillar of Islam and we are most eager not to spill the blood of Muslims, wherever they may be. Mecca is more sacred than any other place,” AQAP said in a statement posted on an Islamist website often used by militants.
The statement followed remarks last week by the Saudi interior minister in which he suggested al Qaeda may attack the around two million Muslims who are due to start their pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Asked whether al Qaeda might stage an attack on the Hajj or use the event to try and get fighters from Yemen into the kingdom, Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz said: “We cannot rule out any operation but we are ready to foil it. -Agencies

LPG goes up Rs8/kilo in Pakistan

KARACHI: Per kilogram (kg) prices of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) have increased by Rs8 resulting in prices of domestic cylinders of LPG rising to Rs100, media reported on Sunday. The fresh increase has resulted in price rise in LPG in Azad Kashmir to Rs150 per kg whereas in Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur to Rs120 per kg.
Rs8 per kg increase has brought the price of domestic cylinder to Rs100 while that of commercial cylinder to Rs400.
Price of domestic cylinder in Fata and Azad Kashmir has reached Rs1730 while 1390 in Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur.

Pak, US ink pact for wind power

150MW wind farm to cost $375mn
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States (US) Sunday signed a wind power generation project which will be completed in two years at a cost of $375 million (Rs32 billion) to produce 150-megawatts of electricity. The agreement was signed by US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and Secretary Water and Power Javed Iqbal on behalf of their respective governments here at a local hotel.
US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Director USAID Andrew Sisson, Chairman Alternative Energy Development Board Arif Alauddin and country representative of American Power Company (AES) Muhammad Iqbal were also present on this occasion. The project will be in three sites in the Gharo Corridor, in Thatta, Sindh near Karachi to utilise the winds of the area for producing 150 megawatts of power. The main objective of the projects was to improve the capacity of Pakistan government to address the country’s most critical energy needs. It will also reduce the dependence on imported fuel and oil and will save Pakistan $45 million (Rs3.8 billion) per year in fuel cost. The project using new technology of ‘clear’ power will serve about 600,000 homes in the area.
Richard Holbrooke addressing briefly on this occasion said it is a best example of private and public partnership between the two countries as Ministry of Water and Power will represent Pakistan while USAID and US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and American Power Company (AES) Corporation, a private company are joining hands to address the important problem being faced by the people of Pakistan.
US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter speaking on the occasion said the project will address the key issue of shortage of electricity in Pakistan. He said it will have impact on the future relations of two countries and provide a solid base to further enhance and promote these ties. Secretary Water and Power Javed Iqbal appreciating the contribution by the American government and personal interest taken by Richard Holbrooke said the project would further strengthen the bilateral relations. -APP

Near-$90-oil won’t hurt economy: Opec

TEHRAN: Iran’s Opec governor said oil prices of $70-$90 per barrel would not hurt the global economy, the oil ministry’s official website SHANA reported Sunday. “Consumers and producers are unanimous that oil at $70-$90 prices are suitable prices and will not hurt the global economy,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi told SHANA.
Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia earlier this month shifted upwards the band from a price it has backed for around two years, saying oil at $70-$90 a barrel was comfortable for consumers. Global oil prices are now near $86. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday Opec was raising production fast enough to meet growing demand and reducing compliance to the group’s target for output cuts.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a report this week its 11 members bound by oil production targets — all except Iraq — produced 26.89 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in October. -Reuters

Pakistan goes up against new permanent seats in UNSC

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan while strongly opposing new permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC), called for “flexibility and compromise” on part of countries pushing competing proposals for enlarging the 15-member body so as to move the stalled reform process forward.
Speaking in the General Assembly’s annual debate on achieving equitable representation in the 15-member council, Pakistan’s acting ambassador Amjad Hussain Sial said his country was committed to reform that would make it more representative, transparent and effective.
Pakistan is always supporting an expansion of non-permanent members of UNSC. The deadlock was evident during the assembly debate, which wrapped up Friday: Supporters of three rival proposals to reform the council showed no signs of budging. The two-day debate took place in the wake of the United States support for India’s bid for a permanent seat on UN’s high table.
Five permanent members hold veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 non-permanent members, with no veto, are elected for two-year terms.
Most countries have argued that this structure does not represent the realities of today’s world. Key issues under discussion are the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council’s working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly.


Eid ul-Adha; The Festival of the Sacrifice is one of two major Islamic celebrations and takes place on the Islamic month Dhul-Hijjah, in which millions of Muslims from around the world make an annual pilgrimage to Makkah in order to worship Allah and to commemorate the willingness of the Prophet Abraham (PBUH) to sacrifice his son Ishmael in response to a command from God. Satisfied with Abraham’s devotion, God replaced Ishmael with a sheep at the last second, and the sheep was slaughtered instead. While pilgrims in Makkah re-enact this scene by slaughtering sheep of their own, Muslims who can afford it in the rest of the world also participate in this rite by slaughtering sheep, camels and cows.
During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat. That is why Muslims slaughter animals by saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughtering. And give charity to the poor and impoverished by making contributions and distributing meat for Allah.
These acts certainly spread happiness and good cheer amongst so many individuals and their families, especially during the festival of Eid-ul-Adha where Muslims are in the spirit of celebrations.
The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor.
“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)
But the problem is that we aren’t obeying the rule of Islam in order to distribute the meat of slaughter. We distribute slaughter meat among those, who are our relatives and friends. We do not distributed meat among those who really deserve it.

Economic reforms plan ready: Shaikh

2-day Pak Development Forum starts today
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would present to the international community its economic reform and stabilisation plans at the Pakistan Development Forum meeting at Islamabad over the weekend, a top US official said. The two-day Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) will begin here today (Sunday) with an agenda of focusing and sharing with the participants and development.

“We are holding the Forum in 2010, as the last PDF was held in 2007″, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said.
He said that the Forum would provide opportunity to have comprehensive dialogue with our development partners on government’s strategic direction, priorities and policies.
Shaikh said that deliberations of the PDF influence forthcoming the country Partnership Programs/Strategies of the Donors adding that in addition, feedback from the development community facilitates alignment of government policy with international best practices.
He said that the event is particularly significant this year in view of the devastation caused by the floods and the consequential economic fallout.
“High level local and international participation including US Special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Vice President of World Bank and ADB , UK Minister for International development and senior officials of the IMF are expected in the forum”, he remarked.
He said that to make the forum more representative the Chief Ministers of the provinces and civil society organizations including Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would also participate and share the development strategies in their respective provinces.

Pakistan woos Chinese trade

Zardari addresses corporate leaders at Pak-China Forum
Investors offered irrigation, housings, energy sectors
GUANGZHOU, CHINA: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday invited the Chinese investors and entrepreneurs to benefit from Pakistan’s geostrategic location as well as its trade and economic potential for a win-win situation for the two neighbourly nations having time-tested ties.
“I invite you to take advantage of the geostrategic location, trade and economic potential and the warm-waters of Pakistan, which has all the ingredients to become a progressive and developed country,” the President said while addressing the corporate leaders of the Guangdong province here at the Pakistan-China (Guangdong) Forum on Economic Reconstruction.
Besides the Chinese business leaders, the Forum held here on the sidelines of the 16th Asian Games and jointly organised by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Pakistan Consulate in Guangzhou was also attended by Vice Governor of Guangdong province, Liu Kun and representatives of Guangdong provincial government.

Pak used terror as a hedge against India: US

WASHINGTON: Islamabad used to support terror outfits as a hedge against India and an unfriendly Afghan regime, so that the two neighbours of Pakistan do not undermine it, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
“They (Pakistan) have in the past hedged against both India and an unfriendly regime in Afghanistan by supporting groups that will be their proxies in trying to prevent either India or an unfriendly Afghan government from undermining their position,” she said. Clinton said now things are “changing”, but she cannot confirm whether Pakistan has stopped the use of terror against India and Afghanistan.
“That is changing, now, I cannot sit here and tell you that it has changed, but that is changing,” she told ABC News in an interview, the transcripts of which was released by the State Department.
Clinton accepted that the US had created certain radical outfits and supported terrorists like Osama bin Laden to fight against the erstwhile Soviet Union, but that backing has boomeranged.
“Part of what we are fighting against right now, the United States created. We created the Mujahidin force against the Soviet Union (in Afghanistan). We trained them, we equipped them, we funded them, including somebody named Osama bin Laden. And it didn’t work out so well for us,” she said.
The Secretary of the State also said Pakistan is paying a “big price” for supporting U.S. war against terror groups in their own national interest. “But I think it is important to note that as they have made these adjustments in their own assessment of their national interests, they’re paying a big price for it,” Clinton said.

GUANGZHOU: The Asian Games officially opened with a glitzy gala ceremony on Friday, culminating years of planning for a massive event that is set to reinforce China’s regional sporting dominance. The extravaganza heralds the most ambitious Asiad so far with more than 14,000 athletes and officials from 45 countries and territories angling for gold in 42 sports.
The Games run until November 27, with hosts China heavily favoured to top the medal table, with South Korea and Japan battling for second place.
“After six years of hard work, I am pleased to announce that the preparatory work of the 16th Asian Games has been completed,” said Guangzhou vice mayor Xu Ruisheng.
Security forces mounted a sweeping operation to isolate the fenced-off venue for Friday’s opening ceremony, on an island in the Pearl River, with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao due to attend.
But as dusk fell over the city thousands of people streamed to the spectacular setting near the giant Canton Tower ahead of the start.
Just as Beijing did before the 2008 Olympics, Guangzhou has poured billions of dollars into getting this sprawling southern metropolis ready.
While the city does not have the glamour of Beijing and Shanghai, officials here are hoping the Games will help transform it into one of Asia’s top destinations.
In preparation, it has embarked on several huge infrastructure projects – a new rail station, a gleaming trade centre, subway lines, housing projects, highways and bridges. It has also constructed or renovated 70 sporting facilities.

Zardari House under thick layers of security

ISLAMABAD: Following the gruesome bomb blast at the CID Centre Karachi on Thursday night, security has been further tightened outside ‘Zardari House’ located in the heart of Capital in Sector F-8/3 after Taliban aired attack threats.
Well-placed sources told Online that the entire street has been declared as Red Zone and no one will be allowed to enter the premises without methodical checking.
It has been further told that following Taliban threats to attack Zardari House, all kinds of political activities have been halted for a while. Beside that Presidency and its adjacent buildings have also been kept on a high alert with additional police and Rangers contingents. Traffic has been virtually suspended and close vigilance is on, sources said. Sources further added that all kinds of heavy traffic have been strictly directed to be stopped outside the city limits in view to avoid any untoward incident. On the other hand, Chinese detectors have been installed on the ways in Turnol and Sihala so that goods could be screened and then allowed to enter the city while the entire city is on a red alert.-Online

Chinese auto-titan turns head to Pakistan

GUANGZHOU: Chairman Guangdong Automobile Industrial Group (GAIG) Zhang Fangyou Friday called on President Asif Ali Zardari here and voiced keen interest for exploring business opportunities in Pakistan.
The President was accompanied by the Chairman Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwala and delegation members including Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah, Ambassador to China Masood Khan, and Spokesman to the President Farhatullah Babar.
President Zardari informed the head of the Chinese automaker of huge potential of this industry in Pakistan.
He directed the Chairman BOI to stay back and discuss with him the prospects of GAIG’s operations in Pakistan. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, is engaged in research and development, manufacture and sale of passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, engines and autoparts.-APP

UN $2bn flood-aid call answered 45pc

UNITED NATIONS: UN has said the $2 billion aid appeal  for   Pakistan’s flood victims, the largest-ever launched by any international body for a natural disaster, now stands funded by 45 per cent.
To a question at the regular noon briefing, Spokesman Farhan Haq said although the response to the appeal was improving, the United Nations continues to urge the international community to provide more funding. The appeal was launched a month ago, more than quadrupling the original $460 million sought in August as the full scope of the floods became clear. The disaster has claimed some 2,000 lives, exposing over 20 million others to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood as the waters steamrolled down from north to south, damaging or destroying nearly 1.9 million homes and devastating at least 160,000 square kilometres.
To another question, Farhan Haq said the UN is assessing the health situation in flood-affected areas and is taking measures to prevent the outbreak of any disease.The UN has said the over 2.06 billion dollars appeal would cover 483 projects to be implemented by 15 UN organisations, the International Organisation of Migration and 156 non-governmental organisations.