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Swiss franc hits record high vs USD

ZURICH: The Swiss franc hit a fresh all-time high against the dollar on Thursday as traders took falls in US bond yields, which erode the return on US assets, as a cue to sell the greenback.
The franc, which has attracted funds escaping euro-zone debt problems, also traded within reach of a recent peak versus the euro as investors continue to prefer the solid Swiss economy to the potentially unstable euro-zone. The Swissie was 0.3 per cent higher against the dollar compared to the New York close, trading at 0.9431 per dollar at 0731 GMT. The franc earlier hit a new record high against the dollar of 0.9418 franc per dollar, according to Reuters data.
The franc was up 0.2 pct against the euro at 1.2481 per euro. “Recent record highs in the Swiss franc are not linked to any event in particular as there has been no news boosting risk aversion over the last few days,” analyst said, adding that markets were rather illiquid during the holiday period. -Reuters

‘Serial losers’ Pakistan warn NZ with final win

NZ take series 2-1
CHRISTCHURCH: Captain Shahid Afridi and All Rounder Abdul Razaak took seven wickets between them as Pakistan outclassed the Kiwis in the third Twenty20 in Christchurch on Thursday. New Zealand team was all out at 80 runs defeated by 103 runs big margin in the last Twenty20 of the series. The home side won the series 2-1.
Captain Afridi grabbed four wickets for 14 runs but the star of the match was undoubtedly Abdul Razzaq, who hammered 34 off 11 deliveries before taking three top-order wickets for 13.
Pakistan set 184 runs target after winning the toss and elected to bat first, however New Zealand team was all out for just 80 runs as only veteran Scott Styris scored 45 runs.

12,000pts at long last

100-Index breaks big barrier
Nawaz Ali
KARACHI: Berserk bulls Thursday catapulted Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) above 12,000 points — the major psychological level– after around two and a half years. The benchmark KSE 100-Index gained 145 points -1.22 per cent– to close at 12,031 points closing above 12,000 levels for the first time after July 03, 2008.
KSE 30-Index jumped by 141 points -1.24 per cent– to hit 11,588 points and KSE All Share Index jumped 98 points -1.19 per cent– to reach 8,362 points.

Oil slips under $91; US inventory data in focus

US jobless claims at lowest in more than two years
LONDON: Oil prices slipped under $91 in thin trading volumes on Thursday ahead of the release of the latest weekly US oil inventory data, expected to show a drawdown in crude stocks for the fourth consecutive week. US crude for February delivery fell 57 cents to $90.55 a barrel by 1415 GMT. ICE Brent crude shed 41 cents to $93.73
Oil prices brushed off a positive reading of new US jobless claims, which fell to their lowest levels in two years, suggesting the labour market could be regaining strength. Prices have traded range-bound near $91 a barrel after touching 26-month highs of $91.88 a barrel at the start of the week, but weakened during the penultimate trading session of 2010.

Iran, India oil payment-row heats up

Central bankers of both nations meet today
NEW DELHI: A payments dispute between India and Iran escalated after Tehran refused to sell oil to India under New Delhi’s prohibitive new rules, sources on both sides said on Wednesday.
The Indian sources said officials from the central banks of the two countries will meet on Friday (today) as Iran seeks to rescue trade worth around $12 billion (£7.7 billion) a year, at risk from rising US pressure on countries trading with Iran to abandon all dealings.
Last week, the Reserve Bank of India said deals with Iran must be settled outside the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) system, used by central banks of member nations to settle bilateral trades.

Forex reserves up at $16.42bn

KARACHI: Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves rose to $16.42 billion in the week ending December 25, up from $16.39 billion the previous week, the central bank said on Thursday.
Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rose to $12.71 billion from $12.63 billion in the week ending Dec 25, while those held by commercial banks fell to $3.71 billion from $3.76 billion, said Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the central bank. “The $633 million from the United States will be included in the forex reserve data released next week,” said Wasimuddin. Pakistan’s reserves hit a record high of $17.10 billion in the week ending Oct 15 because of an increase in remittances from overseas Pakistanis and a narrowing trade deficit.

Domestic debt reaches Rs5.08tn

During 5MFY11
Aamir Abidi
KARACHI: Pakistan outstanding stock of domestic debt and liabilities has soared 8.2 per cent or Rs403 billion during the first five-month of current fiscal year (5MFY11), according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Domestic debt and liabilities recorded at a historical level of Rs5.296 trillion during the period, from Rs4.89 trillion on June 30, 2010, due to a significant rise in budget deficit. Similarly, domestic debt alone rose by Rs427 billion to Rs5.08 trillion in 5MFY11 as against Rs4.65 trillion in June 2010.
The floating debt during the period under review rose by Rs364 billion to Rs2.76 trillion against Rs2.39 trillion in June 2010, while the unfunded debt increased by Rs56.1 billion to Rs1.51 trillion as compared to Rs1.45 trillion.
Furthermore, permanent debt rose by Rs8.1 billion in 5MFY11 to Rs802 billion during the period under review. Within the floating debt category, government borrowed Rs249 billion through MTBs for replenishment. Similarly, it further borrows Rs115 billion through market treasury bills

MQM MPs resignations challenged in court

ISLAMABAD: Resignations tendered by two federal ministers from MQM have been challenged in Supreme Court (SC). Challenging the resignations through a petition filed under article 184(3), Shahid Orakzai, the petitioner has taken the plea that ministers from MQM cannot extend resignations under the directives of a person who is not citizen of Pakistan.
The two federal ministers including Dr Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri have violated the sovereignty of Pakistan by giving resignations, he pleaded. The court should also inquire if Altaf Hussain was holding any office of any political party under political parties order, he said.
The petitioner requested the court to intervene in the matter immediately. The court should maintain that both the federal ministers had violated the sovereignty of Pakistan by tendering resignations. Therefore both of them should be declared disqualified for any office and the allowances and perks allowed to these two ministers withdrawn immediately.

Pak to fight suit against ISI in US

Our foreign policy based on national interests: FO
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday announced to strongly defend the law suit filed against country’s elite intelligence agency to seek its dismissal.
A statement from the Foreign Office said, “Government of Pakistan has taken a firm decision to strongly contest the suit filed against the ISI, its present and past Directors General.”
A US court had issued summons to senior Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials including its head Major General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in response to a lawsuit filed by relatives of two American victims accusing him and some others of providing material support for the Nov 11 Mumbai attacks.
“The Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Embassy in Washington shall defend the legal suit on behalf of ISI and its Directors General fully and properly,” the FO statement said.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani last week categorically told the National Assembly; “We do not believe the ISI, as an agency of the Government of Pakistan, or its present and former officials could be subjected to civil litigation in the courts of the United States and we intend to take appropriate steps to obtain dismissal of this action.”

Zardari phones Altaf

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardai and MQM chief Altaf Hussain held a telephonic conservation late Wednesday night, media reported. Two leaders discussed issues of national interest including prevailing political situation. According to sources, President Zardari, talking to Altaf, said that PPP-led government would not let coalition partners become angry. Government would abolish reservations of MQM soon, president assured. -Agencies

Co raises urea price by Rs150/50-kg bag Engro told to justify hike

ISLAMABAD: Under the directives of the Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, the ministry has taken a serious note of increasing unilaterally the urea price by Rs190 per 50-kg bag by Engro Fertilizers Ltd.
“This is indeed alarming”, says a statement issued by the Ministry of Industries and Production here Thursday. The statement said that it has been further ascertained that only one urea manufacturer has introduced this price increase, adding manufacturer has been asked to explain this increase immediately to the Fertilizer Price Review Committee (FPRC). Moreover, the government fully believes that, when sufficient stocks of urea are available in the country then there is no justification, at all, of increasing urea prices by one manufacturer, the statement added. It is pertinent to mention here that, as per commitment made by the manufacturers in the last meetings held in the Ministry, the manufacturers/ dealers were bound to print retail price on the urea bags.

Factory output stays sluggish

LSM down 2.07 per cent in 4MFY11
Ghulam Raza Rajani
KARACHI: Pakistan’s industrial output continued to show downward trend and contracted by 2.07 per cent in the first four-month of the current fiscal year mainly due to decline in production of petroleum, chemical and fertiliser sectors, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS).
During the period, two subsectors decline in production as Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) reported 13.86 per cent drop in production, and Ministry of Industries down by 4.55 per cent, while Provincial Bureau of Statistics showed a growth in production by 3.64 per cent. On the other hand, month of October also saw the decline – slightly higher by 2.81 per cent over the same period last year, worrying industrial output of the country.
The FBS data further reveals that petro

Oil import bill swells 39pc in Nov

KARACHI: Country’s oil import bill again rose 39.3 per cent YoY to $979 million during the month of November as compared to $703 million in the month of November last year, mainly because of high demand of petroleum products due to high consumption of furnace oil for power generation to meet shortfall of electricity.
According to the sector-wise trade data, in petroleum sector, the import of both crude and manufactured products went up significantly. Imports of manufactured petroleum product went rose 49.3 per cent to $578 million against $387 million witnessed in identical period last year. Similarly, crude oil import hiked 27 per cent to $401 million versus $315 million in November 09. In food group, import bill ballooned 96.1 per cent in November 2010 in which sugar import registered a hike of 734 per cent. Likewise, pulses import increased by 142.7 per cent and palm oil import bill registered surge of 58.1 per cent over the corresponding period of last year.

Textiles export grows by 23pc

KARACHI: The export of textile products showed an improvement of around 22.7 per cent in the initial five months (July-November) of current financial year against the same period of the last year, Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) reported Thursday. According to the official data, export of textile industry reached $5.12 billion in the period under review against $4.17 billion during the same period of previous year. The improvement in textile export was mainly attributed to higher per unit price of Pakistan textile products, otherwise quantity exported of mostly all the products under the category witnessed decline.
As per details available, ready-made garments export increased by 33.1 per cent to $653 million against $490 million in 5MFY10. Similarly, cotton cloth, knit-wear, bed wear and towel exports increased by 27.9 per cent, 20.7 per cent, 14.2 per cent and 7.3 per cent to $901 million, $928 million, $822 million and $293 million respectively.
Similarly, food group export registered an increase of 7.3 per cent to $1.19 billion in 5MFY11 versus $1.11 billion in 5MFY10.
In food group, rice export registered a jump of 11.9 per cent to $ 779 million against $696 million export of rice witnessed in 5MFY10, whereas fish and fish preparation export surged 34.3 per cent and fruits by 0.5 per cent over the same period last year.

PM snubs talks of govt-change

Upper House unanimously adopts 19th amendment
Says rumours only impeding country’s development
Special Correspondent/ Agencies
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday has said rumors don’t lead the government to exit door but they cause only problems and are impediment on the way to development. PM Gilani said this while addressing Senate session after the passage of 19th amendment.
Gilani held 19th amendment was a new-year gift for the people and approval of this amendment had proved the august house was not a rubber stamp.
“I had already said that only the House would approve whenever any constitutional amendment would come. Nishan-e-Pakistan would be conferred on the members of constitutional reform committee in January, he announced. “We have always pursued politics of reconciliation and we will promote it too”, he added.

Govt oblivious to B’stan issue: Sharif

LAHORE: PML-N Quaid, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has blamed the government for ignoring the Balochistan issue, which would make the situation more severe with the passage of time. Addressing the Workers Convention in Lahore, PML-N Chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that it seemed that Balochistan is not included in the policy of the government, adding that the history of Dhaka-Fall is repeating in the Balochistan.
He further said that a committee of senior parliamentarians should be formed to resolve the issues being faced in Balochistan. Mian Nawaz Sharif while congratulating the workers over foundation day said hat those who are calling the revolution are part of the corrupt government.

CJP appreciates lower judiciary

Justice Iftikhar addresses SHC judges
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the judges of Sindh High Court and district judiciary.
“During the last one year the judges of High Court and district judiciary have taken responsibility to discharge their duty to the best of their ability,” he said while addressing all the judicial officers posted in all the five districts and judicial officers posted in Special Courts of Karachi at the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday.
The Chief Justice observed that coming to the court was not the only duty of the judges but more important is to provide justice to the needy. “It is satisfactory to note that people are now overwhelmingly reposing trust on the institution and faith is increasing day by day,” he noted. The increase in disposal of cases shows the performance of the courts, however, there was always room for improvement, he added.
The CJP said that judiciary was most important pillar of the country.
He said there were complaints, but as compared to the past, the number of complaints was on the decline. “You being part of district judges should also keep an eye on your subordinate staff,” he added.

Rs500 banknote ceases to be legal from Oct 1, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has declared that the old-design banknote of Rs500, which was introduced in April 1986, shall cease to be legal tender with effect from 1st October, 2011 and hence cannot be exchangeable from this date.
Accordingly, State Bank has asked the general public to exchange the old-design banknote of Rs500 from the field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation and the branches of all commercial banks throughout the country up to 30th September, 2011.
It may be pointed out here that the State Bank has already completed the issuance of new design banknote series of all denominations (including Rs 500), which started with the launching of Rs20 denomination banknote in 2005, to improve the security features, durability and aesthetic quality of banknotes. -Online

China backs rare-earth quota-cut

Says quota cut in line with WTO
BEIJING: China defended its export controls on rare earth minerals on Thursday, saying that they were in line with World Trade Organization rules, after a government move to slash export quotas on rare earths sparked trade concerns.
China, which produces about 97 per cent of the global supply of the metals used in the production of numerous high-tech products, cut its export quota by 35 per cent for the first half of 2011 compared with a year earlier, saying it wanted to conserve reserves.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu reiterated at a regular news briefing in Beijing that the quotas were necessary for environmental protection.
“This accord with relevant WTO rules,” she said. “In the future, China will continue to supply rare earths to the international market and will take effective management steps over their export in accordance with WTO rules.”

ATC reserves verdict

Shahzain’s bail
QUETTA: A special Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Thursday has reserved its decision regarding bail of the arrested leader of Jamhoori Watan Party Shahzain Bugti till today (Friday). On Thursday, Shahzain Bugti’s lawyer, W N Koli, presented his arguments for the approval of bail in ATC and requested the court to give him more time for further investigation.
After hearing arguments of both sides’ lawyers, the ATC reserved its decision, on Bugti’s bail, till today. Hundreds of Bugti’s supporters attended the hearing and they protested, outside the court, against the arrest of their leader. -Online

Musharraf refuses to appear before panel

Benazir Murder Commission
ISLAMABAD: Former president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf has refused to appear before any commission set up regarding the murders of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti. During an interview with a private television channel, Musharraf maintained, “It was not my responsibility to provide security to Benazir Bhutto; who told her to come out of the rooftop of her vehicle”?
He said that President was not supposed to provide security to anyone. “I feel bad when the security agencies are being accused of having a hand in BB’s murder, they did nothing of sort”, Musharraf asserted. “Only people like Jehangir Badar alleged me of the murder”, the former COAS stated.
Replying to a question on Akbar Bugti’s murder, he said that “Frontier Constabulary has been established to defend the country but Akbar Bugti was fighting with it on the mountains. -NNI

Malik, Rabbani fail to lure Fazl

JUI-F Chief refuses to rejoin government
ISLAMABAD: Government cronies on Wednesday made other effort to woo back JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazl-ur Rehman back into the fold of the government however the JUI-F Chief has refused to review of his decision.
According to sources Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Head of Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms Raza Rabbani, and 10-member Parliamentary Delegation from Fata led by Munir Khan Orakzai met JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazl separately at his residence and asked the Maulana to Fazl reconsider his decision.

Cabinet mulls PR, PSM rejig

Gilani chairs meeting, reviews progress on decisions
Meeting also accords approval to pacts with China
Special Correspondent/ Agencies
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet which met here Wednesday reviewed the status of implementation of Cabinet decisions pertaining to food and agriculture, foreign affairs, health, housing and works and industries and Production decisions. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani presided the meeting.
During the meeting Cabinet deliberated upon the declining performance of Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steels Mills and other government’s institutions including Pepco and PM directed that restructuring plan of these departments be presented in the next Cabinet meeting.

President says PPP won’t let MQM go

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday assured that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will not let Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) quit the coalition and keep respecting the parties’ mandate. He was addressing to provincial ministers and members Sindh Assembly in a meeting held here in Bilawal House Karachi.
Earlier president was briefed about three year’s performance of Sindh government. He said local body’s elections would be held in 2011 and PPP would get clear majority in the elections.

KSE members elect directors

KARACHI: The annual election of directors of Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) was held Wednesday, to elect five directors for the next term commencing from January 01, 2011. In all, nine candidates contested the election for which a total of 156 members of the Exchange cast their votes and all the ballots were declared valid.
Accordingly, the five candidates who were declared successful, in order of the votes secured, are: Abid Ali Habib (130), Mohammed Sohail (101), Zafar Siddiq Moti (98), Ashraf Bava (93), and Muhammad Qasim Lakhani (90). It should be noted that out of these newly elected directors, three of them i.e. Mohammad Sohail, Ashraf Bava and Muhammad Qasim Lakhani elected for the first time.
After electing as a director KSE for the first time Mohammad Sohail while talking to media said that his priority would be to improve the image of the broker community. He also said that improving financial positions of the members is also one of his priorities.

India, BD against EU grants to Pak

NEW DELHI: India, Bangladesh and Peru have opposed the European Union’s proposal to give duty-free access to Pakistani textiles as a flood relief measure. The countries have informed the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that trade concession was not the right option as it harmed interests of competitors, a government official has said.
A decision on EU’s proposal to allow duty-free import of 75 items — 64 of them textiles — from Pakistan was deferred at a recent meeting of the WTO committee on trade in goods after the three countries raised objections. It will be taken up in the next meeting scheduled for late January, according to Economic Times.

Governors’ appointments challenged in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: PML-N has challenged the appointment of all the four provincial governors in Supreme Court. According to media reports the petitioner Senator Zafar Ali Shah from PML-N had taken plea in his petition that incumbent four governors were appointed by the former president Pervez Musharraf while such powers had been transferred to prime minister following the implementation of 18th amendment.
President has to appoint the governor in consultation with the prime minister, therefore the induction of sitting four governors is illegal and unconstitutional, he added. The appointment of governors be declared null and void and they be restrained from performing their duties, he said. Federation, provincial governments and all the four governors have been made respondents in the petition. -Online

Governors’ appointments challenged in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: PML-N has challenged the appointment of all the four provincial governors in Supreme Court. According to media reports the petitioner Senator Zafar Ali Shah from PML-N had taken plea in his petition that incumbent four governors were appointed by the former president Pervez Musharraf while such powers had been transferred to prime minister following the implementation of 18th amendment.
President has to appoint the governor in consultation with the prime minister, therefore the induction of sitting four governors is illegal and unconstitutional, he added. The appointment of governors be declared null and void and they be restrained from performing their duties, he said. Federation, provincial governments and all the four governors have been made respondents in the petition. -Online

Kardar terms RGST as revenue-booster

SBP Governor addresses PIDE Conference
ISLAMABAD: Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Shahid H Kardar on Wednesday called for raising tax revenue by implementing Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) for the economic prosperity of the country.
“The country desperately needs a tax structure in order to improve its economy. The RGST can be the best option but unfortunately our politicians are not convinced enough to pass it into a law”, Kardar said, adding RGST was a very progressive one and it would benefit most segments of the society.
He stated this while chairing a session of a three-day annual general meeting and conference of Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) here at a local hotel in which renowned economists from across the world participated. The conference has been organised by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).
SBP Governor also expressed his concern over low collection of the property-taxes especially by the provinces which were affecting the overall collection of the tax revenue.

Nepra tells Discos to reduce tariffs

Tariff down Rs2.09 during 4mth: Spokesman
ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has directed all the power distribution companies to reduce their tariffs by Rs1.08 per unit whereas Rs0.46 for KESC. This has been learnt from a circular issued by Nepra here in Islamabad on Wednesday.
According to details, this decision has been taken in monthly fuel adjustment surcharges from the month of November which will be applicable on consumers.
Decision has been taken after publicly hearing complaints regarding monthly fuel adjustments in power tariffs.
After hearing, Nepra decided to reduce the power tariff by Rs1.08 for all distribution companies whereas for KESC this reduction will be Rs0.46 per unit, which will be applicable from month of November.
Meanwhile a spokesman of the ministry of water and power said that government has taken all the possible steps in power tariff reduction and provided maximum relief of Rs2.09 per unit to the consumers during the last four month. Spokesman stated that under the monthly fuel price adjustment, 33 paisas per unit were reduced in August, 36 paisas per unit in September, 32 paisas in October and Re 1.08 per unit in November, 2010. Thus the total reduction during the last four month is calculated to Rs2.09 per unit which is major reduction. The reduction in the per unit prices during the last three months (August-October) under the monthly adjustment has already been passed on to the consumers and the relief for the month of November will be given in the forthcoming electricity bills Furthermore, minister for water and power, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a press statement said that the government is determining to provide relief to the consumers in the electricity tariff. He said that all the resources are being utilised to generate cheaper electricity sources. He said that the government had decided to change its present energy mix to enhance hydel, coal and power generation. -Agencies

Snowfall interrupts PIA flights

PESHAWAR: Flights bound for Chitral from Peshawar have been cancelled due to severe fog and heavy snowfall over the Lowari top, severely restricting passengers bound for Chitral.
Schedule of many other airlines from Peshawar, with flights bound for Karachi, Quetta, Saidu Sharif, Dera Ismail Khan, Lahore, besides international flights has also been affected, while food shortages have also hit the area. -Online

China cuts rare earths exports quota

SYDNEY: China has raised fresh international trade concerns after slashing export quotas on rare earths minerals, risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization.
China, which produces about 97 per cent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, cut its export quotas by 35 per cent for the first half of 2011 versus a year ago, saying it wanted to preserve ample reserves, but warned against basing its total 2011 export quota on the first half figures.
The US Trade Representative’s office was “very concerned” about China’s export restraints on rare earths and had raised its concerns with China, a spokeswoman said.
A European Commission spokesman said the European Union “notes the latest quota figures and expects China to respect its recent assurance of a guarantee of rare earth supplies to Europe.”
US makers of high-tech products such as Apple Inc’s iPads, along with Japanese companies have been scrambling to secure reliable supplies of the minerals outside of China as Beijing steadily reduces export allocations.
Japan’s Sony Corp said China’s move to cut export quotas was a hindrance to free trade and that it would work to reduce its reliance on Chinese supplies.

‘Malik turned a blind eye to security plan’

Saud Aziz being victimised in BB murder: Counsel
RAWALPINDI: Counsel of former DPO Rawalpindi Saud Aziz — nominated accused in the Benazir Bhutto Assassination case — has disclosed that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated due to non-implementation of the security plan whose responsibility lies on Rehman Malik and Major Imtiaz.
Addressing a press conference here Wednesday, the Counsel Waheed Anjum told that prior to one day before December 27, 2007 public gathering, the security plan was made on December 26 and SSP Yaseen Farooq was in-charge of it and questioned, why his statement was not made part of the FIR.
According to the security plan, Benazir Bhutto was advised not to come out from the vehicle after the public gathering and she was informed about possible danger incase of coming out from the vehicle.
Police officials had informed Rehman Malik and Major Imtiaz about theses dangers and advised them to stop BB from coming out from the vehicle and Rehman Malik took responsibility to prevent her from coming out from the vehicle, Waheed Anjum underlined.

World Bank’s role in rehabilitation hailed

WB’s Review Mission visits Erra office
ISLAMABAD: A high-level World Bank mission visited Erra where they were given a detailed update on utilisation of funds by Erra. The mission headed by Raja Rehan comprised of procurement, social sector, disaster risk reduction and finance specialists, who also met the chairman Erra, Hamid Yar Hiraj, and deputy chairman Erra, Lt Gen Haroon Aslam.
World Bank has been one of the major partners in reconstruction and rehabilitation activities after the 2005 earthquake, specially, the rural housing program which is a success, and also in supporting Erra rural housing, livelihood cash grant and capacity building programs.
Appreciating the role of donors and sponsors and specifically of World Bank, chairman Erra appreciated the technical support provided by World Bank, which Hiraj said was one of the catalysts in successfully achieving reconstruction goals.
Terming World Bank and Erra partnership as an example to turn disaster into opportunity, deputy chairman Erra Lt Gen Haroon said Erra and World Bank partnership spreads over five years and the efforts to mainstream disaster risk reduction into Erra strategies was made possible by World Banks proactive support for capacity building and Erra DRR program.

Kardar-signed banknotes from Jan 3

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan would start issuing banknotes bearing the signature of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor, Shahid Kardar with effect from January 3, 2011 from the field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation.
According to a press release issued here on Wednesday, the banknotes bearing the signatures of his predecessors shall continue to remain in circulation as legal tender. NNI

Securing AfPak border, a tall order: Pentagon

WASHINGTON: Acknowledging that terrorist have a safe haven inside the tribal areas of Pakistan from where they operate and cross over to Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official said that it would be a tough job to seal the AfPak border.
“As far as the border itself, I think it is naive to say that we can stop, you know, forces coming through the border,” said Col Viet Luong Commander, Task Force Rakkasan and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
“In order to secure the border, as well — as you know, it takes a lot. It takes effort on the other side, by the Pakistanis,” said Luong, who is responsible for eastern Afghanistan which includes the volatile Khost province and 261-km of AfPak border.
In a special video-conferencing with Pentagon reporters from Kabul, he said, “As our footprint is expanded along the security line of effort, it’s harder and harder for these guys to come and bed down in these villages.”

India probes Citibank staff fraud

NEW DELHI: Indian police said on Wednesday they were investigating Citibank staff in Gurgaon, a booming satellite city outside New Delhi, over a multi-million-dollar scam targeting wealthy clients. Employees at the bank in Gurgaon, where many international companies are based, allegedly forged letters to sell a fake investment scheme to about 40 wealthy clients, the Economic Times newspaper reported.
Nearly 4 billion rupees (88 million dollars) was handed over, according to the paper. The alleged fraud came to light earlier this month when one of the clients mentioned the scheme to a senior bank manager. Citibank and police confirmed the probe but gave no further details.
The investigation is the latest financial scandal to hit India.
Last month several senior executives of state-run banks and an insurer in Mumbai were arrested over bribes totaling more than 200 million dollars paid to sanction loans to property developers. -Agencies

Indus Motors cuts car prices

KARACHI: Indus Motors announced Wednesday that they will reduce the prices of Daihatsu Cuore and Toyota Corolla Sedans effective December 29, 2010. The reduction ranges between Rs15000 to Rs40k per vehicle. The Company spokesperson added over last several months IMC has made major capital investments amounting Rs 2 billion in the phase-2 of Press Shop project and also in the engine assembly and testing facilities.
These projects are now reaching implementation and start-up stage that enables the Company to pass the benefits of enhanced localisation and assembly to our valued customers, accruing from these projects. The price reduction will be valid on all orders, received after December 29, 2010. The new selling price of the popular Corolla Xli will be Rs1,337,000 down from Rs1,354,000 and the new price of Gli will be Rs1,462,000 from the previous price of Rs 1,479,000.
The Altis MT (including sun-roof variant) price will be reduced by Rs35,000. Altis AT (including sun-roof variant) will be reduced by Rs40,000. Daihatsu Cuore prices will be reduced by Rs 15,000 across the range of vehicles.

MQM puts PPP into a tight spot

Sattar, Ghauri send resignation to President, PM
PML-N accepts Altaf’s challenge of public debate
Staff Reporter/ Agencies
KARACHI: The PPP-government came under further pressure Tuesday with its second-largest partner, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Farooq Sattar and Babar Khan Ghauri dispatched their resignations to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Muttahida Qaumi Movement said Monday that it was withdrawing its two ministers from the federal cabinet in a move that could threaten the narrow parliamentary majority of President Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Talking to media, Sattar said that they had resigned because the government failed in solving the problems faced by the people of Pakistan. He said that the government did not consult his party on policy decisions.
The statement issued here from MQM Center ‘Nine-Zero’, said the party’s reservations still exist adding government neither took MQM into confidence nor did has any consultations with it.

Hina underlines fiscal discipline

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar Tuesday called for maintaining fiscal discipline in the utilisation of resources at all levels for the welfare of the people and socioeconomic development of the country. She stated this while presiding over the session of the 26th annual general meeting and conference of Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) here.
The three-day conference has been organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in collaboration with Forum of Federation Center for Civic Education, Higher Education Commission, CIDA, USAID and FES.
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Dr Nadeem-ul Haq inaugurated the conference while Vice Chancellor of the PIDE Dr Rashid Amjad and Anwar Shah also spoke on the occasion.
The purpose of the annual meeting and conference was to provide a forum where leading professional economists, other social scientists and policy makers could exchange ideas of the vital economic and social issues facing Pakistan.
With the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment, Pakistan has taken a major step towards fiscal decentralisation that involves a fundamental shift in the division of powers between provinces and the center. During the conference the 7th NFC award  and the economic implications of the 18th Amendment, reformed GST , challenges and opportunities would also be discussed by the eminent economists and policy makers and suggest measures for a sustainable economic growth for the benefit of the country. Hina Rabbani Khar in her remarks on the topic “Empowering states and provinces or unshackling local governments :does it matter for peace, order, good governance and growth” presented by Anwar Shah Director center for public economics Chengdu, China and World Bank Institute, said that after 18th Amendment and 7th NFC award the federal government has empowered fiscally to the provinces.-Online

Offshorers pour $0.5bn into KSE

Foreigners hold shares worth $2.9 billion

KARACHI: One thing which was interesting at a time of crisis in Pakistan, led by ferocious floods, is the continuous foreign buying in local stock market. Though local investors remained bearish on the market due to liquidity crunch amid huge borrowing by the government, it was the foreign inflows that saved Pakistani market in the outgoing year.
Compared to the net buying of only $24 million in 2009, foreigners in 2010 bought shares worth $1.2 billion and sold $0.7 billion with net buying of $0.5 billion.
High government borrowing is crowding out private investment in Pakistan and local investors prefer to park their funds in risk free government papers or high yielding bank deposits.
In 2010YTD, local companies sold shares worth $168 million on net basis whereas local mutual funds sold $127 million worth of shares. As per the research analyst of Topline Securities, offshore funds now hold shares worth $2.9 billion as of December 17, 2010 which is 8 per cent of the market capitalisation and 31 per cent of free float. He said at the beginning of 2010, their share in overall market cap was 6 per cent and 23 per cent of market free float. Their peak holding was $5.1 billion (27 per cent of free float) in April 2008 and lowest was $1 billion (17 per cent of free float) in March 2009, he added. With no big IPOs in the near future, foreigners share in local bourses will continue to increase. With imposition of capital gain tax, individuals who mostly square their position within a day, their average share in December 2010 declined to 45 per cent compared to approx 57 per cent in January 2010. However, during this period foreign participation increased to 6 per cent as compared to only 3 per cent at the beginning of the year. Foreign participation in local market will remain robust next year due to ample liquidity in the global markets for high risk emerging and frontier countries. With Pakistan market trading at 50 per cent discount to regional market on PE multiples against historical average discount of 30 per cent will compel offshore investors to focus more on Pakistan than other regional markets for better returns amid new phase of quantitative easing (QE2).

Pakistan, Oman set to talk FTA

Gilani seeks increased Omani investment
PM denies communication gap with India
MUSCAT: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday denied any communication gap with India on resolution of core issue of Kashmir and other outstanding issues, but asked it not to hold the dialogue process hostage to the Mumbai incident. This impression should be dispelled that there is lack of communication between Pakistan and India, Gilani said, however pointed at lack of trust, in an interaction with local Omani media at his hotel.
Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan desires resumption of dialogue process with India to resolve all outstanding issues and mentioned his talks with his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh during which he had asked him that one incident should not be allowed to hold the dialogue process down.

Fazl asks Zardari to replace PM

ISLAMABAD: Terming him a threat to the democratic process in the country, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) called upon President Zardari to replace Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
During a press briefing here Tuesday, Fazal asked the President to take strict action against the PM for derailing the democratic process in the country and acting against the reconciliatory policy of the PPP government.
“Bring a new Prime Minister for it is impossible for the democratic process to run in Gilani’s being in power”, the JUI-F chief asked the incumbent government.
He asserted that he was in touch with all the political parties regarding the current political scenario, however added he was expecting some big decision from MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
“We stick to our guns, but the problems facing the country cannot be resolved till the government does not take a solid step”, Fazal maintained. He deplored the political situation in the country. When asked about Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) clash, he said that PML-N has got its own philosophy but it did target MQM first.
Regarding his trip to Saudi Arabia, Fazl said he is going to offer Umrah and added that his tour has nothing to do with Hajj scandal or its investigation. -NNI

E-commerce on rise, SBP reports

FY11: first quarter
Staff Reporter
KARACHI: The scope of payment systems infrastructure in the country increased during the first quarter (July-September) of the current 2010-2011 fiscal year (FY11) as a total of 99 automated teller machines (ATMs) were added to the e-banking infrastructure bringing the total number of ATMs to 4,562 in the country.
According to State Bank’s First Quarterly Report on Payments Systems released Tuesday, 60 more bank branches have been upgraded to Real Time Online Branches (RTOBs) while the number of plastic cards (i.e. ATM, Debit and Credit Cards) also increased by 5.23 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
The Report said that the value of ATM transactions increased by about 5 per cent to Rs262,524 million while maintaining the number of transactions at the level of the previous quarter; thus increasing the average value per transaction to Rs8,486 compared to Rs8,037 in the previous quarter. It said the contribution of other modes of e-banking is also on the rise despite comparatively insignificant numbers and aggregates value of transactions, added utility bills payments through available modes (ATMs, internet, mobiles etc) of e-banking transactions are also growing.

Mirza ready to quit to win MQM back

President, PM assure MQM resolution of grievances
Staff Reporter/ Agencies
BADIN/ KARACHI: Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, who infuriated the coalition partners with his fiery statements, Tuesday offered to sacrifice his ministry to bring round the resented partners.
Zulfiqar Mirza said if quitting the ministry could please Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), then he was ready to tender his resignation for the purpose.
Talking to media here, Sindh Home Minister said Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would keep democracy up and that he was raring to render every sacrifice for the its sake. Mirza said, “Political parties do have differences with each other; MQM is a democratic party and I respect their mandate.” Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani held telephonic conversation with Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad here on Tuesday and assured that alliances reservations would be removed.

Cracker blast at KU injures 8

KARACHI: At least 8 students injured in cracker blast at Karachi University here Tuesday. As per details, a cracker blast in Karachi University at Arts lobby, near Mehmood-ul Hassan Library at 1:00PM injured 8 students. After receiving information police, Rangers, bomb disposals squads and ambulance rushed at the site and dispatched the injured students to hospital. The bomb was of 200-gram.
According to the University sources, one student organisation targeted the other student’s organisation while police sources told that it was parcel attack. Police sources further told that it was cracker blast of low intensity.
SSP Gulshan Iqbal Naeem Shaikh, SSP Special investigation unit Umer Khattab, SP CID Investigation Mazhar Mashwani and DIG Shaukat Ali visited the site.

MQM concerns genuine: Awan

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan Tuesday said MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s concerns were genuine and that he fully agreed with the MQM leadership. Speaking to media representatives after attending a ceremony held in connection with ‘Past, Present and Future’ organised by Sindh Madrassah ul Islam, Awan said MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s concerns were genuine and that he fully agreed with the MQM leadership, adding President Asif Ali Zardari has assured that all ‘grievances’ of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will be addressed.
MQM has expressed its concern over the socioeconomic problems of the people and similar are the views of the government, he added. Awan said the government was determined to solve the problems of the masses during the next two years. Awan also praised JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman and said that Rehman played a constructive role in the coalition government.
“Difference of opinion is part of the democratic process and we do not believe in the policy of dictation,” Awan pointed out. He said the government was in no haste and it would complete its tenure and present a people friendly budget in the next two years. To a question about the decisions taken recently by the judiciary, Awan said the present government will always respect the judiciary. About the anti-corruption drive of the present government, he said a major move was in the offing to catch big bank defaulters. -Online

Reform extension seen positive for PPP-govt

IMF gives more time for RGST approval
ISLAMABAD: Economic experts here Tuesday termed IMF nine-month extension for stand-by arrangement as positive and an opportunity to complete the reform for General Sales Tax and correct the course of fiscal policy and amend the legislative framework for the financial sector.
Pakistan can use this period as an opportunity to further correct the fiscal policy to implement the reformed general sales tax (RGST) in the country, Dr Ashfaq Hassan Khan former Advisor Finance Ministry told APP here Tuesday.

Lawmakers raise voice over rising drone attacks

ISLAMABAD: Members of the National Assembly Tuesday expressed serious concern over the rising drone attacks into the tribal areas of Pakistan. They called upon the government to get these attacks halted which are disturbing law and order and hurting the economy of the country.
PPP-Sherpao leader Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said that more then five drone attacks were reported in tribal areas during the last 24 hours, adding that these attacks were resulting in terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.
He said the government claims that it is against these attacks and asked then why the joint resolution of the parliament regarding the drone attacks has not been implemented.
He said the government should table the joint resolution in the House to review the situation because the increasing number of drone attacks are causing collateral damage as well as resulting in extremism.
Sherpao warned that any military operation in South Waziristan would further deteriorate the situation.
JUI-F leader Maulana Atta-ur Rehman said that the US forces came to Afghanistan to eliminate terrorism however they have completely failed to curb the menace which has also affected Pakistan.

Kayani visits Khi Garrison

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Karachi on Tuesday, where he addressed officers of Karachi Garrison. He spoke about the domestic and regional security issues and also dilated upon the ongoing military operations to restore normalcy in terrorism-affected areas of the country. He also lauded rescue and relief efforts undertaken by various Army Formations during recent floods. On arrival, COAS was received by Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam. -Online

Kayani visits Khi Garrison

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Karachi on Tuesday, where he addressed officers of Karachi Garrison. He spoke about the domestic and regional security issues and also dilated upon the ongoing military operations to restore normalcy in terrorism-affected areas of the country. He also lauded rescue and relief efforts undertaken by various Army Formations during recent floods. On arrival, COAS was received by Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam. -Online

Pagara sees MQM, JUI-F in next govt

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) Chief Pir Pagara has reiterated 2011 as the year of polls and predicted that MQM and JUI-F will be the part of new government. He was talking exclusively to Online News Agency here in Karachi on Tuesday. He said next government setup will be political and one amongst these political parties currently active on will grab the crown. He shared his good wishes with new government as he prayed for them.
Replying to questions, Pir Saheb said MQM will never return to federal cabinet as PPP will remain unsuccessful in aligning them. He was of the view that both MQM and JUI-F have played their cards wisely and will be rewarded in next ruling setup accordingly.
He predicted about next ruling party as it will be the same that intermittently appears on political scene every four or five years and then clarified by saying that it will be civilian setup, replying to a query. -Online

Dec 31: last day of SECP CRS, CEES

ISLAMABAD: The amnesty schemes launched by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), i.e., the Companies Regularization Scheme (CRS) and Companies Easy Exit Scheme (CEES) shall close on Friday, December 31.
These schemes were initially operative for three months, from July to September. On public demand these schemes were extended initially to October and then to November. Now they have been finally extended to December 31, vide its circular No 27 of 2010, placed on the SECP website. The fees structure in terms of S.R.O. 996(I)/2010 of October 26 shall apply.
The companies are earnestly advised to benefit from the schemes within the stipulated time, by either regularizing through filing of their overdue returns under the CRS or strike their companies off the register under the CEES.
This is the last and final extension and no further extension shall be granted. A strict action shall be initiated against the defaulter companies, after the closing of the schemes. -Online

Cameron, Zardari talk ties over phone

KARACHI/ ISLAMABAD: British Prime Minister David Cameroon telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday afternoon. Bilateral relations and situation in the region figured in the talks. David Cameroon called the President soon after the President arrived in Karachi from Naudero where he had been for the Party meeting and public address on the eve of the third anniversary of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on Monday.
According to Presidency sources, British Prime Minister David Cameroon discussed host of issues with the President including national, international and Pak-UK relations in length. PPP would continue its five-year term and next elections would be fair and free, President told British Prime Minister David Cameroon.
He further said that Pakistan would continue to fight the menace of war against terrorism while British PM assured President that UK will continue to support Pakistan thick and thin for a strong and stable democratic Pakistan in this regard, Sources concluded. -Online

MQM delegation visits BB’s mausoleum

GARHI KHUDA BAKSH: Delegation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) under the leadership of Provincial Minister Raza Haroon visited the tomb of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on the third death anniversary of the international leader and laid floral wreath and offered Fateha for the departed soul.
During a quick chat with journalists, Raza Haroon said undoubtedly Shaheed BB was an international leader and she gave her life for Pakistan, adding that we will continue her goals and manifesto along with President Asif Ali Zardari. The killers of BB will not be spared at any cost, he held. He said MQM is holding the manifesto given by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and we have implemented her vision to a great extent. He further reiterated that we would expose the assassins of BB tooth and nail. -Online

100-Index up 26pc in CY10

KARACHI: With only one week to go, Pakistan market nearly gained 26 per cent ($24 per cent) in calendar year 2010. Amongst the local investors there were very few winners. That is few investors have minted money due to low volumes and due to the fact that index gain was mainly driven by heavy-weight OGDC.
OGDC, with more than 80 per cent of float is estimated to be owned by foreigners, its share in KSE 100-Index has jumped to 25 per cent now from 19 per cent at start of the year and is distorting the so-called representative KSE 100-Index.
The stock that used to be the top traded stocks has fallen to number 5 in 2010 as local investors don’t have large quantity of this stock to trade.
As per the Mohammed Sohail of Topline Securities, one thing that was missing from Pakistan’s largest exchange in 2010 was “volume”.He said Pakistan’s once actively traded stock market saw trading activity declining to 9-year low in the calendar year 2010 mainly due to absence of investor-friendly derivative product and imposition of capital gain tax at a time when investors are still risk averse after the infamous 2008 crisis.

KSE recomposes Meezan 30 Index

Shell, Kapco, Hubco & NML included
Staff Reporter
KARACHI: Karachi Stock Exchange has recomposed KSE-Meezan 30 index by replacing four companies with new ones, according to a notice issued by the KSE. The notice said that the re-composition exercise has been based on the selection criteria of KMI-30 Index. The revised Index will be implemented from 31st December 2010.
According to the list of the incoming companies, Kot Addu Power Company Limited, Nishat Mills Limited, Shell Pakistan limited, and The Hub Power Company Limited. On the other hand, the list of the outgoing companies includes Attock Petroleum limited, Altos Battery limited, Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company Limited and Sitara Paraoxide limited.

India launches Sharia Index

MUMBAI: India’s Bombay Stock Exchange launched a share index of Sharia-compliant companies on Monday in an attempt to open stock-trading to more Muslims. The BSE TASIS Sharia 50 consists of the largest and most liquid Sharia-compliant stocks within the BSE 500 index.
All the companies have been vetted to ensure they comply with Islamic law, which does not allow investors to put money into firms that benefit from interest or the sale of sinful goods such as alcohol, tobacco or firearms. The managing director and chief executive of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Madhu Kannan, said the index would attract Islamic and other “socially responsible” investors both in India and overseas. “This index will create increased awareness of financial investments among the masses and help enhance financial inclusion,” he said in a statement. “The index will also build a base for licensing for the construction of Sharia-compliant financial products, including mutual funds, ETFs (exchange traded funds) and structured products.” Several studies have found that the majority of India’s 160 million Muslims have been excluded from the country’s formal financial sector due to the restrictions imposed by Islamic law. Companies included in the index have been screened by Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions (TASIS), an Indian Islamic finance company based in Mumbai, whose board members include Islamic scholars and legal experts. TASIS said the index would “unlock the potential for Sharia investments in India”. “Bombay Stock Exchange has the largest number of listed Sharia-compliant stocks in the world,” said Shariq Nisar, director of research and operations at TASIS.
“All Muslim countries of the Middle East and Pakistan put together do not have as many listed Sharia-compliant stocks as are available on the BSE.”Stocks will be reviewed every month to ensure continued compliance. Any stocks that do not meet the criteria will be removed.-Agencies

PPP workers demand BB murderers apprehended

GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH: Thousands of PPP activists encircled provincial interior minister Zulfiqar Mirza and provincial minister Agha Siraj Durrani inside mausoleum of Benazir Bhutto chanting slogans “we want neither roti, nor kapra or makan and only want the murderers of Benazir Bhutto.
These activists said amid supplications that “This is third anniversary of Benazir Bhutto but killers of Benazir Bhutto have not been arrested so far. For Gods’ sake arrest them. We need nothing else than the arrest of assassins.” Zulfiqar Mirza while consoling these activists said the day was not far off when the murderers would be arrested. Talking to journalists, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said remarkable headway had been made in the investigation into assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Letter given to Benazir Bhutto would also be made part of investigation and her murderers would be brought to justice.” -Online

Fertiliser sales up 38pc in Nov YoY

Urea prices up Rs190/bag on gas curtailment
Gas supply to fertilizer cos to be suspended for 45-day
Aamir Abidi
KARACHI: Fertiliser offtake depicted a surge of 37.8 cent YoY in November 2010 to 1.21 million tonnes compared with 877k tonnes in same period last year mainly due to dealers pileup inventories on expectation of RGST on fertiliser, and growing demand of farmers as water recede, revealed the recent data of National Fertilizer Development Centre (NDFC).
According to the latest fertiliser data, urea sales significantly rose by 75.6 per cent to 879k tonnes against 501k tonnes of identical period last year. On the other hand, Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) offtake remained on lower side as its offtake witnessed fall by 36.1 per cent on a YOY basis.
DAP sales remained at 180k tonnes compared with 282k tonnes in November 2009. Average retail prices of urea were recorded at Rs867 per bag, showing surge of 1.6 per cent MoM against price of Rs 853 per bag recorded in October 2010.

Summit Bank nods merger with Mybank

KARACHI: The board of directors of Mybank Ltd has approved the draft scheme of amalgamation with Summit Bank Ltd (SBL), formerly Arif Habib Bank Ltd.
According to information despatched to Karachi Stock Exchange here Monday, the bank said that the board has also approved valuation and swap ratio for the issuance of 0.80 share of SBL for one share Mybank Ltd. It may be noted that SBL had already acquired Atlas Bank Ltd last week through merger, sanctioned by State Bank of Pakistan. -APP

21 dead in NWA drone attack

MIRANSHAH: US missiles killed 21 militants in North Waziristan tribal belt where the United Nations announced Monday it was suspending food handouts in one district after a suicide attack. The missiles destroyed a vehicle and compound in North Waziristan.
Local security officials said unmanned US aircraft fired at least six missiles at the targets in Mir Ali village, 25-kilometre east of Miranshah. “At least 15 militants were killed in a US missile strike, which targeted a vehicle and a compound,” a senior security official told. “Four missiles hit the vehicle and two struck the compound,” he added. Security officials had initially put the death toll at six. -Agencies

MQM out of Fed Cabinet

Decision to quit Sindh Cabinet to be taken soon
Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghauri resign today
Staff Reporter
KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has decided to sever ties with Federal Cabinet, on Monday night. According to the details, MQM’s Central Rabita Committee held its simultaneous meetings in London and Karachi. According to Rabita Committee decision, two MQM ministers will tender their resignation in first phase.
Federal Ports and Shipping Minister Babar Ghauri and deputy convener of the MQM, Dr Farooq Sattar are abroad and will tender their resignations today (Tuesday). A decision regarding quitting Sindh cabinet will be made soon. However, MQM said that it will sit on treasury benches.

Mirza told to watch his words

NAUDERO: President Asif Ali Zardari has directed Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza to refrain from issuing any statement against coalition partners, media reported on Monday.
President Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of PPP, directed Mirza in the meeting of CEC on Saturday, the sources said. ‘The policy of reconciliation in vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto should not be affected by the statements against coalition partners’, President directed Mirza. He asked Mirza that problems should not be created for coalition by these statements. The President further said that directives of the Prime Minister pertaining to coalition partners in Sindh must be complied. -Agencies

BB killers won’t escape: President

President addresses gathering on BB anniversary
Says UN’S investigation report incomplete
Special Correspondent /Agencies
NAUDERO: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that investigation report of United Nation was incomplete and they showed their reservations in this regard. President Asif Ali Zardari said in his address to a mass gathering on the occasion of third martyrdom anniversary of his slain wife and PPP co-chairperson Benazir Bhutto Monday.
We have fulfilled our promises we made with the nation and Benazir Bhutto,” he said, adding that “the constitutional reforms, autonomy to provinces, NFC awards, packages of Balochistan and struggle against corruption and poverty are achievements of Peoples Party.” About UN report into BB assassination, he said “it was unclear and incomplete.”

Musharraf accuses Sharif of supporting Baloch nationalists

ISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf has accused Nawaz Sharif of supporting Baloch nationalist leaders, charging that PML-N chief was trying to draw “political mileage” from the Baloch unrest. Musharraf, who has in the past alleged that India was backing the Baloch rebels, has once again said that Jamhoori Watan Party leaders Shahzain Bugti and Brahamdagh Bugti were “getting arms from India through Afghanistan.”
Participating in a talk show on a TV news channel, he also alleged that India was involved in fomenting unrest in Balochistan, according to The Asian Age.

Rs7.5bn pact for 106MW JV inked

Golen Gol Hydropower Project
LAHORE: An agreement worth Rs7.52 billion was signed between Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and SAMBU-SARCO joint venture comprising a Korean and a Pakistani firm, here at Wapda House for Lot-II of 106-MW Golen Gol Hydropower Project. General Manager (North) Projects Fazl-e-Mabood and SAMBU Board of Representatives Chairman Oh Sung Hoon signed the agreement.
Golen Gol Lot-II involves construction of diversion weir, intake, gravel trap, sand trap, headrace tunnel, pressure shaft, pressure tunnel and roads.
Speaking on the occasion, Wapda Member (Water) Syed Raghib Abbas Shah dilated upon the significance of Golen Gol Hydropowr Project and expressed the hope that the joint venture would complete the works in accordance with the schedule. Golen Gol Hydropower Project is a part of least-cost energy generation plan, being executed by Wapda on priority basis to harness the indigenous hydropower resources of the country with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the national grid. The project is located on the River Golen Gol, a major tributary of the River Mastuj in Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province about 380 kilometers from Islamabad. On its completion, Golen Gol Hydropower Project will generate about 436 million units of electricity (Gwh) to earn revenue of about Rs1 billion annually.
Being an environment friendly hydropower project, it will help reduce dependence on expensive thermal power, thereby saving foreign exchange amounting to $34 million per annum to the country.-Online

Heavy snow disrupts life in New York

NEW YORK: A blizzard pummeled the northeastern United States on day, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.
New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm, which blew up the Atlantic Coast on Sunday night and continued up to the Monday morning commute, unleashing powerful winds and grounding cities to a halt. Trade on the New York Stock Exchange was expected to take place as normal, and the US Treasury Department said auctions of three- and six-month bills and of two-year notes would proceed as scheduled on Monday. “Everything is business as usual,” an NYSE spokeswoman said, and the market opened promptly at 9:30 am. But trading on all the financial markets was thinned by the storm, which also kept shoppers away from the malls on the day after Christmas, the final act of the holiday shopping season.
“Volume usually picks up a bit after a long weekend but that is not going to be the case today with the snow storm… nobody can get into their offices in the Northeast and basically there is really lack of anything going on Wall Street,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Six states declared a state of emergency as the first widespread blizzard of the season hit Americans returning to work after one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Sharif criticizes govt’s policies

Says it only making good Baloch rebels
MURREE: PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has condemned arresting and manhandling of slain Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti’s grandson Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti and urged not to make good Baloch rebel.

Talking to media in Murree on Saturday, Nawaz Sharif pointed out that the PML-N did not like the present agenda of the government, adding that they quitted the government due to its policies and agenda.
He made it clear that the PML-N quitting the government was not result of differences among ministers or personal differences.
Nawaz Sharif noted that baseless cases were registered against him but the court declared him as innocent and the government was continuing this practice and maltreatment was being adopted against Baloch leaders.
The PML-N Quaid pointed out that the attitude, which was adopted against the grandson of Akbar Bugti, was condemnable and questioned why the government wants to make good Baloch and citizens as rebels through such tactics.
He announced that he urged Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Balochistan Chief Minister to handle the issue and not allow any one to challenge the writ of the government.- Online

CJP advocates rule on law in govt’s affairs

33rd Federal Judicial Academy BoG meeting held
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said knowledge was central and essential to development and to gain knowledge from anywhere, from any source, for the improvement of the judicial and legal education standard in the country, is not a bad thing.

He was addressing 33rd meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA) held here Saturday under his chairmanship.
A number of items on the Agenda pertaining to administration, budget and finance, capacity building of the Judicial Officers, extension and enhancement of the Federal Judicial Academy as “Center of Excellence” were discussed in detail by the members of the FJA BoG in three hours long meeting.

Commissionerate System Bill soon

Qaim says Bill to be approved with consensus
KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said bill for restoration of Commissionerate System in Sindh will be presented in Sindh Assembly (SA) on January, 7. Qaim Ali Shah said this while addressing a press conference here Saturday on the occasion of making announcement by PML-F leader Sayed Javed Shah to join PPP.
Federal Minister Syed Khurshid Shah, Sindh interior minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and others were also present on the occasion. Chief Minister Sindh alleged that dictator Musharraf imposed local government ordinance in all the provinces which undermined the entire system.
Bill for restoration of Commissionerate system will be presented in Sindh Assembly on January, 7 at every cost, he said hoping the bill will be approved with consensus.

President vows radical changes

Zardari inaugurates Benazir Apna Ghar Scheme
Says aim to make history not headlines
Staff Reporter
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday vowed to be a guarantor of future generation of Pakistan saying that the Pakistan Peoples Party government would create a better country than what it received by brining some radical changes in economy and politics.
Addressing a public meeting on the inauguration of Benazir Bhutto Apna Ghar housing scheme for PIA employees here, he said in memory of Bhutto leaders, they would create a bright Pakistan.

“We are turning their (Bhuttos) words into action and we are not merely raising slogans as we are not political actors. We are making and saving Pakistan,” he added.
The people will remember PPP’s period of governance for its service to people, he said adding, “We have to live in history, while others want to live in tomorrow’s headlines.”
The President said that now prime ministers would only be made by people and not by political influential.
“We are ready to render sacrifices for Pakistan and our next generation will also be ready to do the same. Our leaders preferred death over life and we are not afraid of threats and propaganda as the PPP is a sapling of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for which its workers spilled their blood.”
He said he would keep watch on the performance of the Prime Minister, ministers and government officials.
He said Benazir Bhutto sacrificed her life when she was voicing support for raising national flag in Swat and protecting rights of people.
He said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto considered politics as worship and he was also following the same philosophy.
The President assured that housing facilities would be provided to every Pakistani and workers would get ownership in government entities.
On the birth anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he came with a message of happiness, Zardari said adding workers of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) would be regularised and their salaries would be increased.
President Zardari said he was only fulfilling his duty by giving rights to workers of OGDC (Oil and Gas Development Company), PIA, Civil Aviation Authority and other organizations. He pledged to fulfill the dreams and promises made by Shaheed Zulfikar Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
He said those who martyred Benazir Bhutto, did not understand that the legacy of Zulfiqar Bhutto lives on in every PPP worker.
Bhuttos were alive in every person and whatever he was doing was to fulfill the vision and mission of the founder of PPP, he added. The President said that he learned his lessons of politics from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
The President said that the PPP should only raise the slogan of Jaey Bhutto. The legacy of Bhutto would be transferred from one leader to the next. Zardari said he realized that people were facing the problems of price hike and unemployment.
He said that the PPP government was fighting the killers of Benazir Bhutto and thousands of PPP workers, army Jawans and policemen. “We will fight those who killed our countrymen, stabilize democracy and give rights to everybody.”
He said nations face challenges in their history as Sri Lanka fought for 40 years to get through difficult times.
The President stressed that nobody should be allowed to impose his views through the gun barrel and dictate his brand of Islam.
He said that the country was facing external and internal enemies who were out to snatch rights of vulnerable sections of people. “Resources of the country belong to the poor people,” he said adding in the new age, after getting ownership rights, labourers and peasants should improve their institutions and leave them in a better shape for their future generations. President Zardari urged the people to work hard by following motto of Quaid-e-Azam and help achieve goals of ending terrorism and alleviating poverty and unemployment. “We are citizens of this soil and our forefathers lived here and we have to save this land and secure future of our children.” He remarked. The President said Bhutto family embraced martyrdom to leave a message and a legacy from which he drew strength to give away rights to the people. Minister for Defence Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Labour Khursheed Shah, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, MNA Faisal Raza Abidi and a large number of PIA workers attended the public meeting.

Altaf sees revolution coming

BHIT SHAH: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain Saturday said his party’s Sindh Convention will turn out to be the last nail in the coffin of those working for Sindh partition.

Addressing the party’s Sindh Convention held here in Bhit Shah near Hyderabad, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said nobody could block the path of revolution in Pakistan. ‘Conspiracies were hatched in past against the people speaking Urdu and Sindhi languages, however, today’s gathering will drive the last nail into the coffin of these plotters,’ Muttahida founder stressed. ‘Today’s convention proves that Sindh was in the foremost position in the making of Pakistan,’ he added. He also urged the party to seriously decide about staying with the coalition government. Altaf Hussain asked his supporters to guide the party leadership in deciding whether it should quit government coalition or not. Addressing the gathering Altaf Hussain said that feudal system is damaging country’s roots and the nation should get rid of such a system. He said the MQM is taking forward the mission of the Quaid-i-Azam and Sufi saints adding that no one can stop French-like revolution in the country. Hussain said that the MQM has always considered the benefit of the people and it has opposed Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) on every forum because it is against the interest of the common man. The MQM chief also said that the United States (US) should release Aafia Siddiqui and send her back to Pakistan and the government should make serious efforts for her release.

Quaid Day observed with renewed pledges

Special Correspondent/ Agencies
KARACHI: The nation celebrated the 135th birth anniversary of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with national spirit and enthusiasm on Saturday and with a pledge to sacrifice lives for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, besides giving equal response to enemy in case of war and making Pakistan strong and prosperous in line with the wishes and vision of father of the nation. The day was declared a public holiday in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
The day dawned with special prayers in mosques for the soul of the great leader Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and prosperity and development of the country.
A 31-gun salute in the Federal Capital and 21-gun salutes in provincial capitals given to the Founder of Pakistan. National flag hoisted atop government and semi-government buildings.
The representatives of three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) laid floral wreaths on behalf of their respective services at the mausoleum of the Quaid in Karachi.
Number of political, social, cultural and educational organizations held programmes to mark the occasion in a befitting manner. Radio and television aired special programmes on the life, ideals and achievements of Quaid-e-Azam.

Forty terrorists killed in 24hrs

Mohmand Agency
PESHAWAR: At-least 40 militants were killed when gunship helicopters pounded their hideouts in Mohmand, officials said on Saturday. Security forces launched a search operation in Mohmand tribal district, next to the border with Afghanistan, after coordinated insurgent attacks on five check-posts Friday in which 11 paramilitary soldiers were killed.
“Since Friday Pakistani security forces helped by helicopter gunships carried out raids on suspected militant hideouts and killed 40 militants,” Mohmand’s top administration official Amjad Ali Khan told foreign media.
A senior security official and local military officials confirmed the militant toll. The operations took place in Baizai and Lakro villages, they said. -Agencies

PPP CEC meet today

LARKANA: The meeting of Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) will be held at President House Naudero on December 26 (today). This was disclosed by the Sindh Minister for Law and Parliamentary affairs Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, who is also the District President of PPP Larkana, in a press conference held at Larkana press Club.
He said that Chairman of PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will chair the meeting. The meeting will be attended by the members of CEC Presidents of all the five Provinces and Azad Kashmir, he added. The meeting will review the obtaining political conditions in the Country and other Party matters. On the occasion rich tribute would be paid to the great leader and Slain Chairperson of PPP Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in the meeting.-Agencies

PPP CEC meet today

LARKANA: The meeting of Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) will be held at President House Naudero on December 26 (today). This was disclosed by the Sindh Minister for Law and Parliamentary affairs Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, who is also the District President of PPP Larkana, in a press conference held at Larkana press Club.
He said that Chairman of PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will chair the meeting. The meeting will be attended by the members of CEC Presidents of all the five Provinces and Azad Kashmir, he added. The meeting will review the obtaining political conditions in the Country and other Party matters. On the occasion rich tribute would be paid to the great leader and Slain Chairperson of PPP Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in the meeting.-Agencies

Govt says stand solid on RGST

Govt enjoys majority in parliament: Khurshid
KARACHI: Minister for labor and manpower and religious affairs Syed Khurshid Shah has said government has not withdrawn from Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) adding government enjoys majority in parliament without MQM and JUI-F which is required for approval of RGST. He said this while talking to media men here Saturday in chief minister house.
He held government did not want to get RGST bill pass without consensus and the bill would be presented in the parliament for approval after consensus was developed.
Responding to a question he said PML-N was the first party which had supported RGST and Mian Shahbaz Sharif signed it during the meeting of council for common interests.