Nawaz Sharif to Address Pakistani Professionals and Businessmen in UAE

Javed Malik, Advisor to Nawaz Sharif on International Affairs, is organizing the PMLN Overseas Business & Professionals Forum in Dubai

Pakistani community in UAE is all set to welcome the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and president Pakistan Muslim League (N) Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the first session of the PMLN Overseas Business & Professionals Forum.

The Forum is being organized by Javed Malik Special advisor to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on International Affairs.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently announced the formation of PMLN Overseas Business & Professionals Forum which has been established with a view to reaching out to Pakistani diaspora around the world and encouraging them to play a meaningful role in Pakistan’s development. The forum will be attended bydistinguished Pakistani businessmen and professionals including CEOs, owners and Chairmen of multinational companies, doctors, architects and other highly placed professionals living in the UAE and GCC region, as well as friends of Pakistan from various communities including UAE nationals.

The PMLN Pakistanis living abroad are an asset for Pakistan, and they have always been willing and able to play a meaningful role in progress and development of their country.Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is also the President of Pakistan’s second biggest political party has created the PMLN N Overseas Forum with a view to creating a platform that enabled Pakistanis living abroad to contribute towards their country and also act as an advisory body that can advise the party on issues that face overseas Pakistanis. Similarly the distinguished Pakistanis living abroad can also play a vital role to be a bridge between the countries of their residence and Pakistan and contribute towards expansion of business, trade and cultural relations and build goodwill and friendship between Pakistan and the world community through public and cultural diplomacy initiatives, and therefore friends of Pakistan from the multicultural communities living in the UAE, presidents of Business Councils as well as Arab personalities will attend the forum.Pakistan Muslim League (N) under the leadership of Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is highly popular among the expatriate Pakistanis living around the world and this special initiative by the party president shows the importance he attaches to their role.

PML-N spokesman Exposes Ejaz Durani’s meeting with President Zardari

 

جس ملک کے سربراہ کو اس کے اپنے ہی دوست دھوکہ دے رہے ہوں اس ملک اوراس کے عوام اکا اللہ ہی حافظ ہے ۔محمدعاصم خان
 اعجازدرانی نامی شخص جس کی ملاقات صدرزرداری کے قریبی دوست نے آج صدرزرداری سے کرائی ہے جس کامسلم لیگ(ن) سے نہ توکوئی تعلق ہے اورنہ ہی وہ کبھی پارٹی کی تنظیم میں کوئی عہدے داررہے ہیں ۔
 اعجازدرانی 
حقیقت ےہ ہے کہ اعجاز درانی مبینہ طورپرکروڑوں روپے کی کرپشن میں ملوث پائے گئے ہیں اورحال ہی میں وفاقی پوسٹل سروسز کے ساتھ ان کے ذاتی اختلافات سامنے آنے پرجب انہیں ایم ڈی کے عہدے برخاست کرنے کا فیصلہ کرلیاگیاتوصدرزرداری کے نہایت قریبی دوست اعجاز درانی کو بچانے کےلئے سرگرم ہوگئے اورصدرزرداری کے انہی قریبی دوست نے انہیں ریسکیو کرنے اورکلین چٹ دلوانے کےلئے انہیں مسلم لیگ(ن) ہری پورکا رہنماءظاہرکرکے صدرزرداری سے ان کی ملاقا ت کروادی ،ترجمان مرکزی میڈیا سیل پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن)
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پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے مرکزی میڈیا سیل کے ترجمان محمدعاصم خان نے کہاہے کہ جس ملک کے سربراہ کو اس کے اپنے ہی دوست دھوکہ دے رہے ہوں اس ملک اوراس کے عوام اکا اللہ ہی حافظ ہے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ اعجازدرانی نامی شخص جس کی ملاقات صدرزرداری کے قریبی دوست نے آج صدرزرداری سے کرائی ہے جس کامسلم لیگ(ن) سے نہ توکوئی تعلق ہے اورنہ ہی وہ کبھی پارٹی کی تنظیم میں کوئی عہدے داررہے ہیں ۔عاصم خان نے کہاکہ اعجازدرانی پاکستان پوسٹل سروسزکے حاضرسروس ڈائریکٹرجنرل ہیں اوراس کے ساتھ مسلم لیگ(ن) ہری پورکے موجودہ نائب صدرہیں ، حقیقت ےہ ہے کہ اعجاز درانی مبینہ طورپرکروڑوں روپے کی کرپشن میں ملوث پائے گئے ہیں اورحال ہی میں وفاقی پوسٹل سروسز کے ساتھ ان کے ذاتی اختلافات سامنے آنے پرجب انہیں ایم ڈی کے عہدے برخاست کرنے کا فیصلہ کرلیاگیاتوصدرزرداری کے نہایت قریبی دوست اعجاز درانی کو بچانے کےلئے سرگرم ہوگئے اورصدرزرداری کے انہی قریبی دوست نے انہیں ریسکیو کرنے اورکلین چٹ دلوانے کےلئے انہیں مسلم لیگ(ن) ہری پورکا رہنماءظاہرکرکے صدرزرداری سے ان کی ملاقا ت کروادی ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ اعجازدرانی کا ق لیگ سے تعلق ہونے کا ثبوت چندروزقبل وہ تصاویرہیں جن میں چوہدری شجاہت حسین ایک پریس کانفرنس سے خطاب کررہے ہیں اوران تصاویرمیں اعجاز درانی بھی انکے ہمراہ موجود ہیں 

Ahsan Iqbal talks with media on Gillani’s fake allegations

وزیراعظم یوسف گیلانی کاےہ کہناکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) نے دو اوار حکومت میں کچھ نہیں کیا اُن کی سیاسی سوچ کی لوڈشیڈنگ ہے۔احسن اقبال

موجودہ حکومت نے قوم کو پتھروں کے زمانے میں دھکیل دیا ہے۔ بلکہ موجودہ حالات اُس سے بھی بدتر ہیں چونکہ پتھر کے زمانے میں لوگ غاروں میں چراغ جلاتے تھے ۔پیپلزپارٹی کی حکومت نے عوام کو پکے مکانوں ،دفتر وں اور سکولوں اور ہسپتالوں میں چراغ جلانے پر مجبور کردیا ہے۔

یوسف رضاگیلانی کی حکومت دُنیا کی کرپٹ ترین حکومتوں میں شامل ہوتی ہے جس نے ملک کی بنیادوں کو کھوکھلاکر دیا ہے اورغیر آئینی وزیراعظم بشمول اپنے تمام اہل خانہ کے کرپشن کے بدترین سکینڈل کی زد میں ہیں۔

تیل کی کمپنیوں کوفوری پیسے ادا کئے جائیں اور لوڈشیڈنگ پر قابو پایاجائے ورنہ کھیل حکومت کے ہاتھوں سے نکل جائے اور عوام کو حکومت اتنا ہی تنگی دے جتنی وہ برداشت کرسکے۔اب عوام کے صبر کا لبریز ہوچکا ہے۔ڈپٹی سیکرٹری جنرل پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن)


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پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے ڈپٹی سیکرٹری جنرل احسن اقبال نے کہاہے کہ وزیراعظم یوسف گیلانی کاےہ کہناکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) نے دو اوار حکومت میں کچھ نہیں کیا اُن کی سیاسی سوچ کی لوڈشیڈنگ ہے۔ انہوں نے کہاکہ آج پاکستان میں جدید معیشت کی بنیادیں اور تمام علامتوں پر مسلم لیگ(ن) کی مہر ثبت ہے۔ انہوں نے کہاکہ موجودہ حکومت نے قوم کو پتھروں کے زمانے میں دھکیل دیا ہے۔ بلکہ موجودہ حالات اُس سے بھی بدتر ہیں چونکہ پتھر کے زمانے میں لوگ غاروں میں چراغ جلاتے تھے ۔پیپلزپارٹی کی حکومت نے عوام کو پکے مکانوں ،دفتر وں اور سکولوں اور ہسپتالوں میں چراغ جلانے پر مجبور کردیا ہے۔احسن اقبال نے ان خیالات کا اظہارپارٹی کے مرکزی سیکرٹریٹ میں صحافیوں سے غیررسمی گفتگوکرتے ہوئے کیا۔انہوں نے کہاکہ یوسف رضاگیلانی کی حکومت دُنیا کی کرپٹ ترین حکومتوں میں شامل ہوتی ہے جس نے ملک کی بنیادوں کو کھوکھلاکر دیا ہے اورغیر آئینی وزیراعظم بشمول اپنے تمام اہل خانہ کے کرپشن کے بدترین سکینڈل کی زد میں ہیں۔انہوں نے کہاکہ پاکستان کا مستقبل مضبوط معیشت سے وابستہ ہے۔ملک کے سیاسی اور معاشی حالات اس بات کی اجازت نہیں دیتے کہ ملک کی قیادت اناڑیوں کے سپرد کردی جائے۔انہوں نے کہاکہ عمران خان سمجھتے ہیں کہ ملک تقریروں سے چل سکتا ہے ۔اُن کے پاس مسلم لیگ(ن) اور نوازشریف پر کیچڑ اچھالنے کے علاوہ کوئی پروگرام نہیں وہ بین الاقوامی این جی او کے ایجنڈے پر کام کررہے ہیں جس کا مقصد پاکستان کو ایٹمی طاقت بنانے والے وزیراعظم نوازشریف کے اقتدارمیں آنے کے راستے کو روکنا ہے۔ انہوں نے حکومت کی طرف سے ملک میں عوام پر لوڈشیڈنگ کی صورت میں عذاب مسلط کرنے کی مذمت کی اور مطالبہ کیاکہ تیل کی کمپنیوں کوفوری پیسے ادا کئے جائیں اور لوڈشیڈنگ پر قابو پایاجائے ورنہ کھیل حکومت کے ہاتھوں سے نکل جائے اور عوام کو حکومت اتنا ہی تنگی دے جتنی وہ برداشت کرسکے۔اب عوام کے صبر کا لبریز ہوچکا ہے۔

Shame in Chicago

WHY did Pakistan’s president attend the Nato summit in Chicago? The US had not met any of Pakistan’s conditions for resetting relations after the Salala attack: a formal apology; end to drone strikes; release of blocked military reimbursement.

Instead, it was the US which imposed a ‘condition’ for Pakistan’s participation: prior acceptance that the supply routes to Afghanistan be reopened. Following a hasty meeting, the cabinet announced that the decision to reopen the supply route
had been taken and the president would attend the summit.

A surprise awaited at the summit. President Obama refused to meet the Pakistan president ‘one-to-one’ unless Pakistan agreed to the immediate release of all the ‘held up’ cargo at the Karachi port. To his credit, President Zardari did not yield to this crass conditionality. This public insult was inflicted not only on the person of the president but the entire Pakistani nation.

How can this insulting and dismissive American posture be explained?

A major reason for this dismissive US attitude is, of course, the visible differences between the civilians, military, judiciary and political parties. Insulting the president may not have been the smartest move by the Americans.

Second, after Abbottabad and Salala, the US has apparently concluded that the Pakistan armed forces are unable or unwilling to retaliate against US intrusions and attacks. The US thus refuses to accept any restrictions on future operations within Pakistani territory.

Third, US officials are well aware of Pakistan’s financial constraints. Since, at present, the US administration cannot offer financial incentives to Pakistan, further reducing or blocking payments due or promised to Pakistan is viewed as a ready instrument to squeeze concessions from Islamabad.

Fourth, it seems that the politico-military strategy in Afghanistan has shifted again. Reconciliation and talks with the Taliban do not appear to be a priority any longer. The US commander in Afghanistan declared at the Chicago summit that US-Nato forces will continue a combat role as needed after the 2013 handover to the Afghan army. Even after the planned 2014 withdrawal, special forces will remain to prevent a Taliban takeover. Thus, the war in Afghanistan will continue between the US-supported Northern Alliance and the Pakhtun insurgents. Ambassador Blackwill, the former US ambassador to India, and, more recently, CNN host Fareed Zakaria, have both articulated this approach. It fits in with America’s strategic alliance with India.

Fifth, this more hostile approach to Pakistan also converges with Obama’s re-election requirements. Despite killing Osama bin Laden, and other hawkish exploits, President Obama remains vulnerable to Republican assertions of foreign policy weakness. Another major military success could revive Obama’s flagging poll numbers. Until recently, most analysts thought a US-Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities may serve this purpose. But the Iranians will react strongly, directly and asymmetrically to such an attack. After the events of 2011, American strategists may see Pakistan as a far ‘softer’ target.

It is uncertain if either the US or Pakistan has fully thought through the potential consequences of their possible military confrontation. Whatever its weaknesses, Pakistan will be compelled by national sentiment to respond to another US attack or intervention across its borders. A limited ‘engagement’ could escalate rapidly into wide-ranging hostilities. If, during such a crisis, Pakistan’s strategic command believes that the US military strike is aimed to capture or destroy its nuclear and delivery capabilities, it may feel compelled to use rather than lose these capabilities.

To avoid such a miscalculation, Pakistan’s new nuclear deterrence doctrine, aimed to deter aggression from not only India but also from other sources, needs to be clearly and publicly spelt out. The apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between
two (albeit unequal) nuclear powers should be addressed urgently by the international community.

The US-Nato should accept the measures Pakistan has proposed to avoid another shooting exchange. The US cannot continue to claim the right to strike at will within Pakistan’s territory without Pakistan’s concurrence.

On the other hand, Pakistan should help to speed up the total withdrawal of US-Nato forces from Afghanistan. The transit routes should be opened primarily to enable them to withdraw peacefully. Given the changed nature of the relationship, including cuts in moneys owed to Pakistan, it is not unreasonable for Pakistan to demand ‘market rates’ for this service.

Pakistan cannot — and has no obligation — to ‘deliver’ the Taliban to a non-existent negotiating table. If and when the negotiating process is revived, Pakistan should do what it can to help in evolving arrangements for a political peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan should hold back the Taliban from cross-border attacks on the US and Nato forces and expect that they will reciprocate by preventing attacks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan on Pakistani civilians and soldiers from their ‘safe havens’ in Afghanistan.

Finally, Islamabad must prepare for the post-American Afghanistan. The Kabul regime, which the US Special Forces will continue to support, may last as long as Najibullah; but sooner rather than later, ethnic and power divisions within the Afghan National Army, and dwindling western largess, will trigger its collapse and fragmentation into ethnic and regional militias and escalate the Afghan civil war and spread its contagion to Pakistan.

Pakistan should take the lead to construct an alternate and more peaceful scenario for Afghanistan and the region. It could promote a forum, perhaps under the rubric of the Islamic Conference, to commence an informal dialogue between all the major Afghan parties. Simultaneously, it should generate support for an Afghan national unity government from Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Iran, China, the Central Asian states and Russia.

Needless to say, Pakistan can play this positive and unifying role in Afghanistan only if it is itself united on its policies. The adoption of the parliamentary guidelines was a good step in this direction. American insults and injuries should convince all power centres in Pakistan that our salvation can be found at home, not in Washington. We should not sell ourselves for scraps of aid or transit fees, nor be intimidated by superior power. Strength lies in national unity and pride. We must continue to demand an American apology to revive engagement.

The preceding analysis may be overblown. But responsible Pakistani policymakers cannot afford to dismiss the possibility that this analysis is close to the truth. They must anticipate the consequences of US policy and postures on the basis of its current actions and postures.

Kidney trade

THE illegal kidney trade in Pakistan has reached such dimensions that eliminating it is a difficult task. For at least the past decade, this country — the cities of Lahore and Rawalpindi particularly — has been a destination for medical ‘tourism’, attracting people who hope to have a kidney transplant faster and more cheaply than elsewhere. What constitutes a life-giving opportunity for the recipients is in most cases gross exploitation of the ‘donors’: generally men and women forced by desperate poverty to sell their organs, even though the bulk of the money goes into the pockets of the doctors and agents that scour the rural areas (mainly in Punjab) for those who may be induced into giving up a kidney.

While legislation criminalising this practice was for too long delayed, the Transplantation of Organs and Tissue Act 2010 has been on the books for two years now and the sale and purchase of organs is criminalised. Arrests have been made in this regard. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that the organ trafficking industry is growing. Sporadic raids have netted a few of those involved, but there is nowhere near the sort of push that is required to effectively shut this industry down. Worryingly, on Thursday the police in Bosnia-Herzegovina reported a Montenegrin suspect for mediating between three Bosnian kidney patients and doctors in Lahore last year. Reportedly, the patients were taken to facilities that did not appear to be legal health centres, and none of them received any medical care after the surgery. One of the patients died en route to Bosnia. Clearly, this criminal enterprise is spreading beyond the country’s borders. We need to make a serious effort towards reversing this trend. We do not need the stigma of organ trafficking added to our unenviable reputation. More importantly, the people being exploited are our own.

Visa liberalisation

THE outcome of the talks between the Pakistani and Indian interior secretaries in Islamabad was disappointing for the two sides had nothing positive to show. A liberal visa regime still exists in the realm of diplomatic promises, for the joint statement issued on Friday does speak of its signing “at an early date” — when we do not know. The promised visa regime is businessmen-specific, leaving the vast majority of ordinary visitors frustrated. The suspicions surrounding a liberal visa regime stem from the kind of ties Pakistan and India have had since independence. But, until Mumbai 2008, this mutual inhibition had not stopped Islamabad and New Delhi from being fairly liberal about issuing visas to all. This was a boon for divided families. But now, there are security considerations for India — the latter should realise that terrorists, smugglers and other shady characters do not need a visa to cross an international border.

The signing of the new visa regime was postponed, we are told, because the Pakistan side needed the cabinet’s approval, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted it should be signed at the political level. That the Pakistan delegation did not apparently have the cabinet’s brief before going into the talks on an issue that has been hanging fire for a long time is astonishing. As for Mr Malik’s suggestion, it has merely served to add to the delay. A harsh visa policy affects only the law-abiding, and that’s where South Asian bureaucrats’ antipathy towards the common man exhibits itself. That the delegations discussed a host of other issues — terrorism, Mumbai, Hafiz Saeed, a ‘hotline’ and the hapless fishermen — means little in terms of what the people of Pakistan and India want: normalisation. The Thimphu meeting between the two prime ministers and their subsequent ‘meetings on the sidelines’ had held out hope. But there has been no progress even on less contentious issues. In the meantime, India has hardened its position on Siachen. Under these circumstances, it is futile to expect what the Indian media called ‘the next lunch’ in Islamabad after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh entertained President Asif Ali Zardari to a sumptuous meal in New Delhi last month.

Bus slaughter

FROM the violent stirrings over the ‘Mohajir province’ to Friday’s barbaric bus ambush, Sindh’s fragile ethnic balance is being severely rocked. The attack, in which several men ambushed a bus near Qazi Ahmed in Nawabshah district killing at least seven people, is the latest in a disturbing trend witnessed earlier in the Mastung and Kohistan incidents. But while the victims in those attacks were Shia, the passengers in Friday’s atrocity were apparently targeted due to their ethnicity as the victims hailed from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some reports indicate that pamphlets of the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army were found near the crime scene. This is the same outfit that claimed responsibility for the recent low-intensity blasts outside bank branches and attacks on railway tracks. There are also reports that the assailants claimed the attack was ‘revenge’ for the killing of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz leader Muzaffar Bhutto — allegedly by intelligence agencies — whose group is not known for violent tactics.

Ethnic tension in Sindh is nothing new. Along with Sindhi-Mohajir friction, anti-Punjab feelings have existed in the province since at least the 1960s, when migrants from Punjab settled in Sindh to cultivate fertile land after new barrages were built on the Indus. Though there have been sporadic attacks targeting non-Sindhis, the bus ambush is the first of its kind. And while the attack on the Awami Tehrik rally in Karachi was a dangerous portent as far as communal harmony is concerned, the Qazi Ahmed incident is even more alarming. Both attacks were clearly designed to stoke communal violence among the different ethnic groups that reside in Sindh. As for the impression some fringe political groups are trying to create comparing Sindh’s situation to the deprivation in Balochistan, this is far from true. Unlike Balochistan, the political process has roots in Sindh and — despite the hiccups — is working. Also, we would not like to believe this is revenge for Muzaffar Bhutto’s death. If it is, targeting innocent people is a despicable and cowardly reaction.

The Sindh administration has a lot to answer for as not only has it failed to prevent acts of terrorism and sabotage, it has also
failed to promote ethnic harmony in the province. Those who rule Sindh — the PPP and MQM — must realise that if the situation degrades into ethnic conflict, they will be the biggest losers. All parties, both from the mainstream and the nationalists, must condemn such acts of violence and shun the politics of parochialism, and instead work for the rights of Sindh within the democratic framework.

Weekly review: Bourse witnesses massive mood swing

KARACHI:
The stock market took off to a great start by gaining more than 268 points in the first two days but unsettled Pak-US ties and budget frights took the bourse downwards in the next three days.
“Resumption of supplies to Afghanistan remained seal and no development has been inked so far. As a result investor sentiments were depressed and the index closed below the psychological barrier of 14,000 points,” says a KASB Securities research note.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s benchmark 100-share index rose 0.49% to close at 13,925 points during the week.
Key economic targets were disclosed during the week for the upcoming financial year that kept investors on the sidelines. GDP growth target has been set at 4.3% while inflation target is at 9.5% for fiscal 2013.
Amongst sectors, fertiliser was the hardest hit over reports of potential increase in a development cess, a type of tax, on feedstock gas by 52% to Rs300 per mmbtu as producers’ ability to pass-through the impact of PRs131 per bag remains uncertain. “The move will dampen industry earnings with Fauji Fertilizer Company earnings estimated to fall 7.5% in fiscal 2012 in a worst-case scenario,”says the note.
Cement price hike in the north of the country to Rs425-430 per bag eased pressure on the sector. Lucky Cement and DG Khan Cement were among the key laggards last week.
Average traded volumes merely increased by 8.4% to 156mn shares, while average traded value rose by 3.6% to $68mn.
Net foreign investment came in at a solid $12.3 million compared with last week’s $6 million outflow.
On the macro front, the rupee lost 1.2% against the dollar to a new record low in the inter-bank market during the week to close at 91.8 to the dollar.
Moreover, a string of concerning news flow including current account deficit of $313 million in April and delay in patching up of Pak-US ties sealed the pressure on currency. To add to the pressure, a US Appropriations Panel approved a proposal to cut aid to Pakistan by 56% to $1.0 billion for financial year 2013.
With the announcement of federal budget on June 1, the market is expected to remain cautious in the upcoming week particularly awaiting any potential sector-specific developments.

Another matchstick lit to ignite the CNG dynamite

ISLAMABAD – The government has planned to further tighten noose around the Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) industry by imposing a 10 percent duty on import of CNG buses in the country in upcoming budget 2012-13,say sources. According to an official of the ministry of Industries, this is an additional step which government is going to take to end use of CNG in transport sector as ministry of petroleum had already proposed a massive hike of Rs 15 per kg in CNG prices from the next financial year by raising rate of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess. “The plan of imposing duty would hamper the efforts of introducing CNG business in big cities. Punjab province is already working on a plan to introduce CNG buses in Lahore city,” said the official. “The government has planned to reverse its CNG policy in an effort to bring CNG prices at par with POL prices and to replace it with LPG,”said the official adding that a ban had already been imposed on the import of CNG kits and cylinders which was badly damaging investment. According to the government estimates during the last decade, gas production had been increased by only 7 percent, while its consumption increased by 40 percent per annum. CNG sector is identified as the major user of gas whose consumption has increased by 39 percent per annum during the last decade. According to All Pakistan CNG Association the proposal for imposing more CESS tax and an increase of CNG retail price will crush CNG industry as both the proposals were unjust with 4 million vehicle owners and 50 Million CNG consumers. “We will not let LPG to disturb 50 Millions consumers and 4 Million vehicle owners and an economical travel facility of the middle class of our country,” said Chairman CNG Association, adding that in summer season LPG is at the cheapest price, the imported LPG is substandard, if it may provided to public absolutely free even then it is not feasible and suitable for public.

Seven feet under

KARACHI – The bad debts of the foreign banks operating in the country are increasing and have ballooned to over Rs 7 billion during the quarter that ended on March 31 this year. Also, the foreign banks’ cash recovery against their Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) witnessed a downward trend during the third quarter of current fiscal year, January-March FY2012.
The bankers viewed that this increase in the international banks’ bad debts might be on account of defaults from the telecommunication sector, including Warid and Wateen. Another major reason they see is that of the consumer side.
The central bank data show that the foreign banks’ gross NPLs rose by Rs 164 million or 2.1 percent to Rs 7.765 billion compared to last quarter’s Rs 7.601 billion. The international banks’ net NPLs depict a more worrisome trend by swelling to Rs 952 million against Rs 756 million of last quarter.
This shows an increase of 26 percent or Rs 196 million, in monetary terms, over the last quarter.
The foreign banks also could not help their cash recovery improve which remained confined to Rs 83 million, down Rs 51 million or 38 percent compared to Rs 134 million of the previous quarter.
In recovery terms, the 3QFY12 did not augur well for other categories of the banks and DFIs which recovered low cash compared to what they had in last quarter. Overall, the banks and DFIs recovered cash worth Rs 14.318 billion against Rs 20.252 billion of 2QFY12.
The recoveries of the commercial banks depleted to 12.404 billion from Rs 15.906 billion.
The public sector banks, local private banks, specialized banks and the DFIs saw their cash recoveries plunging, respectively, to Rs 2.09 billion, Rs 10.22 billion, Rs 1.54 billion and Rs 372 million from Rs 3.67 billion, Rs 12.09 billion, Rs 3.32 billion and Rs 1.02 billion.
About poor recoveries, a banker said the banks were masterly suffering from a slow-paced judicial system in the country that, he said, was encouraging the borrowers to “willfully” default on bank loans.
“Besides genuine defaults that are caused by the country’s volatile economic conditions amid power crises, poor law and order etc, there are some who willfully don tend to repay the loans,” the banker told Profit.
Such borrowers, the banker said, were not afraid of the consequences of committing default on the bank lending. “The most the banks could do to such defaulters is to take them to the banking courts where completion of a case takes at least five years,” he said adding “Why should they fear the courts then?”
Perhaps this very factor is playing as a stimulus for the banks’ bad debts which have aggregated beyond Rs 600 billion.
The State Bank reported, during the quarter in review, the gross NPLs of the banks and DFIs accumulated to Rs 625.432 billion against Rs 625.778 billion of preceding quarter, October-December FY12. This takes net NPLs of the banks and DFIs’ to 5.71 percent of their net loan portfolio.
A central banker said the above five percent volume of NPLs was not a positive indicator as the same should rest below five percent, somewhere between three to four percent.
The economic observers believe that the increasing size of NPLs was one of the attributable factors in making the banks risk-avers. The central bank figures show that the banks are lending more to the government through investing messily in the risk-free government securities, including T-bills, PIBs and Ijara Sukuk.
During July-May 11, the banks’ budgetary loans to the cash-strapped government amounted to over Rs 1.05 trillion compared to 620.6 billion of same period in FY11. While the growth-oriented private sector could avail bank loans worth only Rs 234.8 billion during the review period. This risk-aversion by the banks, in terms of lending, the analysts warn, puts growth prospects in the troubled country to risk.