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SC dismisses Bahria Town’s Rs 250 billion offer to...

ISLAMABAD, Jan 15: The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed an offer of Bahria Town to deposit Rs 250 billion in the apex court's dams fund to avoid legal proceedings for illegally acquiring land.

A three-judge special bench of the apex court was hearing a case pertaining to the implementation of its May 4, 2018 verdict against the Bahria Town.

During the course of proceedings, Bahria Town's counsel Barrister Ali Zafar offered Rs 200 billion for the dams fund to waive charges against the real estate developer for its projects in Karachi, Islamabad and Murree.

Justice Azmat Saeed observed that three separate verdicts had been passed against Bahria Town, which should offer reasonable amount of fine separately for each case.

He said a fine of Rs 285 billion had been imposed on Bahria Town in 2004. "If the fine money is increased by 40 per cent, it will come to Rs 300 billion."

To this, Ali Zafar  increased the offer to Rs 250 billion.

The court observed,"This is not a suitable way to deal with the Supreme Court. We may ask the National Accountability Bureau to file a reference."

Subsequently, the counsel sought a one week's time to file a reply.

Accepting his request, the court directed Bahria Town to submit separate offers in writing in all the three cases.

In its May 4 judgement, the court had declared the grant of land to the Malir Development Authority (MDA) and its exchange with the land of Bahria Town illegal and void. It had also directed NAB to continue its probe into the matters of the developer.



Industrial sector to be developed under CPEC on priority:...

ISLAMABAD, Jan 15: Minister for Finance Asad Umar here on Tuesday said that the government was looking forward to take China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to next phase where the country's industrial, trade and social sector would be developed on priority.

Speaking outside Supreme Court, the minister said that the mini budget to be presented by the government on January 23, would aim at  promoting investment and entrepreneurship in the country. He said the mini budget would play important role in ensuring friendly environment for the business community.

He also said the Chief Justice of Pakistan had played historic role to help building water reservoirs in the country.



APTMA Punjab agrees to negotiate govt proposal for out...

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab has agreed to negotiate the government’s proposal for an out of court settlement of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) of pre-and-post GIDC Act 2015 and onwards for the system gas.

Chairman APTMA Punjab Adil Bashir held an emergent meeting of the general body of APTMA Punjab, largely attended by member mills from Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan through video link to consider a proposal of the government for an out of court settlement of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) of pre-and-post GIDC Act 2015 and onwards for the system gas.

The federal government has offered to pay the outstanding amount without Late Payment Surcharge.

The meeting unanimously constituted a six member committee to be represented by office bearers and members nominated from the participating member mills.

Chairman APTMA Punjab said majority of the members were in favour of negotiating this outstanding issue to pay off liability, if any, on best possible terms to be agreed upon.

He said the members having already paid GIDC be also extended the terms of the deal for adjustments against their payments accordingly.

The Punjab-based textile industry, being liquidity constrained, has also solicited adjustment of the final amount against outstanding payments on account of Sales Tax, DLTL, and Technology Up-gradation Fund Schemes, he added.

British pound wobbles before crunch Brexit vote

January 15, 2019: Sterling steadied Tuesday as British Prime Minister Theresa May faced the prospect of a humiliating parliamentary defeat of her hard-fought Brexit deal, dealers said.

The pound trod higher against the European single currency but drooped versus the dollar, with investors on tenterhooks before the vital vote.

"The degree of political uncertainty in the UK means that economic news has been almost totally usurped," Rabobank analyst Jane Foley told AFP.

European stock markets meanwhile enjoyed cautious gains, after Asia swung higher as worries dimmed over a global economic slowdown.

With a little over two months to go until Britain leaves the European Union on March 29, lawmakers are almost certain to rail against May's deal -- which was agreed with Brussels in a fraught and long-running process after the June 2016 referendum.

The outcome of Tuesday's meaningful vote -- which May delayed in December over fears of an embarrassing defeat -- is expected at about 1900 GMT.

Market pundits do not expect a "significant" swing following the outcome -- but they do anticipate "fireworks" as the nature of Brexit becomes apparent in the coming days, weeks and months.


"Today's vote is a foregone conclusion so sterling is unlikely to move significantly," added Interactive Investor analyst Rebecca O'Keeffe.

"However, the range of possible outcomes after today's vote is what is far more interesting," she said.

"From no Brexit, which could see sterling move to $1.40-plus, versus a hard Brexit which could see a move towards parity.

"The fireworks will happen after today -- when it is clear what happens next."

May's last-minute appeals to MPs appear to have fallen on deaf ears and how much she loses by could determine whether she tries again, loses office, delays Brexit -- or if Britain even leaves the EU at all.

Hardline Brexiteers and Remainers oppose the agreement for different reasons and many fear it could lock Britain into an unfavourable trading relationship with the EU.

While the plan is expected to be rejected, experts say the margin of loss will be key. A massive defeat for the government would mean May's deal is dead in the water.

Above all, markets remain fearful of a chaotic departure from the bloc.

More uncertainty

"There may be many possible political outcomes with respect to Brexit -- but for sterling the outlook boils down to whether or not there will be a hard Brexit," added Foley.

"The pound is well off its recent lows on the perception that there is little appetite cross party for a hard Brexit -- though it is still a possibility.

"It seems likely that tonight's vote will be followed by another ballot of some description albeit a second Commons vote, referendum or general election.

"This means more uncertainty and potential volatility for the pound."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Asian equity markets rebounded from the previous day's sharp losses, with Hong Kong and Shanghai lifted by Chinese plans to slash taxes to boost the economy.

China's disappointing trade data on Monday sent shivers through trading floors as it showed the long-running US tariffs row is beginning to bite.

But dealers resumed last week's rally that was fuelled by optimism that Beijing and Washington will eventually resolve their differences -- and that the Federal Reserve will pause in raising interest rates.

Key figures around 1150 GMT

  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2844 from $1.2864 at 2200 GMT on Monday
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.98 pence from 89.15 pence
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1429 from $1.1469
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 108.51 yen from 108.16
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 6,874.58 points
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 10,875.27
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 4,775.23
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,059.36
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 20,555.29 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.0 percent at 26,830.29 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.4 percent at 2,570.34 (close)
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 23,909.85 (close)
  • Oil - Brent Crude: UP 91 cents at $59.90 per barrel
  • Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 73 cents at $51.24


ICCI for establishing marble industrial parks under CPEC

January 15, 2019: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to establish marble industrial parks under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and give special focus on the industry, which has great potential to promote exports and transform Pakistan into a fast growing economy.

Talking to a delegation of local marble industry led by former Chairman All Pakistan Marble Industries Association Shakeel Munit here Tuesday, Acting President of ICCI Rafat Farid Muhammad said that all provinces of Pakistan including Baluchistan and KP have huge deposits of marble and granite. However, lack of new technology was forcing marble industry to use old quarrying methods due to which the standard quarry wastage in Pakistan was up to 73 percent of the gross produce. He stressed upon the government to cooperate with marble industry in introducing latest technology & machinery for promoting mechanized mining in the country. 

Vice President ICCI Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said that global market for marble and granite was estimated at over $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share in it was below one percent.

He urged that government should allow duty free import of marble machinery that would help marble industry to upgrade itself and compete more effectively in international market.

Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, former Chairman, All Pakistan Marble Industries Association said that China was importing raw marble and granite from Pakistan and after processing & value addition was earning huge profits.

He said industrial parks will bring the cost effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that will enhance the competitive edge of the industry and improve our exports significantly.


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