3320 cops to secure IDEAS 2014 Defence Expo in Karachi

KARACHI: More than 3000 policemen in Karachi would manage the security of the 4-day IDEAS 2014 Defence Exhibition that will start from Dec 1 at Expo Center.


Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain and senior officials of the ministry and armed forces will participate in the inaugural session of the IDEAS 2014.

Additional Inspector General of Police Karachi Range Mr. Ghulam Qadir Thebo today held an important meeting in his office in order to review the arrangements and finalizing the security plan for Ideas 2014 which will be held between 1st to 4 Dec.

The meeting was attended by DIGP East Munir Ahmed Shaikh, DIGP West Tahir Naveed and DIGP South Abdul Khaliq Shaikh. All Karachi Range District SSsP, ACLC and Investigations were in attendance.

Mr Thebo said that the Police turn out and conduct should be exemplary considering the fact that many foreign dignitaries will be visiting Karachi next week.  Approximately 40 nations have agreed to send delegates to the exhibition.

All threats must be considered seriously and no loop holes left unattended; Every intelligence report must be taken seriously and shared with all including Pak Rangers; Section 144 on the use of Drone cameras (heli cams) have been imposed thus Police is to ensure its compliance.

To cover the 4 days program following deployment is planned _ 22 SSPs, 35 DSPs, 54 NGOs and police-women. With RRF and other man power over all 3317 Police personnel will cover this event. Other PS in and around the venue will also assist in the smooth running of this event. More than 1oo mobiles and more than 30 motor cycles will be used during the operation.

National Bank adding 1,000 ATMs in 2014

NBP Touchpoint1

(In picture Mr Zubair Ahmed, SEVP Logistics NBP (Right) shading hand with Touch Point Ceo. NBP President is also seen in the center).

November 25, 2014 Karachi: National Bank of Pakistan has embarked an aggressive plan to roll out 1,000 ATMs by the end of 2015. This was mentioned by Mr. Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf, President & CEO, National Bank of Pakistan who was present at the signing ceremony of 250 ATM project. The agreement was inked by Mr. Zubair Ahmed (SEVP, Logistic Security Support and Engineering Group) and Mr. Veqar ul Islam (President – TouchPoint). In picture below (in center) NBP President Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf highlighting the achievements of the bank and future strategy of aggressive expansion of the bank.

NBP touchpointNBP touchpoint2

Mr. Mudassir H. Khan (SEVP Commercial & Retail Banking Group), Mr. Nausherwan Adil (SEVP, Operations Group), Mr. Khalid Bin Shaheen (SEVP, Global Home Remittances Management Group), Mr. Javed Haider (SVP, Divisional Head – LS&EG), Mr. Faisal Mahmood (VP, Head I.T. Procurement Wing), Mr. Qasim Y. Khan (VP, I.T. Procurement) and Mr. Tabish Sabah (CEO – TouchPoint) also graced their presence at the occasion.

The President NBP, Mr. Syed Iqbal Ashraf while speaking with delegates and media said, “National Bank of Pakistan will bring convenience to its customers by offering them self-service facilities to perform their hassle-free transactions round-the-clock across Pakistan. He further mentioned that “the NBP team is committed to bring the best services to the Nation’s customers”.

Currently, NBP has 376 ATMs countrywide and with this new addition the total installed base of ATMs shall be 626. NBP payment processing is powered by World renowned payment processing software ITM of Euronet.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Veqar ul Islam, President TouchPoint, an exclusive distributor of Diebold Inc. in Pakistan, said that, “it is an honor to partner with National Bank of Pakistan in deploying 250 ATMs across the country. TouchPoint has been a fast growing company which is committed to focus on service excellence in the business they are in. He congratulated the entire NBP team on such an initiative.”

First Women Bank completes 25 years on Dec 2

FirstWomen Bank

First Women Bank Ltd. is a unique financial institution and commercial bank of its kind in the world that will complete 25 years of its operation on December 2, 2014.  In 1989 FWBL was incorporated as a Scheduled Commercial Bank under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 as a joint venture of five largest Commercial Banks and Government of Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan now owns majority shareholding (65%)  in the bank. The remaining shares are held by the five big commercial banks – NBP, HBL, MCB, UBL and ABL.

The establishment of FWBL was an innovative and bold step conceived by the then Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto (Shaheed) who envisioned a bank that would undertake the conduct of all forms of business of Banking Company in a manner designed to meet the special needs of women and to encourage and assist them in promotion and running of trade and industry and practice of profession.

The bank came into being as an affirmative action of the parliament to indicate the Government’s commitment to provide access to half of its popoulation to the formal financial services. FWBL is fully committed to Pakistan’s national and international commitments highlighted in the Beijing Platform for Action, 1995; the National Plan of Action for Women, 1998 and the National Policy for Development & Empowerment of Women.

The bank remains true to its roots as a women centered organisation and facilitate financial inclusion of  50,779 customers who have availed financing facilities of Rs. 59,863.731 million and 90,000 customers who are maintaining their savings and other business accounts.

The Government has selected FWBL for financing loans to women under the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans which is a great success story in the year 2014 as all loans disbursed under the scheme are used for setting up business and its repayment is 100% regularly. It is pertinent to mention here that the model of FWBL has been adopted by Tanzania and India in 2009 and 2013 respectively.

First Entrepreneurship Reunion of Pak-US Alumni

More than 14,000 students and professionals have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, Pak-US Alumni Network (PUAN) organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities.

US AmbassadorIslamabad, November 21, 2014:

More than 300 alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad for the kick-off of the first-ever Entrepreneurship Reunion hosted by the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN).  The three day event attracted participants and speakers from all walks of life and every province of the country to share perspectives and explore possibilities for advancing entrepreneurship in Pakistan through workshops, plenary panels, and networking events.

“Greater Pakistani-American cooperation in entrepreneurship will contribute to Pakistan’s economic growth and prosperity, enhance business opportunities for Americans and Pakistanis, and build relationships across borders that will endure over time” said U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson in his keynote address to the alumni.

PUAN event

The Entrepreneurship Reunion is one of several events sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in support of Global Entrepreneurship Week, a world-wide event that celebrates innovators and job creators who bring new ideas to life, drive economic growth, and advance human welfare.  The Ambassador added, “We are working hard to expand the pool of entrepreneurs to include more Pakistani women.  In collaboration with the U.S. Pakistan Women’s Council, we are sponsoring a partnership between American University in Washington, D.C., and the Lahore University of Management Sciences to develop educational and mentoring sessions directed at the specific needs of up-and-coming women entrepreneurs.”

The U.S. government invests an estimated $40 million annually on exchange programs for Pakistani citizens and more than 1,300 Pakistanis participate in the various high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional U.S.-sponsored exchange programs each year.  PUAN is one of the largest U.S. alumni networks in the world.  Its mission is to encourage people-to-people relationships between Pakistanis and Americans.

Consisting of more than 14,000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, PUAN organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities.  The organization has 12 regional chapters across the country in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Gwadar, Islamabad, Jamshoro, Karachi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Lahore, Multan, and Sukkur.

Naila Zaman Echoes Melodiously


Muttahir Ahmed Khan/Karachi: 

The famous US-based Pakistani singer Naila Zaman’s new song, “Aao Naa,” recorded at Infinity Music Works Recorders, Lahore, has been released, recently, on all the music TV channels and FM and web based Radio stations. On the basis of its melodious audio, inspiring lyrics and vibrant video, the song is getting popular amongst the music lovers of Pakistan, India, USA, UK and other countries.

The US based Pop Singer has been singing since her childhood. She was part of Pakistan’s famous Musician/Composer Sohail Rana’s Group, in late 70’s. With a Master’s degree in “Management Information Systems”, from State University of New York, and working in different companies for several years, Naila Zaman has discovered that, her real passion is music, “Music is my life,” she says. With a fun loving, respectful, and forgiving (No smoking no alcohol no drugs) personality, she says, “I will always be young in my heart, age is just a number, I feel I am only 21, and my life has just begun. Singing is what I do and I love it.” Naila Zaman has had several concerts in the States. Her debut album, “TUM,” was released in March 2011 in New York by ASW Studios, and is available on cdbaby.com.

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She has been an inspiring icon in her TV interviews on several Pakistani and American channels and Radios.  Besides, her songs have been and are being played on several Radio stations around the world. Zaman has been singing cover songs by great Lata Mangeshkar and her album songs in past. Currently, she is focusing on her original songs that she has got recorded at some studios in Lahore and is also singing and performing in her Live concerts. Naila Zaman has been a part of Pakistan Music Industry for a few years. Her song, “Sajna,” recorded at AS Studios, Lahore, and Music Video directed by Imran Hayat, was released worldwide in 2012.

After, “Sajna,” Naila Zaman released another Official Music Video, “Dil Wali Gal,” which was released on May 5th, 2013. Finally, “Dil Wali Gal,” her Official Music Video, “Aaja Wai Aaja,” was released in August 2013.” Naila Zaman’s official songs, both video and audio, are being played on Pakistan’s all leading music channels and FM and Web Frequency Radio Stations. Along with all these activities Naila Zaman plans to tour cities in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, UAE, Norway, India and other places around the world for concerts, fashion shows.

The Last Note of Freedom

On 2nd Nov, 2014, the United Nations observed International Day to End Impunity for Crimesagainst Journalists. There has never been a more dangerous time for Journalists around the Globe with record numbers killed or sent to exile as per the recent report by the US-based CPJ- Committee to Protect Journalists. Whether its War crimes in Syria, Drug trafficking in Mexico, Militancy in Pakistan or Corruption in India. Most major countries including the United States, are fighting to deal with this deadly challenge.

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Crimes against Journalists are on the rise. The 10 deadliest countries in the world are face a daunting task, as human right bodies fail to address this matter with the law enforcement agencies. Over fifty killings in Syria, fifty in Somalia, forty five in Algeria,

Seventy three in the Philippines, Fifty Six in Russia, Thirty in India and over Fifty Three so far this year in Pakistan. Shocking news as it is, over eighty percent of the cases are unresolved as murderers are not brought to justice. Highest death counts were reported amongst journalists covering Politics while Thirty Six percent were war correspondents.

These are serious numbers in a increasing unsafe environment building up as freedomof expression comes under threat. While actual crimes are underreported by law enforcement agencies, most journalists today are increasingly under attack, covering protests and investigating crimes. Where we ensure that the voice is heard, there is absolute struggle for protection and no laws to govern punishment for such crimes due to poor conviction rate in the country.

Legally, we stand nowhere as long as the law provides legal and constitutional cover to crimes and perpetrators. Under the previous government of in 2008, there was a moratorium enforced where no one was put to death. This kind of constitutional amendments actually hurts the legal system, making it weak and dysfunctional as the legal order is threatened and criminals roam free and find new ways to flee the system and flag it to failure. In a country where all executions were being ordered by the President , there is little hope of faster and swift justice and courts lose power of enforcement of the law , against the people who break the law. With over 8000 criminals on death row and a dismal conviction rate, Pakistan has slowly been affected attained a tarnished reputation around the world as an unsafe country, while the public safety regulations are being maliciously and brutally misused by the government, the United Nations observed International Day to End Impunity for Crimes No one is above the law – is not something very commonly heard in a country marred by Top-Tier massive corruption and nepotism , championing all forms of high level moral and ethical mismanagement. TV media with no restrictions and easy access, becomes a back yard for wasteful political jargon with no real value addition for public consumption. People in general are critical yet consumed by Utopia.

This ‘Might is Right’ syndrome encourages disaster, leading to a non-consultative approach towards political management, social welfare, health and education and governance. After continued failure, the country s transparency system fails to hold any senior government officer bearer as accountable by law, as constitutional, legal and ethical management is no more. We are morally intolerant country being run by the corrupt and patronized by external elements with little resistance except by the Journalist Community, struggling to seek support by the State. Sooner than later, the state has to enforce laws that are already in place under the constitution whereby the rights of every citizen of the country must be protected and safeguarded against brutal acts of crime and violence. Until a brutal crime is matched by brutal punishment, we will suffer at the hands of violence. A punishment under Islamic Law must be enforced for the benefit of the innocents whose families have faced, desolation and danger.

Pakistan is becoming a risk for its own citizens. Law makers have to take responsive measures holding administration accountable for failures that lead outside proxy to come and play their dirty game. Corruption is not the lack of money, it is the abundance of it without accountability. We are already labeled as one of 10 deadliest countries for Journalists. If we do not stop this trend , the country could lose its economic footage and social standing around the world , that might lead us into isolation. We as a nation need to reject unjustified laws and amendments and ensure protection.

In the end, people globally may view us with uncertainty, failure and doubt. Protection of Journalists is and will be the last note of freedom. About the writer : Zeeshan Shah – writes on IR , Governance & Public Policy.

Good News: OPEC crude oil further drops to $70/barrel

Special Report by J. Choudhry/ISLAMABAD:

The OPEC crude oil has further dropped to 70 dollars a barrel yesterday in OPEC markets, a development that seems good for the consumers in Pakistan and other countries. With consistent decline in crude oil prices, the federal government has decided to further reduce domestic oil prices from Dec 1, 2014, to pass on relief to the consumers.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) seem worried about the consistent decline in the crude oil prices because of less than expected demand in international markets and the use of gas by the consumers in some developed countries, including the United States.

Pakistan is expected to save a huge amount of more than three billion dollars in the import of crude oil and petroleum products in the ongoing financial year 2014-15 because of more than 28 percent decline in the crude oil prices in the OPEC countries. A few months back, the crude oil price in OPEC market was fluctuating from 105 to 108 dollars per barrel, but on Nov 28, 2014, crude oil price tumbled to $70 per barrel.

This gradual but steady decrease in crude oil price would be beneficial for Pakistan in the shape of a minimum of 3 to 3.5 billion dollars relief in import bill of crude oil and POL products in this financial year. Pakistan spends a big amount of about 15 billion dollars a year on the import of crude oil and petroleum products.

In a recent meeting with the Finance Minister the officials of the oil marketing companies and oil refineries told Ishaq Dar that Pakistan imports crude oil and oil products worth $15 billion. The oil stocks in the country are maintained for at least 30 days consumption.

Another advantage, the country would see is slump in pressure on the dollar-rupee exchange rate that currently is prevailing around 102 rupees in the open market today.

Pakistan would also see improvement in the trade deficit in 2014-15 because crude oil and POL products consume almost 40 percent of the total imports bill. Traditionally Pakistan faces 18 to 20 billion dollars trade deficit in a year and in this financial year this deficit is expected fall below 18 billion dollars that would have significant positive impact on the current account deficit.

The government had reduced petrol prices by about 12 rupees per liter in two phases and the recent cut in domestic petrol price was substantial, around 9 rupees that is the result of a significant decrease in crude oil prices in the OPEC markets. From Dec 1, 2014, the federal government again has announced further reduction in petroleum products prices to provide relief to the consumers.

Black Gold balloons OPEC countries GDP by $1339 billion

Crude oil and other petroleum products known as Black Gold all over the world have not only changed the fate of key members of the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) but also ballooned their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1339 billion dollars in just four years, from 2010-2013.

Global spike in the prices of crude oil and petroleum products magnified the GDP of major oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Qatar during this period.

For example, in 2009 the size of the GDP of Saudi Arabia was 429 billion dollars that had increased to 745 billion dollars by the year 2013, showing a substantial increase of 316 billion dollars in the GDP of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in four years.

In 2009 UAE’s GDP was at 255 billion dollars that had mounted to 396 billion dollars, while Nigeria showed the biggest increase in the GDP that increased from 166 billion dollars in 2009 to 516 billion dollars in 2013, showing 350 billion dollars or about 140 percent growth in Nigerian GDP.

Despite war and bomb blasts, the GDP of Iraq had increased more than 100 percent during this period and increased to 229 billion dollars from 110 billion dollars in this period.


However, Iran is the only country in the OPEC groups whose GDP increased from 390 billion dollars to over 514 billion dollars in couple of years after 2009, but in 2013 the Iranian GDP ended flat, at 366 billion dollars when it is matched with the size of 2009 GDP.

Qatar also showed an impressive increase in its GDP that surged from mere 97 billion dollars in 2009 to 202 billion dollars in 2013, mainly because of spike on world oil prices.

The OPEC members GDP was at 2184.83 billion dollars in 2009 that ballooned to 3524.76 billion dollars in 2013, showing an unbelievable increase of more than 1339 billion dollars increase in just four years period.

OPEC populationPopulationGraph

2004 _ Era of SPIKE in Crude Oil Prices

From the mid-1980s to September 2003, the inflation adjusted price of a barrel of crude oil on NYMEX was generally under $25/barrel. Then in 2004 the price rose above $40/barrel and then increased to $50. A series of events led the price to exceed $60 by August 11, 2005, and then the price exceeds $75 in the middle of 2006.

The crude oil prices then dropped back to $60/barrel by the early part of 2007 before rising steeply again to $92/barrel by October 2007 and $99 per barrel for December futures in New York on November 21, 2007.

Throughout the first half of 2008, oil regularly reached record high prices. On February 29, 2008, oil prices peaked at $103.05 per barrel and reached $110.20 on March 12, 2008, the sixth record in seven trading days. Prices on June 27, 2008, touched $141.71/barrel, for August delivery in the New York Mercantile Exchange (after the recent $140.56/barrel), amid Libya‘s threat to cut output, and OPEC‘s president predicted prices may reach $170 by the Northern-summer.

The most recent price per barrel maximum of $147.02 was reached on July 11, 2008. After falling below $100 in the late summer of 2008, prices rose again in late September. On September 22, oil rose over $25, to $130 before settling again to $120, marking a record one-day gain of $16. Electronic crude oil trading was temporarily halted by NYMEX when the daily price rise limit of $10 was reached, but the limit was reset seconds later and trading resumed.

The global economic meltdown caused a setback to the crude oil that fell much below 70 dollars/barrel, but from 2009 the OPEC and other oil exporting countries again jacked up prices to above 100 dollars/barrel during 2010-2014 (till March/April).

From May 2014, the OPEC crude oil prices starting losing ground and gradually fell to 78 dollars by Nov 6, 2014.

State Bank reports 268 billion profit

Harry Javed/KARACHI: For the financial year ended June 30, 2014, surplus profit of the Bank stood at Rs 268,634 million, showing 14 percent increase compared to the profit of Rs 235,892 million in the preceding year. The increase is mainly attributable to higher discount, interest/markup and/or return earned and increases in other operating income partly offset by the accumulated loss on re-measurement of defined
retirement benefits.

SBP Profit

The Bank earns discount income on its holdings of Market Treasury Bills (MTBs), whereas interest/markup and return is derived on the foreign and domestic financial assets held by the Bank.

The gross income under the head increased by Rs. 55,280 million, posting an increase of 22 percent compared to the last year.
Interest/markup expenses are incurred on borrowings from International Monetary Fund,
deposits of international organizations and foreign central banks and payable currency swap
arrangement. Expenditure under the head increased by 100 percent as compared to
previous year due to increases in borrowings under currency swap arrangements and expense
on securities sold under agreement to repurchase. This increase is partly offset by decrease in expense on IMF borrowings.

The Bank derives commission income from management of instruments of public debt, Market treasury bills, prize bonds, national saving schemes and government securities as well as issuance of drafts and payment orders.
The commission income during FY14 decreased by 2 percent and stood at Rs 1,727 million
compared to Rs 1,759 million during the previous financial year.

The net exchange gain / (loss) arise from Bank’s foreign currency assets and liabilities. The exchange gain mainly arises due to depreciation of PKR vis-à-vis foreign currencies particularly US$ and SDR. Specifically, the foreign currency assets of the Bank are mainly denominated in US$ whereas the foreign currency liability exposure is mainly denominated in SDRs. Accordingly, the depreciation of PKR vis-à-vis US$ results in exchange gain to Bank and vice versa, while the depreciation of PKR vis-à-vis SDR results in exchange loss and vice versa.
The net exchange gains amounted to Rs. 14,112 million during the FY 2013-14 as against the
income of Rs 6,703 million during the previous financial year marking increase of Rs. 7,409