PM overrode his directives on arms licence bar, NA told


ISLAMABAD – In negation of his own directives to impose ban on issuance of new arms licenses at the start of 2010, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has approved the same for 339 weapons so far.
This was part of Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s written reply to queries raised by lawmakers during the Question-Answer Hour session on Friday. He said that 339 new arms licenses, included 239 for prohibited weapons, had been issued since January 2010 after the prime minister’s directives to relax the rules.
The interior minister also informed the house that license for 6,853 prohibited weapons had been issued to different security companies during April 2009 to July 2009 on his directives of the then Minister of State for Interior Tasneem Qureshi. He said that 138 licenses were issued to Inter-Risk security Company alone. In another written reply to a question raised by Khalida Mansoor MNA, the National Assembly was informed by the Finance Ministry that total outstanding amount of foreign loans at present is US$57,968 million.
As per the details, the amount included public and publicly guaranteed debt of US$45,579 million, bank borrowing of US$275 million, private sector debt of US $3231 million and IMF debt of US$8,882. It was also told that out of total IMF loan, around US$ 1,963 million was to be paid by the federal government and US$ 6,919 million by the central bank.
Regarding major lending countries, the National Assembly was further told that the US debt against Pakistan stood at US$ 1,498 million, OPEC Fund debt at US$ 17,689 million, Paris Club Countries at US$15,108, France US$2,234, Germany US$1,864, Japan US$7,663 and Non-Paris Club Countries US$ 2,580.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik while answering another question regarding purchase and installation of scanners at different entry points of big cities told the house that China had agreed to supply 24 scanners on soft loan facility and two had been shipped to Pakistan.
He also added that the scanners would be installed in consultation with provincial governments as per their needs. The house was also told that China had been the biggest foreign investor in Pakistan since 06-06-08 onward
It was also informed that the value of imports from India was US$1701. 44 Million in 2007-08, US$1194.60 million in 2008-9 and US $1224.56 in 2009-10 whereas value of Pakistani exports to India were US$ 254.85 million, US$319.61 million and US$268.33 million respectively during the said years.
Meanwhile, answering a supplementary question, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Pakistan was striving hard to promote bilateral trade with neighbouring countries like Iran, China and Afghanistan.
Replying to a question raised by Marvi Memon, Firdous Ashiq Awan said the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) was being negotiated with the United States, adding that negotiations on the BIT, which had been discontinued in 2006, were resumed in June, 2010.