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Last update: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 08pm

Articles and Letters: Letters

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This is apropos a Business Recorder op-ed "Incremental spread of disappearances" carried by the newspaper last week. The writer, Rashed Rahman, has presented one of the most informed perspectives on this issue of national import. Fully conversant with the post-Pakistan history of Balochistan he has offered a broader but a workable solution to the country's Establishment. According to him, for example, "the problem is that there is no forum to turn to for redress of such abuses. The judiciary has been found wanting in the face of the deep state's intransigence and blank denials, the civilians are too scared, and the liberal and progressive community too scattered, divided and ineffectual to make a difference. Our real rulers should pay heed to the lessons of history. Such a dispensation can only lead to the rebellion of the oppressed, not a system that people can have faith in."
The US fast-food giant McDonald's will sell a controlling stake in its China and Hong Kong business for up to $2.08 billion to a consortium including state-owned Citic and the Carlyle Group, it was announced Monday. The deal is said to be part of an international turnaround plan by the Golden Arches as it struggles with sluggish growth at home. Citic Limited, Citic Capital Holdings, Carlyle Group and McDonald's will form a company that will act as a franchisee for the chain's business in mainland China and Hong Kong for 20 years, the companies reportedly said in a joint statement.
This is apropos a Business Recorder news item "OICCI makes Rs 45bn tax refund claims" carried by the newspaper on Friday. According to it, the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has approached the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) seeking payment of pending sales tax and income tax claims of 57 overseas investors, multinational companies/corporate entities and banking companies involving a huge amount of Rs 45 billion.
The export package is a welcome "first aid" for the struggling export sector. First aid is how it should be seen as there remain fundamental challenges confronting exports and manufacturing that still need to be addressed. Without an integrated industrial (read manufacturing) and trade (read import and export) strategy, packages such as this are only temporary solutions. There is a finite value limit of Rs 180 Billion. The recent experience of the fertilizer subsidy which ran out of funds just six months from inception should serve as a warning.
This is apropos a Business Recorder news item 'Five UAE officials among 57 killed in Afghan bombings' carried by the newspaper yesterday. According to it, five UAE officials were among 57 people killed in a string of bombings across Afghan cities as Taliban militants step up a deadly winter campaign of violence. The Emiratis were among 12 people killed when explosives hidden in a sofa detonated inside the governor's compound in southern Kandahar on Tuesday, while the UAE's ambassador to Afghanistan escaped the attack with injuries.
This is apropos a Business Recorder news item "As election nears, PM pleases businesses" carried by the newspaper yesterday. According to it, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a package of incentives of Rs 180 billion that envisages abolition of customs duty and sales tax on import of cotton, textile machinery and man-made fibre to boost exports.
Quoting sources, a Business Recorder news item on Sunday said the long-awaited package, was deliberated in two marathon meetings a couple of days ago. First meeting was presided over by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the PM House and attended by the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan, Chairman Board of Investment (BoI), Dr Miftah Ismail and other senior officials of concerned ministries. In the follow up of Prime Minister's meeting, finance minister Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting in the finance Ministry which was also attended by the concerned ministers and other officials.