POLITICAL & GOVERNMENT NEWS – OCTOBER 2017
Arrest warrants issued for ex-PM Sharif
An accountability court of Islamabad on Thursday issued arrest warrants for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in two references related to the companies owned by his sons in the UK and Saudi Arabia.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir dismissed the application filed by Sharif, through his pleader Zaafir Khan, seeking exemption from personal attendance and a one-week adjournment.
The judge issued bailable warrants, remarking that `it would be the last chance` for the accused. In case Sharif continues to remain absent from proceedings, the court would issue non-bailable arrest
warrants in his name. In the third reference, related to the four flats owned by the Sharif family in Avenfield House, Park Lane, UK, the court issued notices to Sharif`s guar-antors for Nov 3. On that day, the accountability court will resume proceedings in three references dealing with Flagship Investments and other companies in the UK, Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia and the Avenfield properties. This is the third time the court has heard Mr Sharif`s application seeking exemption. However, his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar have not sought exemption from personal attendance and have appeared before the trial court in person at regular intervals.
On Oct 9, the court exempted Mr Sharif from personal attendance for 15 days, since the former PM wanted to visit his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz in the UK. The court has already indicted Sharif, Maryam and Capt Safdar in the Avenfield reference on Oct 19 and on Thursday, the first witness was scheduled to testify before the court. However, when the accountability judge resumed hearing on Thursday, Sharif`s counsel Khawaja Haris filed an application seeking further exemption for his client.
He informed the court that Sharif was ready to appear before it, and had lef t the UK for this purpose, stopping over in Saudi Arabia to perform Umra. Advocate Haris told the court Kulsoom Nawaz`s medical consultant informed Mr Sharif via email on Oct 25 that though his spouse`s health was improving, she needed to undergo further treatment. He also shared a printed copy of the email in question, saying that this forced Mr Sharif to return to the UK, since it was not possible for him to leave his spouse at such a critical time. But NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi opposed the exemption plea, terming the former premier`s absence `deliberate`. He pointed out that the court had accepted an earlier application seeking exemption for the accused and appointed a pleader for a fortnight on Oct 9. He said following the expiry of that period, the pleader ceased to exist, therefore he could not file an application on Sharif`s behalf, adding that the court should issue arrest warrants for the accused due to his deliberate absence. But even as the judge was considering this matter, a NAB special prosecutor invited his ire when he passed irresponsible remarks against the court.
Contrary to court practice, Afzal Qureshi addressed the judge in comparatively loud voice, saying that `the accused are taking the court very easy` due to the leniency of the judge. This incensed the judge who warned the prosecutor to `not pass such comments on the court` saying that `this is a court, not a public gathering where you are free to make such [comments]`. `Tell me even a single instance where I have shown leniency for the accused persons,` the judge continued, observing that the court had issued warrants for the accused in the past as per the law and had also directed them to submit securities. `The way you are arguing is not acceptable in anyway,` the accountability court judge warned the special prosecutor.
Since the proceedings began against Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the prosecution has been seen by many as being offensive and aggressive, but this was the first time the accountability judge censured a member of the prosecution team. Maryam`s press talk Speaking to journalists after appearing before the court, Maryam Nawaz said that the prosecution seemed to be `extra vigilant` in cases related to the family of the former prime minister. `There seems to be different law for a military dictator and a [different one] for an elected leader who was disqualified for holding an Iqama,` she said. `If this watchfulness is for a single family, then it puts a question mark over the process of the dispensation of justice` she added. `When we talk about democracy, they label it treason. If someone demands justice, they term it contempt of court,` Ms Sharif remarked, adding that her father would return to Pakistan to face all cases pending against him.
Responding to a question about the arrest of activists allegedly linked to her media cell, Ms Sharif clarified that she did not run or control any such cell. Conceding that she was looking after media management while her father was in power, she claimed that she had stopped dealing with the media
after his ouster. `I know who is spreading such fake information against me and why they are running a campaign against me,` she said.
Bitter foes PTI, PPP launch attack on Sharif
The leaders of the country`s main opposition parties raised the `Go Nawaz go` slogan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, demanding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down following the Supreme Court`s verdict in the Panama Papers case. But plans for a grand opposition alliance seemed a distant dream on Tuesday, as Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan also took aim at each other`s parties in speeches that seemed more suited to the campaign trail than as precursors to a possible alliance. Addressing a public gath-ering in Malakand, the former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) cochairman dismissed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief as `a fake Khan`, and dubbed Nawaz Sharif `a prodigy of Gen Ziaul Haq`.
Mr Zardari alleged that PM Sharif was a product of the establishment and accused him of still further-ing the agenda of the former military dictator. Mr Zardari blamed the philosophy of PM Sharif and his mentor, Gen Zia, for the brutal killing of Mashal Khan and regretted the blocking of Pakhtuns` CNICs. Addressing PM Sharif, he said Pakhtuns should be given their due rights.
He alleged that the Sharif family had looted the nation`s wealth with both hands and vowed to retrieve whatever they had made off with. He reminded the people of KP about all that the PPP had done for them, giving the impression that he was there to garner votes as much as to assail the ruling parties in the province and at the Centre. The PPP co-chairman lamented that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was initiated by his government to end the sense of deprivation prevailing in KP and Balochistan, had been snatched by the ruling party and called on Pakhtuns to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
He claimed credit for renaming the province and accused Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif of snatching morsels from the mouths of Pakhtuns by encroaching on their share in the National Finance Commission award. He recalled how the writ of the government had been established in Swat and how the PPP government had looked after thousands of people displaced from the Malakand division during the conflict there.
Reminding the crowd that the late Benazir Bhutto had always raised her voice for the people of the tribal areas, he vowed that Fata would be merged with KP if the PPP came into power again.
The PPP leader said that problems for overseas Pakistanis living abroad particularly Middle East countries had increased there. He said that people of Malakand division and other parts of the country were facing many problems in Arab countries but the rulers were enjoying their family relations with these countries. Mr Zardari also lambasted the ruling PML-N for its silence over the use of the `Mother of All Bombs` in neighboring Afghanistan.
Imran Khan Fresh from his diatribe against the PPP in Dadu on Saturday, where he accused the former president of `belittling` the party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, on Tuesday, the PTI chief turned his sights back on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Reminding PM Sharif how he had demanded Yousuf Raza Gillani`s resignation when the Supreme Court had found the latter guilty of contempt, Mr Khan told a gathering of party leaders at the CM House in Peshawar that judges of the Supreme Court had rejected the Sharifs` evidence, Qatari letter and all. According to a handout issued on Tuesday, he claimed the verdict had vindicated his party`s stance and called on party workers to make PTI`s April 28 show in Islamabad a resounding success. He alleged that the institutions tasked with probing the PM were subordinate to him, and questioned how a fair probe could be held while PM Sharif remained in office.
Speaking to party lawmakers, the PTI chief accused Sharif of offering him Rs10 billion to `stay quiet`, adding that he could offer a lot more to other institutions to keep mum. He also stressed the need to maintain public pressure on the government. Addressing another ceremony, held to mark the inauguration of the under-23 games at the Hayatababad Complex, he told an audience of youths: `Had I given up, I would not have been able to build Shaukat Khanum hospital or to set up the PTI. In a speech that seemed designed to inspire young people into action, he stressed the need to install the sporting spirit among all players. He attributed his success to his sporting career, saying: `If a champion loses, he never gives up. He gets up, analyses his mistakes and goes to play again. When the audience began to chant `Go Nawaz go`, he observed that this would be `done on Friday`. He also praised Younis Khan, who hails from Mardan, on becoming the Erst Pakistani cricketer to score 10,000 runs.
Sharif indicted in Flagship Investment reference
The Accountability Court of Islamabad on Friday indicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Flagship Investment reference. It was the third reference in which Sharif has been indicted.
The same court on Thursday indicted him as well as his daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar in the London flats and Al-Azizia Company references. On Friday, the court framed charges against MrSharif through his pleader, Zafir Khan, since the former prime minister is in the United Kingdom to see his ailing wife. The reference is related to establishment of Flagship Investment Limited and 15 other companies in the UK. The reference alleged that the accused persons, namely Mr Sharif and his sons, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, `used these companies to manage/acquire expensive properties`. It further alleged that the accused persons were given ample opportunities to explain and provide evidence regarding the accumulation of these assets but they had failed to justify the source of funds for establishing these firms. The court indicted Mr Sharif under Section 9 (a) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999. As per the charge sheet, the former prime minister has been accused purchasing expensive properties in the UK in the name of his sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz. Mr Khan on behalf of Mr Sharif pleaded not guilty. He stated that the accused denied the charges and said that the apex court`s directions to the accountability court for concluding thetrial in six months and appointing a monitoring judge to supervise the trial proceeding was against the right to f air trial. He further said that it was against the constitutional provisions which ensure dignity of citizen and right to fair and transparent trial proceedings. After the indictment, the court summoned a prosecution witness Jahangir Khan of Inland Revenue Service (IRS) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and put of the trial proceeding till Oct 26. The same court would also take up another reference related to London properties against the Sharif family on the said date and had already summoned Sidra Mansoor, an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, for recording testimony.
PML-N in a bind over ex-PM`s fate
A day after a senior PML-N legislator criticized the election of a disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the party head and suggested Shahbaz Sharif lead the ruling Muslim League instead, more people on Friday appeared to be willing to embrace the idea. Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada told reporters at the National Press Club in Islamabad on Thursday that Shahbaz Sharif should lead the party apparently since Nawaz Sharif was facing trial in corruption cases. Differences between the two brothers and their heirs apparent Maryam Nawazand Hamza Shahbaz became public knowledge when Hamza chose to air his concerns before media after he and his father failed to dissuade the elder Sharif and his daughter from adopting a policy of confrontation with institutions, particularly after the Supreme Court announced its verdict in the Panama Papers case ousting Nawaz Sharif from office.
Now it appears that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has been cementing his position for an impending behind-the scenes battle aimed at taking up the reins of the party, as he met long-time friend former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday to discuss party af f airs with him. And one of the Punjab cabinet members, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, conceded that the party lacked a clear direction and most of its members `are confused`. The meeting between Chaudhry Nisar and Shahbaz Sharif was being seen as of great importance since both have been on the same page since the Panama Papers controversy emerged.
`Both want Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to avoid a clash with the army and the judiciary and face accountability without much complaint,` a PML-N1eader said. A close aide to Nawaz Sharif said that even if the court had restrained the former premier from holding the office of the party president the post might not have been given to Shahbaz Sharif on a platter. `Do not rule out Maryam Nawaz`s chances to don the cap of the party president in such a scenario,` he said, adding that Shahbaz Sharif`s role would remain confined to Punjab even af ter the next general elections. In a related development on Friday, Railways Minister Saad Rafique telephoned Mr Pirzada and asked him about his proposal to replace Nawaz Sharif with his brother. `I told him [Saad Rafique] that what I had said is in the best interest of the party,` Mr Pirzada said.
There were, however, some PML-N politicians who remained unconvinced. Minister of State for Interior Affairs Talal Chaudhry said there could be a difference of opinion in the party but `there is one leader in the PML-N and he is Nawaz Sharif`. Had anyone asked Shahbaz Sharif if he was interested in becoming the president of the party, he raised the question. `Similar ideas were floated during the Musharraf regime,` Mr Chaudhry said, adding that after Nawaz Sharif, his brother was the most senior leader in the party and he was always there to rescue the party when such a time came. `Lost` lawmakers meet The situation has left the party`s parliamentarians worried. They want Nawaz Sharif to give them a `clear road map` going into 2018 elections and tell them who will lead them in the election campaign. They are having meetings in groups to share their growing concern about the future of the party and its direction.
In background interviews, some PML-N legislators said it was the time both brothers (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif) sat with the party men and told them how they would go into 2018 with confrontation mode with the judiciary and the army or the party`s development agenda. Besides, who will lead the party in the election campaign when Nawaz Sharif and his children are f acing the graft cases. A few of the PML-N lawmakers endorsed Riaz Pirzada`s criticism of the election of the party head and termed his proposal to replace Nawaz Sharif with his brother a `workable solution`. `At the moment most of us (parliamentarians) are confused and want Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to have a sitting with us to give us a clear direction leading to next year`s election,` Punjab Minister for Labor and Human Resource Raja Ashfaq Sarwar told.
Mr Sarwar has recently attended a meeting of a group of over two-dozen MPAs, mostly from south Punjab, in Lahore in which the proposal of either forming a forward bloc to negotiate better terms with the Sharif s ahead of election or backing Shahbaz Sharif as party president was reportedly discussed. Answering a question, Mr Sarwar laughed of f at the idea of forward bloc in the PML-N, particularly in Punjab, and clarified that he and some 20 MPAs were invited by MPA Shaukat Lalika at his residence, where they discussed growing unrest in the party because of having no `future` direction. `Similarly whenever the party legislators meet these days they discuss the same things,` Mr Sarwar said and added that Nawaz Sharif on his return next week would be requested to give them time and decide the future action plan. `So far the idea of replacing Mian sahib with Shahbaz Sharif is a non-issue in the party. Nawaz Sharif is important for us and he has vote bank. But the party men want to know how to move forward,` he said.
Mr Lalika told Dawn that he had hosted dinner for his uncle, Ashfaq Sarwar, who recently performed Haj. `I also invited about three dozen other party MPAs to the feast. We discussed the party matters andthe coming election. He said the party was united under the Sharif brothers. `We never demanded or discussed replacement of Mian sahib with Shahbaz Sharif, he said.
Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan said: `There has been consensus in the PML-N that Mian sahib should remain the party president as it is united under his leadership. The whole politics of the party revolves around him. However, it is the advice of the pragmatists to the party president to restrain the hawks to neutralize the `PML-N G.T. Road political discourse and NA-120 by-poll campaign`s strategy of confrontation. There should be no confrontation with institutions`. About the concerns of the party legislators, Mr Ahmad said: `Our party men want elections. Confrontational path may delay elections, they fear. And at the same time if they are not told about who will be candidate for the office of prime minister after the 2018 election, at least they should be told who will lead the election campaign,` he said.
Rashid foresees end of `Sharif politics` Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League (AML) president Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has predicted that the PML-N is a divided house and its parliamentarians will leave the `Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif` in the coming days. `Earlier, I said 40 parliamentarians are ready to leave the party but now I am sure that more than 70 will do so, including Prime Minister [Shahid Khagan] Abbasi, Chaudhry Nisar and Saad Rafique,` the AML chief claimed at a public meeting outside his residence Lal Haveli in Rawalpindi. The gathering was held to protest against the government for `trying to bring changes in Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws`. Sheikh Rasheed said, `Next three months are very crucial for Pakistani politics and before March all the corrupt and the ruling elite of PML-N will be kicked out.` He said the politics of the Sharif family would come to an end the day when the Hudaibya Paper Mills case, which
pertains to the `mother of all crime`, would open.
THE FIRST INDICTMENT
Assalamu Alaikum, Maryam Nawaz Sharif says as she strides into the courtroom, greeting in turn the judge, lawyers and media persons gathered to witness her first indictment. She has been in the news ever since her father`s party formed the government following the 2013 general elections. But when she was standing by his side as he announced victory in the polls on the
fateful night, not even the veteran politician in Nawaz Sharif could have predicted that just over four years later, she would have to face a judge trying her on charges of corruption. Minutes before her arrival, Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir asks Dr Asif Kirmani, who has reserved a seat for his former boss` daughter, the whereabouts of `the accused persons`.
Mr Kirmani doesn`t answer, but rises instead to make a phone call and walks out, returning minutes later to inform the judge that both Maryam and her husband are on their way.
By the time she enters the courtroom at around 8:30am, her seat is already reserved in the first row. As she takes her seat, Mr Kirmani and Tariq Fatemi sit down next to her. The former adviser to the ex-PM, who was sent home due to his alleged role in the controversy around a Dawn story, seems to be extra vigilant in keeping a watchful eye on his charge. So careful, in fact, that when a fly lands on her shoulder, Mr Fatemi tries to swat it away with his leather binder. The sudden contact catches Maryam off guard and she stands up. When Mr Fatemi explains what happened, she relents and sits back down. This is her third appearance before the accountability court, which began proceedings on Sept 26; Maryam and Capt Safdar joined the trial on Oct 9. That day, she and her husband had flown back from London mere hours before they were due in court, and Capt Safdar had been whisked away by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as soon as they stepped out of Rawal Lounge.
At that hearing, Maryam was visibly nervous and did not seem to understand everything that was going on. But the woman that faces the court today is more confident and determined than ever before. With a digital rosary in one hand and a prayer on her lips, she observes proceedings with the curiosity of someone who is new to the world of courts and lawyers. The courtroom is decidedly less cramped on this occasion, mainly because lawyers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have decided to stay away.
This and the successive intervals in court proceedings give journalists covering the trial a chance to interact with former premier`s daughter. At one point, when Matiullah Jan and I are standing together, she leans over to us and, addressing Mati, says: `I know who you are, but I do not think[your friend and I] have been acquainted yet. Pointing in my direction, my colleague introduces me. `So you are Dawn?` she asks. `He is the real don, Mati replies, tongue-in-cheek.
But the media`s game of Chinese whispers turns this innocuous exchange into a feeding frenzy. A reporter jots down the ticker `Mediapersons are the real dons, says Maryam Nawaz` and the wonders of Whats-Upp propel it to TV screens in a matter of minutes. Back in the courtroom, Maryam`s own information network whirrs into action and minutes later, she receives a screenshot of the of fending ticker on her phone. Displeased with being misquoted, she asks a nearby TV reporter: `When did I say this?` The journalist, unable to come up with a good explanation, can only apologize.
In her interaction with the media inside the courtroom, Maryam tries to convince reporters that the Sharif s are the only political family that has surrendered before the courts, despite being certain that they will be denied justice. She repeats the words `Sicilian mafia` over and over again. Used by a Supreme Court judge to describe the then ruling family, the term has obviously touched a nerve. `Have you ever heard of the Sicilian mafia appearing before the courts as accused?` she asks reporters, who can only nod their heads in unison. But while the court was hearing arguments on the various applications filed by Nawaz Sharif and Capt Safdar, she was busy scribbling in her notebook.
The subject of her writings becomes clear when the accountability judge calls her for indictment and she approaches the rostrum. The judge reads out the charges against her in connection with the Avenfield House properties, as well as submission of a fabricated trust deed. But Maryam appears overconfident and breathless, starting to read aloud from paper handed to her the lawyer.
`I, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif...` she reads, from her father`s charge sheet.
`No, no, this is the wrong one,` the judge interjects, but Maryam continues. `You`ve given her the wrong paper, the judge tells her counsel, who is forced to rectify his mistake. Annoyed by the interruption, Maryam begins to make her own declaration. `Judge sahib, I refuse to accept the charges and allegations based on a report which is mala fide intentions. She pleads not guilty, and it is done.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif has been indicted in a corruption case.
SHC orders Sharjeel Memon’s arrest
Dismissing the bail plea, Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Monday arrest warrants against Sharjeel Inam Memon and other suspects in Information Ministry corruption case. The bail appeal of Memon and other suspects was rejected by the SHC, after which the order was given to arrest them as soon they come out of the court. Sharjeel and the other suspects are inside the court room as the case of Rs 5.76 billion corruption charges in Information Ministry of Sindh is under way. Three suspects out of 12 have been arrested so far. Following the dismissal, National Accountability Bureau officials are expected to take the accused into custody. Court has also called Rangers to take action against the accused. An accountability court in Islamabad indicted on Thursday deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar (retd) in connection with a reference pertaining to the Avenfield flats case filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The charge sheet was read in the court. However, all the three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the hearing, Ayesha Hamid, the former PM’s counsel, pleaded the court to halt the indictment process until Supreme Court decides on the re-filing of references. Similarly, Amjad Pervez, counsel of Maryam and Captain Safdar (retd), pleaded Judge Muhammad Bashir to halt the indictment case, as his clients were not provided with complete documents of the case. Both of these pleas were dismissed by the accountability court. According to the charge sheet, Maryam was the sole beneficiary of Avenfield apartments in London. The Avenfield properties include flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom. The charge sheet further states that Maryam submitted forged documents to joint investigation team, using Calibri font and the documents had been declared fake. The court has adjourned the hearing against the Avenfield reference till October 26. An accountability court in Islamabad indicted on Thursday deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar (retd) in connection with a reference pertaining to the Avenfield flats case filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The charge sheet was read in the court. However, all the three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the hearing, Ayesha Hamid, the former PM’s counsel, pleaded the court to halt the indictment process until Supreme Court decides on the re-filing of references. Similarly, Amjad Pervez, counsel of Maryam and Captain Safdar (retd), pleaded Judge Muhammad Bashir to halt the indictment case, as his clients were not provided with complete documents of the case. Both of these pleas were dismissed by the accountability court. According to the charge sheet, Maryam was the sole beneficiary of Avenfield apartments in London. The Avenfield properties include flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom. The charge sheet further states that Maryam submitted forged documents to joint investigation team, using Calibri font and the documents had been declared fake. The court has adjourned the hearing against the Avenfield reference till October 26.
Corruption case: Hearing underway against Ishaq Dar
The court hearing against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, resumed after it had been postponed by Judge Bashir till noon as Dar’s counsel Khawaja Harris, had failed to appear in court on Monday morning. Once the hearing preceded, Dar’s counsel, Khawaja Harris appealed the Judge to delay the hearing as Dar had to attend a meeting. However the judge rejected his appeal saying that unless someone is ill, no exemption can be given. Dar’s counsel said that the exemption was only asked for just today’s hearing. Judge Bashir said to proceed on with the hearing and he will decide later.
The hearing is currently underway as Judge Muhammad Bashir is recording the statement of prosecution witness, Masood ul Ghani of the Habib Bank Limited, ARY News reported.
The hearing began Monday morning with Ishaq Dar arriving in court amid tight security, but the judge adjourned the proceedings, as Dar’s lead counsel Khawaja Harris was absent, instructing Dar to appear before the court with his counsel, local media reported.
The corruption case against Ishaq Dar was filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case. During Dar’s last hearing on October 12, NAB had produced two witnesses, Al-Baraka Bank Senior Vice-President Tariq Javed and Shahid Aziz of the National Investment Trust (NIT) who had testified against Dar. The accountability court had then adjourned the hearing for October 16. This will be the fifth appearance of Dar in the accountability court
Imran Khan criticizes PML-N for creating rumpus in court
Speaking about the rumpus created by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) lawyers in a court that resulted in adjournment of corruption case hearing against Sharif family on Friday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan termed it an ‘attack to protect over Rs 30 billion Sharif’s loot stashed abroad’. Imran Khan took to Twitter and said that this is the second time that the judiciary was attacked by PML-N and the people must be prepared to stand and defend the state’s institution as ‘PML-N is hell-bent on destroying all state institutions’.
He said that the drama which happened on October 2, when Rangers took over and did not allow anyone inside the Federal Judicial Complex was to ‘leave the NAB judge unprotected’.
On the last hearing on October 9, the accountability court had approved the bail of Maryam Nawaz and Capt Safdar and had observed that they along with Nawaz Sharif would be indicted on October 13. But due to the commotion by the PML-N lawyers, the hearing has been adjourned till October 19.
No surrender to US demands, Asif tells Senate
Khawaja Asif –Pakistan’s Foreign Minister
Ruling out any surrender before the US or a compromise on the country`s sovereignty, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the Senate on Wednesday that Washington had handed over abstof75 wanted terrorists. Briefing the upper house on the recent visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his statement about certain `specific requests`, the minister said that many of the individuals on the list were not alive, while others were shadow Taliban governors in different provinces of Afghanistan. He said that while the Haqqanis were on top of the list, it did not contain the name of a single Pakistani.
Mr Asif said Pakistan and Afghanistan had also exchanged lists of wanted terrorists. `We have given them a list of about 100 individuals, while theirs contains 70-75 names,` he remarked. FOREIGN Minister Khawaja Asif says there is a 648km-long border with Afghanistan where not a single soldier or border security man is deployed on the Afghan side. In his candid remarks, the foreign minister asserted that Pakistan could not be blamed for American failures in Afghanistan. During Secretary Tillerson`s visit, he said, it was impressed upon the US side that Washington`s policy in the region had been hammered out by generals who had failed in Afghanistan, but were not ready to admit to the ground reahdes.
`Let this policy be framed by politicians and policy-makers over there, he remarked. He said it was also pointed In his candid remarks, the foreign minister asserted that Pakistan could not be blamed for American failures in Afghanistan. During Secretary Tillerson`s visit, he said, it was impressed upon the US side that Washington`s policy in the region had been hammered out by generals who had failed in Afghanistan, but were not ready to admit to the ground reahdes.
`Let this policy be framed by politicians and policy-makers over there, he remarked. He said it was also pointed out that the generals would never allow framing of a policy wherein they had to concede their humiliation. He also talked about the unprecedented ceasefire violations occurring on the eastern border over the past one year, and regretted that Afghanistan was playing the role of a f acilitator for India. He said there was a 648km-long border with Afghanistan where not a single soldier or border security personnel were deployed on the Afghan side. `That area is used for the planning and execution of terrorist activities. We also told them that 45pc of Afghanistan is under Taliban control, which is suf ficient for them to establish sanctuaries to plan and execute terrorist activities. They do not need Pakistani territory for that purpose, he remarked. He said the compromises made by military dictators of the past haunted Pakistan today, adding that had the country not volunteered a role in the so-called Afghan jihad, Pakistan would not be mired in this situation. After the blunder of becoming a proxy in the Afghan war, another massive compromise was made following 9/11. `We actually became bounty hunters for the US. They used to give us lists and it was for us to catch them and hand them over to the US, irrespective of their innocence or involvement in a crime,` he regretted. He said the problems Pakistan was facing today were due to the actions of the ruling elite, which had agreed to compromise on national interest to prolong their rule.
He said that unlike past regimes, the present government had neither surrendered nor succumbed to any pressure in the wake of US president Donald Trump`s fiery speech of Aug 21. Referring to his recent visit to the US, he said that in both public and private interactions there had been no hint that could be presumed as a readiness to compromise on Pakistan`s national interests. `We have not succumbed to the threat made by Trump from Fort Myer. We stood tall and will keep the posture before any power of the world,` he declared. Referring to Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani`s remarks about Mr Tillerson behaving like a viceroy, he said: `We do not accept him as a viceroy. He said the security arrangements made for Mr Tillerson`s visit to Pakistan were similar to those that would be made in any civilized country. The situation was entirely different from his visit to Afghanistan, where President Ashraf Ghani had to go to Bagram airbase to meet the US secretary of state.
He pointed out that the top US diplomat did not feel safe leaving the airbase he had landed at, in a country where the forces of 16 nations had been deployed for some 18 years. That there had been a visible change in the frequency of drone attacks inside Pakistan, seen by Islamabad as a violation of its sovereignty, was a clear manifestation of the fact that Pakistan had cleared its areas of people who used to be targets for the drones. He regretted that the US wanted to blame its failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan. `We are ready to help them, but will not become their proxy,` he remarked, stressing that a strong, stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in Pakistan`s interest. Mr Asif claimed that decisions taken in the past were subservient to the will of the US because those rulers would look to Washington for their survival and the perpetuation of their rule. The current government, he said, derived its strength from parliament and the people who had voted it to power.
He pointed out that this was the first time that all the institutions of Pakistan spoke to the top US
official under one roof, adding that none of them was apologetic. He said the US was told that Pakistan would act on any actionable intelligence provided. He said the US was told that a military solution had failed in Afghanistan and now it was time to try a political solution. The foreign minister said no accusations were traded at the meeting; rather the US had made a request for cooperation and said that Pakistan had highlighted how the role of countries such as Iran, China and Russia was `absolutely indispensable` for peace in the region.
COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL NEWS – OCTOBER 2017
Economic corridor: China to undertake three $1bn projects
China is going to undertake three new infrastructure projects with estimated cost of $1 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Shahid Ashraf Tarar. “National Highway Authority launched projects worth Rs1,400 billion during the last three years, and it is contributing 1-1.5 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP),” claimed Tarar while briefing a select group of media persons about the progress on various highway and motorway projects currently under execution including the all important CPEC. He further said the NHA launched 13 motorway projects with a length of 1,800km where three projects have been completed while most of the remaining projects would be completed by end-2018, adding that projects worth Rs400 billion are undertaken under the CPEC framework, Rs373 billion on BoT basis, Rs500 billion on GoP and some others are on multilateral basis.
The chairman claimed that due to increased transparency in procurement process and increased competition through web based tendering, the NHA has saved Rs241 billion while Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) allocation for NHA has been increased from Rs62 billion in 2013-14 to Rs320 billion in 2017-18. In the annual audit report for year 2016-17, the auditor general acknowledged that management of NHA has carried out an independent review of cost-effective procurement of major projects undertaken by NHA during the period from 1st July 2013 to 31st December 2016. According to the report, the NHA entered into contract for 104 works for Rs761.90 billion against the bid price/engineer’s estimate of Rs978.29 billion, resulting into saving of Rs216.39 billion. In addition another saving of Rs134.889 billion was observed by undertaking certain important and imperative projects on BOT basis without any financing from or through government exchequer, said the chairman while quoting the AGP report. Tarar further said that NHA’ revenue increased by 42 percent, i.e. from Rs17.74 billion in 2013-14 to Rs25.18 in 2016-17. He further said the country is witnessing an unprecedented road development activity that will take the length of motorway network to around 2,400 kms in next two to three years. The chairman said the most important aspect of the development activity was its all inclusive nature where no province or part of the country felt to be ignored or left out. He said the record numbers of projects are under construction in Balochistan and other less-developed parts of the country, which has contributed tremendously in boosting the economic prospects of the people of those areas.
Hazara Motorway (59 kms) will be opened for traffic by the end of this year whereas 39 kms stretch from Havelian to Mansehra will be opened in April 2018. The distance from Islamabad to Mansehra will be reduced to just one-and-a-half hour, he said. Further, Lahore-Abdul Hakim Motorway (230 kms) will be completed and opened in March 2018 while two sections of Multan-Sukkur Motorway including Multan to Uch Sharif and Sukkur to Sadiqabad will also be completed by June 2018. The chairman NHA said the early development of western corridor was NHA’s top priorities and its Hakla-DI Khan section (285km) will be completed by the end of 2018, thus reducing the distance from Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan to less than three hours.
He said work on dualization of DI Khan-Zhob and (210 kms) and Khuzdar-Basima (110 kms) that were included in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the meeting of Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) held in Beijing in December 2016 would start soon.
These would cost around Rs81 billion and Rs20 billion respectively. The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved PC-1 for the projects in April 2017 and currently the process of land acquisition is in progress. He said that the CPEC’s Joint Working Group on Transport, in its meeting in September in Karachi, approved two more projects for Balochistan including the dualization of Zhob-Kuchlac (Western Corridor) and construction of Naukundi-Mashkel-Panjgur road for CPEC and recommended their financing. Zhob-Kuchlak (305 kms) would cost around Rs20 billion. Its detailed design is completed while the land acquisition is underway. Further, Naukundi-Panjgur (290 kms) road would cost around Rs20 billion. Pre-feasibility study of the project is complete while detailed design is in progress. It will connect national highway N-40 with CPEC route N-85 and shorten the route by 772 kms, thus saving almost 10 hours travel time. The chairman said that NHA had introduced the largest ever BOT (built-operate-transfer) regime during the last three years with the result that private sector for the first time invested more than Rs300 billion in highway projects.
GSP Plus termed success story
Convener of Treaty Imple-mentation Cell (TIC), Ashtar Ali Ausaf claimed Friday that the GSP Plus scheme has proven an economic success story for Pakistan with exports to the EU having increased by 38 percent since 2014. Talking to Business Recorder Friday, Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ali Ausaf further said that Pakistan’s exports to the EU now make up 33 percent of the country’s global exports with its textile exports having increased by 55 percent. Recently Ashtar Ali Ausaf, Federal Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik and others met with Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and the governments of the EU member Brussels, Belgium and Germany for continued support of EU member states for Pakistan’s GSP Plus status.
Prior to proceeding abroad, the convener TIC and federal commerce minister had deliberated upon legal aspects of continuation of GSP Plus status in the country to develop a comprehensive approach and prepare a mid-term review plan due in January 2018. It is worth mentioning that the EU reportedly has expressed reservations over use and frequency of the death penalty, however, Pakistan has affirmed during the meetings that the list of offences attracting capital punishment was under review, and that effective safeguard mechanisms have been instituted to prevent its misuse.
Ashtar Ali Ausaf claimed that the EU officials appreciated the strides made by the creation and operation of the TIC in fulfilling Pakistan’s international obligations, as well as the Commerce Ministry’s trade efforts in lowering sales tax on imported goods and facilitating import of beef from EU member states.
The EU officials also emphasized that Pakistan was amongst the most significant states to receive GSP Plus status - at a time when the biennial review approaches. The EU extended GSP Plus status to Pakistan in 2014, granting Pakistani products duty-free access to European markets whereby in return, Pakistan was to implement 27 core United Nations Conventions that it had previously ratified. Besides, the EU second biennial review of the scheme is imminent, with its review report due in January 2018.
In Brussels, the delegation met senior EU officials at the European Commission and European Parliament, including Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief Outside the EU, MEP Christofer Fjellner, Chair of the GSP Plus Review Committee, MEP Jean Lambert, Chair of the South Asia Delegation, MEP Peter Van Dalen, and Co-Chair of the Inter-Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The delegation also met Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Trade, and MEPs Sajjad Karim, Chair of the Pakistan Friendship Group, Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs EEAS, and Stavros Lambrindis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights. In Berlin, the delegation held meetings with German officials including Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
WB to give $425m for power sector
The government has decided to modernise the national power transmission to provide an immediate relief to the overall national transmission and despatch system, which is under stress due to inadequate transformation capacity, and to facilitate evacuation of electricity from new generation facilities and from the regional power trading. The modernization will begin with the first phase of the project, for which the government is seeking financing from the World Bank. The first phase will involve up-gradation and extensions to existing substations, modification to transmissions towers and lines, and the construction of new substation sites across the country.
The estimated total financing requirement of the project is $549.32 million, whereas the World Bank will provide financing of $425m, while the remaining amount of $124.32m will be covered by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), which will implement the project.
Three sub-projects have been tentatively identified; however, their exact location is not yet finalized. Other projects will be identified during the implementation stage of the project.
These include 22kV Punjab University Grid Station along with associated 4km transmission line located in Lahore; 220kV Zero-Point Grid Station in Islamabad; and 220kV Mastung Grid Station along with 220kV Sibi-M a stung-Quetta, Loralai double circuit transmission lines.
In Lahore, which is also the main hub of commercial and industrial activity, NTDC has planned construction of a new 220kV GIS Grid Stations at Punjab University to improve the reliability of NTDCnetwork and to provide relief to the 132kV Grid Stations in Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco). The land (10-acre) required for the construction of 220kV PU grid station is owned by the university. Islamabad, which have various sensitive installations and government offices, requires uninterrupted and reliable supply of power.NTDChas planned construction of a new 220kV Zero Point Gas Insulated grid station to improve the reliabilityof NTDCnetwork and to provide relief to 132kV Grid Stations in Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) area.
Furthermore, this would also provide a second source of supply to existing 220kV Islamabad University grid station. In Mastung district, due to long transmission lines and far-flung areas, the voltage profile position of Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) is poor. NTDC has planned a new 220kV Mastung Grid station to improve the power supply system including voltage profile, reliability and uninterrupted power supply to Qesco area.
Imports of oil, food, machinery surged to $21bn in July-March, 2017
The combined import bill of food, oil and machinery ballooned to a record $21.097 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, a 30 per cent increase over the last year, despite stable prices of oil and grains on the international market. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the share of the three groups edged up to 55 per cent in the total import bill during the period from 50pc a year ago.
Pakistan`s overall imports stood at $38.5bn in the nine-month period. Petroleum imports increased 27.5pc year-on-year to $7.75bn in the July-March period. In March, petroleum imports skyrocketed 92pc to $1.07bn. A breakdown shows that imports of petroleum products went up by 29pc to $4.85bn while those of petroleum crude were almost flat at $1.84bn in July-March.
The import bill of liquefied natural gas surged by144pcandthatof liquefied petroleum gas by 34pc. A steep increase in the import of petroleum products indicates that local refineries are not operating at full capacity. The second-biggest component in the import bill was of machinery imports which went up by 42pc to $8.82bn during the period under review from $6.21bn a year ago.
In March, machinery imports jumped 39pc year-on-year to $1.01bn. The growth was mainly driven by power generating machinery. Its import grew by 76.5pc year-on-year to $2.37bn, followed by electrical machinery and appliances whose imports rose by 25.7pc to $1.03bn and other machinery by 53pc to $2.54bn.
The import bill of office machinery went up by 60pc year-on-year, textile machinery by 20.8pe, construction machinery 66.8pc and agriculture machinery 35.8pc.However, the import bill of the telecom sector fell 1.7pc to $1.028bn. Mobile phone imports dropped, but imports of other apparatus went up by around 7pc during the period under review.
The third-biggest component was food commodities whose imports rose 15pc year-on-year to $4.53bn. The import bill of food items stood at $1.52bn, followed by $1.38bn of palm oil, $721.84m of pulses, $411.4 million of tea, $130m of dry fruit and nuts and $102m of spices. Imports of soya bean oil and milk products also grew during the period under review.
Current account deficit swelled 117pc in July-Sept, 2017
The current account deficit for July-September jumped 117.3 per cent year-on-year, reflecting the country`s rapidly growing trade imbalance. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Friday the current account deficit in the first quarter of 2017-18 rose to $3.55 billion compared to $1.63bn a year ago. This indicates the mounting pressure on the economy because of ever-increasing foreign payments.Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said recently that the country needs $18bn to meet foreign obligations during 2017-18. The government paid $8bn in debt servicing while the current account deficit amounted to $12.4bn in 2016-17. The deficit expansion in the first quarter looks more aggressive than last year. It was over $2bn in July, up three times yearon-year. However, it dropped to $550 million in August. But the deficit shot up again in September to $956m, pushing the quarterly figure to $3.55bn, up 2.1 timesfrom a year ago.
Profit outflows cross $1.3bn
KARACHI: There is a need to reassess the utility of foreign investment in Pakistan as the outflow of profits and dividends crossed the $1.3-billion mark by the end of the third quarter of 2016-17. Despite China`s leading role in the recent rise in foreign direct investment (FDI),inflows remained largely ineffective due to the rising outflow of profits and dividends.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Tuesday that profits and dividends repatriated from the country rose to $1.33bn in July - March. Higher repatriation of profits and dividends is usually recorded in the last quarter of the Fiscal year. This means the annual repatriation can reach $2bn by the end of June. Even if the repatriation of profits continues at the current pace, total reverse remittances will amount to about $1.8bn for the fiscal year. This should be a cause for concern for the government, which is trying to strike a balance between the trade deficit and remittances sent by overseas Pakistani workers. The external sector is in trouble because the trade deficit is at a record high while remittances declined year-on-year at the end of the third quarter of 2016-17. Policymakers received criticism for a ballooning current account deficit, which was over $6bn during the first nine months of 2016-17. This has left the government with little space to keep foreign exchange reserves above $20bn. Reserves have been falling since October 2016. According to the SBP report, the payment on FDI alone crossed $1bn during the nine months, which is slightly higher on a year-on-year basis.
There was no significant change in the payment on foreign portfolio, which remained around $260 million against $268m a year ago. The government expected that the repayment on FDI and foreign debt servicing would not see substantial change until2019. But the scenario has changed with the unexpectedly high trade deficit coupled with falling remittances. Experts believe the nine-month current account deficit has weakened the country`s position in the international bond market. It means the government will have to either pay a higher interest rate to raise dollars through bonds or borrow from international commercial banks. The highest amount, $191.3m, was repatriated through financial businesses during the nine-month period while the food sector sent abroad $161.3m. Investment in the food sector is on the rise as major food chains establish their businesses in major cities. Repatriations from oil and gas exploration, petroleum refining and chemical sectors were $102m, $92.9m and $87m, respectively.
Details show the trade gap was bigger than the country`s total exports during the first quarter.
Exports increased 11pc to $6.94bn while imports jumped 21.4pc to $15.39bn. The trade deficit for the first quarter was $8.44bn, which was $1.5bn higher than total exports of $6.9bn. This shows economic managers are struggling to bring down the trade gap and improve exports.
The government is providing exporters with incentives under the Prime Minister`s package of Rs180bn. It is also trying to assure critics that over 40pc of imports constitute machinery that will eventually help grow exports. The government recently imposed regulatory duties on the import of 36 new products and raised the existing rates on 240 items to cut the import bill.
Imports of eatable and luxury items on which the duty has been raised by up to 50pc witnessed a 40pc growth in the first three months of 2017-18. Foreign direct investment in the first quarter jumped 56pc while remittances increased just 1pc to $4.79bn.
Imports of oil, food, machinery surged to $21bn in July-March, 2017
The combined import bill of food, oil and machinery ballooned to a record $21.097 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, a 30 per cent increase over the last year, despite stable prices of oil and grains on the international market. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the share of the three groups edged up to 55 per cent in the total import bill during the period from 50pc a year ago. Pakistan`s overall imports stood at $38.5bn in thenine-month period. Petroleum imports increased 27.5pc year-on-year to $7.75bn in the July-March period. In March, petroleum imports skyrocketed 92pc to $1.07bn. A breakdown shows that imports of petroleum products went up by 29pc to $4.85bn while those of petroleum crude were almost flat at $1.84bn in July-March.
The import bill of liquefied natural gass urged by144pcandthatof liquefied petroleum gas by 34pc. A steep increase in the import of petroleum products indicates that local refineries are not operating at full capacity. The second-biggest component in the import bill was of machinery imports which went up by 42pc to $8.82bn during the period under review from $6.21bn a year ago. In March, machinery imports jumped 39pc year-on-year to $1.01bn. The growth was mainly driven by power generating machinery. Its import grew by 76.5pc year-on-year to $2.37bn, followed by electrical machinery and appliances whose imports rose by 25.7pc to $1.03bn and other machinery by 53pc to $2.54bn. The import bill of office machinery went up by 60pc year-on-year, textile machinery by 20.8pe, construction machinery 66.8pc and agriculture machinery 35.8pc.However, the import bill of the telecom sector fell 1.7pc to $1.028bn.
Mobile phone imports dropped, but imports of other apparatus went up by around 7pc during the period under review. The third-biggest component was food commodities whose imports rose 15pc year-on-year to $4.53bn. The import bill of food items stood at $1.52bn, followed by $1.38bn of palm oil, $721.84m of pulses, $411.4 million of tea, $130m of dry fruit and nuts and $102m of spices.
Imports of soya bean oil and milk products also grew during the period under review.
Sale of cars rises 22.3 percent in first quarter of 2017-18
Sale of cars in the country rose to 50,640 units during first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18 compared to sale of 41,405 units during same period of last year showing an increase of 22.3%
On year on year basis, sale of passenger cars witnessed an increase of 11 per cent as it rose to 15,639 units in September 2017 from 14,088 units in September 2016, a latest data issued by Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) revealed.
The break-up figures show that number of Toyota Corrola cars sold during first quarter (July-September) 2017-18, remained 12,765 units compared to 12,655 units during first quarter of preceding fiscal year.
Similarly, Honda Cars witnessed an increase of 30 per cent during the period under review as it increased from 8,059 units last year to 10,534 units in current year.
Sale of Suzuki Swift however witness a negligible decline during the corresponding period as during first quarter of 2016-17, 1,046 units were sold out while during same period of current fiscal year, the sale was recorded at 1,044 units.
Sale of Suzuki Cultus also witnessed an increase of 56 per cent to 5,181 units in July-September (2017-18) from 3,322 units in same period of previous year. Besides, Suzuki WagonR also witnessed a sharp increase as it rose to 5,789 units from 3,385 units in first three months of the year 2016-17.
Sale of Suzuki Mehran also increased from 8,248 units in July-September 2016-17 to 10,516 units in same period of current fiscal year while Suzuki Bolan witnessed a slight increase as it went up from 4,690 units in first three months of fiscal year 2016-17 to 4,811 units in first three months of current fiscal year.
Motorcycle production rises 34.81pc in two months
The motorcycles production in the country witnessed a sharp increase of 34.81 per cent during first two months (July-August) of the year 2017-18 as compared to same period of last year.
The motorbikes production jumped to 324,824 units in July- August (2017-18) from the production of 240,937 units in same period of last year, according to latest data released by Pakistan Automotive Manufacturing Association (PAMA). The breakup figures show that production of Honda motor bikes increased by 36.9 during the corresponding period as it went up from 136,890 units in July-August (2016-17) to 187,410 units in same period of current year.
Similarly, production of Yamaha, also witnessed an increase of 130% as it increased from 1334 units in first two months of fiscal year 2016-17 to 3,068 units this year. Suzuki manufactured 3,488 two-wheelers during the period under review while during same period of last year, 3,137 units were produced. Production of United Auto motorcycles also increased from 49,464 units to 66,574 units this year, thus showing an increase of 34.6 per cent during the corresponding year.
Road Prince motorcycles also increased its production during the period under review as its production went up from 34,325 units in first two months of fiscal year 2016-17 to 43,395 units in same period of current fiscal year thus showing an increase of 24.4%. In addition, production of Ravi motorcycles increased by 64% as 5,122 units were manufactured during the period under review while during same period of last year 3,106 motorcycles were manufactured.
The manufacturing of Hero bikes jumped from only 318 units in July-August (2016-17) to 1,923 units in same period of current year, thus showing a surge of 504 per cent.
Among three-wheelers, Sohrab manufactured 940 units during July-August (2017-18) as compared to the production of 1,002 units in same period of last year.
Likewise, Qinqqi three-wheelers also witnessed a decrease of 31 per cent as it declined to 3,418 units in first two months of 2017-18 from 4,995 units in same period of previous year.
Sazgar three-wheelers however, witness a slight increase of 3.25 per cent as its production went up from 3,717 units in July- August (2016-17) to 3,838 units this year.