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Twirp : Terrorist Wahabi Islamic Republic Pakistan 3

<b>Thy name is sovereign-i-ty!</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Okay, that's fine; but at least learn how to say the word! From president and prime minister down to every blatherskite (TV anchors included) continue to mispronounce "sovereignty" that has lately latched on to their tongues and is sticking like glue to paper? Speechifying and preachy men and women have suddenly discovered that their sovereignty is under threat! <b>Never mind if their country is going south as Americans call going bankrupt; never mind if Zardari goes a-begging to New York with a kashkol and is promised donations,</b> but we don't know how much from "Friends of Pakistan" (our London-based envoy Wajid Shamsul Hassan is being credited for this beggarly brainwave); and never mind if the country itself has suicide bombers on the loose, waiting to kill.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Friends of Pakistan</b>

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There have been positive vibes emanating from the meeting of the "Friends of Pakistan" on Friday in New York with promises to assist Pakistan economically. This is good news.

However, at the expense of sounding like I am taking away the punch bowl, financing without economic adjustment would be a folly. <b>No matter the amount, and there is talk of around $10 billion, with our macroeconomic imbalances as large as they are, the inflow of money will simply disappear into the void.</b> Our foreign exchange reserves will stabilize as the money comes in and then start to deplete. After a brief respite, we will be in trouble again. What would we have gained under this scenario except time?

The Pakistan economy needs to adjust. The fiscal imbalance needs to be cut; the external balance needs to be reduced. They will not magically self-correct.

I fear we are, once again, facing a huge 'moral hazard' problem. Without insisting tough measures, while putting pressure on the IMF and the World Bank to go easy on us, the "Friends of Pakistan" are rewarding Pakistan for its deeply flawed economic policies.

<b>Dr Meekal Aziz Ahmed

Virginia, US</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Mango export falls by 20pc</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->ISLAMABAD, Sept 29 : <b>Mango export witnessed more than 20 per cent decline this year than last year as Pakistan received the lowest per kg rate for its mango in the international market <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>due to poor quality.</span></b>

Sources in the Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) told Dawn on Monday that by the end of August, the country had exported 79,000 tons of mango, 36,000 tons less than 115,000 tons exported till the end of August 2007.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Security red alert declared all over Pakistan</span></b>[/center]

<b>Pakistani police officers check vehicles after a security alert in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday, June 6, 2008.</b>

<b>ISLAMABAD, Sept 30 : The government on Tuesday declared security red alert in the entire country and barred concerned authorities from organising Eid prayers in open places. Interior Ministry has issued a circular which was addressed to all concerned authorities that there should be no Eid prayer in open places, a source in the ministry told Dawn. The source said the circular that barred holding of religious congregation in open areas had been sent to all provincial and district governments.

"The decision to discourage holding of Eid prayer in open places has been made in view of security concerns and in the back drop of increasing suicide attacks,” the source said. It is pertinent to mention here that a similar decision has been made two years ago by the last government but people did not follow it as mostly Eid prayers are offered in Eidgahs which are also open.

The interior ministry was of the view that it would be quite difficult for the police and other security forces to provide security to worshipers during Eid prayers. The ministry believes that open places where Eid prayers are offered are vulnerable to suicide attacks. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>The source said that the government has received threats of suicide bombing in major cities of the country including Islamabad therefore red alert has been declared in the whole country. Other major cities under threat are : Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar.</span></b>

The government had decided to deploy Rangers in Islamabad and their deployment will be completed by Tuesday late night. In other major cities the Rangers will remain standby to assist political administrations and police.

The interior ministry also urged the authorities concerned to seek assistance of private security agencies for maintaining pace and ensure safety of the people on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr.

“Yes, it is a part of the security code that we have to acquire the assistance private security guards because under this code the security guards, whether hired by us or mosque administrations, would be responsible for internal security of the mosques and worship places and police remains outside the mosque for outer security,” a senior security official said.
The official said security had also been beefed up around all mosques ad Imamargahs to avert any attempt of terrorism.

In Islamabad police commandos equipped with sophisticated weapons and wireless sets have been deployed at all sensitive places. In commercial places they security personnel have been deployed in plain clothes with sniffer dogs to avert criminal and terrorism activities.

The official said security has been tightened in the vicinity of all mosques, Imambargahs, VIP route, airport, exit points and entrance, bus stands and other public places.

“We have obtained records of all hotels and guest houses located in the federal capital and thoroughly investigating the record and details of those who have been residing in these places for over a month.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Pak Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud dies: report</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pakistan Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, the alleged mastermind in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto died on Wednesday after protracted illness, a media report said in Islamabad today.

<b>The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban chief, who was believed to be suffering from diabetes and hypertension passed away,</b> Dawn News said quoting official sources.

There was no word on the reported development from the numerous spokespersons of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Oct 1 2008, 08:18 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Oct 1 2008, 08:18 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Pak Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud dies : report</b>

<i>First Published: 10:07 IST(1/10/2008)
Last Updated: 12:33 IST(1/10/2008)</i>


<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

It ain’t over till the Fat Lady sings!

<b>Baitullah Mehsud ill, efforts for ascendancy on</b>

<i>Updated at: 1830 PST (12:30 GMT - 18:00 IST), Wednesday, October 01, 2008</i>

[center]<img src='http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates_pics/10-1-2008_56776_l.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<b>BAITULLAH MEHSUD</b>[/center]

<b>PESHAWAR : Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman said that Baitullah Mehsud a diabetic is seriously ill.</b>

On the other hand, security official said that efforts were afoot for finding out a replacement, as Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Chief, Baitullah Mehsud a chronic diabetic being critically ill gone into coma.

Former government and the US Intelligence Agency had blamed Baitullah Mehsud for his being involved in the murder of former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, but he himself had refuted this allegation. One senior official on the condition of anonymity told that Baitullah Mehsud’s condition was critical and his father-in-law told that Mehsud was in coma, while Taliban commander, Rahim Burki said, “ He is a diabetic under treatment and he soon will be alright.” Another Taliban commander said that Mehsud needed sustained treatment and attendance by medical consultants twice/thrice in a week, as he was very weak.

Security official said that efforts were afoot for the replacement of Baitullah Mehsud and a prominent commander of Taliban, Qari Hussain, who calls himself former Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al Zarqavi, was leading the queue of those trying to replace him, in case of Baitullah Mehsud’s death.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Yesterday in Gretawire, Zardari said, BB went to US embassy and directly talk to Pres. Bush 41 from secure phone line and asked him whether US are supporting or had knowledge that Osama had given money to topple her government. Pres. Bush said who is Osama.
<b>After Baitullah, what</b>? - B.Raman (another view)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the meanwhile, rumours about his death have raised the question as to what will be the effect of his death, if it comes about, on the conventional as well as unconventional  operations of the TTP. In fact, two days ago, there were rumours of his death, but these were refuted by his spokesmen. The role of Baitullah has been similar to that of bin Laden in respect of Al Qaeda's global operations----inspiration, motivation and guidance, where necessary, and not day-to-day control. The various Taliban groups enjoy and have exhibited considerable autonomy of operation. It is, therefore, assessed that Baitullah's death will not have a major adverse effect on the operations of Al Qaeda and the various Taliban and Uzbek groups in the tribal belt.  One of his deputies may take over as the new Amir of the TTP<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Troops kill 25 Taliban in Bajaur </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->KHAR: Troops backed by artillery killed 25 Taliban militants in the latest clashes in the troubled tribal district of Bajaur on the Afghan border, officials said Thursday.
Gunbattles erupted overnight and continued until late Thursday after militants attacked security checkposts in four villages in the restive region, a security official told AFP.
'There were fierce clashes and we have reports of 25 militants being killed' in the villages of Rashakai, Tang Khata, Bai Cheena and Khazana, the official said on condition of anonymity.
<b>There was no way to independently verify the toll</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

If India Army does this in J&K, whole world will attack India, Chatterjies, Roys, Bidwais of world will start calling UN for investigation. Now why human loving fundoos are not calling Human RIghts or UN etc for ethinc cleansing in Pakistan.
<b>UK, UN withdraw diplomats' children from Pakistan </b>
Flirting with Palin earns Pakistani president a fatwa
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Though the fatwa, issued days after the Sept. 24 exchange, carries little weight among most Pakistanis, it's indicative of the anger felt by Pakistan's increasingly assertive conservatives who consider physical contact and flattery between a man and woman who aren't married to each other distasteful. Though fatwas, or religious edicts, can range from advice on daily life to death sentences, this one does not call for any action or violence.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"It was a sweet and innocuous exchange played as an international incident on Pakistani and rascally Indian front-pages with one English daily [writing] it in a scarlet box, half-implying Mrs. Palin would ditch Alaska's First Dude and become Pakistan's First Babe. As if," wrote columnist Fasih Ahmed in the Daily Times.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

From : Jane’s Defence Weekly. Hard Copy supplement so no URL

<b><span style='color:red'>Army faces major equipment shortfall, claims senior Pakistani official</span></b>

Farhan Bokhari JDW Correspondent - Islamabad

<b>Only around USD500 million of the funds given to Pakistan by the United States have been spent on hardware for the army, a senior Pakistani security official has claimed, even though Washington has poured up to USD10 billion in military aid into the country since 2003.

The official, speaking at a briefing in Islamabad on 29 September, said that Pakistan's frontline field commanders deployed along the border with Afghanistan were still using Korean War-era binoculars, citing this as just one example of the poor equipment used by troops fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.</b>

Explaining details of the payments made to Pakistan, the security official, who asked not to be named, said the US had actually made payments of about USD6.5 billion for Islamabad's war effort rather than the USD10 billion figure commonly quoted.

However, this included payments for items such as building roads to Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the Pakistani military deployed for the first time ever in 2003.

<b>Western defence analysts in Islamabad said the revelation, if true, raised serious questions - also being asked in Washington - about the ways in which US funding was being spent and whether the Pakistani military was being properly equipped to deal with the challenge that
it faced.</b>

"The bottom line must be if the individual soldiers gained from the hardware they got and if the resources were of direct benefit to their operational engagements," said one Western defence official, who spoke to Jane's on condition of anonymity. "It was necessary to make roads and do a whole lot of things, but if individual soldiers and individual units are still in need, then there must have been a gap in the way the US equipped the Pakistani military for the actual job."

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence</b>

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Both sides against the middle</span></b>[/center]

<b>Getting Pakistan’s spies to stop dabbling in jihad</b>

<b>THE Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), Pakistan’s notorious military spooks, deserve credit for the audacity of their covert support for the Taliban, the enemy of Pakistan’s greatest ally. But America’s patience with the ISI’s double-dealing in Afghanistan is running thin. Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, has given assurance that he will tame the ISI. But a civilian with a dodgy past will find it hard to tackle what Pakistanis call Invisible Soldiers Inc.</b>

In July the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, tried to bring the ISI under the control of the interior ministry. His decision was reversed within hours. But the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who has said the ISI is trying to purge itself of pro-Taliban elements, has appointed a new ISI chief, General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, to replace a loyalist of the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf. The appointment, part of a broader top-brass shuffle, consolidates General Kayani’s grip on the army. General Pasha has supported his chief’s efforts to withdraw the army from politics and to fight militants on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The ISI helped round up hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters after September 11th 2001. It has been the target of terrorist attacks and has picked up senior Taliban commanders at NATO’s behest. But it has never kicked the old habit of using the Taliban and other jihadist militants to keep alive Pakistani ambitions in Afghanistan and Indian-controlled Kashmir.

<b>American officials believe that the ISI’s agents tip off militants ahead of missile strikes. They claim it was involved in the bombing in July of the Indian embassy in Kabul; and that it supports Soviet-era veterans such as Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is believed to have close ties to al-Qaeda. Asked about demands for the ISI to be reformed, Mr Zardari replied : “We don’t hunt with the hound and run with the hare, which is what Musharraf was doing.” The trouble is, he is not the master of the hunt.</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Al-Dustur, Jordan
Last Stop:
Will Pakistan Test America?
By Rakan Al Majali</b>

Translated By Siko Bouterse

25 September 2008
Jordan - Al-Dustur - Original Article (Arabic)

In 1971, American forces struck Cambodia. Continuous bombing and military exercises had been carried out in the period prior to this assault, on account of Vietcong provocation of America in skirmishes and activities underway on Cambodian soil. After this, as is well known, Cambodia entered into a spiral of violence, fighting, destruction etc, and then the insurgents began to defeat America in Vietnam.

The current situation resembles this, with the only difference being that the Pakistan situation is even more complex. The war on Pakistan that is erupting in the tribal regions, under the auspices of thwarting attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, does not necessarily mean that these attacks will indeed be thwarted, or that involvement will decrease, or that those who are targeted will leave. But it might mean a resounding defeat for America, the largest of the large since its defeat in Vietnam. Because of this, there appears to be a definitive defeat in store for America’s hegemonic plans in the region and in the world.

Just as Cambodia tested America, so too will Pakistan come to test her. As we all remember, America asked Pakistan to lead the charge and start its defensive war by attacking Afghanistan. At first, Pakistan was not satisfied with the justifications for an attack on Afghanistan, and asked the United States to furnish tangible proof of Al-Qaeda’s involvement in and the Taliban’s backing of the events of September 11, 2001. But under pressure, Pakistan cracked. America got its war with Afghanistan and was permitted to occupy it while Pakistan shut its eyes. It is no secret that the Pakistani army was and continues to be connected to the Taliban. In the 1970’s, the Taliban formed an alliance with the Pakistani secret service and America’s Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Soviets were driven off by Taliban fighters with support from America, the West, Pakistan, and the Islamists. Taliban madrasas in Pakistan spread by the thousands, and American attacks have correspondingly created increased Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

Attempts to increase American and NATO forces inside Afghanistan will inevitably lead to an increase in confrontations, but it will not keep the Taliban from taking hold of all of Afghanistan, especially since Kabul is besieged today and the Taliban now occupies 54 percent of Afghanistan and will have an opportunity to increase that hold this winter. Increasing forces and penetration into Afghanistan’s interior is not enough to eliminate the Taliban’s occupation. Suffice it to say that unless America can deepen its occupation of the Pakistani tribal regions or occupation of other parts of Pakistan, widespread military action against Pakistani tribal regions will bring about nothing of import but violence – the kind of savage slaughter, annihilation and destruction that America typically pursues – and an increase in opposition and extremism for which America will pay a high price. And no one can profit from this, especially not America itself.


<b>Death toll in Bhakkar suicide blast mounts to 17</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->BHAKKAR: <b>Seventeen people were killed and over 40 others injured</b> in a suicide blast that ripped through the dera of MNA Rasheed Akbar Khan Nawani in Bhakkar on Monday<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>THIRTY</span></b>[/center]

<!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Pak-India relations | A new beginning</b>

Tayyab Siddiqui

The prime example of trust deficit that defines the chasm between the nation and its rulers, besides Pakistan’s war against terror, is the policy of normalisation of relations with India. The PPP-led government has broadly followed the policies on both issues enunciated by the military regime. There is consequently a deep feeling of disappointment among those who legitimately expected that the verdict given by the February 18 elections would be recognised and honoured. The vote was not given to change faces but to have leaders who will display courage and conviction, reject the senile policies of Musharraf and company and will no longer compromise on national dignity and honour. Alas the trust has been betrayed.

President Zardari’s meeting with the Indian Premier Manmohan Singh in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA last week led to their joint statement. The statement referred to a “shared vision” of the two leaders of profound normalisations of relations. In this context the two leaders agreed to:

The Foreign Secretaries of both countries will schedule meetings of the 5th round of ‘Composite Dialogue’ in the next three months which will focus on deliverable and comprehensive achievements.

The ceasefire should be stabilised to this end, DGMOs and sector commanders will stay in regular contacts. A special meeting of the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism will be held in October 2008 to address mutual concerns including the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

The expansion of people-to-people contact, trade, commerce and economic cooperation provides an effective platform to develop and strengthen bilateral relations. Towards this end, it was decided to:

Open the Wagah-Attari road link to all permissible items of trade.

Open the Khokrapar-Munnabao rail routes to all permissible items of trade.

Continue interaction between the planning commission of both the countries to develop mutually beneficial cooperation including the energy sector.

Commence cross LoC trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot roads on October 21, 2008. Modalities for the opening of the Skardu-Kargil route will be discussed soon.

No sane person can take exception to any of the measures listed above. It must, however, be recognised that such noble expressions of peace prosperity and security have been the staple of all such joint statements but in practice there has been no change of heart and before the ink is dry on these statements that hostile acts and allegations follow to impede the process.

Despite its protestations to the contrary, India misses no opportunity to belittle and denigrate Pakistan. It has now become routine that any bomb blast or terrorist attack in India and without any evidence or proof, Pakistan is accused of supporting these heinous acts. Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony on September 15 accused Pakistan of being behind the bomb attacks in New Delhi which killed 20 people. The extremists attack on the Indian diplomatic mission in Kabul was also blamed on Pakistan and senior officials and ministers in Delhi directly pointed the finger at the ISI. Finance Minister Chidarnbaram echoed similar feelings; “Pakistan is implacably opposed to India. While Kashmir appears to be the central issue of contention, Pakistan has taken its hostility beyond Kashmir and supports terrorist activities and communal conflagration in other parts of India.” Such incendiary and irresponsible statements emanating from Ministers reveal the mindset of Indian policy-makers.

While India keeps repeating that “a peaceful, prosperous and strong” Pakistan is also in India’s “interest” the actions belie the statements.

The recent most Indian action denying water from Chenab River in violation of the Indus Basin Treaty which has caused serious damage to Pakistan’s crops reflects the huge trust deficit that divides India and Pakistan.

The reports that bilateral meeting between two leaders Manmohan Singh and Zardari was held in friendly atmosphere are hardly of any consequence unless supported by action on the ground. Musharraf extended invitation to Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan in 2006 and has since been repeated. But Manmohan Singh has not reciprocated, despite the fact that the President of Pakistan has paid two official visits to India. The fact that the peace process initiated in 2004 has made no progress on any of the contentious issues is a direct outcome of this lack of political will and Indian imperial mentality that it will determine the course of dialogue as per its priority.

The joint statement has exposed President Zardari’s lack of diplomatic experience and finesse as also his lack of trust in his own advisors and a disregard for the foreign office. His reassurances that “Pakistan stands by its commitments of January 6, 2004” was totally uncalled for as it was a unilateral commitment not to allow Pakistan’s territory for any terrorist acts. The obligation ought to be mutual. Similarly, inclusion of the bomb blast of the Indian Embassy in Kabul had no relevance to bilateral relations. The inclusion of the phrases has indirectly put the onus on Pakistan to prove its non-involvement in the Kabul blasts.

To have agreed to hold a special meeting of a joint anti-terror mechanism in October 2008 to address mutual concerns including the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Pakistan has implicitly accepted the Indian charges of the ISI masterminding the attacks. Zardari having received massive mandate betrays a streak of over-confidence and pronounces decisions and policies of the government in his wisdom and discretion. Such behaviour is not in consonance with the spirit of democratic norms. The tendency needs to be curbed particularly in relations with India, which need extremely cautious handling and inputs from professionals in the foreign office.

President Zardari in an interview to the Wall Street Journal stated that “India has never been a threat to Pakistan.” He would be well advised to the read the history of the subcontinent again and revisit the 65 and 71 wars for the correct perspective.

The writer is a former ambassador
Goggle Cache on:

TSP close to bankruptcy

While India celebrates Dassera, TSP celebrates Diwala!
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Oct 7 2008, 12:59 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Oct 7 2008, 12:59 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Goggle Cache on:

TSP close to bankruptcy

While India celebrates Dassera, TSP celebrates Diwala!
Don't celebrate, US along with Europe, Australia and Arabs are planning to set up consortium to bail out Pakistan. Zardari over stayed in US to close deal.
World is not ready to see failed fundoo state. I think they will provide them liveline.

<b>S&P downgrades Pakistan further into junk territory</b>

<b>HONG KONG : Standard & Poor’s cut Pakistan’s sovereign rating further into junk territory, saying the country’s worsening external liquidity may imperil its ability to meet about $3 billion in upcoming debt obligations, FReuters reported.</b>

The widely expected action comes after Pakistan said on Saturday its foreign reserves fell $690 million to $8.1 billion in the week ended Sept. 27, an announcement that helped send the Pakistani rupee to a record low against the dollar on Monday.

The country’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan, said its reserves fell to $4.7 billion from $5.4 billion previously, representing a little over two months of import cover.

S&P’s downgrade of Pakistan was its second this year, as the country faces the prospect it will default on its debt due to dwindling foreign currency reserves.

Foreign investor confidence in the country has also been dented amid worries urgently-needed economic reforms will be delayed in a year plagued by political and security concerns.
S&P’s action on Monday S&P lowered its foreign currency debt rating on the country to CCC-plus from B, just several notches above a level that would indicate default. Pakistan’s local currency debt rating was lowered to B-minus from BB-minus.

The ratings agency noted Pakistan will require external assistance in meeting its debt obligations — which includes $500 million in dollar bonds maturing in February — but expressed concern about whether it could count on the help in time.

S&P also noted the uncertain political situation and social tension cast doubt about whether the government would have the ability to adopt the appropriate policy measures.

“The rating on Pakistan could be lowered further if the foreign exchange reserve cushion continues to shrink and meaningful economic stabilization measures remain wanting,” S&P warned in its statement.

Rival credit agency Moody’s Investors Service last month cut its outlook on Pakistan’s debt to negative from stable, citing similar reasons, though it maintained its ratings at B2.

The cost of protection against a default in Pakistan’s sovereign debt trades at 1,800 basis points, according to its five year credit default swap, a level that indicates investors believe the country is already in or will soon be in default.

An investor would thus need to pay $1.8 million annually to insure against $10 million of Pakistan’s sovereign debt.


Pakistan is in fast need of cash. According to S&P’s estimates, the country’s $4.7 billion in net foreign reserves at the central bank marked a 67 percent plunge from a year ago.
Its current account deficit is also running well ahead of target, reaching $2.5 billion in July and August.

That means that in just the first two months of the new fiscal 2009 year, Pakistan’s shortfall reached 1.6 percent of gross domestic product, or more than a quarter of the government’s full-year target of 6 percent of GDP.

Though the Asian Development Bank said last week it approved a $500 million loan to help Pakistan, the country will need far more money than that according to analysts.

A senior adviser to the government said last month the country would need $7 billion in total to cover its projected current account deficit of $14 billion for the fiscal year, of which it needed $3 to $4 billion upfront.

According to a Citigroup report last week, Pakistan is losing about $1 billion of its foreign exchange reserves a month, at a time when the prospects of raising money whether through asset sales or international bonds have become very difficult in the midst of a global financial crisis.

“At this juncture, Pakistan does not appear to have the financial sources to service its near-term amortizations, including the $500 million maturing Eurobond in February,” the analysts said in the report.

Pakistan is also facing political turmoil which includes domestic security concerns and a growing militant threat in border regions with Afghanistan.

The country’s financial markets have taken a beating as a result of the uncertainty, with the benchmark Karachi Stock Index down 35 percent for the year as of last week.

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