Stocks begin new year in the green; KSE-100 index up 442 points at midday

Stocks began the new year in the green, with the benchmark KSE-100 index up 442 points, a 1.09 per cent increase, to reach 41,117 points at midday.

However, the market has since shed some of its gains as it continues its directionless trend from the previous day. At around 2pm on Wednesday, the benchmark index stood at 41,089 points – up 364 points from the start of the day.

Speaking to, Ali Asghar Poonawala, Deputy Head of Research at AKD Securities, said the gains can be attributed to personal and consumer goods, which alongside retail favourites were performing beyond expectations.

But Poonawala did point out that recently, on days when the market has risen, the gains are usually erased by day end as investors turn to profit-taking.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

“Retail favourites can only take the market so far,” he added.

He said the market’s positive performance doesn’t translate into a consistent upward trajectory because either “there is an improved risk appetite or a lot of retail participation that needs to translate into mutual funds and other institutions”.

Poonawala said the market was following the general trend observed on the first day of a new year.

The stock market had remained directionless on Tuesday, the last day of 2019, with the KSE-100 index closing 152.55 points (0.37 per cent) in the red at 40,735.08 after trading in a narrow band between the intraday high and low of 110 and 119 points.

Investor activity was low on Tuesday as the volume and value of shares traded stood down from the previous day. Among participants, banks sold stocks worth $2.96 million to book profit that would have a positive impact on their bottom lines for the quarter ended December 31. Foreign investors also sold shares of $2.51m as they rebalanced their portfolios for the upcoming year.


Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh sworn in as 49th chief justice of Lahore High Court

Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh was sworn in on Wednesday as the 49th chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Justice Sheikh, who will retire on March 18, 2020, succeeds Justice Sardar Mohammad Shamim Ahmed Khan, who completed his tenure after a year at the helm on December 31, 2019.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar administered oath to Justice Sheikh on Wednesday at a ceremony held at Governor House, Lahore.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, Punjab Inspector General of Police Shoaib Dastgir, LHC judges, provincial ministers, provincial and federal law officers, as well as LHC officers attended the oath-taking ceremony.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Additionally, members of the Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council and Lahore Bar Association also attended the ceremony.

After being sworn in, Justice Sheikh arrived at the LHC where he received a warm welcome including a salute from the police squad.

PSL 2020 set to begin on February 20

The schedule for the much anticipated fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League was released by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday, with the series set to take off on February 20.

According to the schedule, the series will run from February 20 to March 22, with all the matches being played on the home ground. A total of 34 matches will be played across 4 venues.

On the occasion of the schedule’s release, a countdown clock was placed by the PCB at the entrance to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where two eliminator rounds as well as the final will be held.

The first match will be held at the National Stadium in Karachi which will feature defending champions Quetta Gladiators and two-time champions Islamabad United. The stadium will also feature the series’ sole qualifier match.

Of the total 34 matches, 14 will take place in Lahore, nine in Karachi, eight in Rawalpindi and three in Multan.

The defending champions will play four of their scheduled fixtures in Karachi, three in Lahore, two in Rawalpindi and one in Multan.

Islamabad United will play three matches in Lahore, two in Karachi and five in Rawalpindi; Karachi Kings will play two matches in Lahore, five in Karachi, one in Multan and two in Rawalpindi; Multan Sultans will play five matches in Lahore, one in Karachi, three in Multan and one in Rawalpindi; and Lahore Qalandars will play eight matches in Lahore and one each in Karachi and Rawalpindi.

Ticket sales will begin on January 20.

The PSL 2020 schedule. — PCB
The PSL 2020 schedule. — PCB

‘Long-awaited opportunity’

Following the release of the schedule, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “After bringing Test cricket back to Pakistan, hosting of the entire HBL Pakistan Super League is our other major achievement. I never had any doubts it was Pakistan’s league and should be played in front of home crowds. We had made this commitment to the people of Pakistan at the end of last year’s event and I am pleased today we have announced the event schedule with four centres to share the 34 event matches between them.”

Mani said that a total of 425 overseas players from 22 countries had registered for the series and that the tournament will feature 36 foreign stars.

Of these, 39 are from Afghanistan, 12 from Australia, 23 from Bangladesh, 10 from Canada, 109 from England, seven from Hong Kong, six from Ireland, seven from the Netherlands, eight from Nepal, 11 from New Zealand, nine from Oman, five from Scotland, four from Singapore, 27 from South Africa, 39 from Sri Lanka, nine from the UAE, six from the USA, 82 from the West Indies, 9 from Zimbabwe and one each from Bermuda, Kenya and Namibia.

“This shows the confidence that players throughout the world have in playing in Pakistan.

“Through this event, we expect the economy and tourism to get a significant boost, which will have a direct impact on the overall health of the country,” said the PCB chairman.

He said that the event will be a “long-awaited opportunity” for fans to see their “cricketing heroes live in action and reinforce their love for this great game”.

“I am expecting like last year, the entire country will get behind this tournament and by turning up in big numbers, they will once again show the world their passion for cricket.”

Rules change may end deadlock on ECP slots

ISLAMABAD: The stalemate on the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is set to end with a possible amendment to rules of the panel concerned which currently requires a two-thirds majority for confirmation of nominees for the positions.

“The rules made by the Parliamentary Committee which was constituted in 2011 are not binding on the existing Parliamentary Committee,” observed Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah while hearing the petitions filed against the appointment of two ECP members.

The adviser to the National Assembly on Tuesday informed the IHC that due to some procedural issues in the rules of the parliamentary committee it could not develop consensus on the names for the top ECP slots. Subsequently, the court observed that the committee might frame rules afresh to resolve the issue.

At present the ECP is virtually dormant as the posts of the CEC and two ECP members are vacant.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Rules made in 2011 are not binding on existing parliamentary committee, observes IHC chief justice

On Aug 22, President Dr Arif Alvi appointed Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Balochistan against the two ECP positions which fell vacant after terms of Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and retired Justice Shakeel Baloch from the respective provinces were completed.

The ECP in its written reply stated that President Alvi made these appointments “in violation of clauses 2A and 2B of Article 213 of the Constitution”.

The IHC on Nov 4 suspended the appointments and referred the matter to the parliament. However, the parliamentary committee could not finalise the candidates for the vacant slots.

In the meantime on Dec 5, the post of the CEC also fell vacant after the retirement of retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza.

National Assembly’s secretary Tahir Hussain and adviser Abdul Latif Yousafzai on Tuesday appeared before the IHC chief justice. They stated that the last meeting of the parliamentary committee could not be held because some of its members were not able to attend it due to inclement weather.

However, they stated that considerable progress had been made and some more time was required by the committee to finalise the recommendations.

Mr Yousafzai drew the attention of the court to rules made by the parliamentary committee which was constituted in 2011.

Plain reading

He stated that the said rules were hampering the proceedings of the existing parliamentary committee. With the assistance of the learned adviser and the learned counsel for the petitioners, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007 and the rules made in 2011 have been carefully perused. A plain reading of the Rules of 2007 unambiguously shows that a parliamentary committee constituted under Article 213(2B) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with rule 244(C) of the Rules of 2007 has the freedom to make rules for regulating its procedure under rule 244(C)(5) ibid. The rules of 2011 were made by the then constituted parliamentary committee.

The existing parliamentary

The committee, therefore, is at liberty to make separate rules for regulating its procedure. It is obvious from the cumulative reading of the above provisions that the rules made by the Parliamentary Committee which was constituted in 2011 are not binding on the existing Parliamentary Committee. It is the latter which may make rules to regulate its procedure independent of the rules made by the Committees which were constituted earlier.

The learned counsels for the petitioners have affirmed that the existing Parliamentary Committee is at liberty to make rules to regulate its procedure.

It may be mentioned that parliamentary committee in a meeting scheduled for Dec 24 had planned to amend the committee’s rules. However, the plan reportedly dropped as Section 10 of the rules reads: “The committee shall have power to amend any of the provisions of these rules with two third majority of the total membership of the committee.”

IHC Chief Justice Minallah noted that “the spirit of the constitutional provisions contemplates that recommendations would be made through consensus. This is an onerous duty of the leaders of the House and the Opposition. Nonetheless, if it is not possible to make recommendations through consensus, then the Members of the Parliamentary Committee are expected to achieve the object described in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 by adopting democratic procedures and principles.”

The court adjourned further hearing in this matter till Jan 15.

UAE Crown Prince to visit Pakistan tomorrow ‘to further strengthen bonds of friendship’

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow (Thursday) for a day-long visit “to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two brotherly countries”, according to a statement by the UAE Ambassador in Islamabad.

During the visit, the crown prince will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan “to discuss the ways to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries”, said the statement.

In addition, views on “matters of mutual interest and the regional and global situation” will also be discussed.

The UAE crown prince had last visited Pakistan on January 6 in 2019, just weeks after his country offered $3 billion to support Pakistan’s battered economy.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

The UAE crown prince’s visit, which is part of growing exchanges between Pakistan and Arab countries, will take place less than a week after Emirati Minister for Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Maba­rak Al-Nahyan met the premier and President Arif Alvi to discuss possibilities of expanding bilateral ties.

Prior to that, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud had toured Islamabad and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan had also visited Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran had visited Saudi Arabia, while Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa had travelled to Abu Dhabi on December 14.

The prime minister held consultations with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman covering bilateral matters and regional developments. Gen Bajwa had meanwhile called on the Abu Dhabi crown prince. The two discussed “regional security environment and matters of mutual interest”.

The premier’s visit to Riyadh had followed a trip to Bahrain where he was awarded the country’s highest civilian honour.

Pakistan avoids KL Summit

The multiple visits between representatives of UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan come in the backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur summit in Malaysia, which was held to discuss the problems faced by the Muslim Ummah.

Pakistan was one of the first countries with whom Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir had shared his plans for holding the summit when he met Prime Minister Imran along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September.

The premier had formally conveyed his acceptance of the invitation to the summit when Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia Marzuki Bin Haji Yahya called on him in Islamabad on November 29.

However, after his visit to Saudi Arabia — which was seen as a way to reassure the kingdom that ties between both countries remain firm despite Islamabad’s engagement with other Muslim countries — the premier decided to stay away from the summit. The decision was attributed by Erdogan to Saudi Arabia’s threats to Pakistan of economic sanctions.

According to Daily Sabah, Erdogan had said that it was not the first time that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had put pressure on a country for doing or not doing certain things.

Following Erdogan’s statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the KL summit was a sincere effort by the Malaysian premier to pool energies and strength of Muslim countries, but “some friends” apprehended the initiative might divide the Ummah and establish a forum parallel to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Qureshi said Pakistan was still making efforts to end the misunderstandings and “we are grateful to the leadership of Malaysia and Turkey who not only heard our point of view but also understood it”.