United Arab Emirates take over port of Karachi

Pakistan has formed a negotiating committee to finalize a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to hand over the port terminals in Karachi.

The move could be the first interstate transaction under an emergency fundraising bill enacted last year, The Express Tribune reported.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Interstate Trade Transactions.

According to the resolution, the Cabinet Committee decided to set up a committee to negotiate a trade deal between the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and the UAE government.

The Negotiating Committee was also permitted to finalize a draft Operation, Maintenance, Investment and Development Agreement under the Intergovernmental Arrangements with a UAE Designated Authority for the handover of the port terminals in Karachi.

The negotiating committee set up to draft a framework agreement will be chaired by Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal SazBari.

Committee members include Additional Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Jehanzeb Khan, Chairman of Karachi Port Terminal (KPT) and Executive Directors of KPT.

Pakistan is seeking an agreement to hand over the terminals to Abu Dhabi Ports (ADP), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports Group.

The UAE government last year expressed interest in acquiring the port terminals in Karachi, which were under the administrative control of Pakistan International Containers Terminals (PICT).

Abu Dhabi Ports, part of AD Ports Group, owns or operates 10 ports and terminals in the UAE.

Last year, the coalition government enacted the Interstate Trade Transactions Act, which aims to sell state assets quickly to raise funds.

The country is in dire need of extra cash after its deal with the International Monetary Fund expired.

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