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Pakistani stocks down over political uncertainty fears

June 20, 2012


The Karachi Stock Exchange.—Reuters Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s main stock market ended down in thin volume on Wednesday, with investors concerned about political uncertainty after the country’s top court this week disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister of Pakistan, analysts said.

The court said on Tuesday that Gilani was disqualified after being convicted of contempt for refusing to re-open old corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The Karachi Stock Exchange benchmark 100-share index ended 0.12 per cent, or 15.81 points, lower at 13,667.18 points on volume of 37.2 million shares.

“The market remained under pressure today because of the disqualification of the prime minister yesterday. Investors stayed on the sidelines because of the ongoing political uncertainty,” said Atif Zafar, a research analyst at the JS Global financial services company.

While Gilani’s disqualification is a blow to his Pakistan People’s Party, it is unlikely to lead to a fall of the ruling coalition as they have the votes in parliament to elect a new prime minister.

A session of Pakistan’s National Assembly has been scheduled for June 22, where the election of a new prime minister is expected.

In the currency market, the Pakistani rupee weakened to close at 94.21/26 to the dollar, compared to 93.88/94 on Tuesday.

Overnight rates in the money market closed unchanged at 11.90 per cent.