The Ashgabat branch of NBP (National Bank of Pakistan) has announced that it is starting the procedure for voluntary liquidation.
It is an administrative decision taken by the board of directors of the bank but certain websites have tried to convey the impression that Pakistan may have lost interest in TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project.
Here is the translation of the announcement made by NBP Ashgabat through the print media of Turkmenistan:
Ashgabat branch of the National Bank of Pakistan (registration number 25186245 dated 25 October 2018, tax code 101341002802, MFO 390101736), address: N.Gullayev str.,33, Ashgabat) notifies of the starting the procedure for voluntary liquidation of the branch based on the decision of the General meeting of the Board of Directors of the Main office in Pakistan.
Interested parties (clients/ depositors/creditors/debtors) may contact the Bank within 2 (two) months from the date of publication of the announcement about the liquidation of the branch.
For more information, please call: +99312-22-14-91 / 83,
Sarfraz Ahmad, the head of NBP Ashgabat told nCa on 24 November 2020 that the branch was being closed because of major restructuring of the bank.
“It is not just the NBP branch in Ashgabat. All the branches of the bank in this region are being closed,” he said.
Ahmad explained that withdrawal of the bank from Central Asia is part of the far-reaching legal and organizational reforms taking place in the banking and finance sector of Pakistan.
Khalil Bajwa, the charge d’affaires of Pakistan in Ashgabat told nCa that the closing of NBP branch is not associated with the status of TAPI in any way whatsoever.
“Pakistan remains fully committed to TAPI corridor,” he said.
TAPI corridor includes the TAPI gas pipeline, the TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) electricity transmission network, the TAP fiber optic link, the road from Herat to Chaman, and ultimately the railway line connecting Turkmenistan with Pakistan through the territory of Afghanistan.
Bajwa said that for any transactions related to the TAPI corridor, the presence of a Pakistani bank in Ashgabat is not necessary. He added that a number of reliable and robust options are available to both Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
The creative use of half-truth is a favourite tool of the media outlets hostile to Turkmenistan.
A half truth is a deceptive statement that contains some elements of truth but steers toward a false conclusion. —– Unrelated fluff wrapped around a piece of truth.
Turkmen.news, a website that is openly antagonistic to Turkmenistan, carried a story on 11 November 2020 about the closure of the branch of National Bank of Pakistan in Ashgabat. The crafty spin in the story was that a main objective of NBP Ashgabat was to give impetus to TAPI, and the winding up of the branch means that “Apparently, the Pakistani side has put an end to the gas pipeline project.”
The authors of the story perhaps don’t understand the difference between retail banking and development banking. For TAPI, the lead banking institution is ADB (Asian Development Bank), not NBP.
The banking and finance sector of Pakistan is undergoing fundamental structural reforms with four main objectives: 1. Improvement of investor confidence; 2. Repositioning of the country as an attractive destination for the foreign partners; 3. Transparency across the system; and 4. Optimal use of new and emerging opportunities in the backdrop of Covid-19.
The world community has already recognized the success of Pakistan in dealing with the challenges posed by Covid-19 and turning them into opportunities.
Today – 25 November 2020 – the World Economic Forum (WEF) is celebrating ‘Pakistan Strategy Day’ in recognition of the country’s successful policies against Covid-19.
The direct containment of Covid-19 is just a small part of the overall strategy. As far as the banking and finance sector is concerned, the preferred path is to create the virtual environment for e-commerce sans frontiers, and ease of transactions through personal portable devices. This is also called globalized cashless banking.
One part of this approach has already proved to be successful – the remittances from overseas Pakistanis have increased by about 50% after the introduction of virtual banking for them.
There is another, very important aspect.
It is universally acknowledged that Pakistan has played a key role in shaping the peace process in Afghanistan.
We also know that the turmoil in Afghanistan is acting as strangulating chokehold for the huge economic potential of Afghanistan for the last several decades.
Peace in Afghanistan will bring stability and that will stimulate economic growth. Both Pakistan and Turkmenistan have long borders with Afghanistan and as such have huge stakes in the future of Afghanistan.
The TAPI corridor will pass through five provinces of Afghanistan where more than 15% of the population of the country lives. They will benefit directly and immediately from the TAPI corridor.
In the mid- and long-term, the TAPI corridor will serve as backbone for the economic revival of Afghanistan in the shape of transit revenues, the availability of natural gas and electricity at attractive prices, the fiber optic link that means fast and reliable access to Internet and the road and rail connections to South and Central Asia. — Movement of people, movement of cargo, movement of ideas.
Anyone who tries to create the impression that closing of a bank branch means that Pakistan may have lost interest in TAPI is definitely not the friend of the people of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. Quite clearly, they are also not friends of peace.
Yellow is an unlucky colour for journalism. /// nCa, 25 November 2020