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Pakistan: Questions raised after botched privatization

Official reassures foreign investors following Pakistan Steel Mills fiasco.

Ashfaque Khan, Pakistan debt office Ashfaque Khan, Pakistan debt office: does not envisage further problems with privatizations

Pakistan’s privatization agenda will go ahead as planned, despite the botched sale of its leading steel asset earlier in the summer, according to a senior official in Pakistan’s finance ministry. Foreign investors might think twice about tendering offers in any future privatizations in Pakistan, following a decision by the country’s supreme court to overturn the sale of Pakistan Steel Mills in July. But Ashfaque Khan, director general of the debt office and an economic adviser in the finance ministry, says that the failed transaction will not have an impact on future state sales, adding that the country has a good track record of reform.

“I don’t envisage any further problems with Pakistan Steel Mills or future privatizations,” the official told Euromoney in London. The steel concern, he adds, was a very specific case and the government is committed to reform.

The controversy over Pakistan Steel Mills erupted in July when the supreme court decided that the $362 million sale of a 75% stake to a three-way consortium led by Russia’s Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (MMK) had procedural flaws.

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