Pakistan Agrees To New Banks

ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistan government has given permission for 10 investors to open banks as part of a privatization campaign.

One applicant not among those approved was Agha Hassan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of scandal-tainted Bank of Credit and Commerce International. He had applied for a banking license in April, three months before BCCI was the subject of a multinational regulatory crackdown.

The government did not say whether Mr. Abedi's application to open Progressive Bank was rejected or put on hold pending BCCI-related investigations.

But the government did approve licenses for Franklin Commercial Bank Ltd. and First Commercial Bank Ltd., both spearheaded by former BCCI managers.

Also approved were applications by three groups that own banks nationalized in the early 1970s by the late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

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