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Written by: Staff

Islamabad, Apr 8: Pakistan plans to hand over management control of its state-owned telecoms company to Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) by April 12, the privatisation agency said on Saturday.

Last month, Pakistan signed an agreement to transfer a 26 percent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd worth $2.6 billion to Dubai-based Etisalat , the country's biggest privatisation to date.

''The completion of the formal handing over of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) management is targetted for April 12, 2006,'' the Privatisation Commission said in a statement issued late on Friday.

The statement said $1.4 billion up front for the stake had been remitted ''in full'' by the Middle Eastern firm under an agreement signed by the two sides last December.

Etisalat will pay the rest of the amount within five years.

An earlier deal agreed in June last year ran into trouble after the UAE firm failed to meet payment deadlines.

PTCL is Pakistan's second-largest listed company and has a market value of $4.3 billion. The deal with Etisalat involves 1.33 billion shares out of a total of 5.1 billion.


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