Karachi, Pakistan With stocks plunging because of a possible U.S. attack in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan decided Sunday to shut down all its stock exchanges for three days starting Monday.
The premier exchange is in Karachi. There are two other exchanges in Lahore and Islamabad.
The closure comes after the key Karachi Stock Exchange 100-share index dived more than 9 percent in three days last week following the deadly terror attacks on New York and Washington.
The fall is the result of fears that the U.S. may launch retaliatory attacks on Afghanistan to target prime suspect Osama bin Laden.
The decision to shut down for three days followed a meeting of officials of the stock exchanges, said a joint statement.
"It was unanimously decided that the trading in all the three stock exchanges will remain suspended for a period of three days from Sept. 17 to Sept. 19," the statement said.
It said officials from the three stock exchanges will also meet Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad on Monday to suggest "further corrective measures with a view to maintain the integrity of the market and to strengthen the confidence of investors."
The latest losses came amid earlier losses by the Karachi market. Since March there has been massive selling because of the closure of the Pakistan mutual fund in New York, which was operated by Morgan Stanley.
On Friday, the last day of trading, the Karachi Stock Exchange 100-share index closed down 50.27 points, or 4.22 per cent, at 1,139.64 points _ levels not seen since middle of November 1999.
The key index is now down 24 per cent since the beginning of the year.