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04 June 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan has been under a nationwide lockdown since 23 March 2020, whereby there was a complete ban on the movement of persons and gatherings at any place (public or private) including offices, except for essential service providers. The lockdown was partially eased from 9 May 2020 and the federal and provincial governments have been gradually allowing certain sectors and businesses to resume operations while following safety protocols. While the provincial governments continue to issue preventive guidelines and standard operating procedures for businesses, most workplaces are still encouraging employees to work from home.
Pakistan has a compulsory merger regime whereby an undertaking intending to acquire shares or assets of another undertaking, or two or more undertakings intending to merge the whole or part of their businesses, and meeting the thresholds stipulated in regulations prescribed by the Competition Commission, must apply for clearance from the Competition Commission under Section 11 of the Competition Act 2010.
With a view to facilitating stakeholders during these challenging times, the Competition Commission recently launched an online M&A application filing system to facilitate local and foreign stakeholders for mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.
Through the recently introduced system on the Competition Commission's website, undertakings can complete the application online in a prescribed format and upload supporting documents. The online system also allows applicants to track the status of their application.
In order to continue with its regular functions amid the pandemic, the Competition Commission has resumed hearings by allowing parties to participate through videoconferencing.
Further, newspaper articles suggest that an online application system is in the process of being developed to seek exemptions for prohibited agreements.
For further information on this topic please contact Sanaya F Vachha at Vellani & Vellani by telephone (+92 21 3580 1000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Vellani & Vellani website can be accessed at www.vellani.com.
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Sanaya F Vachha