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Week Ending : 22 March 1997 Issue : 03/12
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Pakistan to attend Delhi talks with open mind
PM hints at cut in taxes, duties
PMs scheme not to solve problems, says US paper
Cabinet decides to hold census
Violations of press freedom in Pakistan: report
New law bans meal serving at weddings
LHC bans cigarette ads on radio, TV
IMF cancels loan, sets terms for new accord
Tigers Asian and global
Pakistan and its human development strategy
Internal, external threats to economic self-reliance
Wanted: instant remedies for sagging exports
Bulls seen returning to Karachi bourse
Stocks stage fresh rallies on active follow-up
Jinnah, the film Ardeshir Cowasjee
Bring on the horses Mazdak
Flying through turbulence Omar Kureishi
Preparing Karachi for 2001 Sultan Ahmed
Hopeful hints about a new sports policy
Some flaws in the Test World Cup scheme
Aamir Sohail suspended for 30 days
Pakistan out of final race; chances missed again
Pakistan to attend Delhi talks with open mind
ISLAMABAD, March 19: Pakistan will go into next weeks crucial talks with
India with an open and a sincere frame of mind to settle all disputes, a
foreign office spokesman said.
The spokesman said: We hope to discuss all outstanding issues during the
talks including Kashmir. We are not thinking of agreements at the present
time. We will probably start by deciding on an agenda and format for
He said the Indian response to Pakistani gesture will also be in the same
spirit because negotiations were a recognised way to solve the issues.
Foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India are scheduled to meet on March 28
in Delhi. Pakistan has always been desirous of co-operative, tension-
free, good neighbourly relations and we feel that this is the historic
opportunity to make a beginning, the spokesman said in his opening remarks
at the briefing.
He declined to reveal what might be Pakistans new strategy at the
resumption of talks.
Answering questions from the news persons, the spokesman denied that there
was any external compulsion on Pakistan to reopen negotiations after the
stalemate overtook them about three years ago. We have agreed to
(resume) these talks to establish our good intentions and we are going to
these talks with that intention, he added.
The spokesman recalled various statements of the prime minister on the need
to resume bilateral talks with India and said we have a new government in
Pakistan which has committed itself to improve relations with India and to
make attempt to solve outstanding problems.
The spokesman conceded that some Indian public statements tended to vitiate
atmosphere for talks but he advised against taking all such public
pronouncements on their face value.
Commenting on reported demand by the leadership of the APHC (All Party
Hurriyat Conference) representing the freedom fighters in held Kashmir to
be associated with the talks on Kashmir issue with India, the spokesman
said the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been recognised internationally in
the United Nations resolutions, as a party to the dispute.
He assured that their views and choice would be taken in deciding the
dispute at the appropriate time.
Replying to another question, the spokesman referred to the prime
ministers letter to his Indian counterpart, in which he clearly stated
that some progress on Jammu and Kashmir issue, is a pre-requisite for
initiating discussion and progress on other issues with India.
About the Indian reluctance to permit a delegation of the APHC to attend as
observer at the OIC Islamic Summit in Islamabad in celebration of
Pakistans fifty years of independence, the spokesman said that should
expose the Indian authorities attitude towards Kashmiri Muslims.
The spokesman said that Pakistan had asked the Indian High Commission in
Islamabad to make necessary arrangement for travel and repatriation of 38
Indian minor detainees who had been recently released unilaterally by
Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.
There were about 200 detainees in Pakistan and India including fishermen
and persons suspected of security and criminal offences, whose release on
reciprocal basis was being worked out, the spokesman disclosed.
PM hints at cut in taxes, duties
ISLAMABAD, March 17: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the rates of
Income Tax, import duties and tariffs will be rationalised to stop tax
evasion and corruption and enlarge the tax base, Press Assistant Siddiq-ul-
Farooq told reporters after the meeting.
The Prime Ministers Tariff Reforms Commission, headed by MNA Ejaz Shafi,
in its report had recommended to the government to bring down the maximum
tariff from 65 percent to 45 percent and impose only 5 percent import duty
on primary raw materials.
Nawaz Sharif, the spokesman said, told the meeting that businessmen,
industrialists and common people were willing to pay the taxes provided
their rates were justified. Rationalisation of taxes will result in
enlarging the tax base and generation of revenues, the prime minister told
He said Nawaz Sharif was briefed on the budgetary situation, the balance of
payments position and issues connected with foreign and local debt. He said
Nawaz Sharif exhorted the economic experts to utilise their full energies
to take out the country from the present economic mess.
Nawaz Sharif also directed them to work for reviving the sick units so that
exports could be increased and the gap between imports and exports be
The spokesman said the prime minister also set up a committee to recommend
steps for making the 33 state-run corporations economically viable. He said
the committee head and its members will be announced by Finance Minister
Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday. The committee will submit its report to the prime
minister within 15 days.
He said Nawaz Sharif also directed to gear up the privatisation of the
state-run industries in a transparent manner. The prime minister
announced that all revenues generated from the privatisation will be used
for debt retirement, the spokesman said.
The banks and development financial institutions were also directed to
support the agricultural sector to boost agricultural growth.
PMs scheme not to solve problems, says US paper
NEW YORK, March 19: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs debt retirement scheme
will not solve the countrys economic problems despite the fact that over
100 million dollars have poured into the scheme since it was launched, says
the Wall Street Journal .
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz
admitted that the debt retirement scheme at best, is only a stopgap thing,
to get Pakistan through its next few repayment deadlines. However, he
declared that the clouds have lifted, the Sun is streaking in, the shadows
have gone, and we are much better.
The article titled A Break in the Clouds Over Pakistan? contends As
impressive as that is (DRS), it represents only a drop in a very big and
Laying out the economic woes confronting Pakistan, the WSJ says Pakistans
foreign debt stands at $30 billion, outstanding domestic debt was over $22
billion in February, Pakistan was looking at debt repayment bills through
March about equal to its liquid foreign reserves of $750 million dollars.
And compounding the problem is the black shadow of the International
Monetary Fund, and a fiscal deficit reduction target of 4 percent of gross
domestic product that was agreed to back when the former government of
Benazir Bhutto duped Pakistans creditor-disciplinarians into believing
that the deficit was only 5.8 per cent. Since truth a figure of 6.5
percent-became known, the very real threat of IMF pulling the plug has had
some people pulling up ringside seats for one spectacular crash, observed
However, WSJ writes that Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz, while acknowledging
that no way Pakistan can meet the four percentage point reduction target,
said that he can get the deficit down by 1.8 percentage points the degree
of reduction the previous government promised when it was giving
misleadingly lower figures to the IMF.
ECONOMIC REFORMS: Mr Aziz said in the interview: The government of
Pakistan intends to dazzle the IMF and the world with a package of banking
reforms, tariff reductions and sweeping institutional changes to increase
tax collection, develop the secondary capital market and prune back the
regulations that are suffocating businesses and breeding corruption.
Mr Aziz said that at the end of this month, Pakistan would announce a
master plan for transforming the country within 18 months into a new Asian
destination for investment. But the journal notes that As much as theyd
like to believe that, most Pakistanis are sceptical as the average
outsider, its a shame that insular, communist Vietnam generates more
economic excitement than open-armed, capitalist Pakistan. But Vietnam has
not seen a half dozen changes of government in as many years, is not
flanked by war-torn Afghanistan and hostile India, and it is not routinely
in the news for outbreaks of sectarian violence and other products of
Nevertheless, the WSJ points out: Whats different now is that for the
first time in half a century of nations existence, Pakistan elections have
produced a government with parliamentary majority so large that there is
almost no limit to what that government can accomplish if it tries, adding
indeed, with no significant domestic constituency to block reform, the
only thing standing in the way of major progress would seem to be bad
On the policy side, the WSJ says that Mr Sharifs team appears to know
what is wrong and how to fix it. For instance, it says that Finance
Minister Azizs single greatest concern is not the IMF but Pakistans sick
manufacturing sector. Annual export growth which had averaged 7 per cent
over 30 years slumped to less than 1 per cent in 1994-95 and then has not
risen over 2 per cent. Up to 5,000 industrial units have closed down,
ranging from textile plants with 14,000 spindles and 1,000 employees to fan
assembly lines of 50 people.
Mr Aziz told the journal that until and unless the exports pick up,
nothing else he does will save the situation.
On the causes of economic decline in Pakistan, the WSJ says that they are
the same all over: Heavy industrial taxation at every level can put a tax
burden of 60 per cent on some products; high raw material costs because of
devaluation and expensive money, in a system which is all but squeezed dry
by governments borrowing.
As to how Mr Sharifs government would reverse these trends, Mr Aziz says
You just remove the fiscal anomalies. For instance, he says: Pakistan
has local demand for 600,000 television sets a year, but the domestic
producers can hardly compete with 200,000 Sony sets smuggled yearly across
from Afghan border and through other channels where no import duties apply.
The solution will be to lower the duty and impose a retail sales tax
instead across the board.
On the question of finding capital, Aziz admits Its true the government
has been pre-empting a much larger share of the credit market. But that
doesnt mean that there is not enough money for the private sector. Aziz
feels that the problem is that we lack a developed secondary market to
mobilise private savings and get the government out of the business of
finding money for public and semi-public enterprises.
The journal says that Pakistan may have to wait much longer for an upturn
in foreign investments. Foreigners will move in only after Pakistanis have
signalled their confidence, or lack of it, in the new government.
Cabinet decides to hold census
ISLAMABAD, March 19: The federal cabinet decided to hold the much-delayed
housing and population census all over the country.
The prime ministers adviser on information and media development, Mushahid
Hussain, told a briefing that the prime minister had asked the chief
ministers to send in their proposals for holding the census which had been
put off several times due to political controversies.
The last one was held in 1981 and though it is a constitutional requirement
to hold a population census after every 10 years, the successive
governments have been deferring it on one pretext or the other. The PPP
government had held a housing census in 1994 but did not make the figures
public after reports of massive irregularities in Sindh. The PML government
would now hold the housing count afresh Mushahid Hussain said.
Violations of press freedom in Pakistan: report
NEW YORK, March 15: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) has, in its annual report, decried the dramatic deterioration in
press freedom conditions in Pakistan since 1995 , particularly in Karachi.
In its annual worldwide survey of press freedom violations entitled
Attacks on the Press, the CPJ cites the arrest and detention of the daily
Dawns sub-editor Sheikh Aziz and beating up of Aftab Syed of the News, as
glaring examples of the declining press freedom in Pakistan.
The committee which has many luminaries of the American media on its board
Walter Cronkite, Peter Arnett (CNN) says the deterioration in press
freedom in Pakistan began when ethnic and sectarian violence in urban
centers worsened and the then prime minister Benazir Bhuttos Peoples
Party started to impose bans on media outlets, which continued through
The CPJ report said: The press conditions were even worse in the rural
areas of Pakistan, where journalists encountered unchecked abuses of power
by local government and feudal lords who act with virtual impunity. The
federal government, the report said, effectively facilitated and
sanctioned the intimidation of the journalists by introducing an ordinance
that allowed the provincial governments to use army and paramilitary
rangers for law and order purposes, including arrest and interrogation.
Specifying a typical case of dangers that the rural journalists face in
their areas, the CPJ report notes that police and others severely beat
Monnis Bokhari, a reporter for the daily Sindh in Dokri, after he reported
that a member of the Sindh provincial government had illegally purchased
land belonging to the Sindh Forest Department.
The report says that elsewhere in Sindh province, men employed by a local
landlord kidnapped and sexually assaulted Mumtaz Sher, a correspondent for
daily Bakhtiar, after his newspaper published an article about alleged
misconduct by a senior school administrator who is also the landlords
In Asia, the report says, India sought to contain separatist movements in
the north-west by gagging the press. It also contends that 185 journalists
in 24 countries were in prison at the end of 1996 and 27 were killed in the
line of duty.
New law bans meal serving at weddings
ISLAMABAD, March 15: The federal government banned lavish meals, fireworks
display and illuminations at weddings and allowed serving of hot or cold
An ordinance promulgated by the president imposed a fine of Rs100,000 to
Rs300,000 on the violators.
The ordinance has empowered the provincial governments to constitute an
Ehtesab committee for each sub-division, Tehsil or taluka which would be
responsible for the implementation of the ordinance. No court would be
competent to take cognisance of the offence under this ordinance except on
complaint in writing by the Ehtesab committee.
The ordinance prohibits the decoration or illumination of any house,
building, street, road or any other place. It also bans fireworks and
firing in the air.
An ordinance promulgated by the president under clause (1) of Article 89 of
the Constitution of Pakistan expires after 120 days if it is not re-
promulgated or made an Act of Parliament. If the same draft of ordinance is
converted into an Act of Parliament it would remain in force for two years.
LHC bans cigarette ads on radio, TV
LAHORE, March 21: The Lahore High Court On Friday barred Pakistan
Television and Radio Pakistan from relaying cigarette commercials and
programmes which might induce people to smoke. The order will take effect
from April 1.
However, the court allowed for a period of three years cigarette marketing
during live telecasts of sports events sponsored by tobacco companies,
provided the commercial did not show a person smoking and was followed by a
warning against smoking.
Radio will only be allowed to relay a statement mentioning the name of
sponsors during sports commentaries.
Radio and television will be able to seek an extension of the period, which
ends on March 31, 2000.
The directives were issued by Justice Mohammad Aqil Mirza in a short order
while accepting a writ petition filed by the Pakistan Chest Foundation and
the Pakistan Anti-Tuberculosis Association.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the court concluded that cigarette
advertisements induced younger people to smoke and that freedom of trade
and business was not violated by prohibiting such advertisements on the
The court relied on reports prepared by the Pakistan government and the
World Health Organisation stating that the number of smokers had increased
in countries like Pakistan where there was no ban on cigarette
advertisement. In a report, the director-general of Pakistan Health
Services stated that smoking caused different kinds of cancers and lung
diseases. The WHO report mentioned smoking, in any form, as a major cause
of premature deaths.
IMF cancels loan, sets terms for new accord
ISLAMABAD, March 21: The International Monetary Fund has cancelled the
stand-by arrangement worth 850 million dollars and has made future lending
conditional on Islamabad bringing about some basic structural reforms.
The week-long negotiations between the IMF and a Pakistan government team
ended here on Friday on the note that the Fund could consider a new
agreement on the extended structural adjustment facility (ESAF) and
extended fund facility (EFF) but that, too, only when the government of
Pakistan had given what the IMF called a viable policy package. According
to finance sources here, the prime minister is likely to announce a package
in a weeks time.
The sources said the IMF had expressed reservations at Pakistans inability
to meet various targets agreed to by Islamabad earlier. Since Pakistan has
not been able to achieve its revenue target during the eight months of the
current financial year, nor has it been able to control its budget deficit
or the current account deficit, the sources claimed, the IMF has refused to
release the third tranche of 76 million dollars under the SBA (stand-by
arrangement). Earlier, the SBA had been stretched from 600 million dollars
to 850 million dollars, out of which Pakistan had already received 326
Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz conceded at a news conference on Friday that
the SBA had been cancelled but said the government was now interested in
signing a new agreement on ESAF for 1.2 billion dollars. Why should we get
loan under SBA and pay 6per cent interest and why not to have ESAF on 0.5
per cent interest rate, he said. Mr Aziz said the government could still
manage without the 76 million dollars from the IMF.
Asked how would the government meet its debt liabilities till June, the
finance minister said the government had already mobilized 134 million
dollars under its debt retirement scheme. He said thus it had double the
amount it would have received from the IMF. There is nothing to be worried
about, he remarked.
Sen Aziz said he did not believe that the IMFs refusal to offer anything
under the SBA would hurt Pakistans credit rating position. IMF executive
director Abbas Mirakhor, who represents Pakistan on the Funds board, was
present at the news conference.
He expressed satisfaction with the governments determination to implement
its economic reform programme. I am quite certain that the new government
in Pakistan would be able to present an economic package that would surely
improve its credit rating position in the world. Mr Mirakhor said the SBA
was a target-oriented short-term programme of the IMF and that he hoped
Pakistan would be able to do good with the new ESAF arrangement.
Answering a question, the finance minister claimed that there was no danger
of default in debt repayment. He also denied that Pakistan had any plan to
request the Aid to Pakistan Consortium to reschedule its debts. He said
Pakistan expected to have 1.2 billion dollars from the consortium which was
to meet in Paris on April 21 and 22. At the moment we do not have any
programme to seek rescheduling, he declared.
Tigers Asian and global
DESPITE continuing precariousness of Pakistans forex reserves and mounting
debt burden, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been much encouraged by the
success of his appeal for foreign exchange donations and loans from
Pakistanis, particularly those residing and working abroad. He has been so
encouraged by this response that he has expressed the hope that it would
not be long before Pakistan becomes not only an Asian but a global economic
Simultaneously, Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram predicted
that his country would be as combative as the rest of Asias Tiger
economies within the next four years. Mr Chidambaram added he was aiming to
accelerate the countrys gross domestic product growth from seven to eight
The minister, widely applauded for unveiling a tax-cutting budget, told the
Asia Society conference that India will Asianise herself and become as
combative as any other Asian nation within four years.
Mr Chidambaram, whose budget cuts in income tax, corporate tax and tariffs
and excise duties had delighted business leaders and corporate investors,
has aimed at achieving eight percent growth annually by 2000 AD.
Chidambaram told the conference there had been scepticism, suspicion and
doubt over Indias government. Earlier, Finance Secretary Montek Singh
Ahluwalia said the budget for the fiscal year to March 1998 was not a
Christmas tree which has a gift for everyone, but argued it would pave the
way to major reforms. He said the countrys current fiscal deficit, at
around six per cent, would fall to under four within two years.
In India as well as Pakistan, investment exceeds savings and results in the
piling up of debt, domestic as well as foreign. The lagging of savings
behind investment is sharper in Pakistan relative to India.
Quick at the heels of his resounding election victory, Mr Nawaz Sharif
vowed to lure foreign investors back to the country. The economy is in bad
shape. We have to reverse the trend, said Mr Sharif.
A darling of the business community, Mr Sharifs family owns the Ittefaq
industrial conglomerate, one of the countrys largest with interest in
metal, sugar and textiles. He was swept to power on promises that he would
reinvigorate the economy and rid the country of its reliance on overseas
donors such as the IMF.
The economy needs to be turned around. The first thing to do according to
Mr Sharif is to create an investment climate to get rid of debts and debt
servicing, he said.
Before the elections, Mr Sharif promised incentives to attract foreign
investors and raise some $30 billion through privatisation to repay foreign
debts. But no political leader is ready to touch defence spending, which
takes around 40 percent of the $14.2 billion budget, citing a perceived
security threat from rival neighbour, India. This spending is the main
generator of the budget deficit and the debt, local as well as foreign.
Last December, the IMF approved an increase in credits for Pakistan due to
the economic measures approved by the interim Pakistani government.
Disbursements had been interrupted last year in the face of what the fund
called slippages in the implementation of economic reforms agreed to by
Ms Bhuttos former government.
In the wake of the election victory, Mr Nawaz Sharif claimed that he had
plans to break the countrys begging bowl. Word had also gone round that
the new government may scrap the agreement with IMF, particularly the
portion relating to cutting the budget deficit to 4 percent as against the
revised target of 5 percent suggested by the new government. Mr Sharifs
government has, however now compromised with bitter economic truths and
realised that the generosity of overseas Pakistanis and of Pakistanis
keeping huge deposits abroad are not easy alternatives for subservience to
Pakistan and its human development strategy
Syed N Zafar Majid
PAKISTAN is among those few countries in the world which show a wider gap
between their investment in physical production and their investment in
The adult literacy rate of 36 percent is 33 percentage points below the
average for all developing countries (69 percent). Its net enrolment in
basic education is around 50 percent compared with 100 percent in China and
Sri Lanka, 97 percent in Malaysia and 68 percent in India.
Pakistans per-capita income compares favourably with those of China and
Sri Lanka. But on the human development index, Pakistan ranks 132, compared
with 90 for Sri Lanka and 94 for China. In adult literacy, Sri Lanka has
already reached 89 percent and China 80 percent compared with Pakistans 36
percent despite similar per capita incomes.
Despite Pakistans income being much higher than Indias, its people suffer
much greater human deprivation because personal income is unevenly
distributed and because in Pakistan, governments have consistently
neglected the provision of basic social services.
Pakistan is 70 percent ahead of India in its real income, according to
World Bank estimates, but far behind in human development. Its adult
literacy rate is 36 percent compared with Indias 50 percent. Its combined
enrolment at all levels is 24 percent compared with Indias 50 percent; and
its access to safe drinking water is 50 percent compared with 75 percent in
The magnitude of human deprivation in Pakistan boggles the mind: 55 million
people have no access to safe drinking water or primary health care
services; 95 million are deprived of sanitation services; 35 million people
are below the absolute poverty line, with limited access to even the very
basic needs for human survival; 42 million adults are illiterate, two-
thirds of them women; 4 million children under five are severely
Pakistan is simply not prepared nor is it preparing for the technological
challenges of 21st century. It spends only $3 per capita on real human
priority concerns, compared with $133 in the Republic of Korea, $123 in
Malaysia and $9 in India.
The neglect of Pakistans human resources arises from a feudal society that
places a low value on the lives of the ordinary people except at election
Pakistan needs to spend a minimum of 10 percent of its GNP on the provision
of basic social services to its people, particularly education and health,
whereas at present the country is spending around 3 percent of its GNP on
these sectors. The size of allocation, even after the launching of the
Social Action Programme (SAP), remains unclear.
Though it is possible that the budget provision may have increased to over
5 per cent of GNP. Still, at least a doubling of current allocations is
called for. This will be impossible if debt servicing continues to consume
more than 6 percent of GNP, defence spending consumes another 7 percent and
if the tax revenue does not rise above 14 percent of GNP. If social
expenditure is to have its rightful place in the national budget, rather
than remain a mere residual, a complete restructuring of fiscal management
Pakistan is spending 125 percent as much on its military as on the
education and health of its people.
According to the Human Development Report, just one years purchase of arms
by Pakistan is equivalent to a sum that could have provided safe drinking
water for about half the countrys population or extended basic education
to all children currently out of school.
Of course, Pakistan cannot unilaterally undertake a reduction in military
spending. A SAARC agreement on joint reductions in military spending is
needed so that no nation within the region is put at a comparative
Since Pakistans budgetary resources will remain tight, it needs to squeeze
the maximum mileage out of its funds. This means giving a greater priority
(and subsidy) to basic education rather than to university buildings, to
primary health care rather than expensive hospitals, to cost effective
community water taps in rural areas rather than to piped water in high-
income urban neighbourhoods.
It is the poor who need government patronage, not the rich, who can afford
to pay for the services they get.
Internal, external threats to economic self-reliance
Dr Mahnaz Fatima
WHILE MANY in the country were yearning for the government of Pakistan to
adopt an approach towards economic self-reliance, as that is also a pre-
requisite for putting the country on the road to true national economic
development, a lot of vested interests might try to obstruct the plan and
the process, that the current elected government and the committed quarters
will need to guard against.
For, it is in the interest of many that Pakistan remains economically
dependent on the First world as national economic dependence, in turn,
leads to the continued subservience of the majority in the country to a few
who remain connected to the developed world.
Also, many others might oppose this approach as the above goal implies that
all the haves in the country would need to contribute their due share to
the economy which they would much rather withhold to keep their tribe/
clan/groups economic power consolidated.
It is little wonder then that we already see a pro-IMF sentiment creeping
in again with our rating with the IMF projected as something that is
essentially required for our credibility with the external lenders as
though Pakistan is destined to survive only with the help of external
Rumours of default are again being spread, with Credit Lyonnais declaring a
90 percent probability of default. It was encouraging to note that local
analysts disputed it and reduced the probability to 10 percent.
However, it is analysis and views such as the ones above that did serve to
dampen the buoyant stock market and the positive sentiment that was
initially displayed towards the National Debt Retirement Programme (NDRP).
Pakistan would have raised much more by now under the NDRP than has been
raised so far had it not been for the dampeners that have been floated as
mentioned above, for, it is only through the above route that Pakistan can
acquire staying power in the short run and a reasonably strong negotiating
position with the IMF as, inter alia, a departure from IMFs
conditionalities is essentially needed to again prime the economy.
As explained in an earlier article, a turn-around in the disposition of
Pakistans business community, as demonstrated through the NDRP, augurs
well for their future positive business disposition which, if it
materialises, should enable Pakistans economy to turn the corner.
A pre-requisite, however, is that Pakistanis should be able to develop a
thinking and analytical capability independent of foreign and domestic
vested influences without which we, as a nation, will continue to waver
when the need of the hour is to demonstrate a resolute will and
At this point, it is important to briefly recapitulate the role of the IMF,
on which I have dwelt upon considerably in some of my other articles. It
needs to be understood that it is the First World interest that the IMF is
out to promote and this promotion might be done at the expense of our
national interest as has usually been the case.
So, while IMFs response would determine our countrys international credit
rating in the short run, we must not forget the role that the IMF played in
Pakistans most recent political and economic history.
The IMFs reluctance and delay in releasing the desired tranche to
Pakistans last elected government of Benazir was one of the factors that
had led to the rapid erosion of business confidence and panic in the
countrys stock and currency markets.
This paved the way for an elected governments dismissal and induction of a
caretaker government whose economic management team could be easily seen as
one comprising Bretton Woods yes-men. The IMF hesitated little in
releasing the tranche to this team of caretakers even though the economic
performance was just about as dismal.
At that time, the IMFs stated intent was to bail Pakistan out of its
economic crisis. And, we had then wanted to know the reasons because of
which the IMFs desire to bail Pakistan out was not so strong when an
elected government was in office as much as it was when the office came to
be occupied by an interim government of caretakers dominated by Bretton
Woods connections here or abroad.
So, those who advocate strict adherence to IMF conditionalities are either
unclear about the role of the IMF and its impact on Pakistans economics
and politics. Or, the IMF protagonists belong to that group of economists
in the country that have been consulting with the World Bank and,
therefore, toe the IMF line.
There is, therefore, a need to understand the role of the IMF in Pakistan
as adherence to its conditionalities and inability to negotiate with the
IMF keeping national interest in mind, has done the country more harm than
If the role of the IMF is clearly understood, then patriotic citizens will
have little reason to sneak in the pro-IMF sentiment or raise alarm bells
at the slightest objection from the IMF unless they will have vested
In addition to the World Bank-connected Pakistani economists, there are
other groups within the country who would prefer to have the country rely
on foreign economic assistance rather than mobilise domestic resources as
they are reluctant to either contribute to the countrys economy or slash
their not-so-needed expenditures. Of these groups, the most noteworthy
would be the feudals, those businessmen and industrialists who wish to
continue to evade taxes and return borrowed money, and the establishment.
As also mentioned in a recent letter to Dawns editor, feudals have yet to
begin contributing meaningfully to the NDRP. Their reluctance in
contributing to this national cause only highlights the class cleavage in
the country. So much for the patriotism of the feudal class. Also, as for
the agricultural income tax, while some feudals no longer oppose it as
there are not enough reasons for this opposition to continue, many would
still continue to resist it. This would continue to provide a reason for
businessmen and industrialists to continue to evade taxes and default on
loans although, with a leader from their community now occupying the
highest government office, the business/ industrial community should be
providing leadership in turning around the economic behaviour patterns in
These thorny issues of internal resource generation, followed by
reinvestment within the country, need to be resolved essentially to enable
Pakistan to embark on its second phase of the journey to economic self-
reliance. And, the current elected government needs to give them high
priority and put them on top of their economic agenda. However, the
business class is now expected to blaze the trail in this direction which
will eventually coax the feudals to fall in line or get even more exposed.
The establishment might pose yet another potential hurdle towards the goal
of economic self-reliance for some reasons that cannot be stated but known
to all and some others that can.
First, we have a bureaucracy full of Anglophiles, USphiles, or more
appropriately Westophiles and is actually one of the countrys worst
colonial legacies. The elected government should expect resistance from
within the bureaucracy itself as many bureaucrats have been the
beneficiaries of innumerable foreign training programmes funded either by
the World Bank or other bilateral donors which have further galvanised
their Westophilial tendencies.
A concept as indigenous as self-reliance will sound too desi and, thereby,
repugnant to mentally enslaved bureaucrats already sold on the idea of the
global village and blurring of international economic boundaries.
The above tendency might be compounded by the caretakers desire, expressed
through a person no less than the President himself, that Pakistans
economic interest necessitated close adherence to IMF vis-e-vis adherence
to the terms of agreement. For, if he does and finds the Nawaz Sharif
governments economic policy audacious, then problems can compound.
As it is, a rift between the President and the Prime Minister is being
denied and one can only hope that their is truth in these denials. For, if
there is truth in the rumours regarding a rift, then one can only urge the
President to let the elected government exercise the mandate that the
people of Pakistan have given it.
To cap it all, a senior member of the US government has reportedly urged
the elected government to follow the caretakers policies which centred
around total submission to the IMF. Such a signal from a member of the US
government is indeed ominous and is in fact interference in Pakistans
With such glaring internal and external threats, the Nawaz Sharif
government will surely be fighting a besieged battle towards the cherished
goal of economic self-reliance. However, drawing support from the heavy
peoples mandate, the battle can still be fought successfully if the
government remains aware of the pitfalls and alert to the road mines.
It will also need to tread cautiously, ensuring that it does not invite
heavy criticism that would weaken its case for self-reliance. For example,
already eyebrows might be raised at the action against those who were
recruited in the last three years as they too are jobless citizens of this
country in dire need of jobs; at the arbitrary diversion of Rs 700 million
from the PSDP to the motorway project; and at the quiet increase in
electricity charges at 2 per cent a month and levy of 10 per cent excise
duty on gas when the PM and the Petroleum Minister had earlier given a
decision to the contrary.
Decisions such as the ones above could be best avoided especially when
there are many in the field still who would want to see the elected
government lose to yet another dictatorial set-up and prematurely.
So, the need of the hour is a clean government operating in a manner that
would invite the least criticism or else, the vested interests within the
country and abroad might again. God forbid, have the better of yet another
elected government of Pakistan.
Wanted: instant remedies for sagging exports
WHILE Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is appealing to Pakistanis overseas and
at home, to come up with contributions to reduce the large national debt
and improve the foreign exchange reserve, the more crucial foreign trade is
again showing very adverse trends that can aggravate the balance of
The export performance during the first eight months of this financial year
is hardly better than in the same eight-month period last year which ended
with a record trade deficit of $3.33 billion.
Against the export growth target of 14.4 percent set for the current year,
the rise in exports until February is only 5 per cent and there are small
prospects of a substantial rise in exports before the end of June unless
very extraordinary measures are taken.
What is disheartening is that the 13 percent devaluation of the rupee
effected in the first half of this year in the hope of boosting exports has
not paid dividends, except briefly when exports went up. It has however
helped to reduce imports. While the target for the rise in imports this
year is 5.3 percent the rise in the first eight months has been only 3.32
percent over the same period last year.
With the trade deficit at $2.32 billion for the first eight-months which is
hardly better than the $2.36 billion deficit in the first eight months of
last year, the $10 billion export target initially set is far off, and even
the new target of $9.2 billion appears too elusive.
Undeterred by such factors the new commerce minister, Ishaq Dar, spoke last
week of raising the export this year by 30 percent and doubling exports
soon. He did not specify how he would achieve that.
The Economic Committee of the Federal Cabinet discussed the external trade
crisis on Tuesday but could not come to conclusion. Instead it decided to
analyse the reason for the stalemate.
The persisting large trade deficit along with the larger balance of
payments gap in the current account which was $4.2 billion last year is
spawning fears the government may resort to further devaluation of the
rupee. Foreign securities agencies have already begun forecasting it.
The advice of Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia to its clients says,
underlying the current account deficit is a burgeoning trade deficit,
estimated at a current monthly average of $250 million. The dip in the
December trade deficit to $160 million was short-lived as it rose quickly
again to $375 million in January.
Pakistans export base is narrow and is, therefore, unlikely to respond in
tandem with the government policy which promotes domestic demand and as a
consensus imports. The fast growth strategy would put huge pressures on the
external accounts at a time when Pakistan forex finances are precarious, to
say the least, it says.
While this report is rather racy, the fact remains that Pakistan has been
running a monthly trade deficit of $300 million for the last eight months
with the average of exports at $637 million and average of imports at $937
million. If the average deficit had followed the target of two billion
dollars deficit for the whole year it would have been $160 million dollars
and not $300 million.
The narrow export base of Pakistan with its dependence on cotton and
cotton-based products stand in the way of Pakistan reaching the target of
$10 billion, for the revised target of $9.2 billion after eight months
could achieve only $5.34 billion exports in the face of $7.664 billion
Cotton has failed as a significant export item because the current years
output of 9.1 to 9.2 million bales leaves hardly any exportable surplus.
Cotton export this year so far has been only worth $7 million vis-a-vis
last years $550 million. This is because even though cotton traders are
free to export whatever quantity they get hold of, domestic prices are far
higher than international ones and more exports are out of the question. A
cotton grower gets at least Rs 200 more than the international market.
A substantial sudden devaluation of the rupee after creeping devaluation as
done last year has again proved to be counter-productive for accelerating
exports, as happened after the massive devaluation of the rupee resorted to
in 1993 by the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi. Exports fell by two
per cent at the end the year after a 10 per cent devaluation in July and
Imports prices up
Devaluation of the rupee enhances the rupee prices of all imports,
including machinery and spare parts, industrial raw materials, and
chemicals. It also increases of price of POL, gas, power and
transportation. And import and excise duties increase along with the
devaluation. In a country where 45 per cent of all imports are industrial
raw materials, devaluation of the rupee pushes up the prices of all exports
and refund of the taxes paid on exports take a long time to materialise at
a time of very high cost of money. So devaluation of the rupee as a major
tool for boosting exports in Pakistan has failed again and again, while it
has only helped to repress imports and domestic consumption only to some
Credit Lyonnais overshoots its mark when it talks of the government
promoting domestic demand and as a consequence imports, when through
sustained devaluation of the rupee, higher and varied taxes, including the
latest 2 per cent on imports subject to pre-shipment inspection, makes all
consumer goods more and more costly, and those who cannot obtain goods
through the normal channels buy smuggled goods.
The right approach to increasing Pakistans exports is to reduce the cost
of production which means reducing the cost of the inputs of production.
However, if their costs go on rising as in the case of agricultural
products like cotton. If the energy costs go on increasing and along with
that the cost of transportation following rise in POL prices, if wages rise
in relation to productivity due to too many holidays and break-down in
production following electrical loadshedding and interests cost are high,
and even the export credit at 13 per cent is high compared to the interests
rates in other countries, the devaluation of the rupee has to become
counter-productive and the efforts to step up exports less rewarding in
spite of large official investment on export promotion.
A major pharmaceutical company chief says he exports medicines worth Rs 25
million to Bangladesh but he is hoping that at cost as the cost of
production is high here. He is hoping that sometime such exports may become
profitable and the export incentives would be improved.
Exports have fallen far short of the targets as export of guar and guar
products have dropped by 17.6 percent, surgical instruments by 12 percent,
vegetable exports 10 percent and leather exports by 4.17 percent. However,
the export of value-added in the textile sector has improved to the extent
of 37 per cent for ready-made garments, synthetic textiles by 34 percent
and cotton fabrics by 12 percent and towels by 6 percent. But they could
not pull up the exports overall beyond a 5 percent vis-a-vis the 14.4
On the import side, while Pakistan will be importing 2.4 million tonnes of
wheat, following last years imports for $444 million the import cost of
POL has shot up following the rise in world oil prices. Sugar imports are
also rising and may touch half-a-million tonnes and fertiliser imports too
are substantial. What has not been rising is machinery import as banks are
tardy with their investment loans.
In the earlier years, Pakistan could reduce its balance of payments deficit
by adding the large home remittances to the export earnings. But since the
home remittances peaked at $2.88 billion in 1992-93, they have been falling
and came down to $1,467 million last year. The projection for the current
year is $1,200 million. Some of the remittances may now be directed towards
the prime ministers debt reduction fund and hence the amount which goes
into the kitty of the State Bank may be small.
There are no quick fixes for increasing exports after the hobby horse of
devaluation of the rupee as the principal instrument for that has failed
again and again in our environment. The remedy has to be comprehensive and
aimed at reducing the cost of production, improving quality of the
products, and increasing the efficiency and ethical level of business
Pakistan has to diversify its exports instead of cotton and cotton products
forming over 60 per cent of the exports. Export of non-traditional items
has to be increased through organised methods and the value-added has to
become a far larger part of the exports.
Some of the 11 working groups set up by the prime minister after the
Businessmens Convention are grappling with such issues and we have to see
their recommendations and the extent of their acceptability to the
government. Some of their recommendations in the fiscal area may have to
await the new budget. If that happens Pakistans exports may not average
about $962 million a month which is needed on the next four months to reach
the current years target.
This is a very critical year for exports in view of the acute balance of
payments problems and Pakistans capability to achieve large results within
a short time is very limited because of the excess of fiscal and monetary
constraints which are likely to stay for some more months at least.
Bulls seen returning to Karachi bourse
THE FORMATION of coalition government in Sindh provided the much-needed
push to an uncertain market as investors were back in the rings after mid-
week and made an extensive short-covering at the lower levels.
The KSE 100-share index staged a smart recovery during the last two
sessions of the week as after having fallen to as low as 1,545 points,
finally managed to finish at 1,590.83 points as compared to 1,591.50 points
a week earlier as most of the shares came in for strong short-covering
after the formation of the Sindh government.
All the leading shares participated in the run-up but the bulk of buying
remained confined to PSO, Fauji Fertiliser, Engro Chemicals, which posted
gains ranging from Rs 4 to 5. Most of the textile shares also showed good
rallies thanks to active short-covering at the lower levels and rose under
the lead of Gadoon, Saif and Mehmood Textiles. Bank shares also came in for
active support at the lower levels and finished recovered, major gainers
among them being Bank of Punjab, and Faisal Bank.
Bonus shares at the rate of 20 percent by IGI Insurance for the last year
pushed its share higher by Rs 3 on active buying. Adamjee Insurance, which
was under pressure in line with the general trend also recovered by Rs 3.
Other dividends, notably from Al-Faysal bank and Reliance Weaving at 15 and
10 per cent respectively were well-received in the rings and so were the
7.5 and 5 per cent from Gulistan Textiles and its OE shares.
The mid-week rally after the formation of Sindh government was led largely
by leading bank, insurance, synthetic, cement, energy and most of the
chemical and pharma shares.
The market sentiment in part was also influenced favourably by revival of
foreign demand on most of the MNCs at the lower levels, which attracted
good sympathetic short-covering from others.
Losses on the other hand were mostly fractional and reflected slack demand
rather than large selling from any quarter. However, some leading shares,
notably Shell Pakistan, Parke-Davis, Dewan Textiles, Sana Industries,
Mirpurkhas Sugar and Dadabhoy Sack came in for active selling and fell
Trading volume suffered a sharp contraction owing to the absence of leading
sellers who were not inclined to sell at the falling prices in early sell-
off and held on to their positions. The total volume fell to 190 million
shares from the previous weeks 250 million shares.
Both PTC vouchers and Hub-Power remained volume leaders but early in the
week came in for panic selling on some bad news from the foreign markets
about GDR rates. But later short-covering allowed them to finish partially
recovered. They were followed by Dewan Salman, ICI Pakistan, FFC-Jordan
Fertiliser, Fauji Cement, Dhan Fibre, and to a lesser extent Bank of
Punjab, Askari Bank, Fauji Fertiliser and several others.
The interesting feature was that most of the low-priced textile shares also
came in for active short-covering and rose though by fractions but turned
out large volume.
A section of leading operators is rolling positions from the overvalued
sectors to this sector on news that export performance of this sector is
exceptionally well and interim profits are on the higher side. Good
dividend from some of the leading among them for the year ended Sept 30,
1996 also provided an attractive bait for prospective investors to buy at
the lower levels.
Stocks stage fresh rallies on active follow-up
KARACHI, March 21: Stocks on Friday maintained an optimistic outlook as
share values staged fresh rallies on active follow-up support originating
from all the quarters.
The notable feature was that the KSE 100-share index was quoted slightly
above the psychological barrier of 1,600 points, reflecting the strength of
leading index shares.
It was last quoted around 1,600.63 after at one stage touching the peak of
1,605.00, showing a gain of 18.35 per cent or one per cent over the
previous close of 1,582.28. The long-overdue bull-run appears to have made
debut and there are reasons to believe that it could be sustained in the
coming sessions too, most analysts believe.
They said opinions were still divided over the future direction of the
market owing to liquidity problems and expensive bank credits, strong
presence of foreign fund buying had raised hopes of a sustained run-up.
The market needs peace in Sindh and that is there after taking over the
government by the new set up, they maintained.
Bulk of the support remained confined to bank, cement, energy and most of
the low-priced textile shares as investors made anticipatory buying on
predictions of big capital gains in the coming sessions.
Ahmed Hassan Textiles, Ayaz Textiles, Burewala Textiles, and Fateh Textile
were leading gainers among them, rising by Rs 1.25 to 5.
The biggest gain of Rs 41 was, however, noted in Lever Brothers which
surged to Rs 750 on active short-covering followed by news of higher half
year profit. Over 25,000 shares changed hands at this high level.
Fauji Fertilizer, Engro Chemicals and Dawood Hercules were among the other
major gainers, rising by Rs 2.50 to 4.50, followed by IGI, Burewala
Textiles, Husein Sugar and Fateh Textiles, which also posted gains of
Adamjee Insurance, Askari Insurance, Siemens Pakistan, BOC Pakistan, Glaxo-
wellcome, Mitchells Fruits and Cyanamid Pakistan were among the prominent
losers, falling by one rupee to Rs.6.
Trading volume fell to 33.452 million shares from the previous 41 million
shares, while out of the total 311 actives, 161 shares rose, 89 fell, with
61 holding on to the last levels.
PTC vouchers again topped the list of the most actives, up 40 paisa on
8.445m shares, ICI Pakistan, higher 75 paisa on 6.113m shares, Hub-Power,
firm 10 paisa on 4.388m shares, Dewan Salman, higher 85 paisa on 2.537m,
shares, Dhan Fibre, steady 20 paisa on 1.628m shares, and D.G.Khan Cement,
up 80 paisa on 1.195m shares.
The other actively traded shares were led by Fauji Cement, firm 20 paisa on
0.837m, Maple Leaf Cement, up 35 paisa on 0.271m, Chakwal Cement, unchanged
on 0.246m, Nishat Chunian, higher Rs 1.25 on 0.159m and Askari General
Insurance, up Rs 2.35 on 0.108m shares.
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Back to the top.
Jinnah, the film
IS IT malice, or envy, or ignorance, or the woman scorned syndrome that
makes you write so irresponsibly, in an effort to hinder the making of the
Jinnah film? I asked my journalist friend. He was shrewder than I presumed
him to be and he answered, A bit of all.
Ever since the birth of Pakistan there has been a lobby of ignorant self-
opinionated prejudiced men. I call them bigots, but many of them refer to
themselves as professors though at the most they can be termed lecturers.
They claim to be experts on Jinnah, and have made it their mission in
life to project the man as having been as humourless, as emotionless, as
narrow-minded as they themselves are.
In his book published in 1954, Hector Bolitho, Jinnahs official
biographer, wrote: While Quaid-e-Azam was caught up in this exasperating
care of detail, he was also writing the greatest speech of his life. He
would leave these fault-finding expeditions to return to his desk, where he
worked for many hours on the presidential address he was to give to the
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11. Bolitho went on to quote
from that speech.
To illustrate how even in 1954 it was found necessary, by the very people
to whom he had bequeathed a country, to betray the man Jinnah and his
beliefs, I give an example of senseless censorship, the blatant twisting of
Jinnahs creed, written and publicly declared by the great man himself.
Jinnah: You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has
nothing to do with the business of the State... We are starting with the
fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one
Bolitho: You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has
nothing to do with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and
equal citizens of one State.
And what was the phrase that had to be omitted? That a mans religion has
nothing to do with the business of the State. (We must always remember
that on more than one occasion Jinnah had emphatically stated that under no
circumstances was his country to be a theocracy).
Bolitho was unaware that the speech given to him by Colonel Majid Malik,
principal information officer to the GOP, had been censored. Malik was a
good man, who was later to admit that to his great regret he followed
Now, as we all know, a film script is innovative. The script of the film
now being made is at the same time cinematic, biographical, imaginative,
historical and factual. It cannot possibly offend the sensibilities of any
sane or balanced man, be he from Pakistan or Baffin Island.
Neither can the casting of the film. Christopher Lee, whose career spans 50
years, the age of this nation, has been chosen to play Jinnah. Lee, an
established internationally famed cinema actor, looks like him (this
photograph was taken in Karachi a week ago) sounds like him, and is of the
age Jinnah was when he founded this country. An actor is not selected to
play a role on the basis of his past roles (they are irrelevant) but on the
basis of his role suitability and his acting skills. One of Lees recent
roles was the Duke of Edinburgh in Charles and Diana, the film made for
British television. Anthony Hopkins, after playing murderer / cannibal
Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs went on to play Richard Nixon,
president of the USA. Did anyone raise a murmur?
Christopher Lee is here to do a job. He is naturally concerned with the
malicious disinformation being spread in the Press, and cannot understand
it. Of course, he cannot. No one who is not steeped in the local culture
can make head or tail of it all.
Lees confusion is further compounded by the letter he received from the
Press Secretary to the President. Dated January 28, 1997, this letter
I am writing on behalf of the President of Pakistan to express warm
gratitude to you for participating in the film being produced by Professor
Akbar S. Ahmed on the life of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Mr Jinnah is not only the founder of Pakistan but is one of the most
distinguished statesmen in contemporary history. Your participation in the
film will, I am sure, embellish the production.
Let me assure you that the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate your
decision. We look forward to your visit to Pakistan.
The feature film is being made, in 1977, on a shoe-string budget of 2.7
million pound. To put things into perspective, the film Gandhi made in
the early 1980s cost 27 million pound. Omar Kureishi was recently in
Singapore where he sounded some film-makers with a view to making a film
for one of his clients. They confirmed having just made a one-minute
television commercial for Garuda Airlines that cost $2.5 million, and
another one lasting the same time, with a superior cast and props, for
Malaysian Airlines for $5 million.
Funds for our Jinnah film have so far been largely subscribed by Pakistanis
living in America and Europe, who are very keen that this film about Jinnah
be shown on the screen abroad so that people are made aware of his life and
Producer Akbar Ahmed has also made an agreement with Faruk Dhondy,
commissioning agent of Londons Channel Four, to have the film shown in
Britain. PTV, in the era of our last caretaker government, also expressed
its keenness to Akbar when he was here earlier this year. Irshad Ahmad
Haqqani, the then information minister, signed an MoU which reads:
Whereas the Government of Pakistan recognises the need to project the life
and achievements of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to the world at large
in a proper perspective.
And Whereas the eminent scholar Professor Dr Akbar S. Ahmed is engaged in
the production of such a film through a British-Pakistan venture called
Quaid-e-Azam Project Ltd, which has wide international support.
Therefore, the government of Pakistan wishes to provide every moral
support in the early completion of this Project.
In this regard, the Government of Pakistan will encourage PTVC to enter
into agreement with the Quaid-e-Azam Project Ltd to provide support to be
decided between the two parties.
Thereafter, the Government of Pakistan, through PTVC, on February 2 of this
year, entered into a firm agreement whereby it unambiguously agreed to
subscribe Rs 6 crore (950,000 pound approx). The agreement was very one-
sided, heavily loaded in favour of PTVC, which no businessman in his right
senses should have made. In terms of this agreement, the government will
share the profits, but will not share any losses.
Armed with this agreement Akbar lined up his production teams, comprising
some 30 members from Britain and 25 from Pakistan, and signed up with
Christopher Lee, Shashi Kapoor, James Fox, Patricia Hodge and many others.
Now, at this late stage when the main actors have arrived and shooting is
well under way, a handful of dissatisfied disgruntled citizens of Pakistan
are trying to force the government to renege on its written commitment.
As it is, Pakistan, through its own faults, has come to be treated
worldwide as a joke, and in banking language it is termed not good for its
commitments. Do we need to substantiate this view? Do we need to make the
Indians have a good laugh at our expense? Do we wish to further confirm to
the world that after fifty years of existence we are incapable of making an
interesting and informative film on the creator of this country? Shame on
Bring on the horses
IF you had thought the PMLs overwhelming majority in the National Assembly
meant an end to horse-trading, you had better think again.
The latest round of wheeling and dealing that accompanied cabinet formation
in Sindh is just a foretaste of things to come. By bending over backwards
to accommodate Pir Pagaras sons, Sibghatullah and Sadruddin, the chief
minister has sent a clear signal that he is wide open to political pressure
Apart from the Pagara pair, MPAs Arbab Faiz and Maqbool Sharif also sent in
their resignations, thus pushing Sindhs fragile coalition to the brink of
But in yet another triumph of power politics over principles, the sulking
foursome were given what they wanted all along: lucrative portfolios of
their choice as against the unimportant ones they had been offered
So much for sharafat ki siyasat and the PMLs oft-stated determination to
introduce principled politics in Pakistan. Also, if anybody still harboured
hopes for a transformation in our polity following the February elections,
he only has to look north to the NWFPs murky politics: there, the ANP has
successfully blackmailed Nawaz Sharif into accepting Begum Wali Khans
brother, Azam Hoti, into the federal cabinet. He too, will no doubt insist
on an important (i.e. lucrative) portfolio so that he can serve us
I have often been accused by friends engaged in politics as a profession
that I am much too idealistic to appreciate the compulsions they have to
work under. Rather them than me, I reply: there should be some limit to the
compromises slimy politicos are willing to make in order to retain their
slippery grip on power.
When it comes to greed and blind ambition, our politicians have few peers.
What then is the shape of things to come? The euphoria of a landslide
victory having worn off, what are the emerging contours of Pakistans
political landscape? Frankly, stable governments in Islamabad and Lahore
apart, the situation in the other provincial capitals looks very dodgy.
In Sindh, a weak and barely tenable coalition of the PML and the MQM will
be forever held hostage by a handful of so-called independent adventurers
who will exploit the prevailing anti-PPP sentiments to gouge their pound of
flesh. With Pir Sibghatullah as minister for revenue and land utilisation,
we can safely expect him to maximise revenues through total exploitation of
Similarly, his partners in resignation will undoubtedly proceed to make the
most of their important ministries.
The same dismal scenario will be repeated in Peshawar and Quetta. And when
ministers are making hay, it would be unrealistic to expect their
bureaucratic underlings to remain as pure as the driven snow. So what price
It appears that Nawaz Sharifs brave post-election promises are proving
hollow barely before his administration has had time to get into first
Predictably, the seemingly invincible force of a two-thirds majority has
been stopped cold by the sleaze factor that has dominated our political and
social landscape for half a century.
Although the government has been making all kinds of pronouncements and
promises to cleanse the system, the fact is that almost all those
politicians and bureaucrats responsible for the premature demise of the PPP
government are still living off the fat of the land.
The handful who were arrested have managed to suffer sudden but
mysteriously convenient illnesses that have necessitated moving them to the
VIP wings of hospitals.
Accountability is now yet another discredited slogan. Given this scenario,
what chance does Nawaz Sharif have to actually make a difference?
None, unless hes willing to break a few eggs to make an omelette. While
the FIA and sundry other agencies are scouring the land for evidence of
corruption, it stares them in the face in the form of huge houses and other
signs of conspicuous consumption.
As long as the onus of proof is on the government, it is unlikely that
anybody will ever get convicted. However, turn the equation around and you
can put away hundreds of crooked bureaucrats and politicos. Let them
explain how they managed to foot the bill for the childrens lavish
weddings, or how they built their huge and obscenely opulent homes, or how
they paid for their snazzy limousines and jeeps. And if they cant justify
their lavish lifestyle, they are automatically out. No appeal, no stay
Granted that there is bound to be some miscarriage of justice, but hey,
life isnt perfect.
Although we seem to be on the verge of forgetting, there was a real wave of
revulsion against corruption, and three months of caretaker raj have proved
that conventional means of accountability simply will not do. Let the onus
of proof be on the accused.
Meanwhile, life in Sindh threatens to be an action replay of the Jam Sadiq
days: already friends with industries have reported getting threatening
phone calls demanding political contributions.
If Islamabad tries to discipline a profligate provincial government by
cutting off funds, I can imagine a wave of threatened resignations from
ministers whose portfolios have suddenly become unimportant.
After all, the name of the game is and always has been money. For all
their tall talk about serving the people, if you scratch a politician,
youll find a bank account with its mouth wide open. Why these people dont
find a profession other than highway robbery is beyond me.
Indeed, they could even try looking for a normal life.
Instead, they devote all their inexhaustible time and energy to grabbing
power, and once installed, do all they can to hang on at any cost. Given
the amount of abuse and contempt hurled their way by an exasperated public,
youd think that any self-respecting group would slink away and spend the
rest of their lives in obscurity, atoning for their sins. But our
politicians are beneath the standard notion of dignity and respect: they
are thick-skinned enough to ignore all criticism and invective and
cheerfully proceed along their path of pillage and loot without straining
their conscience unduly.
Unfortunately, there is no legal or social deterrent to make the corrupt
think twice before ripping us off. We have all heard slogans for change
shouted by politicians on the eve of their oath-taking, and then seen them
sacked on corruption charges.
The crooks have prospered, and no action has ever been taken against them.
This apparent immunity encourages others to dip into the national till,
secure in the knowledge that they will not be touched.
And even if a few crooked civil servants are sacked, this will do nothing
to deter their political masters.
Given the ease with which Sindhs four rebellious ministers managed to get
the portfolios of their choice, it becomes clear that without a clear
majority in the provincial assembly, good governance remains a distant
Not that this one factor is any guarantee: the PPP had a handy majority,
and yet its rule is not recalled as a model of clean government.
nevertheless, this remains a prerequisite for a reasonably honest
If things continue in the same vein in Sindh, Nawaz Sharif may have to
think very seriously about imposing governors rule.
Flying through turbulence
PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif has sent out an unambiguous message to PIA:
shape up or ship out. Bombarded as he has been with advice on what should
be his priorities, he has indicated that PIA is high on the list. And so it
PIA is more than an airline. It is a part of our lives and a crucial player
in the national economy. A troubled PIA is costly not only to itself but to
the country, in more ways than just financial. The Prime Minister is fully
justified in expressing concern.
The perception is that PIAs service standards have fallen and as a result
it is getting considerable flak both from its customers as well as the
media. There is concern too about the financial health of the organisation,
not too dissimilar to the health of the countrys economy, which is
generally agreed to be fragile if not tottering on its last legs. As if
this was not enough, PIAs fleet is ageing and there is a compelling need
to induct new aircraft. There is substance in the criticism that is being
made and even PIAs own management would find it hard to put on a brave
PIA suffers the disadvantage that it is compared to its past, to the trail-
blazing airline that sky-wrote its name in golden letters, if I may be
forgiven an opulent metaphor. This is manifestly unfair because then was
then and now is now and PIA has to contend with the present realities. It
is these realities that have to be examined if responsibility has to be
fixed for the disarray in PIA and those obstacles removed that has brought
a once proud airline to such a sorry pass.
One of the major complaints is that PIA is not only overstaffed but it is
top-heavy. There is no one in PIA who will disagree but they will say with
every justification that this overstaffing and a top-heavy management is
not of their doing and even more important, not of their asking. Left to
themselves they would downsize the airline but they are not left to
themselves. It is no secret that PIA has been made a dumping ground for
political appointees by successive regimes. Even certain domestic points
have been added to its network at the behest of political masters,
irrespective of whether they can be justified commercially.
PIA can hardly be blamed for actions that are not of their making and for
decisions that are made for them. The irony is that whereas PIA is expected
to compete in the international market, it is being asked to do so with its
hands tied behind its back. PIA was meant to be a commercial organisation
but it has been reduced to a government department. Imagine British Airways
or Singapore Airlines or even Emirates, which PIA helped to start, having
to function, strangulated by red tape and run de facto by remote control.
No one expects that the National Bank of Pakistan will be as gung-ho as the
Citibank or ANZ Grindlays. National Bank operates in a totally different
culture. Yet we want PIA to be like British Airways or Singapore Airlines.
Though never meant to, PIA too has been made to operate in the same culture
as the National Bank. If PIA is to be turned around and be made a
competitive airline, then conditions must be created for it to be
competitive. PIA is described as a semi-autonomous organisation. The accent
should be less on the semi and more on the autonomous!
This is not to absolve PIAs management of all blame. Improvements can be
made in the service areas and in the attitude of staff who too see
themselves as functionaries of a government department with the same
cavalier disrespect for the public. Over the years, PIA has developed its
own bureaucracy and this bureaucracy is no less deadly than the real one.
When I worked for PIA I once read the Service Code and immediately informed
my superiors that it resembled a Penal Code. As a service code it was
entirely negative and soulless. It needed changing. The point I wanted to
make was the management and the employees should be seen to be on the same
team and not have an adversarial relationship. But even then, PIAs
fledgling bureaucracy considered such a point of view as too radical and
cock-eyed in the bargain. PIA employees who retire or are given the boot
are still made to go through a private hell to have their outstanding and
dues settled. I dont think there are any restrictions on the management to
remove these babu obstacles.
In other words, working conditions can be improved. Middle management
should be encouraged to take decisions so that the level of supervision and
monitoring is tightened. PIA needs to decentralise its management to get
efficient. It would do wonders for the morale of the staff as well. But
none of this would make an important difference to the overall PIA
performance unless there is a change in the attitude of government. The PIA
should be set certain objectives and targets and then told to get on with
achieving them without any kind of interference. Failure to achieve these
objectives and targets would amount to a failure of management and then
heads can roll. But PIA cannot be expected to fly jets through rules and
regulations that were designed for the bullock-cart. PIA should be
encouraged to compete with the best and the word is encouraged not
There is still in PIA a hard-core of professionals who I fervently believe
will be able to win back the trust of Great People To Fly With. At present,
it is only an advertising slogan and a pretty old one at that. It worked
then. It can be made to work now. PIA is not a hopeless cause. It has just
lost its bearings and needs to be put back on course. The heart of the
airline is sound.
Preparing Karachi for 2001
SINDH, at last, has a cabinet following the February 3 general elections,
and it is the largest in the country today. The MQM with seven ministers
and an adviser with ministerial rank in charge of finance, has almost equal
representation in the 18-member cabinet inclusive of Chief Minister Liaquat
Jatoi, with other parties. The issue of portfolios for them all which
threatened to disrupt the cabinet following its formation has also been
There is now hope that following the return of MQM to office after five
years, there may be peace in the city which desperately needs it to solve
its multiplicity of problems. It is 12 years since violence began
disrupting the city life, and ethnic conflicts became its centre-piece. The
economic and social life of the city, estimated to have 12 million people,
has been disrupted along with its political and civic life which had
resulted in frequent disbandment of elected municipal bodies. Along with
that big time crimes have been on the increase manifesting themselves in
various horrid forms aggravating the sense of insecurity in most areas.
The economic life of the city which contributes over 70 per cent of the
income tax revenues of the federal government even in its disrupted state
needs to be rehabilitated and reinvigorated. If political violence
aggravates unemployment, prolonged unemployment of an increasing number of
persons as well as the sustained high inflation in a low-wage economy have
been increasing the crimes in the city and the province. The old solitary
burglar has become a thing of the past. What we have instead are armed
dacoaities committed by gangs using stolen cars who are ready to shoot at
the sight of any resistance from their victims. And few realise the role
inflation, now officially 14 per cent and actually far higher, is playing
in the rising violence within families where mothers are victims of
violence spurred by unemployment as well as the sustained high inflation
when several children have to be fed. That increases the use of narcotics
The city is the victim of heavy federal taxation like sudden increases in
sales tax and its sweeping spread through one budget after another. And for
all the taxes Karachi pays to the Centre and Sindh government it gets very
little in return in the form of improved services. Caretaker chief minister
Mumtaz Bhutto had stressed several times that the province which was paying
75 per cent of the federal taxes was getting too little in return.
Karachis leaders and people have not been organised enough to plead their
case strongly or fruitfully. Successive governments spoke of special
packages for Karachi, but very little came out of them.
Karachi is now likely to be hit harder by some of the hobby horses of Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif. The use of green channel freely by overseas
Pakistanis bringing in vast variety of electrical and electronic goods will
undermine the dwindling electronic industry of the city. Already radio and
TV manufacturers here have slashed their production sharply as they could
not compete with tax-free imported electronics. And re-opening the green
channel in a big way which is used by customs officers and professional
carriers will flood the country with tax free electronics even more while
the domestic products are heavily taxed.
Hino-Pak in Karachi has reported that its sales are down by 80 percent this
year following the tax-free import of Volvo trucks from Sweden by
Pakistanis returning home. And now Mr Nawaz Sharif talks of reviving the
yellow cab scheme which would mean far more buses coming in the manner the
fast-moving coaches came earlier. During his first term, bus manufacturing
was hit hard through the import of several hundred buses by a friend of his
Industry in Karachi is hit hard when not held back by violence or an excess
of holidays as a result of prolonged and frequent loadshedding by KESC or
the endemic water shortage. What the current power crisis in the city shows
is that even if the output of power is increased through foreign investors,
unless the transmission and distribution systems are proper and massive
corruption is eliminated in WAPDA and KESC, power failures may stay
Unemployment in the city has been getting worse owing to external and
domestic reasons. Karachi is said to have half a million to one million
illegal immigrants who are all employed. Efforts to round them up and send
them away have not succeeded. Not much can be achieved in the face of
excessive police corruption which shields these aliens. Hub was developed
as an industrial areas with the promise of providing 75 percent of the jobs
to the people of Balochistan. Instead, most of those employed were
Construction jobs in the city are now taken up by workers from Punjab and
the NWFP. Domestic jobs as cooks are secured by Bangladeshis. And Sri
Lankans and Filipino women take up womens work in homes. And the security
jobs are secured by persons from the Frontier or retired soldiers and
Most of the Mohajirs by comparison are lower or middle class workers who
need white collar jobs. It is industry, business and the service sector
which can provide such jobs. But instead of these sectors expanding they
have been stagnant or shrinking and about 1,500 industrial units are sick.
And now instead of increasing employment, the KDA, KMC, KESC and KWSB are
under pressure to sack thousands of workers from each of them. Public
sector banks and DFIs are to shed about 35,000 workers under IMF and World
Bank pressure. PIA and Pakistan Steel face similar situation after the
massive staff expansion under political pressure over the years.
Clearly new jobs in large numbers and with good pay are in the private
sector. But they cannot come through little outfits like Modarba and
leasing companies, with a tiny staff buttressed by computers. Instead, the
city has to opt for large-scale industrialisation with a dynamic and
expanding small sector and the service sector which follows an export
sector that thrives.
The SITE has too many sick industries and chronically ailing textile mills.
The Korangi Industrial estate is so polluted it is a real health hazard. It
has 2,800 industrial units which pay Rs 200 million as tax to the Centre
daily but the government shows scant interest in its welfare. The Korangi
Fifth Harbour has taken ages to be completed and is yet to play its proper
role. The Federal B. Area had about 900 small industrial units in 1994 but
following the escalating violence hundreds of them had closed down.
The PPP government spoke of three industrial zones in the city in Landhi,
Orangi and Baldia. It also proposed a Surjani Town electronic industrial
area at a cost of Rs 200 million. But none of the projects became a
reality. An electronic industry and massive smuggling of such goods cannot
The Export Processing Zone remains an eternally stunted body even after it
has been exempted from labour law and it provides one window facility for
foreign investors. Its total foreign investment of about 170 million
dollars is a shadow of the massive investment of over 3 billion dollars in
the export processing zone near Dubai.
Nooriabad, close to Karachi, was to provide employment to the local workers
in Dadu but because of ethnic violence and increasing crimes that made
The need of the hour is a task force for economic re-generation of Karachi.
If the federal or the Sindh government would not set up such a body, the
private sector in the city should do that with the approval of the
government. When the 11 working groups set up by Mr Nawaz Sharif come up
with their reports and the government takes final decision on them, that
may not be enough for Karachi in view of its peculiar problems and
accumulated liabilities. It needs a task force to identify its specific
problems and suggest specific solutions to be implemented within a short
The labour policy has also to be revised instead of having a good policy on
paper which breeds a variety of nasty violations. The policy restrains good
employers, like multinationals, while it shields the notorious group system
which many Pakistani employers, particularly in the textile sector, rely
on. The new policy has to let employers have the right to fire subject to
rules. Otherwise we may not be able to get the best rewards from our
privatisation efforts or our relentless drive for attracting foreign
If Karachis economic problems are to be solved and its future secured, it
has to become an island of peace and progress. A meeting of American and
Asian strategic experts recently suggested that Karachi and Hong Kong
should become tax-holiday zones. Considering that the bulk of the federal
revenues come from Karachi, that may seem a distant dream.
But the fact is that if Karachi becomes an island of peace with inter-
ethnic peace and its infrastructure is improved it can become a bubbling
industrial city and a far larger financial centre. But Karachis leaders,
particularly those of the MQM have to strive for that relentlessly,
brushing aside small considerations for larger objectives and have clearer
vision of its role in the 21st century.
All that has to begin with imparting quality education in the city, and
particularly technical and computer education. More than Hong Kong,
Singapore may be the best model. Singapore has been built up by disciplined
men under a dynamic and far-sighted leadership. We need that kind of an
educational and infra-structure base in the city. We can ignore all that
only at grave peril to ourselves.
Hopeful hints about a new sports policy
A. Majid Khan
While Pakistan is celebrating its golden jubilee, serious gaps and
deficiencies in the realm of sports hit the eye. The most glaring lapse on
this vital front was the failure of successive governments, since the
creation of the new state on August 14, 1947, to formulate a national
After almost half a century it is evident that several young generations of
the country were deprived of a national direction in the field of healthy
sports activities. Huge amounts of public money were wasted, in the absence
of any national sports policy, by a conglomerate of bureaucrats, the
Pakistan Sports Board, the Pakistan Olympic Associations and several sports
federations on unproductive outings with rare exceptions to regional
and world moots accompanied by disproportionately large contingents of
officials and joy-riders.
The outcome of this lop-sided approach has been the overall decline of
national sports at the hands of a few incompetent but influential
monopolists in the national sports organisations.
With virtually no accountability at any level the sports structure seems to
have almost collapsed. The Federal and the provincial governments are
vulnerable under the charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
because of their interference in the affairs of the sports organisations.
The IOC charter lays the responsibility of promoting sports on the POA and
its affiliated national federations, but in Pakistan the POA and the
national federations substantially depend on funds and contributions from
the governments for even coaching camps not to say, foreign tours.
It is to be seen if in the wake of recent changes, significant structural
reforms are introduced in the sports sector, as indicated by Mr Mushahid
Hussain, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Information, Sports and Culture.
The proposed Sports Conference on March 30 in Islamabad, avowedly called
for taking measures to revamp and revive sports in the country, can be a
meaningful exercise but the task is very challenging and demanding. If a
new sports policy is formulated in another six months it will be a great
The need to curb the carter-style tendency in the national sports is
manifest, yet getting rid of the sports Mafia will not be easy. In the past
no government could succeed in putting the national sports on the right
track partly because they lacked the will and partly because of the stiff
resistance from powerful vested interests.
In order to strengthen the base it would be in the fitness of things that
provincial sports conferences were organised at Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar
and Quetta, before launching the ambitious scheme on a country-wide scale.
Such conference can be easily held under the auspices of provincial sports
boards of Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan. This exercises would bring
into focus the ground realities before the Islamabad conference is held.
Some flaws in the Test World Cup scheme
It was in the first quarter of 1995 that Matthew Engel had broached the
idea of a world championship of Test matches in his editorial notes of the
respected Wisden cricketers almanack to raise the games profile and to
determine a true world champion.
Engel had dismissed the one-day competition and its one tournament called
World Cup as a bewildering variety of contest with no legitimacy beyond
the profit motive. There was no reason why this competition (of Tests)
could not be instituted almost once, according to the Wisden editor. His
scheme, as he developed it later, had one flaw that the duels had to go
through a four-year cycle, even if the crowds had filled the venues to
watch the Test stars in action and the marketing plan had proved a success.
The officials, the players and the fans of the game cannot wait for so long
a period for the winner to come out. The whole process would then prove
counter-productive and may not attain the desired objective: enhancing the
importance of the five-day inter-country duels, attracting spectators and
sponsors and bringing in more revenue to help development of the game in
the nine Test-playing countries as also in other areas where increased
interest in cricket is day by day being shown.
Others are putting forward a two-year programme, taking the series in each
country as the launching pad. A return Test series on away basis will be
mandatory in this system. Many veteran cricketers and writers, including
the editor of the Wisden, want a continuous process to prop up interest in
Test matches and help regain their global significance.
A glaring defect in the plans, as are being given out by famed cricketers
and debated in various countries, is the point system, which may not be
fair to many nations which in recent years have attained a higher status in
cricket like Sri Lanka, which brushed aside all challenges in last years
World Cup to the amazement of the fans and critics alike. It will not be
proper to relegate the world champions by giving lesser playing chances to
Two important personages, who have recently lined up in support of the
global Test championship or a Test World Cup are Dr Ali Bacher, Managing
Director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, and David Richards,
Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council. Dr Bachers backing
will carry considerable weight and his expected lobbying at this months
ICC meeting at Kuala Lumpur will win many delegates to his side. He has not
detailed his proposal but said it was the appropriate time to find the
right formula for establishing a world championship of Test cricket which
would counter any possible negative influences of a more frequent World Cup
(one-dayers). It seems Dr Bacher has an open mind on the point system,
format and the schedule of the Test World Cup.
David Richards seems to be in a hurry. While on a visit to Johannesburg he
said the competition could be instituted in a year but wants a
formalisation of the proposal from the nine Test-playing countries.
Richards said once we have agreed in principle its just a question of
juggling the itineraries. However, he has concurred with Engel on the
point formula and the four-year schedule as mentioned by him.
The first proposal in respect of a Test World Cup was offered for
consideration of the cricketing nations by Pakistans former BCCP supremo,
Air Marshal Nur Khan, in an interview. The idea was taken up by Arif Ali
Abbasi, former PCB head but at that time having the charge of Chief
Executive of the board. He did his paper work and dispatched the whole
design to Lords for debate and discussion at the annual caucus of global
cricket delegates. But before he had a chance to press the issue through
arguments and lobbying he was replaced by a technocrat, a former Test
player, Majid Khan. The latter had a feeling that the staging of such a
mega-championship had multi-sided problems of its own, especially relating
to logistics and infrastructure. The proposal, as such, was talked out. The
Englishmen could not have lagged behind and wanted it to be started without
waste of time. Of course the commitments of what they call mini-cricket
nations come in the way. Otherwise, the Test duels going on be included in
their scheme of things and the points scoring may start this year (as
Abbasiss programme was based, more or less, on the one-day World Cup model
where 37 or 39 matches are arranged at various venues in a maximum of two
countries who are joint sponsors. In a championship of Tests eight matches
are to be played pool-wise, plus a five-day final. Taking the travelling
the whole duration may not extend beyond 60 days, which is not impractical.
The competition can be allotted to a single country. Pakistan, as Arif
Abbasi during his PCB tenure claimed, could have staged the whole show with
satisfactory results and Pakistan would have proved that even Test matches
can attract full houses both at Karachi and Lahore, the main cricket
centres. Perhaps Pakistan can again join up with India in setting an
example for successfully holding a Test World Cup and helping in the
survival of the five-day Test cricket. The only problem will be the already
committed Test tours, which means if the Pakistan plan is seriously taken
up at the ICC meeting it can only be launched a few years after the next
It is to be seen if the Pakistani plan is pressed by the PCB
representatives when the issue comes up for discussion at the Lords summit
meeting, if not at its special Kuala Lumpur session.
Aamir Sohail suspended for 30 days
KARACHI, March 16: Aamir Sohails prospects for getting selected in the
Pakistan team for the Sharjah and Sri Lanka tours went down the drain when
he was suspended for 30 days by the Disciplinary Committee of the Pakistan
Cricket Board (PCB) for allegedly misbehaving with its Chief Executive,
The 30-day suspension is enforced with immediate effect and it will
terminate on April 15a day after the Pakistan cricket team would have
arrived in Sri Lanka for a two-Test series.
The member said Aamir Sohail had a right to appeal. He can appeal against
the suspension any time.
Ashraf Qureshi, member, Disciplinary Committee and PCB Executive Council,
said: The suspension decision doesnt have to go to the Executive Council
for approval because when the Disciplinary Committee was constituted, it
was empowered to take any decision it deemed necessary.
Aamir Sohail has been at the centre of controversy on a number of occasions
but this has been the harshest decision he has ever faced. In 1993-94,
Aamir Sohail was fined Rs 10,000 after he levelled ball tampering
allegations against Pakistan Railways team during the Patrons Trophy Grade
Two final at the LCCA ground, Lahore. That fine turned into a two-week
suspension as Sohail didnt submit the cash purse. However, the suspension
short-lived as he was called to reinforce the Pakistan team that was
touring South Africa for the three-nation tournament that also involved
eventual winners, the West Indies, and South Africa.
Aamir Sohail was also fined 25% of his tour fee by Intikhab Alam after he
allegedly exchanged blows with team-mate Ijaz Ahmad Senior during the first
one-day international at Harare against Zimbabwe in 1994-95. But this time
Aamir Sohail was engaged in a verbal confrontation with PCB Chief Executive
Majid Khan. Last Friday, Aamir Sohail told Majid to `mend his ways after
the PCB Chief Executive told Aamir Sohails brother-in-law, uncle and
brother to vacate the balcony opening towards the ground and reserved
exclusively for the PCB officials and selectors.
Aamir Sohail, when appeared before the Disciplinary Committee on Sunday
noon, admitted that he had told Majid `to mend his ways and also agreed to
apologise to Majid. But Aamirs contention was that he would apologise to
Majid Khan as a former Pakistan captain for whom he has all regard and
respect. But he was not willing to regret to Majid in his capacity as PCB
Chief Executive, a Disciplinary Committee member, on condition of
The sources said Aamir Sohail, whom the Disciplinary Committee heard for
almost 90 minutes, argued that he was insulted by the Chief Executive. But
we told him that if he (Aamir Sohail) had any complaints, he should have
talked to him (Majid Khan) privately and not in front of several people,
The sources said Aamir Sohail also argued that he had affidavits of some
spectators who witnessed the entire scene to which the Disciplinary
Committee said: We also have several complaints and decisions taken
against you. Those documents are signed by the PCB Executive Councillors.
It is interesting to point out that Aamir Sohail had engaged a team of
lawyers against the show cause notice that was served on him by the
Secretary, PCB, Waqar Ahmad, on Tuesday last in which he was directed to
appear before the Disciplinary Committee on Thursday.
In reply to the show cause, Shabbir Ahmad Lali, besides other things, had
contested that the Disciplinary Committee was a brain-child of PCB
Executive Council which was, in fact, a complainant in the case. The
Court of Justice will be deflected and the hearing before the said
Committee will only be a perfunctory-ritual, he had said in his reply to
the show cause notice.
Pakistan out of final race; chances missed again
A. Majid Khan
KARACHI, March 20: Pakistan, the reigning champions of World Cup, suffered
the humiliation of their ouster from the title race when fighting Germany
overturned a 0-2 deficit for an exciting 3-3 draw and skipper Jay Stacy
performed a delightful first hit-trick of the event in Australia's
comprehensive 5-2 victory over England in the five-nation Golden Jubilee
Hockey League here on Wednesday at the HCP Stadium.
Pakistan, who over three months back at the Madras Champions Trophy put up
commendable performance by entering the final to get the silver medal,
fared disappointingly before their supporting crowd of about 15,000, the
biggest of the tournament so far.
Missed chances again let down the team badly today and particularly when
the seasoned Olympian and World Cup insideright Tahir Zaman squandered a
54th minute second-half penalty stroke when Pakistan were endeavouring hard
to erase the German lead of 3-2. If Tahir Zaman, who professionally
executed the first penalty stroke, had succeeded a second time Pakistan
would have evened the scores 3-3 and centreforward Kamran Ashraf's third
equaliser would have been the winner to keep Pakistan in contention for a
place in the final.
Tahir Zaman miss at the crucial moment proved costly for Pakistan who have
collected only three points from three successive draws without a win.
Australia, having lost their first two encounters, today secured three
points by overpowering England, who finished at the bottom of the five-team
contest with one point by holding Pakistan to a 1-1 draw on the opening
Pakistan and Australia play their fourth and last encounter on Saturday as
tomorrow is the rest day but the outcome would be having no bearing for
both the teams as they would clash again for the third and fourth position.
Similarly the Netherlands, the holders of the 1996 Olympic and Champions
trophy, and Germany, the Madras bronze medalists, have already qualified
for the final by securing seven points each from three matches. Their last
league match is also on Saturday and the victorious side might enjoy a
psychological advantage when they again fight out for the golden jubille
trophy on Sunday, the day the tournament concludes.
PAKISTAN: Mansoor Ahmed (captain-goalkeeper), Danish Kaleem, Ali Raza,
Irfan Yousuf, Mohammad khalid, Waseem Ahmed, Mohammad Ali, Tahir Zaman,
Kamran Ashraf,Mohammad Shahbaz, Babar Abdullah, Ejaz Khokar, Tariq Imran,
Irfan Mahmood, Rahim Khan and Khalid jr.
GERMANY: C. Schulte, K. Nils, C.Philip, Eimer M, Blunck (Captain),
Hollensteiner, Michel,Domke, Saliger, Streich, Eimer C. Bechmann, Gren,
Michler, Kurtz and Mayerhofer. Umpires: Hoyes (England) and Prior(Spain).
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