------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 10 October 1998 Issue : 04/40 -------------------------------------------------------------------

Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + NA passes CA-15 bill: 151 for, 16 against + Talks with IMF conclude: Pakistan to seek debt rescheduling + Karamat retired, Musharraf takes over as COAS + Superseded generals resign + Legislators call for Sindh CM's resignation + Indo-Pak relations: No progress made at NY meeting: PM + Pakistan will go to US court for refund of F-16s money + Transfer of WAPDA to NWFP urged + NA body opposes 15pc raise in gas charges + Senate starts debate on charges against PM --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Export slips by 10.16pc, import by 21.53pc + Govt urged not to raise power tariff + PTC to buy digital exchanges from China + Dollar-oriented bonds may be issued: Sartaj + Govt holds talks with Hubco + Road shows for PTCL sale in Feb '99 + EoI invited for financial advisor + Leasing cos may survive thru mergers + Punjab considering bank for small industries + More curbs on forex dealings expected + KSE index loses 20.65 points, selling not aggressive --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Spurring strife - 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee + Women as targets Irfan Husain + Economy in focus Sultan Ahmed ----------- SPORTS + Cricket: Pakistan hope to lift themselves in series + Hockey: South Korea replace England in Champions' Trophy + Wasim Akram denies betting allegations

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NATIONAL NEWS
981010
-------------------------------------------------------------------
NA passes CA-15 bill: 151 for, 16 against
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By Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9: The National Assembly on Friday passed the 15th 
constitutional amendment bill with avowed objectives to enforce 
Shariat, provide justice, improve the deteriorating law and order 
situation and rid society of corruption.
    
The treasury benches termed the amended draft as "innocent bill" 
while the opposition rejected it as an attempt to abrogate the 
unanimous Constitution of 1973.
    
The bill was passed by a majority of 151 votes, 16 votes were cast 
against it while the main ally of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League 
(PML), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-A), remained absent from 
today’s session.
    
Though the government managed to scuttle the dissent from within 
the ruling party by bringing an amended draft, it could not win 
over the support of independents, Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam (JUI) and 
five minority members.
Five minority members  Rana Chander Singh, Father Rufin Julius, 
Peter John Sahotra, Kishan Chand Parwani and Simon Jacob  kept 
sitting in the house while the ruling PML members carried out the 
ritual of passing the bill.
    
All the independent members abstained from the proceedings as they 
had announced to oppose the bill.
    
The chair during the voting after first and second reading of the 
bill declared that 154 and 156 members respectively had voted in 
favour of the bill. However, the final count after the division, 
when both treasury and opposition members temporarily retired in 
different lobbies, came down to 151.
    
The minority members were inadvertently counted during the earlier 
votes whereas at the time of division they did not vote in support 
of the bill, chief whip of PML Sheikh Aftab later told Dawn.
    
Abdul Hameed Jatoi was indisposed and Mian Azhar was away from the 
country therefore they could not attend the session, Mr. Aftab 
said.
    
The total strength of PML in the house is 143 including the Speaker 
Illahi Bakhsh Soomro. The votes of seven FATA members, three 
minority members, Khatomal Jevan, Yazdyar Kaikobad, and Kishan Beel 

Chand, and Hasil Bizanjo brought the final tally to 151.
    
The speaker who seemed to be determined to get the bill through 
before the Friday prayers applied guillotine during the third 
reading of the bill and did not allow the opposition members to 
express their views.
    
"I have to say my prayers," he said when the opposition members 
insisted that they should be given an opportunity to speak on the 
bill.

He called division when the opposition members were still agitating 
that the bill should not be passed in haste and they should be 
given opportunity to express their point of view as it was very 
vital amendment which would change the whole complexion of the 
Constitution.
    
Earlier the speaker ruled out a point of order raised by Naveed 
Qamar that under the rules a notice of one-clear day should have 
been given after introducing amendment in the bill.
    
He said that they received the draft late on Thursday night and 
notice of one-clear day was not given. He claimed that some members 
of the ruling party had not even seen the amended draft.
    
The ANP parliamentary party leader, Asfandyar Wali, termed the bill 
as an attempt to subvert the Constitution.
    
The prime minister should resign and go to the electorate for a 
fresh mandate for abrogating the Constitution, he said.
    
Mr. Wali contended that the bill would undermine the provincial 
autonomy of the smaller federating units. Any law passed by the 
provincial assembly could be set aside by the federal government 
under the new bill on the pretext of Islam, he said.
    
"You are handing over absolute power to one individual what would 
happen to the country,?" he questioned.
    
Syed Naveed Qamar said the bill would take away the powers of 
judicial review from the superior judiciary. It was not Shariat 
bill but virtual concentration of powers into the hands of an 
individual, he added.
    
He said under the amended bill the federal government did not 
require to issue directives but the verbal orders to declare any 
thing unIslamic.
    
He expressed his apprehension that the bill would create a chaos in 
the country as there was a great deal of differences on the 
authenticity on various Hadiths (saying of Holy Prophet PBUH).
    
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Yasin Wattoo, defending the new 
draft, said it was very ‘innocent bill.’
    
He said the government gave ample time to the opposition members to 
speak on the bill. He pointed out that the House had been debating 
the bill for the last one month.
    
The government did not suspend the rules or disturb the agenda to 
get the bill passed, he said.

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981010
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Talks with IMF conclude: Pakistan to seek debt rescheduling
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By Shaheen Sehbai

WASHINGTON, Oct 9: Pakistan and the IMF concluded their "policy 
level" talks here on Thursday and Islamabad has decided to seek 
rescheduling of its debts from the Paris Club, Adviser to the Prime 
Minister Dr Hafeez Pasha said on Thursday.
    
An IMF/World Bank mission will visit Pakistan on Oct 16-24 to begin 
the "programming phase", he disclosed, indicating that the size of 
the restored ESAF may be a little more than 1.5 billion dollars.
    
"Talks in the sense of the policy have concluded, now is the 
question of translating that into programming. Details have to be 
worked out. We have entered into the programming stage now," Pasha 
told Dawn in a detailed interview on telephone after his final 
meetings with IMF officials on Thursday.
    
Asked whether agreement had been reached with the IMF on what 
needed to be done by Pakistan, what were they asking and what would 
be conceded, Mr Pasha replied in a categorical "Yes".
    
The adviser would not give the details of the agreement reached and 
what conditions Pakistan had accepted, but when asked about these 
conditions he said: "In negotiations you have to have a common 
ground eventually. They have to yield on a few things and it was 
very intense. The good thing about it that they (talks) have 
concluded well and we are moving to the final stage, the next 
stage. If we had failed, there would have been no next stage."
    
He maintained that the IMF Board had already approved the 
resumption of ESAF and then the process of negotiations had 
started.
    
Asked whether restoration of the IMF programme would mean re- 
opening of foreign currency accounts, the Adviser said it was "far 
too premature to say that."
    
To the question as to when would he be in a position to determine 
the revival of accounts, he said: "Let us first get to the IMF 
Board and get the approval. At this time we have to move in 
stages."
    
"Now we are seeking debt rescheduling for which we will go to the 
Paris Club. This can only happen if the programme with the IMF is 
finalised and there is Board approval for the programme.
    
About the IMF mission to Pakistan, Pasha said it would be basically 
going to implement whatever policy framework had been evolved in 
his talks in Washington. "We can work that into a detailed 
programme."
    
Asked whether he had detected any "green signals" by the US, as 
promised to Pakistani officials, Mr Pasha said such signals had 
already been received before the negotiations began.
    
The political approval of the G-7 countries had also been obtained. 
"That stage in this IMF case has already been crossed. Had that not 
been done we would not have been able to revive the ESAF. That 
stage has been crossed. Now of course it will go to the Board for 
approval which includes members from G-7. We have crossed that 
hurdle as far as the Fund is concerned, otherwise we would not have 
reached at this stage," he said.
    
Asked whether Pakistan would still borrow from the Islamic Bank if 
the IMF programme was approved, Mr Pasha said it was too early to 
say anything "because we need to know what the overall financing 
package looks like when everything is finally approved."
    
"So you are still not yet at that stage to determine what the over 
all financing would be," he was asked. "How can I tell you a number 
at this point. It depends on Paris Club and other factors," he 
replied.
    
On seeking rescheduling of debts, Mr Pasha said it would improve 
Pakistan’s liquidity position but it is a trade off as credit 
worthiness could be affected. "Fortunately we have never done this 
in the past. But at this point the credit rating could not go down 
any further," he said.
    
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981008
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Karamat retired, Musharraf takes over as COAS
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Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: In an extraordinary development here on 
Wednesday, Gen Pervez Musharraf assumed charge as chief of the army 
staff (COAS), replacing with immediate effect Gen Jehangir Karamat, 
who stood retired.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted the request of acting chairman 
of the joint chiefs of staff committee and the chief of the army 
staff, Gen Karamat, for an early retirement, and appointed Lt-Gen 
Pervez Musharraf new chief of the army staff with immediate effect 
by promoting him to the rank of general.

Gen Karamat's three-year tenure was due to end on Jan 9.

According to the press information department (PID), Gen Karamat 
had written a letter to the prime minister stating that given the 
context of his recent statement an unnecessary controversy had been 
generated, as a result of which he thought it was in the best 
interest of the country that he should step aside so that the right 
precedent is set for the future."

Gen Pervez Musharraf later called on the prime minister after 
taking over as COAS and discussed with him matters relating to his 
new responsibilities. Gen Musharraf has superseded Lt-Gen Ali Kuli 
Khan, the chief of general staff, who is the most senior officer in 
the army today.

In an interview to BBC, Gen Karamat said his statement had been 
blown out of proportions and that he had never warned the 
government of any consequences. He said his statement, though 
issued by the ISPR, had not been interpreted by the media in the 
right perspective. He also said whatever he had said was his 
personal opinion and that it had nothing to do with the views of 
the armed forces.

Gen Karamat's letter to the prime minister seeking an early 
retirement came after an hour-long meeting he had held earlier in 
the day, during which a number of important issues, including the 
setting up of a "national security council", came up for 
discussion.

Informed sources told Dawn that during the hour-long meeting, which 
was held in the PM house, the army chief had assured the prime 
minister that the armed forces had no interest in politics.

Sources said the prime minister had not rejected outright the idea 
of a "national security council", but said there could be frequent 
meetings of the defence committee of the cabinet (DCC) to 
accommodate the point of the view of the armed forces on different 
issues.

They said that after his meeting with the COAS the prime minister 
had consulted his close aides before leaving for Lahore on 
Wednesday.

There have been differences of opinion within the government over 
the issue of the NSC. "How could this NSC be reactivated?" a 
ministerial source wondered. He said there was no place for any 
council, and if it was established, it would be in direct conflict 
with the political government and democratic institutions.

The PML parliamentary party will meet here on Thursday morning. It 
is expected that the prime minister will brief his partymen about 
the latest situation leading to an early retirement of Gen Karamat 
and the appointment of Gen Musharraf.

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981009
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Superseded generals resign
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8: The Chief of the General Staff, Lt-Gen Ali Quli 
Khan, and the Quarter Master General, Lt-Gen Khalid Nawaz, have 
resigned after having been superseded by Gen Pervez Musharraf who 
was made the new COAS on Wednesday, knowledgeable sources said here 
on Thursday.
    
They said Gen Nawaz did not attend the office on Thursday and 
informed the concerned authorities about his resignation. Gen Quli 
Khan was in Peshawar on Thursday and sources said he would formally 
submit his resignation on Friday.
    
However, the ISPR maintained that the situation was still unclear 
and was likely to crystallize in the next 24 hours.
    
An officer at the ISPR said both the CGS and the QMG were not in 
town and as such their resignations or otherwise could not be 
confirmed. The new army chief, the CGS and the QMG have been course 
mates.
    
The ISPR, when contacted, pointed out that when Gen Waheed Kakar 
was made the COAS, the then superseded CGS, Lt-Gen Farrakh, and the 
QMG, Lt-Gen Bangash, were reported by the press as having resigned, 
but both had continued. They, too, were course mates of Gen Kakar.

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981008
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Legislators call for Sindh CM's resignation
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: The National Assembly on Wednesday echoed with a 
demand, coming both from the treasury and opposition benches, that 
Sindh Chief Minister Liaquat Jatoi should resign as he had failed 
to stop killings in Karachi.

The demand was voiced when, with a consensus among opposition and 
ruling party members, the house started discussing the surge in 
violence in Karachi.

Speaker Illahi Bakhsh Soomro was not in a mood to entertain any 
opposition's point of order on the Karachi situation. Deputy leader 
of the opposition Syed Kurshid Shah was the first to raise the 
issue.

Expressing concern over the loss of innocent lives in Karachi, Mr 
Shah said the government should apprise the house of measures being 
taken to control the situation.

Mr Soomro rejected his point of order and advised him to move it 
either in the form of an adjournment motion or a call-attention 
notice.

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981005
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No progress made at NY meeting: PM
-------------------------------------------------------------------

DUBAI, Oct 4: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in an interview 
published here on Sunday that his meeting last month with his 
Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee had not brought about any 
progress.
    
"I recently met the Indian prime minister, but nothing resulted 
from our meetings," he told the Arabic daily Al-Khaleej.
    
"India is still intransigent and ignores the two most important 
questions for us both: peace, security and Jammu and Kashmir," 
Nawaz said.
    
"As we realise the danger of escalation of a major war, we have 
proposed to India to undertake promptly discussions to prevent a 
nuclear conflict," he said.
    
India and Pakistan announced in New York during the UN General 
Assembly on September 23 that they had agreed to resolve their 
dispute over Kashmir peacefully, and would resume talks October 15-
18 in Islamabad.
    
"The question of Kashmir is the root of the problem, and without it 
there can never be peace," Sharif stressed.
    
Nawaz and Vajpayee issued a joint statement after their meeting 
last month, which "reaffirmed their belief that an environment of 
durable peace and security was in the supreme interest of India and 
Pakistan."
    
They stressed their determination to renew efforts to secure a safe 
environment, and agreed that peaceful settlement of all outstanding 
issues including Kashmir was essential for this purpose.
    
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also confirmed that Pakistan was 
working to "defuse the tension" between Iran and the Taliban in 
Afghanistan, "because no country in the region will benefit from a 
war between them."AFP

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981007
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Pakistan will go to US court for refund of F-16s money
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Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: Pakistan has finally decided to approach the 
court for the recovery of $658 million from the United States which 
were paid for the purchase of 28 F-16 fighter planes, Dawn learnt 
from official sources.
    
The government of Pakistan has engaged a US law firm, Patton Boggs, 
for initiating legal proceedings against the government of United 
States for the breach of contract and recovery of the amount.
    
Khalid Anwer, the federal law minister who had visited United 
States for the purpose of weighing the option for legal remedy had 
meetings with six US law firms in July.
    
After evaluating the proposals of the law firms, their assessment 
of the legal aspects and their fees, the government has selected 
Patton Boggs. A representative of the US law firm will be reaching 
Pakistan in the third week of October. Earlier he was scheduled to 
visit Pakistan on October 3 but the date was changed due to prime 
minister’s foreign visit.
    
Khalid Anwer, the federal minister confirmed that a representative 
of the Patton Boggs is reaching here in the week third week of 
October. He said the foreign office has already asked the US firm’s 
representative to visit Pakistan. He told Dawn that he after 
interviewing the law firms had submitted the report to the prime 
minister.

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981009
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Transfer of WAPDA to NWFP urged
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Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, Oct 8: The NWFP Assembly Thursday unanimously adopted a 
resolution asking the federal government to hand over WAPDA to the 
Frontier province as it was the major producer of electricity in 
the country.
    
The faction-ridden treasury benches did not oppose the resolution 
which asked the provincial government to request the federal 
government to hand over the Authority to the province as it had 
been the case before the creation of one unit.
    
It was private members day today.
    
Arbab Saifur Rehman, ANP, was the mover of the resolution. It got 
easy passage as neither the opposition nor the treasury benches 
spoke for and against it. The resolution was adopted unanimously 
through voice vote.
    
In all five resolutions were adopted on Thursday, being the last 
day of the current session of the assembly. The session, 
requisitioned jointly by the opposition ANP and PPP, continued for 
18-long days, and was prorogued sine-die by speaker Hidayatullah 
Khan Chamkani.
    
Through another unanimous resolution, moved by ANP’s Salim Khan 
Advocate, the federal government was asked to restore all those 
incentives withdrawn from Gadoon-Amazai Industrial Estate.
    
The mover had maintained that withdrawal of incentives might force 
the people of the area to resume poppy cultivation. He said 
establishment of the estate had been necessitated to provide an 
alternate livelihood to the people of the area.
    
The House witnessed some heated debate on the 15th constitutional 
amendment bill.
    
Haji Adeel appeared to be the most vocal amongst all the opposition 
members against the bill. He said after making the Objectives 
Resolution part of the Constitution in 1985, there was no need to 
introduce Shariat bill. This, he added, was just to deceive the 
people. He said actually the government wanted to strength its rule 
and establish one province’s hold on the whole of the country.

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981008
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NA body opposes 15pc raise in gas charges
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Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: The National Assembly standing committee on 
petroleum and natural resources will advise the government next 
week not to raise the natural gas non-commercial consumption rates 
for the winter season.

The economic coordination committee of the cabinet (ECC) had 
proposed last month to raise the supply charges by 15 per cent for 

the winter of 1998-99, to discourage excessive use of gas by the 
residential consumers and maintain the pressure required by the 
industrial sector.

However, the standing committee, in its session next Monday, is 
scheduled to frame a proposal to the government not to implement 
the ECC proposal.

The parliament sources told Dawn on Wednesday that the domestic 
users of gas would feel it extremely oppressive to be made to pay 
15 per cent extra charges, which had, in fact, been advised by the 
International Monetary Fund, they added.

Apart from this item on the agenda the committee would discuss 
different methods for regulating the prices of the compressed 
natural gas (CNG) kits. 

The prices of these kits have been raised from Rs16,000 in January 
to Rs22,000 in October. Numerous proposals have already been filed 
with the ministry of petroleum, finance and other related organs of 
the government to take action for price regulation, which does not 
exist and has to be created, said the sources.

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981007
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Senate starts debate on charges against PM
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: In his 60-minute scathing expose on Tuesday night 
in the Senate the opposition leader Aitizaz Ahsan accused Prime 
Minister Nawaz Sharif of not paying his taxes, concealing his 
properties and defaulting on payment of dues.
    
The much-awaited debate opened in the upper House after the 
question hour on the adjournment motion moved by Senator Raza 
Rabbani.
    
He wanted to move suspension of the rules but the Minister for 
Parliamentary Affairs Yasin Wattoo assured that there was no need 
to suspend the rules since the treasury benches would not make any 
objection. With consensus from the two sides, the debate was 
opened. 
    
Aitizaz completed his speech with five questions of which he sought 
answers from the government side. He wanted to know as to who was 
right about the Park Lane flats. He said that if it was the 
spokesman, the law minister, PM’s son Hussain Nawaz, who admitted 
that they had two flats, or Ittefaq’s executive director Haroon 
Pasha.
    
Secondly which was correct: is it Pasha’s statement, income tax 
statement or details of properties and taxes as given out in his 
nomination form?.
    
He posed question to the PM if he had committed no crime, why was 
immunity sought in PLD 1998, LHC page 90?
    
Then he veered on the question of leasehold and its legal and 
constitutional position. He raised the question if the leasehold 
property was "no property"?.
    
He posed question to the prime minister in what manner he 
maintained himself and from which income when his tax was nil?. He 
wanted to know from Nawaz Sharif how he made the great wealth and 
fortune?.
       
KHALID ANWAR: Law Minister Khalid Anwar said on Tuesday the 
Observer story about Nawaz Sharif property in Mayfair, England is 
based on incorrect reporting and the paper was ignorant of the 
basic facts about Pakistan and the prime minister.
    
Speaking in the Senate on an adjournment motion the law minister 
said the paper based the whole story on the report of Rehman Malik, 
"whose credibility is known to everyone."


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 BUSINESS & ECONOMY
981010
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Export slips by 10.16pc, import by 21.53pc
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By Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9: The exports of Pakistan during the first quarter 
of 1998-99 dropped by 10.16 per cent over the corresponding period 
of last financial year, according to foreign trade figures 
available here on Friday.
    
These totalled $1.814 billion during July-September, as against 
$2.02 billion grossed by our exports during the same period of 
1997-98.
    
Compared with September 1997, the exports declined by 7.39% during 
September, 1998, when these amounted to $617 million. During the 
corresponding month last year, exports had totalled $666.27 
million. Compared to its performance during August 1998, exports 
during September 1998 were lower by $92.99 billion or 13.09 per 
cent.

Looking at the target set in the Trade Policy for 1998-99, the 
situation appears to be equally bleak. In order to come at par with 
the target, exports during the first three months of the year 
(July-September) should have been not less than $2.499 billion. 
However, it fell short of the target by 27.4 per cent during the 
period. The only saving grace in the foreign trade statistics is 
the substantial improvement in trade deficit. It has come down from 
$626.04 million in July-September (1997-98) to $262.4 million in 
the last three months.
    
This became possible because of the continuous drop in imports. The 
import bill during the first quarter of the current financial year 
amounted to $2.076 billion, as against $2.646 billion spent during 
July-September (1997-98). This denotes, in percentage terms, the 
substantial drop of 21.53 per cent in imports.
    
In September, 1998, the imports totalled $674 million  down 
$278.33 million from September, 1997. In percentage, the decline is 
29.22 per cent.
    
The drastic slowdown of imports is, however, attributable to the 
disturbed conditions connected with availability of foreign 
exchange, the volatility of dollar against rupee and frequent 
changes in the policies by the State Bank of Pakistan.
    
Thus in terms of rupees, Pakistan had to pay about 20 per cent more 
for the same quantity of imports in July-September 1998, compared 
with the corresponding period of last year. The imports also 
remained held up for a long period due to the insistence by the 
foreign suppliers on full advance payment because of the fear of 
Pakistan going into default in fulfilling its debt service 
liabilities, according to experts.
    
The situation, it appears, however, improved in recent weeks. For 
the imports during September 1998 picked up, increasing by about 
$70 million, compared to the preceding month. In August, these had 

totalled $605.70 million.

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981008
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Govt urged not to raise power tariff
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Correspondent

FAISALABAD, Oct 7: All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills 
Association (APTPMA) has urged the federal government not to 
enhance the electricity tariff by 15 per cent as such a move will 
cripple the textile sector. 

This fear was expressed by the newly-elected chairman of APTPMA, 
Sheikh Mohammad Ayub while talking to newsmen here on Wednesday. He 
proposed that federal government should evolve a target- oriented 
comprehensive strategy to reduce the deficit of WAPDA by minimizing 
line losses and recovering its dues from the chronic defaulters.

He said in case power tariff was enhanced by 15 per cent it would 
be impossible for the exporters to compete in the international 
market because countries like Korea, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh 
and India had been giving tough time to the Pakistani exporters 
because all of them were selling their products at cheaper rates, 
as because their cost of production was lower than of Pakistan.

He urged the federal government to announce a package for the 
textile sector and sick units by reducing the power tariff as 
promised by the prime minister.

BETTER COTTON VARIETIES: Prominent agricultural scientists have 
warned the cotton breeders that if they do not evolve the heat 
tolerant cotton varieties with resistance to curl leaf cotton 
virus, the country would not be in a position to meet the cotton 
requirements of the coming years.

This warning was sounded by the sub-committee of Pakistan Central 
Cotton Committee which met under the chairmanship of Dr. Zakir 
Hussain, Commissioner Cotton. Renowned agricultural scientists Dr 
Mukhtar Ahmed Haleemi, Director General Ayub Agriculture Research 
Institute Faisalabad, Ch. Waheed Sultan Khan, Director, Cotton 
Research Institute Faisalabad, Dr Zaheer Ahmed, Director Central 
Cotton Research Institute Multan were prominent among those who 
attended the meeting.

The scientists were of the opinion that evolution of new cotton 
varieties with resistance to CLCV and heat should be evolved on 
priority basis because the majority of the varieties presently 
being sown by the farmers fell far short of expectations. 

These scientists also emphasized the importance of establishing 
districtwise cropping patterns keeping in view the soil 
characteristics and climatic conditions of the specific zones.

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981005
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PTC to buy digital exchanges from China 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Oct 4: The Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation is 
about to clinch a deal with a Chinese company for 650,000 lines 
build and transfer (BT) project costing almost 500 million dollars 
on the basis of suppliers’ credit at a lowly two per cent interest 
rate.
    
The PTCL plans to achieve a reduction in cost with the introduction 
of Chinese technology.
    
In March this year the PTCL invited bids for 270,000 lines BT 
project. The tender was restricted to four types of digital 
exchanges (switches) that are existing in Pakistan.
    
The types of switches were restricted in the tender because more 
types would mean higher maintenance cost.
    
At the bid’s opening day, however, a Chinese firm also submitted 
their bid for a switch type other than those mentioned in the bid 
documents and the bid was accepted and the number of lines was 
increased to 650,000.
    
Informed sources maintained that the decision to favour the Chinese 
switches was made after a delegation of government and the PTCL 
visited China. However, instead of negotiating with all the Chinese 
digital switch manufacturers, a couple of which were said to have 
international presence, the delegation talked to one firm which was 
later given the contract.
    
Referring to the argument of low interest rate, financial experts 
said if the Pakistani delegation had talked to other Chinese 
suppliers they would have got more attractive rates.
    
And on the matter of the claim that the cost would come down 
considerably with induction of the new types of switches, experts 
said the total impact of the switch cost was no more than 20 per 
cent of the total line unit cost and therefore any price advantage 
that PTCL may get would have a minimal effect on the total line 
unit cost.
    
These experts asked if the PTCL was ready to consider a fifth type 
of switch, then why was the original tender restricted to four 
types which came under the purview of bad business practice because 
it denied several other manufacturers of the world an opportunity 
to enter the competition.
    
Another very important issue which the PTCL ignored while accepting 
the Chinese tenders, according to these experts, was the fact at 
present there are two factories in Pakistan manufacturing digital 
switches. A third factory will further reduce workload on the 
existing factories and make these sick or even force their closure 
because the PTCL, being a monopoly fixed line operator in Pakistan, 
could in future place all its orders for equipment with the new 
company.
    
Therefore, any gain derived through the Chinese deal, including the 
low interest rate on the suppliers credit, will be more than wiped 
out by the consequent losses to the national economy, they added.
    
Also, they added, the proposed privatization of the PTCL will be 
jeopardized as well because of the introduction of internationally 
untried digital switches at this stage.
    
And finally, they wondered why the PTCL did not go for a bidding 
process for setting up a third switch factory in the country when 
the existing two, TIP/Siemens and Alcatel, were established through 
an open international competitive bidding process.

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981008
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Dollar-oriented bonds may be issued: Sartaj
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz told the Senate on 
Wednesday that the government was considering to issue Dollar-
oriented bonds scheme shortly.

The minister was responding to question from Sen Safdar Abbasi 
whether the government planned to introduce dollar-oriented bonds 
scheme.

Asked about the total amount deposited so far in Pakistan and 
abroad in the foreign currency and local currency accounts under 
the Self-Reliance scheme of Prime Minister, the minister said that 
total amount deposited under the scheme amounted to Rs.96,364,202 
in dollars and Rs.156,563,489 in local currency.

Responding to a question, the minister said that Islamabad topped 
among the cities for depositing largest funds. He said that the 
amount of foreign currency equivalent to Rs. 70.251 million has 
been donated by non-resident Pakistanis living abroad.

Asked about the total foreign debt payable by Pakistan to each 
country till June 30,1998, Mr Sartaj Aziz said that the total 
amount is US dollars 24,152.2 million. Responding to a question 
about the foreign loan received by the government during the year 
1997-98 and the rate of interest thereon, he said that foreign loan 
(public and publicly guaranteed ) amounting to US dollars 4,102 
million have been received/ contracted by the government during the 
year 1997-98.

Replying to the foreign investment, the minister said that flow of 
foreign investment since 1993-1994 to 1997-98 has been US dollars 
5.254 billion which included direct investment of US dollars 3.182 
billion and portfolio investment of dollars 2.072 billion. He said 
that total foreign investment during July and August, 1997 was 
dollars 283.9 million while for July and August 1998, it has been 
US dollars 64.6 million.

The minister said that the exports are not expanding at the rate 
the government had expected. He gave all credit to agriculture 
sector for maintainingeconomy.

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981007
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Govt holds talks with Hubco
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: The Pakistani government and British-backed power 
company Hubco met in Islamabad on Tuesday for the first time to 
discuss a row over the company’s alleged overpricing, government 
officials said.
    
The government team was headed by Saifur Rehman, head of the 
Ehtesab or Accountability bureau which is overseeing a government 
crackdown on corruption.
    
No statement was issued after the talks and it was not known when 
one would be forthcoming.
    
Britain’s National Power has a substantial holding in Hubco. The 
minister of water and power, Gohar Ayub Khan, and the minister for 
law, Khaled Anwar, were supposed to attend the discussions but were 
in parliament, the officials said.
    
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accused Independent Power Producers 
(IPPs) of overcharging the WAPDA and of obtaining their contracts 
corruptly under the previous government of Benazir Bhutto.
    
The IPPs deny the charge and accuse Sharif’s administration of 
seeking to renegotiate sovereign contracts. The row has soured the 
investment climate, helped to depress an already shaky stock market 
and worried the World Bank, the IMF and donor states.Reuters

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981009
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Road shows for PTCL sale in Feb ’99
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8: Pakistan is planning to hold road shows for the 
privatisation of state-owned Pakistan Telecommunications Company 
Ltd (PTCL) in February, 1999, a government official said on 
Thursday.
    
The chairman of state’s Privatisation Commission, Khawaja Asif, 
told Reuters in an interview that financial advisers for the sale 
of blue-chip PTCL shares have four months to prepare for the first 
marketing phase of the company.
    
"Our financial advisers have given a programme for the next four 
months to prepare this transaction and active marketing will start 
in February," Asif said.
    
He said road shows in different countries would be the first phase 
of the marketing effort for PTCL, considered the jewel in the crown 
of the privatization programme.
    
Pakistan appointed Goldman Sachs International last month as 
financial advisers for the PTCL’s privatization, which will include 
the sale of a strategic stake and transfer of management control to 
an international operator.

Asif said he realized that market conditions due to the Asian 
financial and the local business climate were not helpful for the 
sale at the moment but said the process had to be moved forward.
    
The privatization process of PTCL has been delayed several times in 
the last two years due to change of governments and difference of 
perceptions on the size of the strategic stake to be offered for 
sale.
    
Under the contract with Goldman Sachs, the adviser is supposed to 
give a privatisation strategy to the government, advise on how much 
to offer to the market and execute the deal.
    
Officials said Goldman Sachs was planning to send its team next 
week to start the process but was waiting for an advance payment of 
fees under the contract signed in September last.
    
Asif said payment of fees to all consultants in foreign exchange 
was being hampered because of a hard cash crunch faced by Islamabad 
amid economic sanctions slapped on the country after its nuclear 
tests in May.
    
"We are facing problems in making foreign exchange payments to our 
financial advisers, not only on this transaction, but other 
transactions also, but we hope to overcome these difficulties 
soon," Asif said.
    
He said before the arrival of the foreign team, Union Bank of 
Switzerland, which was a local partner with Goldman Sachs on the 
PTCL privatization, had already started the initial work on the 
project.
    
Analysts say Pakistan needs to cut back the PTCL’s staff of 56,000 
employees, create a strong regulatory framework and promote open 
market practices to prepare it for privatisation.

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981004
-------------------------------------------------------------------
EoI invited for financial advisor
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3: The Privatization Commission has invited 
‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) from reputed investment banks, 
management consultants, groups/consortium to be appointed as the 
Financial Advisor for disinvesting Pakistan Steel Mills.
    
The financial advisory services have been sought by the PC from the 
parties which possess the credentials in the steel engineering 
sector.
    
The Financial Advisor will be responsible for all activities 
leading to the sale and transfer of management control to a 
strategic investor.
    
Pakistan Steel was built with the assistance of former Soviet Union 
and came into operation in stages during 1981-1985. It has manpower 
of approx 24,000 with an installed capacity of producing 1.1 
million tons of raw steel per annum. Pakistan Steel has eleven 
operating divisions, whose end products are coke, pig iron, slab 
boom/billets, hot rolled coils/sheets, cold rolled coils/sheets and 
galvanised products. Besides, these divisions produce by-products 
such as ammonium sulphate, coaltar, granulated slag etc.
    
PC has asked the interested parties to submit their EOI latest by 
Nov 9, 1998 which should also include technical and financial 
information on the firm/consortium along with a bank draft in 
favour of PC amounting of Rs 50,000 or equivalent US on account of 
non-refundable processing fee. Terms of Reference (TOR) of the 
assignment will be provided to the parties submitting EOI.

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981004
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Leasing cos may survive thru mergers
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Oct 3: Leasing companies may go for mergers  just to 
survive the hard times they are in. Two companies namely Asian 
Leasing and First Leasing Corporation are already courting for a 
corporate marriage.
    
Senior managers say the smaller the leasing companies the more 
difficult it is to operate. That is why merger plans are on the top 
of their agenda.
    
Sources in the leasing sector say the proposed merger of Asian 
Leasing and First Leasing is sure to be followed by others. They 
say while this merger is yet to be materialized one of these two 
companies has also initiated merger talks with another leasing 
company Interasia.
    
Asian Leasing with a paid-up capital of Rs 104.55 million and First 
Leasing with Rs 272.783 million would create First Asian Leasing 
Corporation if share holders and Corporate Law Authority approve of 
the merger plan. This may take a couple of months.
    
How and when Interasia Leasing with a paid-up capital of Rs 100 
million would go for merger is not known but sources in the 
industry say its merger is on cards.
    
"Merger is the only possible way for the leasing companies to 
survive the hard times they are in," said former chairman of 

Leasing Association of Pakistan Khurshid Hadi. "Leasing companies 
need expansions to cater to the market requirements but financial 
resources for that are not there...the ultimate choice then is 
mergers," he told Dawn on telephone.
    
Hadi said leasing companies were facing hard times even before the 
post-nuclear blast financial turmoil. "The financial crunch the 
leasing companies were facing earlier has now worsened," he said 
adding resource mobilization had become extremely difficult.
    
Senior managers say the performance of leasing companies are 
dependent on the performance of their clients  individuals and 
corporates. Since the financial turmoil facing Pakistan after it 
went nuclear on May 28 1998 has affected almost every segment of 
trade and industry leasing companies are no more able to improve 
their lease rental recoveries.
    
Besides, almost all sizable corporate clients engage sort of a 
consortium of leasing companies instead of dealing with them 
individually because individual leasing companies often fail to 
finance huge projects. This creates a lot of problems for the 
leasing companies when it comes to recovery of lease rentals and 
conducting day to day business. Besides it lowers their margins.
    
Leasing companies say the solution lies in expanding their 
businesses and being able to take care of large clients on their 
own. They say rapid expansion of leasing companies is a must for 
keeping them eligible for a big 40 per cent initial depreciation 
which spares them from paying huge taxes in their first year of 
operation and keep them going.
    
But where are the funds to expand leasing business? Leasing 
managers say equity funds are not pouring in because of a host of 
problems the stock markets and the economy as such are facing at 
the moment. The term finance certificates which were earlier 
considered to be a good instrument for raising funds have also lost 
their charm as they are no more exempted from tax.
    
So this is the lack of financial resources which force leasing 
companies not to go on for expansions. The alternative is merger.
    
Leasing sector may witness quite a number of mergers next year for 
another reason: leasing companies are required to enhance their 
paid-up capital to Rs 200 million by November 1999. Only five out 
of 32 leasing companies currently have paid-up capital worth Rs 200 
million or more and another half a dozen are in a position to raise 
their paid-up capital to this level on time.
    
For the rest mergers appear to be a possible way of meeting the CLA 
requirement on time.
    
Senior managers say leasing companies also need to cut their cost 
of financial intermediation to compete with other financial 
institutions. They say the average cost of intermediation in the 
leasing sector is the lowest around 2.5 per cent yet leasing 
companies need to slash it further to remain competitive in the 
market.

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981006
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Punjab considering bank for small industries
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shaukat Ali

LAHORE, Oct 5: The Punjab government is actively considering a 
proposal to set up Small Industries Development Bank to fund 
development of cottage industries.
    
The bank to be initiated with a paid-up capital of about Rs 700 
million would be enlisted with the stock exchange to raise public 
funds purely on the basis of its performance.
    
Sources closely attached to the task force working under the Punjab 
chief minister for the promotion of small and medium range 
industries said that setting up of the new bank had been 
necessitated by the refusal of some leading banks to advance credit 
to limited range industrial projects.
    
At present, they said, it was the First Women Bank which was in the 
lead in providing, specially women, with credit to start a cottage 
level enterprise. Other banks also advance small loans but give it 
low priority. "Paradoxically it is the sector of small loans which 
has higher return rate than the big loans. According to central 
bank’s reports the rate of paying back the small loans is around 80 
per cent as compared to 40 to 45 per cent of huge loans advanced to 
hefty entrepreneurs", sources said. With the setting up of the 
Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority ( SMEDA) by the 
federal government just a couple of days ago, sources said, the 
task of the Punjab government to set up the new bank had been made 
easier. Actually the government wants to develop cottage industries 
in a manner that it should provide some value-added raw material to 
the large-scale industries particularly the ones which produce 
exportable goods.
    
The entire new set-up of cottage industries sector, sources said, 
was being developed by keeping in view three main points: Firstly 
to disburse the available credit with the banks for the industrial 
sector among maximum possible enterprises so that national wealth 
reaches to highest number of people instead of concentrating in few 
hands.
    
Secondly the cottage industrial units should produce semi finished 
added products and reduce the dependency of the large units on the 
similar stuff which is generally imported only to shrink further 
the already meagre foreign exchange reserve. And thirdly the units 
set up on limited scale should be labour-intensive so that the fast 
growing menace of joblessness among the youth, which is also 
leading to social disorder, be also overcome. "There is a 
realization at the government level that objective of new strategy 
will be achieved in not less than three years if the initiative is 
taken right now", official sources said.
    
The new bank project by the Punjab government, they said, would 
also provide credit to small range producer of exportable goods 
including rugs, handicrafts and herbal medicines.

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981007
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More curbs on forex dealings expected
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Oct 6: Bankers say that next six weeks are going to be too 
critical and there is all the possibility of much greater 
intervention by the government in foreign exchange dealings.
    
Pakistan’s trade imbalance during first quarter of this fiscal is 
reported to have shown some improvement as over the same period in 
1997-98 but bankers say the country’s foreign exchange reserves 
remain under severe strain because of mounting payment pressures 
and drop in remittances during September.
    
Depleting foreign exchange reserves, now reported at less than 670 
million dollars, has forced the government to hold payment of over 
1 billion dollars by foreign private companies and on some other 
accounts during this July-September 1998 quarter.
    
A French firm, Societe Generale Securities report that oil and gas 
companies were unable to remit 400 million dollars of their loan-
related payments while other foreign companies too were unable to 
clear 400 million dollars debts. Report reveals that foreign 
portfolio investors were also not able to repatriate 80 to 90 
million dollars profit during this period.
    
Following a squeeze on country’s foreign exchange reserves, the 
private foreign companies now need State Bank’s permission to remit 
all their payments including those related to debt servicing. 
Hubco’s debt payment of over 50 million dollars were also held up 
earlier on July 10 by the State Bank of Pakistan.
    
Bankers say that the government has also held payment remission of 
some other agencies and freight of the shipping companies.
    
A World Bank report on Pakistan Economic Update published in April 
this year mentions country’s total private non-guaranteed debt in 
1996-97 at 2.62 billion dollars a rise of almost 100 per cent in 
four years from 1.36 billion dollars in 1992-93.
    
The State Bank of Pakistan now monitors the inflow of remittances 
on weekly basis but has not released the September figures but 
bankers estimate it lower than 100 million dollars.
    
A rough estimate of remittances inflow during July-September 1998 
is 325 million dollars as against about 450 million dollars in same 
period of 1997-98.
    
Bulk of this estimated shortfall of 125 million dollars has been 
remitted through hawala where dollar rates at one time escalated 
beyond Rs 65. A part of this inflow, over 50 million dollars 
reportedly went into new foreign currency accounts.
    
The federal commerce minister Ishaq Dar in his press briefing at 
State Bank of Pakistan last Thursday had acknowledged remittances 
not flowing in the government exchequer.
    
Trade figures will be officially released on Saturday (Oct 10) by 
the Federal Bureau of Statistics but bankers suggest that exports 
have shown some improvement in September while imports have been 
contained and trade imbalance should be less than 400 million 
dollars.
    
Improvement in exports during July-September 1998 however remains 
far below the projected figures of 2.1 billion dollars and planners 
in Commerce Ministry are having a fresh look at their strategy.

"What can we do when we have hardly half a dozen markets to sell 
our goods, 30 products to offer and about 200 exporters to do the 
job of earning 8.3 billion dollars in whole fiscal," an export 
planner remarked.
    
In this utterly dismal foreign exchange sector scenario, the 
foreign currency market is also reported to have been robbed of its 
glitter as there was neither dollars, pounds or marks in the money 
exchangers’ kiosks nor the buyers on Tuesday.
    
"We are not paying more than 500 dollars to any traveller even if 
he has a stamped passport and an air ticket," Malik Bostan 
President of Pakistan Forex Association told Dawn on telephone.
    
Under new rules money changers offering up to 2,000 dollars to any 
person will have to obtain copy of the national identity card and 
passport and submit a statement to the State Bank of Pakistan. By 
offering 500 dollars or so money changers are circumventing the 
State Bank’s rules and avoiding submission of a statement to the 
State Bank of Pakistan.
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981010
-------------------------------------------------------------------
KSE index loses 20.65 points, selling not aggressive
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Oct 9: Stocks finished the weekend session on an easy note 
as investors were not inclined to take new positions owing to 
holidays ahead but rather took profits at the inflated levels on 
most of the pivotals.
    
However, unlike the previous two sessions, selling was not that 
aggressive and in some cases was well-absorbed at the dips as 
leading financial institutions were active buyers in a bid to 
forestall panic selling from jobbers and weakholders.
    
The KSE 100-share index shed another 20.65 points or 2.15 per cent 
at 941.82 as compared to 962.47 a day earlier, reflecting the 
weakness of most of the base shares, notably the PTCL and Hub-
Power.
    
"An 11 per cent decline in the index during the last three sessions 
reflects the market’s weak fundamentals and investor preference to 
leave it as soon as some negative news creeps in," said a leading 
broker.
    
That means bulk of the support comes from speculative forces who 
are inclined to hold long positions and sell even at a discount if 
there are bad news ahead, he added.
    
"There was no immediate reaction from the foreign investors to the 
passing of the Shariat Bill by the Parliament but a loud whispering 
in the rings suggests that there were some reservations on their 
part," analysts said.
    
The change of command in the army and news of resignations of some 
top superseded generals added significantly to the already 
conflicting rumours and intensified selling both from local and 
foreign investors.
    
"Despite most pressing economic problems, the government with such 
a massive mandate could hardly be called weak with uproar here and 
there on certain issues notwithstanding," said a broker.
    
Bulk of the selling was again centred around some leading MNCs 
which ended with an extended fall under the lead of General Tyre 
whose controlling shares have been purchased by a leading German 
auto company, followed by Engro Chemicals, Fauji Fertilizer, Dawood 
Hercules, Millat Tractors, PSO and Pakistan Refinery, which 
suffered fall ranging from Rs 1.75 to Rs 3.15, biggest one being in 
PSO and Dawood Hercules.
    
Reliance Weaving, Dewan Salman, Dadabhoy Cement, Al-Khair 
Industries and Tripack Films were among the other major losers, 
falling by one rupee to Rs 1.20.
    
Prominent gainers were led by KASB & Co, which came in for active 
support and was quoted higher by Rs 5.85 on 3,000 shares, followed 
by Lever Brothers and Shell Pakistan, which recovered Rs 2.00 each 
from the overnight losses. Other good gainers included Metro Life 
Insurance, Saif Textiles, Telecard but some others rose 
fractionally.
    
Traded volume fell to 85 million shares from the overnight 143 
million shares, while out of the 118 actives, 59 shares fell, 32 
shares rose with 31 holding on to the last levels.

Both Hub-Power and PTCL led the list of most actives, accounting 
for 90 per cent of the total volume amid either-way movement as 
there were buyers at the dips.
    
Hub-Power topped the list of most actives, off 40 paisa at Rs 14.05 
on 38.305 million shares, followed by PTCL, lower 55 paisa at Rs 
21.55 on 335 million shares, FFC-Jordan Fertilizer, easy 65 paisa 
at Rs 14.85 on 2.406 million shares, Fauji Fertilizer, off Rs 1.80 
on 1.050 million shares, and Engro Chemicals, lower Rs 3.15 on 
1.040 million shares.
    
Bank of Punjab was leading among the other actives, up 15 paisa on 
0.775 million shares, followed by ICI Pakistan, easy 40 paisa on 
0.730 million shares, PSO, off Rs 4.00 on 0.752 million shares, 
Dewan Salman, lower one rupee on 0.562 million shares, Japan Power, 
easy five paisa on 0.746 million shares, MCB, easy 70 paisa on 
0.342 million shares, and General Tyre, off 80 paisa on 0.268 
million shares. There were some other notable deals also.
    
DEFAULTING COMPANIES: Trading on this counter remained dull as 
investors were not inclined to make fresh commitments owing to 
weekend consideration. Only Ravi Rayon came in for stray selling, 
falling by 50 paisa on 1,500 shares.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
 EDITORIALS & FEATURES
981004
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Spurring strife - 2
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

TO repeat, spurring on sectarian and ethnic strife breeds 
terrorism. Has Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif counted how many 
innocent lives have been lost and how many more have been maimed 
and terrorized in the country since he embarked on his latest 
diversion, the proposed Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment.
    
My column of last week concerning the vicissitudes of SHEHRI has a 
sequel. For the sake of clarity, I backtrack.
    
On January 3 this year, 12 citizens of Karachi (Roland de Souza 
amongst them) wrote to the then Chief Justice of the Sindh High 

Court, Wajihuddin Ahmad: "We are residents of Garden East, Jamshed 
Quarters and Soldier Bazaar. We have been overwhelmed by the 
mushrooming of unauthorized highrises that are being brazenly 
erected on residential plots, in complete defiance of the building 
regulations." They gave details of 35 buildings under construction, 
many contravening the law protecting the sanctity of Jinnah’s 
mausoleum, and requested the CJ to convert their complaint into a 
constitutional petition.
    
Appalled, the good CJ had the issues examined. Satisfied, he 
converted the complaint into CP 160/98 and ordered the Karachi 
Building Control Authority (KBCA) and others to take preventive 
action entailing the sealing of the illegal constructions.
    
This angered the recalcitrant builders. They financed and fronted 
Mohammad Faruq Memon Faria, a PPP activist and builder of sorts, to 
file a constitutional petition (337/98) against the CJ, inter alia, 
challenging his conduct of affairs.
    
Soon thereafter Justice Wajihuddin was elevated to the Supreme 
Court. The prevailing corruption within and outside the corridors 
of law then facilitated the breaking of seals, continuance of 
unlawful construction and unlawful occupation of certain premises. 
The cases and appeals drag on, mired in convoluted arguments and 
incessant adjournments.
    
On March 10, Faria, claiming to be the chairman of the ‘Young 
Memons Social Welfare Group’ inserted an advertisement in the 
Karachi newspaper ‘Qaumi Akhbar’ appealing to the prime minister, 
governor and chief minister of Sindh and senior minister Farooq 
Sattar to intervene and help the builders and occupiers, and 
decrying the efforts of SHEHRI. Since then, the same publication 
has carried numerous news items attacking this environmental-
protection NGO.
    
In the meantime, SHEHRI and other members of the oversee committee 
of the KBCA helped identify other ‘dangerous’ commercial highrises 
mushrooming along Sharea Faisal, compelling the KBCA to publish a 
notice in Dawn of September 1: "The following buildings on Sharea 
Faisal are being constructed in contravention of the approved 
building plans and the general public is warned not to enter into 
any transaction with the builders." Listed were 26 constructions. 
The people were warned that these potentially dangerous buildings 
do not conform to approved plans, are being built unsupervised by 
KBCA-licensed architects and engineers, as required by law, and are 
violative of "the earthquake resistance requirements" their height 
warrants.
    
The recalcitrant builders, spurred on by Nawaz Sharif’s Fifteenth 
Amendment draft to misuse and manipulate religion, resorted to an 
attack on two minority members of the 500-odd SHEHRI members.
    
On September 2, ‘Qaumi Akhbar’ carried a news item alleging that 
Roland de Souza of SHEHRI had advocated that the construction of 
two mosques be halted. A couple of days later, the same publication 
printed photographs of members of the Jamaat-e-Janisaran-e-Islam in 
front of the Press Club, waving banners demanding my arrest and 
Roland’s punishment.
    
Next came posters and banners proclaiming that SHEHRI was a Jewish 
organization, that Roland and I were Jewish agents, American 
agents, traitors, and that, in addition, I was Clinton’s brother.
    
When I met the editor of ‘Quami Akhbar’ during the course of the 
week commencing September 21, I pointed out to him that the letter 
he had published, allegedly written by Roland to the CC-KBCA, was 
so evidently a forgery  letterhead, signature, language and all, 
plus the fact that it was addressed to Chief Controller Misbah who 
was not the CC on the date shown on the letter  and that the 
present CC-KBCA had also confirmed in writing that his office had 
received no such letter.
    
Nonplussed and running to form, he accused me of being a 
blackmailer. Who exactly have I blackmailed? I asked. His immediate 
response : the builders of Glass Towers. He accused me of first 
attacking the builders, then extorting Rs.40 lakhs, and thereafter 
keeping quiet while they illegally built on. We have cases and 
appeals pending in the High and Supreme Courts, I told him, against 
both Glass Towers and Shaista’s Plaza (at the Do Talwar roundabout) 
both commercial complexes being built by Memons, on residential 
plots, and not even in accordance with plans for which they 
‘managed’ to get approval.  During the same week a hall was booked 
by one ‘Mr Jamil’ at a 5-star hotel for a seminar to be held at 3 
p.m. on September 29, with a guaranteed attendance of 200 persons. 
The man gave telephone number 4917143 as his contact and paid 
Rs.22,850 in cash.
    
An invitation card was issued in the name of Maulana Azizur Rehman 
Rehmani, Amir, Jamaat-i-Janisaran-i-Islam, informing the invitees 
that SHEHRI, a gang headed by Cowasjee and de Souza, has issued 
various statements against the building of mosques in Karachi, that 
the seminar is being held to inform people accordingly. A list of 
23 speakers was given on the reverse.
    
On September 30, ‘The News’ (Karachi edition) printed a news item 
headed ‘Ulema condemn NGO’s anti-Islam activities.’ The 
correspondent reported that the ulema, i.e. the Jamaat-i-Janisaran-
i-Islam, had "demanded a complete ban on the activities of SHEHRI" 
which is "carrying out anti-Islam policies under the garb of social 
services." Roland’s forged letter was of course cited. One of the 
speakers reportedly declared: "Cowasjee’s articles are published in 
English language and so have a limited readership otherwise he 
would have been eliminated by Muslims years ago." He also said that 
the "ulema were compiling a Fatwa against Cowasjee and Roland and 
death edict would be issued if they were not arrested and tried in 
a Shariat court."
    
‘Qaumi Akhbar’, quite naturally, went to town, with blazing 
headlines. To quote just three : "If Cowasjee and de Souza do not 
hold their tongues against mosques and Islamic rules the people 
will be called upon to handle the matter themselves"; "Blackmailing 
is done in the name of SHEHRI"; "Only a Jew could think about an 
action against mosques." The report ended with the cheering news 
that throughout the seminar there were rousing shouts of ‘Hang 
Cowasjee and de Souza."
    
Recognizing the name Thanvi (our families have known each other 
since the days of Maulana Ehteshamul Haq Thanvi) amongst the 
speakers listed on the invitation card, I called on Maulana Amjad 
Thanvi to ask him to explain to me who is who, what is what and why 
all this is happening. The Maulana is very proud of the education 
he received at Christian missionary school, St Mary’s of Sukkur. He 
expressed his happiness at the fact that one of his sons is now 
being educated at the Parsi-founded NED College, another son at St 
Patrick’s School, and that his wife and daughter are both alumni of 
St Joseph’s Convent.
    
He explained that a Jamaat is easily formed. It is merely a get-
together by a handful of people. The JJI is relatively unknown and 
possibly only recently formed. His elder brother, Maulana Asad 
Thanvi, a JUI leader, whose name was listed, is angry as he was 
neither invited, nor did he attend the seminar. The list of 
invitees included builders, a chemist, a motor car dealer, a 
discredited labour union leader, and a few unknown Maulanas. Thanvi 
had read my columns and has never felt that I have written anything 
that could be vaguely termed anti-Islamic. He and his brother own a 
construction company. They know Roland and are convinced that he 
would never even have contemplated what he is alleged to have done. 
He felt sure that the few Maulanas of repute who had been involved 
had been led astray. He promised to meet them and give them the 
factual truth.
    
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should explain to his followers that 
when he goes West asking for money, more often than not each man he 
has to deal with is a Jew, that the major part of the money that is 
lent to us to keep us going, and to help fill his own pockets, is 
Jewish money. Spurring enmity, strife and violence does neither him 
nor us any good. He should rather concentrate on the 50 million-odd 
people of his country who are living below the poverty line. The 
nation is sick to death of being robbed by the two governments 
which have been in power for ten years. The want of the poor is 
meagre: a loaf of bread, not even a glass of wine, but merely a 
glass of the elusive potable water with which to quench their 
thirst.

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981010
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Women as targets
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By Irfan Husain

AS if there wasn’t enough violence in Karachi already, there has 
been a sudden spate of reports about women being harassed and even 
attacked in the most affluent parts of Karachi for wearing half-
sleeved shirts.
    
In some of these incidents, women are said to have had their arms 
cut with sharp instruments as they stepped out of their cars, and 
the attackers are alleged to have been wearing green turbans. In a 
related episode, a woman driving her car was accosted at a traffic 
signal and threateningly told to get a driver, and stop driving 
herself.
    
Even uglier and infinitely more vicious have been reports of women 
being stabbed with syringes in public places like cinemas, and 
being shown a sign by their assailants that read; "Welcome to the 
HIV Club." What can be more horrifying than the thought that one 
was infected with the dreaded HIV virus? In yet another (but 
related) incident my sister-in-law told me about a fellow-American 
friend of hers who has been living here for years stopped on Gizri 
Avenue to buy fruit when she was accosted by a man who screamed 
abuse at her and told her to get out of Pakistan. He also yelled at 
the fruit seller for dealing with a foreigner.
    
Clearly the object of these cowardly attacks is to terrify women 
into staying home, and it seems to be working. A friend’s pre-teen 
daughters are so frightened by these stories that they insist on 
wearing long-sleeved shirts before they step out of the house. I am 
sure many older girls now think twice before venturing out for a 
drive.
    
Although some of these stories may be exaggerated or even 
concocted, the fact that they are so readily believed is indicative 
of the paranoia and fear induced by years of escalating violence. 
Daily reports of car-jackings, armed robberies and random killings 
have created a bloody scenario in which such rumours become 
immediately credible.
    
Obviously, those who go around perpetuating these barbaric attacks 
are confident that nobody will interfere and they will go 
unpunished. So far they have been absolutely right. Even if one of 
them is arrested, he will soon be released. After all, when Kunwar 
Yunus, the husband of Riffat Afridi, was attacked and nearly killed 
in the city courts by relatives of his wife who opposed the 
marriage earlier this year, no action was taken against the 
assailants. The girl’s father was soon released, and I am not aware 
of any legal proceedings against any of the others.
    
Apart from this laissez-faire attitude towards criminals, the 
government’s encouragement of the most retrograde elements in our 
society has led to a situation where the most loathsome and blood-
thirsty zealots are crawling out of the woodwork. Taking a page 
from the Taliban’s manual of instructions, they are cold-bloodedly 
targeting women. And instead of protecting them, the administration 
as well as society at large  are silent witnesses.
    
This supine acceptance of this kind of brutal vigilante action only 
encourages more such dastardly attacks. As it is, intolerance has 
been behind much of the murder and mayhem in this strife-ridden 
country. The sectarian gangs behind this ongoing bloodbath roam 
around freely, staging public demonstrations, but go largely 
untouched by the police. When some of them are arrested for the 
most heinous crimes, they are soon released on bail or they break 
out of jail.
    
As it is, Pakistan has not distinguished itself by the treatment of 
women. Indeed, women here are some of the most oppressed on the 
planet. But with the government preferring to turn a blind eye to 
what is happening here, we seem to be bent on excelling the Taliban 
in turning women into non-persons in their own country.

There are people who say that the women are getting what they 
deserve for wearing half-sleeved shirts in a conservative society 
like Pakistan. If we take this argument to its logical conclusion, 
then we will soon be in a situation approaching present-day 
Afghanistan. But this untenable view begs the larger question of 
human rights: who is to decide what constitutes acceptable attire? 
And if women are forced indoors, then what is to stop these same 
zealots from decreeing the length of the beard men must have?
Over the last two decades, ever since Zia-ul-Haq arrived on the 
scene, we have witnessed a perceptible erosion of liberal values. I 
still remember my mother bicycling off to attend some civil defence 
organization she had joined soon after Partition. My cousins used 
to cycle to Kinnaird College in the fifties and sixties. This is 
perfectly normal around the world. In New Delhi, many women go to 
work on motor scooters, but this is unthinkable in Pakistan. 
Similarly, fewer and fewer women now wear saris. All these are 
signs of our less tolerant times.  In a sense, we are going against 
the trend of greater freedom for women. Even in the Muslim world, 
girls have the same educational opportunities as men, and many of 
them have highly successful careers. But instead of looking to 
emulate countries like Turkey, Iran and Malaysia, our role models 
are states like Afghanistan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. In our blind 
insistence on turning our back on our South Asian origins, we have 
chosen to identify with the most backward elements in th Islamic 
world.
    
The government will, no doubt, sneer at such objections as liberal 
whingeing devoid of any merit. However, being largely composed of 
businessmen, they ought to examine the fallout their stone-age 
ideas have in terms of foreign investments and tourism. Who would 
want to invest in a country where women are attacked for wearing 
the modest attire which nevertheless exposes a few inches of skin? 
For that matter, who in his right mind would travel to a country 
where foreigners are told to leave?
    
It is true that these attitudes are mercifully limited to the 
lunatic fringe. But as no action is taken against armed and 
dangerous lunatics, irrespective of the banner they march under, 
more and more frustrated young men will carry out copycat attacks.
    
As it is, many foreigners have left Karachi in the wake of the 
rising fundamentalist tide in Pakistan. Even without these 
elements, the government had not exactly endeared itself to foreign 
investors by its ham-handed action against independent power 
producers. The recent spate of attacks against women will ensure 
that we are soon accorded the same status as Afghanistan in the 
roster of women-hating nations.

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981008
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Economy in focus
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Sultan Ahmed

THE government is not focusing on the economic crisis in the 
country and not giving it the top priority that it needs. The 
situation has been worsening since the middle of last year along 
with the escalating East Asian crisis, but the quality of official 
attention to it has been disappointing. A government headed by 
businessmen ought to know far better; but they have not given proof 
of such awareness or a sense of sustained urgency.

Isolated steps like increasing the export subsidy for sugar by 200 
per cent to Rs 4.50 per kilogram, setting up a commission for the 
perennially ailing textile industry or an authority to promote 
small and medium industries have been taken. But the government has 
not come up with a composite package with the backing of trade and 
industry and the country as a whole, after the six or seven 
packages it had announced for various sectors of the economy soon 
after it came into office last year, have either failed or proved 
to be inadequate.

The lasting East Asian economic turmoil with its contagion which 
has reached Brazil and Argentina as well, after hitting Russia, 
should have made the government far more alert and active, but it 
has not. Disappointed by the slackness of the government in this 
vital area, the army chief of staff Gen. Jehangir Karamat has urged 
the need of the hour is to focus on the economy. He had stressed 
that point earlier, too.

When the revenues are falling as a result of economic stagnation 
and industrial downturn, the budget deficit is increasing, exports 
are falling, the foreign exchange reserve is sinking in the face of 
the large need for servicing the debt, bank loan defaults rise to 
Rs 180 billion and 62 per cent of the companies quoted on the 
Karachi Stock Exchange did not pay any dividend in 1997, and a half 
of the others paid nominal dividend the government has to sit up 
and go for viable solutions resolutely. Instead the prime 
minister's focus is more on the 15th Amendment as he believes that 
if he makes us all good Muslims, according to his perception, most 
of our problems will be solved quick. And that has divided the 
people in a country where there are no major differences on the 
basic principles of Islam that should guide our life. The economic 
issue has been sidetracked in spite of its painful impact on the 
lives of the people, more so on the lives of the poor and the 
middle class.

In the economic sector the government's focus is on reaching an 
agreement with the IMF for 5 billion dollars, including 
rescheduling old loans of 2.5 billion dollars. The government hopes 
a new Extended Structural Adjustment Facility would unlock the 
doors of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for us and 
enable them to give large loans. And a signal from the IMF would 
enable us get the 1.5 billion dollar package sponsored by the 
Islamic Development Bank from a consortium of 12 Gulf banks instead 
of the only 100 million dollars committed outright by the IDB.

While the IMF is conducting exploratory talks in this regard in 
Washington following the preliminary talks it had in Islamabad, it 
would not come up with the package unless it gets a green signal 
from the US. And Washington is coming up with new conditionalities 
for lifting the sanctions. The US Congress on its part is giving 
President Clinton the authority to waive the post-nuclear 
explosions of May for a year, as India and Pakistan have offered to 
sign the CTBT before September next year when a review of the 
treaty is due. But now the State Department says it is not enough 
if the two nuclear weapons states have agreed to sign the CTBT. 
Instead, they should actually sign and ratify that. And it is not 
content with the two countries agreeing to sign the Fissile 
Materials Control Treaty when an agreement is reached in Geneva 
later. Instead, the two countries should agree to a moratorium on 
that now. In addition, they should work out a nuclear regime treaty 
between them instead of continuing their competition quiely. Even 
if Pakistan agrees to some of these steps, in parts or fully, India 
would not agree readily. And an India-Pakistan accord on these 
issues may take a long time. India has been insisting it should not 
be treated differently from the rest of the world in the nuclear 
area. And Pakistan has been saying it should not be treated 
differently from India.

So how long do we wait for the US to give a green signal to the IMF 
to aid us, and for the IMF to give the green signal to the other 
international lending agencies, including the Islamic Development 
Bank and the 12 Gulf banks which had agreed to provide us with 1.5 
billion dollars? Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz has hence been 
warning us that there are several hurdles to cross before the aid 
flows via the IMF and others begin. Meanwhile, the country is said 
to have technically defaulted in repayment of over one billion 
dollars and the default keeps piling up as time passes.

Apart from the price to be paid for lifting the sanctions, 
including the US sanctions imposed eight years before Pakistan's 
explosions the IMF is coming up with a package of stiff 
conditionalities which are hard for the government and the people 
to swallow. They can be extremely painful for the poor and the low 
income groups whose hardships will increase in an unacceptable 
manner.

The prime minister says the IMF wants a rise in power tariff by 15 
per cent and he had rejected that. And the minister for power Gohar 
Ayub says the last 15 per cent rise in power rates had led an 
increase in theft and loss rates of WAPDA by two per cent. He 
concedes the higher the power rates the larger the theft rate. In 
Karachi a rise in power rates by 50 per cent in three years has led 
to rise in power theft by 50 per cent and a total theft and loss 
rate of 40 to 45 per cent in KESC.

Mr Shamshul Mulk has resigned as chairman of WAPDA as the 
government did not like his decision to set up a separate Area 
Electricity Board for FATA which does not pay its electricity bills 
in spite of the nominal rates charged there. As a result of such 
default the federal and provincial governments, FATA, Azad Kashmir 
etc have to pay over Rs 22 billion to WAPDA. So WAPDA has no money 
to pay the oil and gas companies which have curtailed their fuel 
supply to WAPDA, which has cut its power production. What we have 
is a circular default and circular crises. The law-breakers, loan 
defaulters, tax evaders and defaulters of utility bills have their 
way. Hence the endemic economic crisis.

In such an environment there had to be unanimity in the Senate on a 
resolution calling for withdrawing the additional surcharge on 
power. A ruling party member Sen. Anwar Bhinder and the opposition 
did not want removal of the heavy surcharge and the fuel surcharge, 
but the hefty additional surcharge which makes a mockery of the 
power bills and promotes power theft. The minister of state for 
power Haleem Siddiqi tried to defend the high electricity tariff by 
attributing it to the 85 per cent rise in rates effected by the PPP 
government and the high rates charged by Independent Power 
Producers. But the fact is that the high rates are the outcome of 
the high power theft in collusion with the staff of WAPDA, 
corruption, and maladministration in the power sector. Surely if 
the government cannot remedy these serious failings the IMF will 
urge the government to raise power rates again.

We are now told that to plug the leaks in Karachi's water system Rs 
45 million is needed. We obtain large loans from the World Bank to 
set up or expand the water system and then let the system crumble. 
Those who pay water rates do not get water, while others steal 
merrily. So we need more loans to plug the leaks. If the loans are 
misued in this manner we are bound to get into deeper debt, while 
the loans are not utilised for the purpose for which they were 
raised after prolonged negotiations. And when the people do not get 
what they pay for, while the officials and those who steal get such 
service in plenty, they too will stop paying their dues. The 
financial crunch then becomes acute and the remedies sought 
ineffective.

All that has made Gen Karamat call for using the political mandate 
of the leaders for strengthening the institutions and establishing 
structurally-tiered institutions with clear responsibilities at 
each level. That is what has been lacking in our political and 
economic system as the will of the leaders prevail over 
institutions. Structural changes are made very quick, and policy 
changes even quicker. The result is perennial chaos with increasing 
cross-signals. And trade and industry and the people do not know 
what the government wants and which way it is going. The need of 
the hour is a national consensus on the economy so that a change in 
governments or even in ministers does not mean any change in basic 
policies. But that is easier said than obtained.

In a globalized economy with its keen international competition 
there is small scope for individual ministers or other officials to 
have their own way. The need in such on environment is collective 
leadership, following think-tanks enlightening the leaders or 
placing all the options before them with the cost of wrong policies 
clearly stated. That also needs a neutral and secure bureaucracy, 
as Gen. Karamat has stressed, which can discharge its duties 
without fear or favour. A bureaucratic system in which the chief 
secretary of Sindh is changed every few months does not inspire 
confidence in the bureaucracy or the people.

The rulers have to realize that there has been little investment 
during recent years, except in the area of power production. And 
today the government is having a serious rift with IPPs. The fact 
is that any investment made now would take three years or more to 
show results. Meanwhile, the unemployment situation would get far 
worse. And that would express itself in increasing social unrest 
and rise in crimes.

All investment begins with savings, including corporate savings. 
But the official policy is not helpful for savings. Following the 
end of the foreign currency accounts the government has not come up 
with any effective savings policy. The government now offers the 
LIBOR rate of 5.15 per cent for the new dollar bonds, while 
Argentina offers 12 to 13 per cent for its 2 billion dollar bonds.

The government has to do some serious re-thinking of its policies. 
It has to pay the necessary price for economic revival and growth 
instead of being content with the agricultural growth spurred by 
high support prices. The official focus must now shift from other 
areas to the real economy, towards production, exports, employment 
and investment. 


===================================================================
SPORTS
981007
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Cricket: Pakistan hope to lift themselves in series
-------------------------------------------------------------------

RAWALPINDI, Oct 6: The Pakistan cricket team are hoping to lift 
themselves both on and off the field in the wake of an ongoing 
match-fixing controversy and an innings humiliation by the touring 
Australian team in the first Test.
    
While officials are intent on taking Pakistan cricket past the 
allegations that have stained its image internationally, the team 
hope to show unity in their performance in the second Test which 
starts in Peshawar from Oct 15.
    
"We need to play positively and as a unit," said Pakistan coach 
Javed Miandad, who weathered many storms in his playing career.
    
Once a Pakistan team loses, the cricket-crazy locals go in search 
of non-cricketing reasons for the defeat. Pakistani fans find it 
hard to accept their team has been beaten by a better side.
    
"Pakistan are the type of team about whom it is hard to make 
predictions. They can lose to any team, but can also win against 
formidable oppositions," former Australian player Ian Chappell has 
said.
    
Match-fixing, betting and bribery controversies are the current 
talking points in Pakistan cricket and no less than three 
committees are investigating various claims. The committee formed 
by the cricket board had implicated Wasim Akram, Salim Malik and 
Ejaz Ahmed.
    
Wasim and Malik both played in Pakistan’s opening Test loss against 
Australia.
    
"We are doing our best to solve this controversy and let our 
players focus on the game," said Cricket Board chairman Khalid 
Mahmood.
    
Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail feels that it is the performance on 
the field that counts and that off-field problems should be left 
behind when the team plays a match.
    
"You win some and lose some. There is no excuse and there are no 
non-cricketing reasons for our loss, we played badly and lost," he 
said after the crushing first Test defeat.AFP

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981007
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Hockey: South Korea replace England in Champions’ Trophy
-------------------------------------------------------------------

LONDON, Oct 6: South Korea were invited on Tuesday to compete in 
the Champions’ Trophy hockey tournament in Pakistan after England 
announced they were withdrawing for security reasons.
    
The International Hockey Federation (IHF) said confirmation from 
South Korea, the next highest ranked side after England in the 1998 
World Cup, was expected by the end of the week.
    
The Trophy starts in Lahore on October 31.
    
England pulled out on Monday citing Foreign Office advice against 
non-essential visits to the region after U.S. missile strikes in 
August against a suspected guerrilla base in neighbouring 
Afghanistan.
    
"The position we have found ourselves in is extremely frustrating 
both for the support staff and the players," said England 
international performance director Chris Spice.
    
"The opportunity to compete with the world’s leading sides in 
Lahore would have been extremely beneficial to our programme of 
continual improvement.
    
"But no matter how small the risk, we have to put our players, 
support staff and supporters first. In that respect, this decision 
has been simple."
    
The IHF said in a statement that it regretted England’s decision 
but also respected it.
    
It added however that there could be consequences for England’s 
eligibility for the 1999 Champions’ Trophy and this would be 
discussed at a meeting in Brussels in late November.
    
The IHF said none of the other four foreign teams  Australia, 
Germany, Netherlands and Spain  had so far indicated that they 
were not prepared to take part.
    
The Pakistan Hockey Federation assured the world body that the 
situation in Pakistan was calm and pointed out that the Australian 
cricket team was currently on tour there while South Africa were 
expected next month.Reuters

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981009
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Wasim Akram denies betting allegations
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

LAHORE Oct 8: Fast bowler Wasim Akram on Thursday, in a statement 
before the Inquiry Commission, strongly denied the betting 
allegations against him and other members of the Pakistan cricket 
team. Former chief selector and secretary of the cricket board, Dr 
Zafar Altaf, also expressed similar views. He said that players 
like Wasim Akram, Saleem Malik, Saqlain Mushtaq were ‘phenomena’ 
and that country should be proud of them. Pakistan captain Aamir 
Suhail said that he had heard board officials and players talk 
about matchfixing a lot of time but he did not have any personal 
knowledge of it. DIG Shaukat Javed, team’s physio Dr Dan Kiesel, Dr 
Amir Aziz, fast bowler Ataur Rehman and a friend of Aqib Javed also 
recorded their statements. The proceedings were adjourned till 
Tuesday when the DIG was directed to produce in the court two 
alleged bookies, Zafar Jo Jo and Raja. Ataur Rehman recorded his 
statement in-camera. Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum had declined to 
record his statement on the previous date of hearing when he felt 
that the bowler was lying. The bowler had denied having given an 
affidavit to the effect that he was offered bribe before a match in 
New Zealand. He said that the affidavit on record which was 
attributed to him was forged. The court had stopped recording his 
statement at this stage. It had asked him to reconsider his stance 
and come to the court against yesterday(Thursday).
    
WASIM AKRAM: Fast bowler Wasim Akram said that at last an inquiry 
was being held into the allegations and it will clear the names of 
the players who were wrongly accused. Asked to explain why he did 
not play the world cup quarter final match in India, he said that 
he was injured in the world cup match against New Zealand played in 
Pakistan. He said that the moment he got injured he knew he would 
not be able to play for a month at least. Asked why he went to 
India, he said that he wanted play against India and won. In the 
past also, he said he had played a series in Australia while being 
injured and he received three injections before every match. This 
time also he hoped till the last moment that the pain would go 
away. Denying the allegation that he deliberately did not play the 
match, Mr Akram said that a New Zealand player had received a 
similar injury at the start of the tournament and he was sent home 
immediately by the team management. The court said that it was hard 
to believe that a Pakistani player would throw away a match against 
India. He said that it would be like selling on the Kashmir issue.
    
Asked about the allegations that he and Waqar Younis had bowled 
badly in two one-day matches against England after winning the test 
matches, the bowler said that they were beaten by a better team. He 
said that England was a very strong one-day side. Its recent series 
loss against South Africa was the first in the last 15 years. He 
also mentioned the type of the pitches as a reason for easy 
bowling. Regarding another match, he said Pakistan should have won 
the match.
    
About the match in Sharjah in which he went in to bat ahead of in 
form batsmen, Akram said that the team was in a difficult situation 
and he thought that he with his experience might accelerate the run 
rate. He said that he was human being and was prone to making 
mistakes.

About the allegations levelled by Ataur Rehman, he said that 
earlier people used to say he supported him unnecessarily because 
they both played cricket with the same club. He said that Ataur 
Rehman reportedly has changed his stance more than once and his 
credibility was doubtful.
    
Akram said that in the match, he was alleged to have asked Ata to 
bowl badly, he himself had bowled six overs for 17 runs and the 
latter had conceded 44 runs in nine overs.
    
He said that irresponsible journalism and non-professional attitude 
of some of the cricket board officials was responsible for what he 
said were rumours of match fixing.
 
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