------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 19 December 1998 Issue : 04/50 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Development of navy topmost priority: PM + US asks India and Pakistan for restraint + US attack on Iraq condemned by Senate + Hearing of petition against invoking Article 245 put off + Altaf asks Mohajirs to prepare for long battle + New US visa interviews from this month + Paris Club has accepted rescheduling request: Dar + Pakistan not to demand interest on F-16s' money + Muttahida holding talks with PPP for alliance + PM's family faces court on 11m debt + $72m withdrawn on May 26 and 28, says SBP counsel --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Stronger rupee may affect export earnings + 'SBP has no control over forex spending' + Hubco chief, 6 others issued warrants + Bankers await SBP guidelines on euro + CBR campaign to register ST retailers + PIA sees Rs700m profit + Indonesia to buy 2.77 lakh tons of rice + NIT bid to forestall RPL move + $-euro reference rate to be set on 31st + Stocks show firm trend on buying in chemicals --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Parasites Ardeshir Cowasjee + Gift of eyesight Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan go down fighting to South Korea + Railways win National women hockey 12th time

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NATIONAL NEWS

981219
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Development of navy topmost priority: PM
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Reporter

KARACHI, Dec 18: Prime minister Nawaz Sharif declared here on 
Friday that the government attached topmost priority to the martime 
development as it was vital to the defence of the country.
    
Speaking at the 70th midshipmen commissioning parade at the 
Pakistan Naval Academy, he said navy's role was to defend the 
maritime frontiers of the country, and the government would 
continue to take steps for the modernization of naval fleet 
irrespective of resource constraint.
    
Mr Sharif said that a glance at the security scenario around the 
world, suggested that the post-cold war tensions had not subsided 
in South Asia.
    
In this strategically important area, the unresolved issue of 
Kashmir remained a flashpoint and continued to retard the 
development of peace and cooperation.
    
"And until this issue is resolved in accordance with the accepted 
international commitments, I cannot foresee any improvement in the 
situation," the prime minister said and added: "We cannot, 
therefore, lower our guard and must remain alert to any threat 
while seeking solutions through peaceful means".
    
Though small in size, the Pakistan Navy was equipped with high 
quality officers and motivated men, "which is the biggest force 
multiplier when the chips are down", the prime minister said while 
referring to the Quaid's famous address to the officers of the 
Pakistan Navy in 1948.
    
He said he was gratified to see the young officers from the 
brotherly countries of the UAE, Qatar and Palestine in the 
commissioning parade, saying it was most heartwarming to see them 
shoulder to shoulder with their Pakistani brethren.
    
He said the government would continue to extend assistance to 
friends with whatever means, adding that the personal and 
professional friendships formed during their training in Pakistan 
would go a long way in further strengthening of mutual relations.
    
In his welcome address, the commandant said that 26 midshipmen form 
Pakistan Navy and seven from UAE were being commissioned as sub-
lieutenants who had undergone professional, academic and general 
training at Pakistan Naval Academy as well as on board PN ships.
 
He said besides providing a firm base in technical knowledge and 
professional skills, special emphasis had been laid on the 
personality development and character building of these young 
officers at the naval academy.
    
Sub-lieutenant Sohail Ahmed was given Quaid-i-Azam gold medal, 
chief cadet Captain Mohsin Raza was awarded Chairman JCSC Gold 
Medal and midshipman Mohammad Saeed was bestowed with the PNA Dirk.
    
Sword of honour for best of all-round midshipman went to Kashif 
Shamshad while Champion Squadron and Winner of Proficiency Banner 
was given to Main Top Squadron.
    
Those present on the occasions included Sindh governor Moinuddin 
Haider, naval chief Admiral Fasih Bukhari and federal ministers 
Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Haleem Siddiqui.

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981218
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US attack on Iraq condemned by Senate
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: Senate on Thursday through a unanimous 
resolution condemning the US attack on Iraq and described it an 
aggression against the Muslim world and humanity.
    
The resolution, piloted by Senator Mualana Fazal Muhammad, also 
appealed to the UN Security Council and international community to 
use their influence for getting this attack stopped immediately.
    
The original resolution contained the word "terrorism" for the US 
attack on Iraq which were deleted to get the resolution passed with 
consensus.
    
Earlier senators of all shades of political opinion made furious 
speeches against the US. The rulers of the Islamic countries also 
came under criticism for toeing the US line.
    
Some of the members were of the view that the US carried out the 
attack on Iraq to divert the attention of American people from the 
impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton.
    
"In August when Kenth Starr report of Lewinsky affair was being 
presented in the House judiciary committee the US attacked 
Afghanistan and Sudan and now when the impeachment motion has come 
up the US attacked Iraq", Senator Iqbal Haider of PPP said.
    
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said the attack should not have been carried 
out without the prior sanction of the Security Council.
    
He said attack on civilian population, particularly when the two 
countries were not engaged in arm conflict, was not justified and a 
condemnable act.
    
Some members also appreciated the Iraqi people and Saddam Hussain 
for courageously facing American aggression and braving economic 
sanctions for the last seven years.
    
Senator of Pukhtoon Khawa Milli Awami Party Akram Shah said the US 
was not against the Muslim world but all the sovereign nations.
He deplored that not a single Muslim country had so far condemn the 
US attack on Iraq.
    
Senator Akram Zaki and former secretary general foreign affairs 
said that the US attack was a clear violation of UN charter. UN 
charter allows use of force only with the approval of SC, he said.
    
Chief of ANP Ajmal Khattak called US attack as a terrorism. He 
noted that the unanimity shown by the House was very encouraging.
    
ANP Senator Qazi Anwer said the US attack should be condemned in 
unqualified terms.

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981218
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More military courts being set up this week
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KARACHI, Dec 17: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday evening 
presided over a meeting and reviewed the law and order situation 
and the results achieved so far after the imposition of governor's 
rule.
    
He also reviewed the pace of development and implementation of the 
development schemes in Karachi. The trial of cases before the 
military courts were also reviewed.
    
During the meeting on law and order, which was also joined by the 
chief of the army staff, it was decided to establish two more 
military courts this week and another four to six during the next 
week so that cases being brought before these courts could be 
disposed of expeditiously.
    
The PM expressed satisfaction over decline in major crimes like 
murder, carjacking and extortionism.
    
The meeting also reviewed the situation about the supply of water 
from the Hub dam to Karachi and approved a water supply scheme 
which would cost Rs9,200 million. Under the scheme, water will be 
supplied from the River Indus in case supplies from the Hub dam are 
totally depleted in the wake of no rain.
    
The scheme will be completed in 10 weeks under the supervision of 
army engineers.
    
Meanwhile, Mr Sharif, in a separate meeting with provincial 
authorities at the governor's house, directed them to accelerate 
operation against terrorists irrespective of their political 
affiliation.
    
Later, talking to newsmen during his visit to district central, the 
prime minister said that law and order situation in Karachi was 
improving rapidly.APP

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981218
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US asks India and Pakistan for restraint
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Shaheen Sehbai

WASHINGTON, Dec 17: The US on Wednesday urged both Pakistan and 
India to meet the nuclear benchmarks set by the international 
community and exercise the utmost restraint in further missile 
development, including flight testing.
    
"It is our understanding that India has not deployed nuclear 
weapons (against Pakistan)," State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin 
said when asked to react to Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's 
Tuesday address to the parliament on nuclear policy.
    
Vajpayee had ruled out any moratorium on fissile material 
production, rejected restraints on the development of India's 
research and development capabilities and discounted the 
possibility of any agreement which placed India at a disadvantage.
    
In statements made in both houses of Parliament on the ongoing 
Indo-US talks on the nuclear issue, Mr Vajpayee said India would 
protect its independence in deciding its nuclear policy, but 
indicated he also hinted at willingness to sign the CTBT.
    
"The present discussions with the US should lead to the conclusion 
of CTBT before 1999," he said adding that flight testing of Agni 
missile, currently under development, would be conducted fully in 
accordance with established international practice.
    
Asked to comment on Vajpayee's remarks, spokesman Rubin welcomed 
India's reaffirmation of a commitment to a September '99 signature 
on the CTBT.
    
"There have been multiple rounds of discussion between us and the 
Indians, and we have made some progress. We are looking forward to 
continuing this dialogue in another round of talks in late January. 
There are significant differences. We will be working to try to 
limit the differences and expand the areas of common ground. We 
want both India and Pakistan to meet the benchmark set forth by the 
international community," he said.
    
Rubin, however, said it was necessary in democracies to build a 
base of parliamentary and public support for important actions, and 
"we welcome the fact that Vajpayee is in the process of building a 
national consensus on no further nuclear testing and on India's 
adherence to the CTBT."

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981216
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Altaf asks Mohajirs to prepare for long battle
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Correspondent

LONDON, Dec 15: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain 
on Monday night urged the Mohajirs to prepare themselves for a long 
battle to achieve their rights.
    
"Nowhere in the world any oppressed nation has achieved its rights 
in five or 10 years' time. A sustained and long struggle has to be 
waged for achieving the rights," Mr Hussain said while speaking to 
MQM workers, doctors, engineers, students and intellectuals at his 
party's international secretariat in London. "Even the Kashmiris 
have not achieved their right to self-determination after the 
passage of 50 years," he reminded them.
    
He briefed them about what he termed a three-pronged strategy of 
the establishment to "isolate, criminalize and demoralize" the 
Mohajirs to eliminate them. That was why, he said, the Mohajirs and 
their representative party were not acceptable to the ruling class.
    
He said the struggle for freedom all over the world had been an 
arduous task, and referred to the movements of Palestine, South 
Africa and Kashmir to emphasize his point.
    
"Nelson Mandela and African people had to struggle for 50 years 
(for liberation); the struggle of Yasser Arafat and Palestinian 
people is also spread over five decades and Kashmiris have not yet 
achieved their right to self-determination despite the passage of 
50 years," he told his party loyalists.
    
Earlier, explaining to them why the establishment and the ruling 
class were against the Mohajir community, Mr Hussain said the Urdu-
speaking people had freed themselves from the yolk of feudal and 
capitalist system and had greater political awakening at the time 
of partition when the majority of people were physically and 
mentally slave to feudals, sardars and waderas who were ruling the 
country. He said the feudals considered Mohajirs a serious threat 
to their system and from day one they started conspiracies to 
eliminate them.
    
First, he said, Pakistan's capital was shifted from Karachi to 
Islamabad, then Mohajirs were shunted out of bureaucracy, their 
educational institutions and banks were nationalized, the quota 
system was introduced in Sindh to close the doors of higher 
education on Mohajir students and ethnic riots were staged. He said 
all these methods were aimed at weakening the Mohajir community so 
that it should not be in a position to challenge the feudal system.
    
He said the establishment still patronized the feudal system and 
considered the MQM a threat to the system, thinking its progressive 
approach would also create awareness among the Punjabis, Seraikis, 
Pathans, and Sindhis. So to keep the Mohajirs away and stop them 
from mixing with other nationalities, the establishment 
systematically pitched all these communities against Mohajirs by 
creating an impression that the Mohajirs were against all other 
nationalities.
    
To achieve this objective, the MQM chief said, the establishment 
engineered Punjabi-Mohajir riots in Sohrab Goth in October 1986 and 
then similar riots were organized in December the same year in 
Aligarh and Qasba Colonies. However, he added, when these 
conspiracies did not succeed and the MQM was given a heavy mandate 
by the people in the 1987 local bodies elections in Karachi and 
Hyderabad, the establishment started patronizing terrorist groups 
to make attacks on Mohajir communities.
    
He said another attempt was made to pitch Mohajirs against Sindhis 
which had resulted in the 1988 Hyderabad massacre. And then, in 
1992 an army operation was to create an impression that the 
Mohajirs were anti-state people.
    
The MQM chief said the establishment also started patronizing real 
terrorists who were provided with vehicles and arms and ammunition 
to kill MQM workers and leaders in Karachi. With the help of 
government forces, he said, these terrorists succeeded in 
controlling Landhi, Korangi, Malir, Shah Faisal Colony and Lines 
Area in Karachi. "These areas were turned into no-go areas for MQM 
MNAs, MPAs and other elected representatives and party leaders and 
workers to create an impression that MQM had been limited to only 
the Central district areas," he said. Besides, he recalled, the 
establishment also created a new district of Malir to turn a 
Mohajir majority area into a Mohajir minority area.
    
Referring to the joining of the Sindh government, Mr Hussain said 
that as a result of the elections in which MQM was given a large 
mandate in Karachi, there was no other option left for the 
establishment but to involve MQM in government making. However, he 
said, despite MQM's majority in Sindh Assembly, the establishment 
ensured that the chief minister would be from a minority party. He 
said that despite a written agreement with the PML, the MQM-
nominated governor was never appointed nor were MQM ministers 
involved in policy-making. This was another way of isolating the 
Mohajirs, he said.
    
CRIMINALIZATION: Mr Hussain said the establishment also created an 
impression that the Mohajirs were criminals and should be treated 
like that. He said the term "terrorist" was used on radio and 
television to describe MQM workers and leaders. The establishment 
was trying to create an image that the MQM was not a political 
party fighting for the rights of the people but a terrorist 
organization. He said it was because of this policy that dozens of 
false and fabricated charges of terrorism had been registered 
against every MQM MNA, MPA and senator. He said the elected 
representatives, some of them too old even to think of committing 
any crime, were taken handcuffed to appear in courts just to 
establish that every MQM man is a terrorist.
    
He indirectly disagreed with the claim of the army chief that 
everything would be done on merit. "Has any other criminal been 
arrested except for MQM leaders?" he asked. "Why governor's rule 
has not been imposed in Punjab on merit where thousands of people 
have been killed in incidents of terrorism and sectarian riots?" he 
asked. "Why till today no police official, who has killed hundreds 
of MQM workers, has been arrested and tried in a summary military 
court?"
    
Mr Hussain said every crime committed in Karachi was immediately 
connected with the MQM on the ground that since the MQM was the 
biggest party in the port city, it must have been committed by it. 
"If this is the criterion, then why Pakistan Muslim League is not 
held responsible for all the terrorism that is taking place in 
Punjab and where Muslim League is the biggest political party?"
    
DEMORALIZATION: Mr Hussain said the last plank of the 
establishment's three-pronged strategy is to create demoralization 
among the Mohajirs by isolating them and portraying them as 
terrorists and criminals. He said the large-scale arrest of MQM 
workers, particularly the arrest of their relatives, sacking of 
thousands of MQM workers from the jobs and destroying their homes 
was part of the conspiracy to demoralize and eliminate the Mohajirs 
to capture Karachi and make it a centre's colony.

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981216  
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New US visa interviews from this month
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ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: The American Embassy on Monday announced the 
resumption of new immigrant visa interviews for cases that had not 
previously been given appointments.
    
These interviews will begin in the last week of this month. 
Appointment letters for the new dates will be mailed in next two to 
three weeks.
    
The US Embassy advised that due to the large number of cases 
awaiting interviews and the limited personnel resources at its 
Consular Section, the average wait for an appointment will be 
approximately six months from the date the Consular Section is 
informed in writing that all the necessary documents have been 
collected.
    
The only exception that can be made will be for cases involving 
adoptions or children about to turn 21 and who might therefore lose 
their ability to immigrate.PPI

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981215
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Paris Club has accepted rescheduling request: Dar
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Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Monday that 
the Paris Club had accepted Pakistan's request to reschedule its 
loans.
    
"We have been told that the Paris Club has decided to reschedule 
our loans and we hope to have a formal announcement in this behalf 
very soon," he stated.
    
Talking to Dawn Mr Dar said that after the Paris Club the London 
Club was also expected to restructure the country's debts. "Now the 
IMF would meet in mid-January to approve the funding package for 
Pakistan," he added.
    
Foreign Minister Senator Sartaj Aziz, when contacted also, said 
Pakistan's request to have its debts rescheduled had also been 
accepted . Rescheduling, he added, had been offered for 12 years 
with three years' grace period.
    
The IMF's local representative, Ahsan Mansoor, when contacted, 
confirmed to Dawn that Pakistan's loans would be rescheduled as 
decided by the Paris Club on Dec 11 to help overcome its pressing 
financial problems.
    
"The Paris Club, which met on Friday last, has finally accepted 
Pakistan's request to reschedule its loans, which is very good for 
your country," he said.
    
He said that now the club would meet immediately after the IMF's 
executive board meeting in mid-January to formally reschedule 
Pakistan's loans.
    
To a question whether the club would restructure $3.5 billion loans 
as has been widely projected by the government, he said: "In fact, 
they did not discuss the amount but certainly it is going to be 
quite satisfactory from Pakistan's point of view." Friday's meeting 
of the club was considered a private and unofficial one in which a 
decision, in principle, had been taken to accept Pakistan's request 
for rescheduling of loans.
    
Mr Ahsan said feedback of the Paris Club meeting was very positive 
and encouraging and would help to provide the much-needed debt 
relief to Pakistan.
    
Informed sources said the Paris Club's decision to reschedule loans 
would go a long way to help the government to put its house in 
order, at least for the time being if not permanently.
    
The sources said although the finance minister had claimed in 
Friday's press conference that Pakistan would not default, actually 
averting a default would have been pretty difficult had the Paris 
Club not forthcoming.
    
The club had a four-point agenda with regard to Pakistan's request 
for rescheduling. First, whether or not to entertain Pakistan's 
request; second, to arrive at a cutoff date for calculating the 
debt to be rescheduled; third, to determine the period for which 
the rescheduling was to be allowed; and, fourth, the types of loans 
to be considered for rescheduling.

The last three points in the agenda were to prove contentious 
because most of the donors were expected to try to protect their 
respective interests.
    
Most would want to propose a cutoff date of their own liking, 
others would want the shortest possible period for rescheduling, 
and every one would want to keep out of rescheduling consideration 
most of its specialized debts given to public and private sectors 
under sovereign guarantee, excluding those loans given directly to 
the government.

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981215
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Pakistan not to demand interest on F-16s' money
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Shaheen Sehbai

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has agreed not to demand any interest on the 
F-16 money kept by the US for eight years and Prime Minister Nawaz 
Sharif has accepted the US offer of paying $350 million in cash for 
the F-16s and the rest $151 million in US wheat sales.
    
This means that Pakistan is not going to file court case against 
the US as both President Clinton and Assistant Secretary Inderfurth 
had stated that such a move would be embarrassing for Washington 
and could affect Pakistan-US relationship.
    
The issue of Pakistan demanding interest was never officially 
raised. Pakistani officials, whenever asked by journalists, would 
say it was to be raised when the proper time for it came or when 
the US came forward with a solution to resolve the issue.
    
Karl Inderfurth was asked specifically on Dec 4 during a special 
briefing for South Asian journalists whether the interest issue was 
discussed. He sidetracked the question and did not answer it at 
all.
    
Experts say Pakistan had a good-to-excellent chance of getting a 
court order not just to get its money back but with interest and 
that could have meant millions of dollars more. But the first offer 
made by the US to settle the matter was grabbed by the Pakistani 
negotiators, realising that the offer was being made under pressure 
of the court case which the Americans understood they would lose 
and thus wanted to avoid.
    
The deal has, nevertheless, evoked a sharp reaction in the Indian 
camp and wails and cries of "a US tilt towards Pakistan" or a 
"security threat to India" are loudly being heard.
    
The agreement, reached between President Clinton and PM Nawaz 
Sharif in Washington, was kept in the wraps by the US because the 
State Department wanted to give the news to the Indians first 
instead of them hearing it from the media.
    
After briefings were held for members of Congress and specially the 
Indian ambassador in Washington, informing them about the deal, Mr 
Inderfurth revealed the agreement in a USIA Worldnet Dialogue with 
Pakistani journalists on Friday. "I am very pleased to say that 
President Clinton and Prime Minister Sharif reached agreement on a 
process for resolving this long-standing dispute between our two 
countries," he said. He said a detailed view of the accounts 
related to these aircraft was now under way by US officials.
    
Although President Clinton thinks the issue has been settled in 
"fairness to Pakistan" many experts think Mian Nawaz Sharif rushed 
to grab the offer because of Pakistan's critical economic situation 
and because of the fear that long litigation to recover the money 
could mean spending a lot of scarce foreign exchange.
    
The Indian reaction is, however, interesting and one leading 
newspaper called it an "attractive package".
    
The Times of India said in an unannounced briefing this week to 
senior aides of US lawmakers by state department and justice 
department officials, it was mentioned that the Clinton 
administration was considering repaying $300 to 350 million in cash 
(70 per cent of the value of the F-16s held by the US) and the rest 
in commodity sales  specifically winter wheat  to Islamabad. The 
total worth of this new package is estimated to be approximately 
$501 million.
    
This offer has irked some senior US Congressmen, one of whom 
categorised it as a "policy drift in South Asia" which could pose 
"new security threats to India."
    
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981215
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Muttahida holding talks with PPP for alliance
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Correspondent

RAWALPINDI, Dec 14: Muttahida Qaumi Movement was continuing 
dialogue with the Pakistan People's Party to form an alliance with 
it at all levels with an agenda envisaged on restoration of Sindh 
Assembly, withdrawal of governor's rule and military courts, 
Kalabagh Dam and restoration of peace in Karachi, the leaders of 
MQM, Senator Aftab Sheikh, Nasreen Jalil and Farooq Sattar, said in 
a "Meet the Press" programme held at the Rawalpindi Press Club on 
Monday.
    
They said the MQM had no option but to form an alliance with one of 
the main political parties of the country, the ruling PML or the 
PPP, for remaining in political scenario of Sindh and the country. 
It is why the MQM has continued dialogue with the PPP for making 
alliance at national assembly, senate and provincial level.
    
Responding to a question, the MQM legislators said that government 
and agencies were involved in killing innocent people in Karachi 
while the workers of Muttahida were being implicated in fake cases.
    
Sen Sheikh said that over 25,000 different cases had been 
registered against the workers of MQM within last four years while 
all of them have proved to be fake and baseless.
    
He said the senators of MQM were being threatened of dire 
consequences by the ruling party and their supporters if they did 
not cast vote in favour of Shariat Bill in the upper house.
    
He said the establishment of military courts in Karachi and CA-15 
(Shariat Bill) was a bid of prime minister Nawaz Sharif to impose 
one-party rule in the country.
    
"We have never talked about the division of the country because 
Pakistan was founded by the efforts and sacrifices of our 
forefathers who left their property, relatives and migrated to 
Pakistan," he added.
    
He said that armed forces of the country were respectable to the 
MQM but the government wanted to make a rift between the armed 
forces and the Muttahida by setting up military courts in Karachi.
    
Speaking on the occasion, MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar 
termed the imposition of governor's rule as a planned conspiracy of 
the government to take total control of the politics of Sindh.
    
Replying to a question, he said law and order situation in Punjab 
was not different from that of Sindh as according to a report of 
ministry of interior, 1,071 people had been killed in Punjab from 
January 1, 1998 till now while in the same span of time 861 people 
were murdered in Sindh.
    
He said that since their alliance with the government which was 
formed in Feb 21, 1997, over 300 workers of MQM had been killed in 
Karachi. He said that all offices of MQM had been sealed by the 
government throughout the country and majority of their workers had 
gone underground due to excesses and brutalities of police.
    
"Each and every workers of MQM has been implicated at least in a 
single case," he added.
    
He said the arms being shown on TV were not recovered from the 
possession of MQM workers, but brought from government's arms 
depots.
    
workers held: Haq Parast Senators have condemned the arrest of 
Muttahida Qaumi Movement workers, sympathizers and their relatives. 
They said the police and rangers raided homes and arrested many 
workers while at places where the raiding parties failed to arrest 
the wanted men, they ransacked the homes and used indecent language 
against ladies and other family members.
    
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981215
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$72m withdrawn on May 26 and 28, says SBP counsel 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shujaat Ali Khan

LAHORE, Dec 14: Forex deposits amounting to $72 million were 
withdrawn on May 26 and 28, the State Bank counsel told a Lahore 
High Court bench hearing constitutional petitions against the 
foreign currency accounts' freeze and their proposed liquidation as 
security for loans.
    
It was in these circumstances that the government had to bar 
holding of forex deposits, Advocate Abid Hassan Minto argued. 
Nothing was left of forex deposits to freeze after the promulgation 
of the Foreign Exchange (Temporary) Restrictions Ordinance on May 
28, he argued.
    
Once the power to hold or acquire forex was taken away by the May 
28 ordinance, it would be wrong to call the SBP action against the 
FCAs as "freeze", he submitted. What cannot be held, can also not 
be offered as security and the SBP accordingly asked the creditor 
banks to liquidate the non-existent accounts as securities.
    
Mr Minto on Monday furnished to the members of the bench  Justice 
Mian Allah Nawaz, Justice Amir Alam Khan and Justice Karamat Nazir 
Bhandari  details of withdrawals from forex deposits without 
naming the banks or the FCA holders.
    
SBP deputy governor Mr Chughtai also appeared before the bench to 
explain the mechanism of custody, transfer and withdrawal of forex 
deposits.
    
The bench asked Mr Minto to consider producing voluntarily a break-
up of the forex deposits' utilization by the successive governments 
on various herds. The suggestion was made when Mr Minto asserted 
that the $11 billion amount in the FCAs was spent on the 
necessities of the state like debt servicing and oil imports. He, 
however, added that he was not referring to the expenditure on the 
dignitaries' visits abroad.
    
Deputy attorney-general Sher Zaman Khan informed the bench that the 
attorney-general wanted to submit arguments in the case but would 
be available next week. The bench observed that he might appear on 
Thursday or Monday.
    
Mr Minto argued that the provisions of the Protection of Economic 
Reforms Act, 1992, had no bearing on Section 25 of the Banking 
Companies Ordinance, 1962, which empowered the SBP to regulate the 
credit policy.
    
Justice Bhandari remarked that a creditor bank might ask a loanee 
to take away his security and furnish a new one. In the present 
case, he was being asked to withdraw his dollar security at a 
specific rate.
    
Mr Minto said the deposits had ceased to function as security. It 
would amount to discrimination if the deposits held by the loanees 
were allowed to be released at a rate different from the one 
allowed to other FCA holders.
    
Besides, he said, the loanees were free to accept dollar bonds in 
lieu of their deposits and then submit them as security. The bonds 
carry attractive terms.
    
"How would you pay so much profit (in dollars) when the forex 
situation is unsatisfactory?" Justice Allah Nawaz asked. Mr Minto 
replied that the situation was hoped to improve after three years. 
"But would it not add to (internal) national debt?", the judge 
asked. "There will be no immediate liability", Mr Minto replied. He 
clarified that dollar bonds could be purchased by other currency 
holders through direct conversion by banks without the rupee 
intervening.
    
Submitting SBP charts showing withdrawals, Mr Minto said heavy 
amounts were withdrawn after Indian nuclear blasts on May 11 and 
13. There were large-scale withdrawals amounting to $72 million on 
May 26 and 28. There were normal transactions on May 27.
    
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981214
-------------------------------------------------------------------
PM's family faces court on 11m debt
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

LONDON, Dec 13: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family is being sued 
in a London court over alleged debts of more than 11 million pounds 
sterling (around one billion rupees) which have not been paid by a 
paper mill owned by his family's industrial conglomerate.
    
A writ, issued in the London High Court, names the prime minister's 
father and two brothers as guarantors of a huge loan which was used 
to purchase manufacturing equipment for their paper mill business 
in Lahore, The Sunday Observer reported.

The writ against Hudabiya Paper Mills claims that the prime 
minister's father, Mian Mohammad Sharif, and his brothers, Mian 
Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif (Punjab chief minister) and Mian Mohammad 
Abbas, are liable for the debt as they guaranteed parts of the 
loan.
    
The action is being taken by the Al-Towfeek Company for Investment 
Funds, an offshoot of a Saudi Arabian bank, based in the Cayman 
Islands, which has offices in central London and Lahore.
    
The paper said parts of his family's industrial empire are now in 
default.
    
"This summer Sharif was forced to write to bank creditors inviting 
them to take possession of the defaulting companies," the paper 
said. "He has offered to pay back 2 billion rupees (23m pounds ) 
through the sale of three companies."
    
The Sunday Observer quoted the prime minister's son Hussain Sharif 
as saying that the group's financial problems were caused by the 
malicious practices of previous governments. He has said the family 
is suing the company for five billion rupees.
    
"It is alleged that not a penny of the loan has been repaid. The 
family is contesting the case which, it says, ought to be heard in 
a Pakistani court under Islamic law," the paper said.
    
The Observer also recalled its earlier report in which it had 
accused the prime minister's family of amassing a secret, personal 
fortune in offshore bank accounts and London properties.
    
It had quoted an FIA report, which had traced more than 40 million 
pounds of Sharif's money abroad. The investigation centred on the 
Sharif family's Ittefaq group of companies, which grew at an 
astonishing rate during his first term in 1990-93.
    
The paper said Nawaz Sharif is believed to be one of the richest 
men in Pakistan. "He and his six brothers are thought to have 
assets of more than 500 million pounds in Pakistan alone."


=================================================================== 
 BUSINESS & ECONOMY
981216
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Stronger rupee may affect export earnings
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 15: The US dollar has shed at least Rs2.66 or 5.15 per 
cent of its worth during the last 34 days minimizing the cost of 
imports but eating away export earnings in terms of rupees.
    
The State Bank composite exchange rates fell to a record low of 
Rs48.91/Rs49.31 to a US dollar for spot buying and selling on 
December 15 from an all-time high of Rs51.57/Rs51.97 on November 11 
1998.
    
The December 15 composite rates are the lowest since State Bank 
began quoting these rates on August 1 the first band of rates being 
Rs49.23 and Rs49.63 per US dollar the same day.
    
The SBP composite rates are based on weighted average of the buying 
and selling prices of the dollar of 16 local and foreign banks. 
That is why these rates are seen largely as the best yardstick to 
gauge the strength of the rupee vis-a-vis dollar.

Senior bankers said the dollar traded between Rs51.90 and Rs52.20 
in the inter-bank market on December 15 down by around Rs6.00 from 
an all-time high of Rs57.60 and Rs57.80 on November 12. This shows 
a fall of over 10 per cent in the value of dollar in just 33 days.
    
Obviously the exporters have been hit by the huge fall of the 
greenback which has slashed their foreign exchange earnings in 
terms of rupees. On the other hand the reduced cost of dollars has 
benefited the importers.
    
Senior bankers say this situation is bound to change because if it 
continues it would defeat the very purpose of introducing multiple 
exchange rates system. One of the major objectives for introducing 
this system in July this year was to help Pakistani exporters 
remain competitive in the world market and discourage imports into 
the country without devaluing the rupee outrightly.
    
Bankers say what put the dollar on a steep decline were the State 
Bank intervention in the inter-bank market - twice within a week. 
On December 8 the SBP sold some $5 million in the market and on 
December 14 it pumped in an additional $6 million or so.
    
"There is a psychological impact of this intervention. It has 
passed on a clear message to the banks that the SBP wants them to 
bring down the inter-bank rates," said treasury manager of a Middle 
Eastern Bank. "Banks being unable to hold long positions now are 
compelled to sell foreign exchange at cheaper prices in the wake of 
an intervention."
    
"The market has received an exaggerated impact of the State Bank 
intervention," said treasury manager of a foreign bank referring to 
the fall of the dollar from Rs54.15 to Rs51.80 in the inter-bank 
market on Monday.
    
Both bankers said the State Bank intervention might be aimed at 
forcing down the rates of the dollar to a level where they could 
easily absorb any increase after a change in composition of 
composite rates. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had told top bankers in 
Karachi late last month that the composite rates mix might be 
changed in a manner to give more weightage to the inter-bank rates 
and less to official rate.
Bankers say there has been a temporary slump in the demand for the 
dollar in the inter-bank market because of faster inflow of export 
proceeds and slower pace of opening of letters of credit by the 
importers. Bankers say after the introduction of the multiple 
exchange rates system in the last week of July import financing had 
dropped sharply. They say that with the inter-bank rates shooting 
up to an all-time high of Rs57.60/Rs57.80 on November 11 the volume 
of LCs opened with the banks declined further which reduced the 
demand for the greenback and stabilised the rupee.
    
In mid-November the State Bank had cut the Nostro limits of all the 
banks from around $375 million to $185 million besides restricting 
the permissible ceilings for withholding foreign exchange. This 
refrained the banks from indulging in speculative trading of the 
greenback and resulted in its increased supply in the inter-bank 
market. In the mean time the exporters were asked to sell 50 per 

cent of their export proceeds within 7 days after the realisation 
to the banks instead of 14 days which also improved the dollar 
supply.
    
Besides, the period for realisation of export proceed itself has 
been limited to 90 days after the expiry of the due date and the 
exporters failing in realising their export proceed within this 
period are liable to be treated as defaulters. Though this has led 
to a faster inflow of proceeds helping the inter-bank rates to ease 
off yet the exporters community say it can hurt the exports badly 
because of the operational problems it has created for them.
    
When seen against this backdrop the fall of the greenback in inter-
bank market does not appear to be a source of solace for long. 
Financial analysts say it is bound to follow a substantial change 
in foreign exchange policy with a view to facilitate the exporter 
which would certainly strip the rupee of whatever charm it has 
regained in these days.

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981218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
'SBP has no control over forex spending'
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shujaat Ali Khan

LAHORE, Dec 17: There is a legally established and regulated 
currency market in the country and it is not difficult to ascertain 
the value of a currency or its conversion rate vis-a-vis other 
currencies, petitioners' counsel argued before a Lahore High Court 
bench hearing the FCA holders' case.
    
Advocate Salman Akram Raja was answering court queries about the 
rupee-dollar parity. The bench told him that according to SBP 
counsel, Abid Hassan Minto, the rate fixed by the State Bank was 
the market rate and any other rate was a 'black market' rate.
    
The bench observed on Thursday that it was quite clear on the 
issues involved. It asked Mr Raja, time and again, to confine 
himself to matters it wanted further clarified, particularly the 
fixation of conversion rate. Attorney-General Chaudhry Muhammad 
Farooq will make his submissions on Monday, the last day of 
hearing.
    
At the outset on Thursday, Mr Minto clarified the SBP's powers and 
functions briefly 'for the consumption of those creating 
confusion'. He said the State Bank had no power to determine the 
economic policy or to act as an Ehtesab bureau or refuse payment in 
rupees or forex to the federal or a provincial government so long 
as it had a deposit with it.
    
"The forex belongs to the government and the SBP only holds it as 
its banker. It is none of the SBP's business to ask the government 
to spend forex on one head and not on another. The bank could 
decide how much currency to float".
    
Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari, a member of the bench, asked Mr 
Minto to make available a copy of the Quaid-i-Azam's speech on the 
inauguration of the SBP building in Karachi in 1948 to see the role 
envisioned by the father of the nation for the country's central 
bank.
    
Mr Minto said the SBP decisions like those of the Pakistan Bar 
Council, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and other 
professional organizations, were beyond the scope of judicial 
review. Concluding his arguments, he cited case law to substantiate 
them. He said there were two stock stipulations in loan agreements 
that the loan might be recalled any time and that it was subject 
to the SBP's credit policy.
    
In reply to a question about remittances by expatriates, Mr Minto 
said his problem was that he was neither a standing counsel nor a 
legal adviser of the State Bank. His brief was confined to Circular 
23, which required liquidation of the non-existent foreign currency 
accounts as security for loans.
    
Advocate Raja submitted that no one could be deprived of his 
property without the operation of law. The bench asked him to 
address arguments on conversion rate.
    
Referring to the SBP stance that there was no acquisition of 
property and, therefore, there was no question of payment of 
compensation at the prevailing market rate, Mr Raja said why the 
SBP or the government was paying Rs46 for every dollar if there was 
no acquisition or appropriation.

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981218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Hubco chief, 6 others issued warrants
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: Ehtesab bureau moved here on Thursday an interim 
challan and charge-sheet in a special banking court against Hubco 
power project for its alleged involvement in $400 million kickbacks 
and over-invoicing.
    
The FIA submitted the charge-sheet on behalf of Ehtesab bureau in 
the Special Judge Banking Court, Karachi.
    
It also issued "red warrant" against chief executive of Hubco, D.M. 
Woodroffe, S. Khurshid Hussain, director finance of the company, 
Shahid Hassan Khan, special adviser to the former prime minister 
Benazir Bhutto, Salman Farooqui, former power secretary, Daud Beg, 
former adviser PPIB, M.B. Abbasi, former chairman NDFC and Ahmar 
Nadeem.
    
All the accused except Khurshid Hussain, had been declared 
absconders in the interim challan, however, the red-warrants would 
be against all of them. Khurshid Hussain had been granted interim 
bail by Sindh High Court.
    
"We have completed all the legal requirements and investigation 
against Hubco which has been involved in corruption and kickbacks 
amounting to over $400 million", claimed chairman of the Ehtesab 
Bureau Senator Saifur Rehman.
    
Speaking at a news conference he said $217 million over-invoicing 
by the company was also proved for which interim challan and 
charge-sheet had been submitted in the court of special judge in 
Karachi today.
    
This is the second case against Hubco. Earlier the government had 
got reduced power tariffs from Rs11 to Rs6.60 per KWH through 
superior courts. However, it was strange why the government had 
decided to initiate criminal case against the company specially 
when few weeks ago it had announced that the issue would be settled 
out of court.
    
Minister for Water and Power, Gohar Ayub, Finance Minister Ishaq 
Dar and Sen Saifur Rehman were on record having said at a news 
conference that the matter was being resolved through out of court 
settlement.
    
Sen Saif alleged that the National Power Company had fraudulently 
set up three subsidiary companies to make purchases of spare parts 
and fuel and gas. "It also charged Rs17 billion in excess from 
WAPDA for which a separate case is being prepared", he added.
    
He regretted that Hubco was primarily a project of $0.9 billion 
which was stretched to $1.6 billion. "The NDFC had the investment 
of $0.7 billion in it but National Power got all the profit and 
sent it abroad".
    
Commitment charges of $1.055 million paid to Morgan Grenfell 
against the advance agreement for $104 million needs to be 
disallowed for the purposes of tariff calculations from the equity 
in accordance with the GOP letter dated Feb 27, 1994.
    
The project development costs incurred by Kumagai Gumi and Toshiba 
was required to be treated as if they were incurred at the 
commercial operation date, which was March 31, 1997 for the 
purposes of equity injection. However, for calculation of reference 
tariff it was not adjusted.
    
The overall financial effect of these initial findings of 
irregularities works out to $217 million approximately. This amount 
has been taken away by Hubco from WAPDA in the very early years of 
the operation of the project i.e. year 1996-97 and 1997-98. "They 
have taken this amount in the very early years to minimize the 
overall effect of price escalation on account of these 
irregularities to avoid their visible impact. If they would have 
spread it over the project life, the unit price of the electricity 
would have been much higher", the charge sheet said.
    
It is evident that all these irregularities were committed by Hubco 
promoters (HRPG) to increase the IRR fraudulently, contravention of 
the understanding with GOP and WAPDA. The HRPG had increased the 
IRR fraudulently to ultimately increase the size of the premium on 
rights which they have sold to the private and general investors, 
the charge-sheet said.
    
The increase in premium amounting to $87 million was used to give 
kickbacks to Shahid Hassan Khan, Salman Farooqui, Daud Beg, Ibrahim 
Elwan and others, it said.
    
In addition to the foregoing, following further irregularities were 
also detected:
    
The power company was allowed to issue shares at 10 per cent 
discount against project development costs in August 1994 without a 
confirmation from the ministry of water & power or GOP or the CLA.
    
The company was allowed to issue shares against project development 
costs at exchange rates prevailing on the date of consent instead 
of rates prevailing at the dates of transactions by CLA/State Bank, 
ministry of water and power in contravention of the exchange 
regulations.
    
Expenses of various investors who left the project such as Hawker 
Sidley, Kumagai Gumi, Toshiba etc. were allowed to be capitalized, 
whereas due to their withdrawal, the project was considerably 
delayed and cost to GOP substantially increased.
    
Originally the project was conceived as BOT. However, subsequently 
the GOP had given its consent to BOO.

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981217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
CBR campaign to register ST retailers
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 16: The Central Board of Revenue plans to launch 
forced registration of all major retailers from the first week of 
January 1999, so as to speed up sales tax collection from retailers 
with turnover above Rs 5 million.
CBR sources told Dawn here Tuesday that the federal government has 
"had enough of the defiance and there is no option other than 
imposing the law by force", said a very senior CBR official.
    
He said the federal government has been sending signals that the 
retailers would be made to pay the tax due and all measures would 
be adopted for this purpose, including resort to arresting the 
defiant ones. "All is set now. We are not going to be bogged down 
by the threat that there would be a countrywide shut-down", he 
added.
    
Asked about the implementation plan, he said "first the big fish. 
We have chalked out a list of thousands (not divulging the exact 
number) of the major retailers in 10 metropolitans and 
municipalities of provincial capitals plus four big towns in the 
provinces of the Punjab, Sindh and Frontier, who would be our first 
target."
    
A CBR circular issued in July regarding imposition of retail tax 
had said: While no coercive measure is being taken by the Sales Tax 
department until Oct 20, 1998, all such retailers are advised to 
obtain sales tax registration at the earliest. Other retail traders 
below the threshold of Rs 5 million annual turnover have option 
either to obtain voluntary registration or to obtain taxable goods 
with one per cent further tax, in accordance with the law. The 
fixed sales tax schemes have been abolished with effect from July 
1, 1998, and the manufacturers who worked under the fixed sales tax 
scheme in 1997-98 or earlier, should now file normal sales tax 
returns and work under- invoice-based GST system or under the 
turnover scheme as may be applicable in their respective cases.
    
The CBR records say that by the end of October 1998, only 529 
retailers got registered with Sales Tax department whereas more 
than a million retailers were targeted to be registered during the 
whole of the current financial year 1998-99. Half of that number 
were estimated to be registered by December 1998. The total returns 
received by end of October 1998 were 308, while the total money 
deposited by the 529 retailers so far registered was Rs 5.1 
million. The CBR estimates Rs 2.5 billion from retailers in sales 
tax.

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981217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
PIA sees Rs700m profit
-------------------------------------------------------------------

DUBAI, Dec 16: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which has 
gone fundamental reforms, restructuring and revamping, is poised to 
post a profit of Rs 700 million for eighteen months from July 1997 
to December 1998, according to a PIA Press release.
    
In fiscal year 1996-97, the airline had declared accumulated losses 
of Rs 4.6 billion. This year the carrier's accounting year has been 
changed from July-June to December-January so as to bring it in 
line with international industry practices.
    
A combination of reduction in expenditure and enhancement in 
revenues through implementation of long-term policies has resulted 
in the airline's present healthy financial position. 
   
In the fiscal year Jan-Dec '99 PIA hopes to post a profit of over 
Rs 1 billion.
    
PIA is introducing a Frequent Flyer Programme (FFP) and an 
Executive Club programme. The FFP which has been branded as "Award 
plus" shall be launched from Jan 1, 1999 with the Executive Club to 
be launched a month later.

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981218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Indonesia to buy 2.77 lakh tons of rice
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, Dec 17: Pakistan rice prices were expected to firm up 
after Indonesia accepted on Thursday bids to buy 277,000 tons of 
Pakistani rice in a tender, exporters said.
    
"Prices had dipped to 880/890 rupees (per 100 kg) this week, but 
should rise to 900/915 rupees within a few days," said Dara Raza 
Ghaffar of Mehmood (Pvt) Ltd.
    
His firm was among the successful bidders in the tender and will 
supply 23,000 tons for February shipment.
    
Indonesian commodity regulator Bulog said it had accepted bids to 
buy 277,000 tons of Pakistani rice in a tender for 200,000 tons. 
The grade is 15-20 per cent.
    
Bulog said prices ranged from $221.90 to $234.75 per ton on a cost-
and- freight basis.
    
Ghaffar said exporters were likely to start purchasing rice from 
the local market after details of the contracts were finalized with 
buyers in Indonesia.
    
But he said local prices were unlikely to rise dramatically because 
the quantity of 277,000 tons was small compared to the surplus of 
IRRI variety available for export in Pakistan.
    
"We are estimating an export surplus of 1.4 million tons of IRRI 
rice this year," Ghaffar said.
    
Pakistan exported more than 2.055 million tons of both IRRI and 
Basmati rice varieties in 1997/98 (July-June), compared to 1.767 
million tons the previous year.
    
Rice exporter Hanif Janoo also said prices were likely to rise this 
week because the tender results would trigger local buying.
    
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981213
-------------------------------------------------------------------
NIT bid to forestall RPL move
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Nasir Jamal

LAHORE, Dec 12: Rupali Polyester Limited (RPL) has announced that 
it planned to go ahead with its intention to acquire 100 per cent 
share capital of an associated company  Rupafab Limited  for 
making it a wholly owned subsidiary in spite of an active 
opposition by National Investment Trust (NIT).

The RPL management will present a resolution, seeking approval of 
the company's shareholders, for purchasing 37,697,000 ordinary 
shares of Rs10 each at the rate of Re0.77 per share in the annual 
general meeting (AGM) being held in Karachi on Dec 19.
    
National Investment Trust (NIT), one of the important investors in 
RPL, is vigorously opposing the proposed deal.  Rupafab is a 
textile dyeing/printing/finishing project set up for producing 
fabrics for local and export markets with a paid-up capital of 
Rs376.972 million.
    
However, the company's perpetual losses have eroded its capital.
    
NIT officials in Lahore say the proposed deal was against the 
interests of ordinary, individual shareholders.
    
Talking to this reporter on Saturday, the RPL chief executive 
Badruddin J Feerasta said the opponents of the proposed deal were 
not aware of the benefits it would bring to our shareholders.
    
The RPL officials claim the company will pay about Rs29 million to 
purchase 100 per cent equity of Rupafab, but the NIT experts say 
the amount to be transferred to Rupafab under different heads would 
be close Rs1 billion.
    
The NIT officials pointed out that the resolution to be put before 
AGM pledges to convert the RPL loan amounting to Rs300 million to 
Rupafab as well as the outstanding mark-up on it into the latter's 
ordinary shares.
    
Besides, the resolution says RPL may restructure the Rupafab's debt 
and/or pay off its expensive debts to reduce its total debts by 
advancing Rs500 million free of interest for 18 months.
    
The interest-free advances would be given to revive Rupafab and 
make it profitable, the RPL officials claim. This is ultimately 
going to benefit RPL shareholders, they say. But, they insist, RPL 
is actually investing only Rs29 million in acquiring Rupafab.
    
RPL earned a profit before taxation of Rs128.750 million during the 
year ending June 30, 1998, which was about Rs78 million less than 
the previous year. Its sales declined during 1997-98 to Rs2.075 
billion from Rs2.318 billion the preceding financial year, bringing 
gross profit down to Rs176.735 million from Rs341.714 million.

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981215
-------------------------------------------------------------------
$-euro reference rate to be set on 31st
-------------------------------------------------------------------

BRUSSELS, Dec 14: The debut reference exchange rate between the 
euro and the dollar will be set Dec 31, when the European 
Commission will look at the conversion rates for that day of the 11 
euro zone countries concerned, a Commission spokesman said on 
Monday.
    
The Commission will judge the euro-dollar rate on the individual 
exchange rates of the dollar against the currencies of Austria, 
Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the 
Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, which themselves will be fixed 
that day.
    
The rates of each of the 11 currencies against the euro will be 
flashed up onto a screen during a Brussels ceremony to be attended 
by the 15 EU finance ministers at 12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) on Dec 31.
    
After consultation with the European Central Bank, the euro-dollar 
reference rate will come into being at 1:30 p.m. (1230 GMT) after 
unanimous agreement by the ministers and a ratifying signature by 
Austrian Finance Minister Rudolf Edlinger, who will represent 
Austria's current presidency of the Union.
    
The rate, once set, cannot later be modified by the EU's 
politicians, and it will be valid for only a few hours.
    
Once the euro is born officially at midnight Dec 31, market forces 
will take over, using that reference rate, and the money will be 
traded like any other floating currency.
    
Technically, that means from Jan 1, but in effect that will really 
be Jan 4, when markets reopen after the end-of-year holidays.
    
For three years, up to 2002, the euro will simply be a "virtual" 
currency, existing in bank transactions and on credit cards while 
national currencies will continue as at present  although, being 
composite parts of the euro, they will not fluctuate against each 
other.AFP

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981219
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Stocks show firm trend on buying in chemicals 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, Dec 18: Stocks on Friday showed firm trend aided by active 
speculative buying in the chemical shares under the lead of Engro 
Chemical amid rumours of hostile takeover bid by a leading group to 
grab the Engro's floating stock.
    
Contrary to analysts predictions the index managed to finish with a 
moderate recovery of 11 points at 939.84 as compared to 928.84 a 
day earlier, reflecting the strength of leading base shares.
    
All eyes were again centred on Engro Chemicals as a leading 
brokerage house was after its each share irrespective of the price 
tag.
    
'Engro Chemical has been in the news last month too on rumours that 
its immediate rival Dawood Hercules is grabbing its floating stock 
to secure a seat on its board', analysts said.
    
It ended about Rs.12.00 up around Rs90.25 on a volume of 6.5m 
shares but in the previous month's speculative run it touched the 
peak of Rs 97.00 in more than one sessions.
    
Engro Chemical is one of the largest urea chemical producers after 
successive expansion programmes carried out the by management and 
its existing annual capacity is placed around 0.850m tonnes. It is 
also a recipient of successive Corporate Excellence Awards of the 
Karachi Stock Exchange because of its good profit-sharing policy 
and higher rate of dividend.
    
'Having an enormous resource base, its management has the capacity 
and the will to forestall any hostile takeover bid from any 
corporate giant including the Dawood group of companies', said a 
leading analyst.
    
There is, however, a loud whispering in the rings that the 
Employees Management Group is currently in the process of 
diversifying its investment portfolios, notably to PVC and LPG 
business, which may have encouraged speculators to indulge in 
rumour-mongering, he added.
    
Other fertiliser shares, notably Fauji Fertiliser, FFC-Jordan 
Fertiliser and some other blue chips in the chemical sector also 
came in for strong support and ended with smart gains.
    
The relative strength of the PTCL, which managed to finish modestly 
higher was said to be another contributory positive factor.
    
A maintained dividend at the rate of 12.5% by Pak Datacom for the 
year ended June 30, 1998 seems to have been below market 
expectations as was reflected by a sharp decline of Rs 2.50 in its 
shares at Rs 14.00 on 52,500 shares.
    
Big gainers, were led by General Tyre and Engro Chemical, which 
posted gains ranging from Rs 3.55 nd 11.80 followed by Fidelity 
Modaraba, Union Bank, Gadoon Textiles, PSO, and Fauji Fertiliser, 
which rose by one rupee to Rs 2.45.
    
Losers were led be leading shares such as Metropolitan Bank, 
Artistic Denim, Shell Pakistan, Dadabhoy Sack and Lever Brothers, 
falling by one rupee to Rs 19.00. All other fall were fractional.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
 EDITORIALS & FEATURES
981213 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Parasites
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

AN irate crotchety woman, who has bestowed upon herself the 
privilege of barging into my house and telling me what she has to 
say whether I wish to hear it or not, 'rushed' up to me after 
reading my last column in which I had referred to our 'government 
of clowns' and roundly berated me for having handed out such a dire 
insult to that highly talented and professional body of 
entertainers.
    
How could you even dream of comparing these shoddy so-called 
politicians, these parasites, with men who with their skills and 
genius have delighted so many millions down the ages? Would 
Shakespeare ever have had hired them for his plays, or for that 
matter would Barnum and Bailey or Hagenbeck-Wallace ever have 
allowed them near their big tops?
    
Not mere feminine logic that, I had to admit, as I reflected on 
Shakespeare's 'fools' and the clowns whose performances the world 
has enjoyed. Our parasites are no Joeys.
    
Clowns train and work hard to perfect their acts, their ludicrous 
antics and buffoonery, their aim being to induce laughter and joy 
through their broad graphic humour, absurd situations and vigorous 
physical action, enchanting adults and children alike.
    
Their earliest ancestors performed in ancient Greece, bald-headed, 
padded buffoons, parodying the actions of the more serious 
performers and pelting the audience, monkey-like, with nuts. In the 
Middle Ages came the travelling performers, the famous Italian 
commedia del-l'arte and its most durable clown character, the 
Arlecchino, the Harlequin with his black domino mask.
    
In England, clowns descended from the vice character of the 
mediaeval mystery plays, pranksters who could even deceive the 
devil. The most famous of the English lot were William Kempe and 
Robert Armin, both connected with Shakespeare's travelling company. 

The German favourite of the 17th and 18th centuries was the 
character Pickelherring, with his oversize shoes and clothes, and a 
giant ruff around his neck.  The traditional white make-up was 
introduced in France in the 17th century, with Pierrot, the 
lovesick, pathetic and melancholy character weeping tears for his 
perpetually unrequited love.
    
The earliest of the true circus clowns, Grimaldi, first appeared in 
1805. Clown and pantomimist, he created a new type of clown 
combining rogue and simpleton, criminal and innocent dupe. He was 
considered to have no equal as a comedic performer, and to this day 
clowns are nicknamed Joey in recognition of his talent.
    
Then came Grock, the Swiss clown of our century, whose proverbial 
blunders with piano and violin were famed throughout Europe and 
America. The clown figures culminated in Charlie Chaplin, the flat-
footed pathetic yet humorous little tramp, with his derby hat, 
tight frock-coat, baggy trousers, outsize shoes, moustache and 
cane, and his meteoric rise to world fame and acclaim; and in 
Moreno, known to the world as Cantinflas  clown, acrobat, 
bullfighter, satirist, and a brilliant Passepartout in the film 
'Around the World in Eighty Days.'
    
Our Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and his fellow 
travelling cronies take the cake. He went off on this last trip 
accompanied by a retinue of over one hundred  adding the head-
massagers and champiwallas, the total was near one hundred and 
twenty-nine.
   
Whilst in Islamabad last week, I met some of the freeloaders and 
asked them what the need was for them and their spouses to travel. 
None but one had a reply : "Yes, we went. But no great criminal 
offence was committed."
    
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was the first head of government to take 
with him to Europe an inflated troupe of 20 and was so harshly 
berated by the people that he never did it again. Ayub Khan 
travelled by the normal PIA flights and the only privilege he 
claimed was that the seat next to him remained empty. With him went 
only the necessary few.
   
Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan had time for just two trips abroad, the 
more important one being to the Shah's big bash at Persepolis, to 
celebrate 2,500 years of his 'dynasty'. Yahya took four men with 
him.
    
Come Bhutto and the circus scenario took form. Shortly after having 
received a couple of million dollars in aid from Sweden, he took 
off for the West, stopping at Stockholm on an official visit, 
carrying an entire plane load with him, making a mickey out of 
himself and his nation. Questions were asked in the Riksdag as to 
why the Swedish people's money had been given to finance a joy-ride 
for the Pakistanis.
   
Olaf Palme, with difficulty, calmed the house. Having invited 
Bhutto and his entourage, he did not want any public discourtesy 
shown to them.
    
Zia had eleven years for travels, and did travel, but relatively 
infrequently and never with a crocodile behind him.
    
Then came the most ridiculous prime ministers with which this 
nation has had to bear. Not only have they robbed us, but they have 
ridiculed us in the eyes of the world. We pay for their regular and 
frequent trips and outings and for the trips and outings of the 
hundreds of hangers-on that cling to them.
   
Each time they return, there are reams of recriminations written, 
blame is laid here and there, they are cursed roundly, public 
disgust is manifested  but it all makes not a whit of difference. 
They blithely continue down their dissolute ways.
    
After Benazir Bhutto's Haj trip in 1994, she somehow imagined she 
had been belittled (not difficult to do in her case) by the 
inadequate protocol arrangements and insufficient creeping and 
crawling, and read the riot act to the Foreign Office.
    
On May 25, 1994, Shahid Amin, ambassador of Pakistan to the Kingdom 
of Saudi Arabia, addressed a memorandum to the consul-general at 
Jeddah and the director-general, Haj, marking copies to the foreign 
secretary, the secretary of religious affairs, and the military 
secretary to the PM, starting the making of a fat file.
    
"Subject: Arrangements for Prime Minister's Visit for Haj (19-21 
May) 1994."
    
"During the Prime Minister's visit, the following 
lapses/deficiencies were observed:
    
"a) On arrival at Jeddah airport (May 19) Prime Minister's children 
and nannies were not promptly disembarked. The aircraft door was 
shut and the plane was being taken away for parking when the 
military secretary rushed [note, 'rushed'] to the aircraft to bring 
out the children.
    
"b) Copies of programme were not given to the delegation members, 
including staff of Prime Minister.

"c) At the Guest House in Mina and for the major part of the visit 
until arrival in Madinah Al-Munawwarah, the Ambassador was left 
alone with only one aide (Mr Hazarvi) to look after the entire 
delegation. In spite of security restrictions, some officials could 
have managed to accompany the delegation (as indeed two local PPP 
leaders did so).
    
"d) According to DCP Col. Latif, he had requested Consul-General to 
arrange supply of Zamzam water to the aircraft before it left 
Jeddah for Madinah Al-Munawwarah. This was reportedly not done and 
PIA had to make last-minute arrangements.
    
"e) During Prime Minister's brief stay in Madinah Al-Munawwarah, 
Deputy Director (Haj) Mr Akif was not in Madinah despite specific 
orders.
    
"f) On arrival at Haram Sharif in Makkah Al-Mukarramah on May 19, 
Director (Haj) Mr Abdul Rehman was not at the gate to take care of 
shoes of Prime Minister and delegation members.
    
"2. The above may please be investigated immediately and a report 
put up by May 30, 1994, latest. Further action will be considered 
thereafter."
    
The PIA man caught on the hop in Jeddah on the 1994 jaunt, who 
helped out with the "last-minute arrangements" for the prime 
ministerial Zamzam water, should have been congratulated by the 
Ambassador for his quick thinking. He deputed his underlings to 
'rush' to the nearest tap and fill up the required canisters.
    
(Mr Shahid Amin has now retired from the foreign office and has, I 
am told, offered his services to Imran Khan as head of his party's 
'think tank.' With whom do we sympathize, Imran or him?)
    
This letter illustrates the degeneration that has set in all 
around, our renowned Foreign Office included. Would it have been 
conceivable that the envoys we sent out before the rot really set 
in could ever have penned such a letter? Ikramullah, Rahimtoola, 
Ispahani, Osman and Sikander Beg, Joe Yousuf, Sami Dehlavi, 
Jamsheed Marker, Sultan Khan, Jumbo Kharas and the rest of that 
breed of men would have shot themselves rather than have so 
demeaned themselves and their positions.
    
Who is to be blamed for all this? If my house is to be robbed, and 
I do not protect it, who else will? We are being shorn of our 
assets, money, and self-respect and yet we meekly tolerate it all. 
We do not stand up and fight.

DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS
981219
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Gift of eyesight
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Irfan Husain

MY greatest fear is that of losing my eyesight. Watching my father 
gradually grow blind over the last years of his life has given me a 
close insight into the terrible deprivation blindness imposes, 
especially on somebody like my father who had spent a lifetime 
reading and writing books.
    
I was therefore more than happy to accept an invitation to visit 
the Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) eye hospital in 
Korangi. While I had heard of the organization because of the 
active fund-raising efforts of its volunteers, I had no idea of the 
exact nature and extent of its activities. The LRBT ball is one of 
the highlights of our social calendar, but I did not realize that 
it had recently raised over ten million rupees after meeting 
expenses.
    
My vague conception of the operation was one of well-meaning 
socialites running a small-time, feel-good charitable eye clinic, 
so I must confess to a brief sense of disorientation when I entered 
the hospital. A line of patients stood in a queue, while the large 
OPD was packed with people who were waiting their turn to be 
examined. But despite the numbers, there was no pushing or 
jostling: clearly, there was a system at work.
    
My hosts informed me that the hospital employed 25 doctors and 75 
support staff to treat 550 patients every day. And although 
relatively few patients were encouraged to stay overnight, there 
were 100 beds in the facility. Over 80 minor and major operations 
are performed daily, and the hospital had acquired state-of-the-art 
equipment.
But what impressed me most was the cleanliness of the premises. 
Despite the hundreds of people who walked through the hospital the 
whole day, there was not a scrap of paper of a glimpse of the 
disgusting betel juice that adorns most public buildings in 
Karachi. I often judge an organization's efficiency by the 
cleanliness of its toilets, and the hospital passed this test with 
flying colours. Clearly, the management took the time and trouble 
to supervise every aspect of the facility.
    
The scope and scale of the LRBT operation is staggering: with units 
ranging from field eye hospitals to full-fledged base hospitals 
like the one in Korangi, the Trust is treating patients from 
Karachi to Kalakalay in Swat. Indeed, so far the Trust's doctors 
have treated over four million patients, with the Karachi hospital 
alone receiving over half a million men, women and children with 
eye problems every year. The Trust is currently active in a dozen 
cities and towns all over the country.
    
Apart from all the good the nation-wide operation is doing, the 
fact that it is almost entirely funded by individuals and 
charitable organizations helps restore one's faith in mankind. In 
the last fiscal year, the Trust raised an impressive 75 million 
rupees. This money pays for salaries and utilities, apart from 
financing the purchase of equipment and the construction of new 
hospitals and clinics. All treatment and medication is free, and 
the meals in the hospital cafeteria are subsidized. I do not know 
of any charitable organization that has grown so quickly: within a 
span of a decade, it has become a large eye treatment network in 
the country.
    
The driving force behind this enterprise is Graham Layton (Mr Zaka 
Rahmatullah died in 1989). He arrived in Karachi in 1942, and spent 
much of the Second World War in Burma. He returned to the part of 
the subcontinent that had become Pakistan in 1947, and became a 
citizen in 1984. In between, he founded a construction firm that 
was responsible for executing a number of major engineering 
projects. He retired in the early 1980s, and since then has devoted 
his life and money to the poor of Pakistan. How many of our 
homegrown tycoons can say half as much? A few years ago, Mr Layton 
was laid low by a debilitating illness that has all but immobilized 
him. Nevertheless, he keeps in touch with the affairs of the Trust 
from his Karachi home.
    
He has been aided by a large group of dedicated volunteers in his 
efforts,both here and abroad. From Dubai to London to New York, a 
network of friends and admirers raise money for LRBT. In addition, 
a large number of individuals and corporations in Pakistan 
contribute significantly. So clearly, the spirit of philanthropy is 
not dead in Pakistan, as the more cynical among us had supposed. 
Once an organization establishes its credibility and donors are 
reassured that their money will be well spent, funds are available 
for deserving projects. The Edhi Trust and Dr Adeeb Rizvi's 
remarkable SIUT bear testimony to the generosity of individuals and 
corporations when approached by organized, well-run charities.
    
In a society that has degenerated as much as ours has, this is 
saying a lot. So clearly, one needs to demonstrate a degree of 
commitment and transparency to tap into the reservoir of goodwill 
and spirit of charity that exists below the surface. Unlike the 
West where philanthropy is well established and organized, here the 
onus of establishing one's credentials is on the charity and its 
supporters. Given the many scams that have accompanied so many 
fund-raising drives, this tough approach to giving to charity is 
understandable. A decade ago, I tried to motivate schoolchildren to 
donate a apart of their pocket money to the official fund set up to 
aid the victims of the Ojri Camp disaster. They said they would 
contribute, but through the Edhi Trust. Even kids do not trust the 
government to spend money on what it is intended for.
    
Under these circumstances and in these cynical times, it is heart-
warming to see an organization like the LRBT thrive. And unlike 
other, far less ambitious and effective charities, the Trust has 
worked and grown with very little fanfare and publicity. Except for 
the annual fund-raising ball, few people except the poor with eye 
problems are even aware of its existence. But if anybody is looking 
for an efficient and highly cost-effective charitable organization 
to support, they don't have to look any further.


===================================================================
SPORTS
981218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan go down fighting to South Korea
-------------------------------------------------------------------
BANGKOK, Dec 17: Defending champions South Korea kept spirited 
Pakistan at bay to move into the Asian Games men's hockey final 
with a 3-2 win here on Thursday.

The new-look Pakistanis, fielding just two players who featured in 
the World Cup in May, lived up to their coach Shahnaz Sheikh's 
promise of giving the favoured Koreans a tough fight.
    
The Koreans, stunned by a fifth minute goal by Pakistani penalty 
corner exponent Sohail Abbas, hit back with three quick goals to 
lead 3-1 at half-time.
    
The lanky Abbas narrowed the margin midway through the second half 
with another penalty corner, but the Korean defence warded off the 
equaliser from their young rivals.
    
South Korea, looking for their third Asian Games title, await the 
winners of Thursday's second semi-final between India and Japan in 
the final on Saturday.
Pakistan axed senior players like Shahbaz Ahmed, Tahir Zaman and 
Kamran Ashraf after they failed to retain the World Cup at Utrecht 
in the Netherlands.
    
"There are no stars in the current team, only honest players 
willing to give their best," Shahnaz said. "They will be the best 
one day."
    
South Korean coach Koo Jin-Soo, worried after Mondya's defeat by 
India, appeared relaxed afterwards and said he was looking forward 
to winning the final to gain a direct entry into the 2000 Olympics in
Sydney.AFP

DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS
981218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Railways win National women hockey 12th time
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A Majid Khan

KARACHI, Dec 17: Defending champions and title favourites Pakistan 
Railways overpowered fighting Karachi 'B' by a second-half 4-0 
victory to retain the trophy of the 18th National Women Hockey 
Championship for the fourth successive year and for a record 12 
times here on Thursday at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium.
    
After a scoreless first session, experienced insideright Farhana 
Ayaz, the top scorer of the championship with 12 goals to her 

credit turned out to be the main architect of the Railways victory 
by netting the first, third and fourth goal while halfback Saima 
Afzal, who switched over to right-winger position, scored the 
second goal.
    
Quetta B's centreforward Riffat was the second highest scorer with 
11 goals.
    
Begum Saba Haleem wife of Capt Haleem Siddiqui State Minister for 
Water and Power,who gave away the prizes. The Navy band was in 
attendance.
    
In her address chief guest Begum Saba Haleem praised the wonderful 
spirit with which the teams from all over the country participated 
and congratulated victorious Railways and fighting Karachi girls in 
the final. She was all praise for the organising committee headed 
by Begum Nafis Iqbal and secretary Mrs Shahida Jamil, and others 
for staging the championship.
    
The PHF Women Wing President Begum Saeemeen Farooq, in her welcome 
address, said it was one of the finest National Women Championship.
    
In her report, Mrs Shahida Jamil, organising secretary, who is also 
the PHF Women Wing secretary and the President of host Sindh Women 
Hockey Association, stated that participants must have enjoyed 
their stay in the city and would return home to cherish the 
memories. She praised the hard work by Tournament Director Mrs 
Shaista Javed and also others who worked day and night for the 
success of the 11-day championship. She thanked the PHF and major 
sponsor Habib Bank Limited for extending their support for the 
event.
    
Peshawar, Bahawalpur and Islamabad were awarded the best sporting 
conduct trophy by the organisers.
    
In the morning play-off Lahore A recorded a 6-0 win over Sukkur to 
finish third in the championship.
The teams
    
PAKISTAN RAILWAYS: Tahseen Safdar, Ayesha Ashar and Farrukh Naz 
(Captain), Samreen Hashmi, Attia Amin and Saima Afzal; Samina 
Naveed, Farhana Ayaz, Huma Shaikh, Romana Latif and Jamila 
Muzaffar, Arifa Shakoor, Naila Moeen, Yaqoota Shaheen, Farzana 
Rasool and Abida Tufail.
    
KARACHI B: Nusrat Afzal, Sadia Shaikh and Sadaf Yasin; Rizwana 
Latif, Rabia Zafar (captain), Shabana Rizvi, Saeeda Khanum, Armaan 
Khan, Khalida Perveen, Erum Mahboob, Naila Masood, Nargis Iqbal, 
Khalida Mahboob, Sundle Ghafoor, Shazia Yousuf and Afshan Gul.
    
Umpires: Mohsin Ali Khan and Salman Zaidi.

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