------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 29 January 2000 Issue : 06/05 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Irshad new CJ: Saeed, five others refuse to take oath + Resolving Pak-India conflict: US to continue diplomatic efforts + Plane conspiracy case: Aminullah's evidence concludes + No Pakistani link to hijacking: Nepalese sources + Independent judiciary vital to protect people's rights: Benazir + Musharraf approves pre-1973 authority for FPSC + Ishrat hints at further cut in mark-up rates + Altaf warns of launching armed struggle + Shelling on LoC continues: Pakistan takes appropriate measures + SC decision: Commission set up to Islamize financial system + Pakistan says it is victim of terrorism + Five killed, 35 injured in Karachi bomb blasts --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + CBR audit rules need complete revision + Banks tell WB mission bad debt is a key problem + ECC approves Wapda's financial restructuring + Foreign cos oppose gas price formula + Progressive textile policy under study + Banks reinvest rupee counterpart of swap funds + CBR working being reviewed + No GST on power up to 500 units + UBL seeks approval to shut 200 branches + Railways to raise fares by 15% --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + A weary scene re-enacted Ayaz Amir + Give peace a chance Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan end India's hope with crushing win + Imran for change in bowling law + PCB threatens to withdraw from Sharjah contests

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NATIONAL NEWS
20000127
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Irshad new CJ: Saeed, five others refuse to take oath
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Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, Jan 26: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice 
Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, and five of his colleagues on Wednesday 
refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order 
promulgated by the chief executive on Oct 14, 1999.

As a result, the six judges ceased to be the judges of the apex 
court.

Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, 
took oath as new Chief Justice under the PCO.

Those who refused to take oath, besides Justice Saeeduzzaman, were: 
Justice Mamoon Kazi, Justice Khalilur Rehman, Justice Nasir Aslam 
Zahid, Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad and Justice Kamal Mansur Alam.

Apart from the six judges of the Supreme Court, nine judges of the 
four high courts also lost their jobs as they were not invited to 
take oath under the PCO.

The judges of the apex court who took oath under the PCO are 
Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, Justice Mohammad Bashir Jehangiri, 
Justice Sheikh Ijaz Nisar, Justice Abdur Rehman Khan, Justice 
Sheikh Riaz Ahmad, Justice Mohammad Arif and Justice Munir A. 
Sheikh.

Out of the SC's six judges who refused to take oath, five belong to 
Sindh and one from Punjab. Out of the sitting seven judges of the 
apex court, five are from Punjab and two from the NWFP.

Notably, three out of the SC's six judges who refused to take oath 
were appointed judges to the high courts at a time when a PCO was 
enforced in the country by another military ruler, Gen Ziaul Haq. 
They were: Justice Saeeduzzaman, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, and 
Justice Khalilur Rehman Khan.

Justice Saeeduzzaman told newsmen at his official residence on 
Wednesday that when he was contacted on Tuesday night by the 
authorities he made it clear that he would not take fresh oath 
under the PCO.

He said what he did had been done in accordance with his 
conscience, adding that the rest of his (five) colleagues had made 
independent decisions.

The judges of the Federal Shariat Court also took oath under the 
PCO. Justice Fazal Ellahi Khan, who was recently appointed Chief 
Justice of the FSC, took fresh oath of office with Justice Fida 
Mohammad Khan, Justice Mohammad Khiyar and Justice Chaudhry 
Mohammad Yousuf.

Two judges of the FSC were not present in Islamabad on Wednesday 
and they would take oath under the PCO in a few days.

The fresh oath came as a surprise to many as Justice Saeeduzzaman 
had repeatedly said that the Constitution was intact even after the 
military takeover and that the judges of the superior court were 
not required to take fresh oath.

On Tuesday, Justice Saeeduzzman had constituted the full court 
bench to hear the petitions challenging the military takeover. The 
case was scheduled to be heard on Jan 31.

Sources close to the legal experts of the government said that 
everything was going "smoothly" till a few days back when a 
petition, sponsored by the PML, was filed in the SC. The petition 
asked the apex court to proceed against Gen Pervez Musharraf under 
the High Treason Act for the military takeover. The petition was 
entertained by the SC office.

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20000129
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Resolving Pak-India conflict: US to continue diplomatic efforts
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WASHINGTON, Jan 28: President Bill Clinton promised continued 
diplomatic intervention in conflict areas of the world among which 
he included India and Pakistan.

In his 90-minute State of the Union address, his last, he told a 
joint session of Congress that while the United States could not 
prevent every conflict from happening, wherever Washington's own 
interests were at stake and where "we can make a difference, we 
must be peacemakers".

Mr Clinton declared: "We should be proud of our role in bringing 
the Middle East closer to a lasting peace; building peace in 
Northern Ireland; working for peace in East Timor and Africa; 
promoting reconciliation between Greece and Turkey in Cyprus; 
working to defuse these crises between India and Pakistan; in 
defending human rights and religious freedom."

Out of the 90 minutes that he spoke amid continued ovation, he 
devoted only 14 minutes to foreign policy and world affairs.

Turning to security threats of the future, Mr Clinton said:"I 
predict to you when most of us are long gone, but sometime in the 
next 10 to 20 years, the major security threat this country will 
face, will come from the enemies of the nation's state, the narco-
traffickers and the terrorists and the organized criminals who will 
be organized together, working together with increasing access to 
ever more sophisticated chemical and biological weapons. And I want 
to thank the Pentagon and others for doing what they're doing right 
now to try to help protect us and plan for that so that our 
defences will be strong. I ask for your support so they can 
succeed."

Mr Clinton appealed to Congress for a "constructive bipartisan 
dialogue this year to work to build a consensus which I hope will 
eventually lead to the ratification of the CTBT."

He said: "I hope we can also have a constructive effort to meet the 
threat that is presented to our planet by the huge gulf between 
rich and poor. We cannot accept a world in which part of humanity 
lives on the cutting edge of a new economy and the rest lives on 
the bare edge of survival. I think we have to do our part to change 
that, with expanded trade, expanded aid and the expansion of 
freedom.

" This is interesting. From Nigeria to Indonesia, more people got 
the right to choose their leaders in 1999 than in 1989, when the 
Berlin Wall fell. We've got to stand by these democracies, 
including and especially tonight Colombia, which is fighting narco-
traffickers for its people's lives, and our children's lives."-APP

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20000128
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Plane conspiracy case: Aminullah's evidence concludes
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Reporter

KARACHI, Jan 27: Aminullah Chaudhry, approver in the October 12 
plane conspiracy case, deposed in an anti-terrorism court on 
Thursday that Nawaz Sharif was in power when the army took control 
of the air traffic control (ATC) at the Karachi airport.

He was being cross-examined by defence counsel Khawaja Sultan in 
the ATC-1, headed by Judge Rahmat Hussain Jafferi, who adjourned 
the hearing of the case till Friday.

Mr Chaudhry said he had received the first call from the former PM 
after 6pm, adding he was not aware that the army had already taken 
over the control of the Pakistan Television, Islamabad, before 
5:40pm on October 12, 1999.

The former DG-CAA stated that he did not know of other designated 
alternative airport for Karachi in Pakistan, adding he was not 
aware whether Bombay and Muscat were also alternative designated 
airports for Karachi.

He said the CAA controlled only one designated alternative airport 
for Karachi, which was the Nawabshah airport.

The approver said it was not a fact that he had informed the former 
PM that because of presence of army at the Karachi airport the 
situation was tense and it was unsafe to land the plane there. He 
said it was untrue that Nawaz Sharif had asked me to allow the 
aircraft land safely at any alternative airport, if not Karachi.

He said he had learnt the news of the removal of the COAS on the 
BBC news channel at about 6pm, adding he was not aware whether such 
news was also flashed by the PTV. He said he checked the news from 
the BBC TV as the PTV was off the air and greater reliance could be 
placed on the credibility of the foreign channel. He said the news 
was surprising for him.

Mr Chaudhry said it was his duty to tell the chief operation 
officer, Yousuf Abbas, to obey the orders of the army personnel 
after they took over the charge of the air traffic control. He said 
he could not contact the PM after he (Mr Chaudhry) was informed 
that the army was present in the ATC. He said he was not aware of 
the fact that before the army took over the control tower, the PM 
was already arrested.

The approver said he did not know whether Saeed Mehdi, then 
principal secretary to the prime minister, had an office in the 
Prime Minister's House. He said it was incorrect to suggest that 
there was no staff member by the name of Zia-ur-Rehman (telephone 
operator) with Saeed Mehdi.

However, he said, he did not note down the name of the ADC Navy, 
who he had talked to at the PM's House.

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20000125
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No Pakistani link to hijacking: Nepalese sources
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KATHMANDU, Jan 24: An investigation into the hijacking of an Indian 
Airlines jet from here on Christmas Eve has found no evidence to 
back allegations the Pakistani secret service was involved, 
Nepalese sources close to the inquiry said on Monday.

"The probe has failed to collect any solid proof of involvement by 
the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) of Pakistan in the 
hijacking," one investigation source said.

But the head of the five-member investigation committee, Hem 
Bahadur Singh, declined to comment to reporters on whether the ISI 
was involved.

"We have wrapped up the security and other matters in the report," 
said Singh, a former police inspector general.

In a 64-page document to Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Vijaya 
Kumar Gachheddar, the investigators recommended the government 
beef-up security at Tribhuvan International Airport, where the 
hijacking started.

"After presenting the report to the cabinet on Thursday, I will 
reveal the gist of the contents of the investigations made by the 
special five-man committee," Singh said.

The eight-day hijack drama, which began when five men seized the 
flight from Nepal to New Delhi, ended News Year's Eve at Kandahar 
airport in southern Afghanistan.

India released three pro-Kashmir Mujahideen in exchange for 160 
hostages, and the hijackers disappeared from Kandahar.

Pakistan has rejected Indian charges the country was involved in 
the crisis, saying neither Islamabad nor the ISI had any role.-AFP

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20000128
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Independent judiciary vital to protecting people's rights: Benazir
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Jan 27: Chairper-son of Pakistan People's Party and 
former prime minister Benazir Bhutto expressed her dismay on 
Thursday at the military regime's undermining the independence of 
judiciary by demanding loyalty from the country's top judges, and 
strongly supported those justices who had refused to take the oath 
of their office.

"This is one giant and unfortunate step away from democracy," 
stated Ms Bhutto. "An independent judiciary is the foundation for 
protecting our people from abuses of powers," she said in a 
statement issued here by PPP media cell.

"The removal of these respected justices for their support of the 
Constitution is an egregious mistake and repeats the worst offences 
of the Nawaz Sharif regime and General Zia's dictatorship to 
control the country through fiat, rather than through the rule of 
law."

Ms Bhutto's statements came in response to the sacking of several 
top judges in Pakistan, including chief justice Saeed-uz-Zaman 
Siddiqui, for their refusal to sign an oath of allegiance to the 
Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) that would prevent them from 
ruling against the military regime.

"The people of Pakistan must ask whether it is a coincidence that 
the apex court was made subservient to the generals one week before 
their rule was to be challenged," she said. She further stated that 
this move by the junta was an "obvious attempt to solidify their 
power by removing anyone who stands against them and silencing all 
liberal voice of dissent."

"The people of Pakistan have put their faith in the Constitution. 
We must return our nation to the rule of law, not the rule of the 
sword, or watch helplessly as prosperity and opportunity for our 
people passes us by," she added.

Ms Bhutto said she was disappointed that action had been taken 
against judges, most of whom had a reputation for independence and 
integrity. On the other hand, some of the controversial and 
politicized judges had been retained.

However, she noted that new Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan was 
respected as were most of the judges in the Supreme Court who had 
been retained.

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20000128
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Musharraf approves pre-1973 authority for FPSC
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Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Jan 27: In a major initiative to strengthen the civil 
bureaucracy and ensure good governance, Chief Executive General 
Pervez Musharraf on Thursday agreed to restore the pre-1973 
authority of the Federal Public Service Commission.

During his visit to the FPSC, the chief executive also agreed to 
grant administrative and financial autonomy to the FPSC; 
enhancement of the FPSC's role; fixation of non-extendable five-
year service tenure for the chairman and members of the FPSC and 
restoration of their oath; reduction of the maximum age limit for 
appearing in the CSS competitive examination; all recruitments in 
grade 11 and above through the FPSC; and recruitment to all the 
posts, including those in the ISI, IB and defence division, through 
the FPSC, etc.

The chief executive asked the chairman of the FPSC, Lt-Gen (retd) 
Mumtaz Gul, to give a presentation to the National Security Council 
for a formal approval to all these decisions.

The secretary of the establishment and other authorities were asked 
to work out modalities for the implementations of the decisions 
taken in principle during the chief executive's over three-hour 
stay in the FPSC.

When contacted, the FPSC chairman confirmed to Dawn that the chief 
executive had agreed to almost all the proposals presented before 
him by the FPSC.

The chairman was overwhelmed with this development and hoped that 
it would usher a new era for strengthening the country's civil 
institutions.

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20000127
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Ishrat hints at further cut in mark-up rates
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Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, Jan 26: Governor State Bank Dr Ishrat Husain on Wednesday 
said there will be further reduction in mark-up rates if the 
inflation rate continues and give room for further cut on return 
rates of national saving schemes.

This, he stated, during a closed door meeting with FPCCI managing 
committee members held in Federation House in which the newsmen 
were not invited.

Participants attending the meeting told this correspondent that the 
governor asked business to forget about tariff and protection to 
local industry and added that 'the days of import substitution 
policy are over.'

Ishrat advised the well attended meeting of trade and industry that 
they should focus on export-lead growth strategy instead of seeking 
protection for sustaining their viability.

He said that profit making is an important incentive for any 
economic activity but it should be made within economic environment 
instead of manipulation of taxation laws to the detriment of the 
society.

Sources said, the governor expressed concern over the non-
utilization of credit by the private sector and said banks have 
reported that private sector credit was not picking up and unless 
this happened high growth rate cannot be achieved.

Dr Ishrat was highly critical about the misuse of export refinance 
and said that according to a study although exports have remained 
stagnant during '94-99, the export finance has tripled.

He asked the FPCCI to come up with suggestions to make best use of 
export refinance scheme for boosting exports and also called for 
expeditious repatriation of export proceeds so that forex reserve 
may increase.

In reply to queries about the Shariat Court's judgment on Riba, he 
said until new laws are formulated the present banking laws will 
continue. The governor said the Shariat Court judgment has 
identified 16 laws which needed to be changed.

He informed that SBP has formed a commission to formulate 
recommendations as how to comply with the injunctions of Sharia and 
added that Islamization of banking system will pose no problem in 
project financing as there will be some tangible assets against 
which borrowing will be made but the problem will arise for the 
government borrowing through treasury bills and bonds.

Without giving any details and methods for increasing exports, he 
said that if Pakistan secured one per cent of world exports its 
exports will increase from $8bn to $40bn. He asked the business to 
diversify economic base and venture into new areas of information 
technology and promotion of exports.

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20000128
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Altaf warns of launching armed struggle
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Correspondent

LONDON, Jan 27: Muttahida Qaumi Movement appears close to declaring 
unilateral declaration of independence as its chief Altaf Hussain 
on Thursday sounded, what he termed, "bugle" of war by warning the 
establishment that if killings of Mohajirs are not stopped he will 
have no other option but to launch an armed struggle and seek 
support from a neighbouring country.

Talking to Pakistani reporters at MQM's international secretariat 
at Colindale area of London after its formal inauguration, the MQM 
chief said that he had tried every method while remaining within 
the four walls of the Constitution but the "Punjabi establishment" 
has refused to accept Mohajirs and the mandate given to the MQM by 
the people.

"We are termed anti-Pakistani, agents of (Indian intelligence 
agency) RAW, and anti-state," he said while referring to the oft-
repeated charges levelled by the intelligence agencies against his 
organization.

A few years ago the ISI had claimed to have unearthed MQM's plan of 
creating "Jinnahpur" but the MQM had denied the plan and said it 
was a conspiracy to defame Mohajirs.

Mr Hussain said the ISI from the very beginning had been accusing 
him as an agent of RAW, a charge he denied vehemently.

The MQM chief regretted that despite all his assurances to the army 
and other authorities that neither he nor the MQM, nor Mohajirs 
were anti-Pakistani, they were being persistently pushed against 
the wall.

Asked whether he was close to declaring unilateral declaration of 
independence, the MQM Chief said "Khuda Karey" (may God help in 
doing so).

The MQM chief, who told the Pakistani establishment to take his 
today's statement as a "bugle" of war, said he was not anti-
Pakistani and wanted to remain in Pakistan.

SINDHI-MOHAJIR UNITY: Meanwhile the MQM chief in an open letter, 
said Sindh had virtually become a colony of Punjab, and that the 
Sindhis had been denied their rights.

Addressing the people of Sindh, he asked them to give serious 
consideration to his letter, in which he posed the question: "Have 
the common Sindhis of the province of Sindh got freedom after the 
creation of Pakistan? "

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20000124
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Shelling on LoC continues: Pakistan takes appropriate measures
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CHAMB SECTOR (LoC), Jan 23: Heavy fire and mortar bombardment which 
began on Saturday morning by the Indian army on Pakistani posts 
continued till Sunday evening.

This was stated by the Commander of Chamb Sector, Brig Zahid while 
briefing the journalists from international and national media who 
visited the Pakistani posts along the Line of Control on Sunday.

The Indian attack was repulsed and appropriate measures had already 
been taken in this regard, he said.-APP

Faraz Hashmi, who visited the Chamb sector on Sunday, adds: Indian 
army on Sunday continued heavy mortar and machine gun fire at the 
Akbar post here in Chamb sector at the Line of Control, where two 
Pakistani soldiers had embraced martyrdom and five went missing in 
an attack on Saturday morning.

Pakistan army made no claims about the Indian casualities, however 
soldiers manning Akbar post said that Indian had suffered heavy 
loss of life as they were in the open and attacking Pakistani post.

The post which after the Indian attack named as Akbarpost, a 
derivative from Allaho Akbar, is located across the river Tawwi and 
surrounded from three sides by Indian posts. One of the Indian post 
is only 100 yards away from the Akbar post.

Rattle of machine gunfire echoed in thevalley,whena group of 
national and international mediamen crossed River Tawwi and inched 
towards the post through the trenches.

"They might have seen our movement... please don't speak and keep 
your heads down," the officers leading the reporters said when the 
first burst came from the Indian side.

At the Akbar post two mud bunkers were completely destroyed. Two 
other bunkers were intact and Pakistani soldiers were looking at 
the Indian positions from these. The whole area was littered 
withthe empty shells used by Indians in the attack.India in 
Saturday's left behind several cases of live ammunitions which they 
had brought with them to blow upthe bunkers.

Pakistan's Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, said in 
remarks published on Sunday that Pakistan would "teach India a 
lesson" if its troops crossed the LoC.

Musharraf has called on India to resume peace talks but the new 
coalition government of Atal Behari Vajpayee has said it will not 
enter into talks until Pakistan stops backing "terrorists" fighting 
Indian rule of Kashmir.

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20000124
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SC decision: Commission set up to Islamize financial system
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Reporter

KARACHI, Jan 23: The government has set up a high-level Commission 
to lead the process of transformation of the existing financial 
system with the one confirming to Shariat.

The Commission formed in the State Bank, has been fully empowered 
to carry out, control and supervise the process of transformation 
of the existing financial system to the one conforming to Shariat.

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20000123
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Pakistan says it is victim of terrorism
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M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: Pakistan was as much committed to combating 
terrorism as anybody else and that Pakistan itself was a victim of 
state sponsored external terrorism, said Foreign Office spokesman 
Tariq Altaf here while answering a question at a briefing on 
Saturday.

He was asked about Pakistan's response to the visiting US Assistant 
Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth's queries on terrorism during 
his two-day interaction with the Pakistani officials.

According to the FO spokesman the Americans were concerned about 
terrorism as a global phenomenon and when they spoke to Pakistan or 
to India on terrorism "they do not necessarily mean to focus on 
some so called terrorist acts here and there."

Referring specifically to the two-day discussions on the subject 
with Karl Inderfurth, the spokesman said that the Pakistani side 
had made quite detailed and specific comments during these 
exchanges that took place between the two countries.

"I do wish to take this opportunity to say that I am sure the 
Americans have carried the impression back that Pakistan is as much 
committed to combating terrorism as anybody else and I am sure that 
they must also have carried an impression from here that Pakistan 
itself is a victim of state sponsored, externally sponsored 
terrorism," maintained the FO spokesman.

He said he was sure the Americans kept a good count of all the 
terrorist incidents that took place in Pakistan. "I think the 
international community is well aware that the Indians are 
indulging in state terrorism and are trying to repress the 
Kashmiris where indigenous struggle continues for the realization 
of right of self determination," he added.

"What is important is," he said, "in the past two days and 
particularly in his press briefing Mr Karl Inderfurth specifically 
referred to Kashmir and to the need for the amelioration of the 
situation there as well as for a just and fair solution on the 
basis of the wishes of the Kashmiris."

When asked what Pakistan was doing to track down the hijackers of 
the Indian Airlines plane, he said the Indians have given neither 
to Pakistan nor to anybody else in the world any clue to the 
identity of the hijackers.

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20000129
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Five killed, 35 injured in Karachi bomb blasts
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Sarfaraz Ahmed & Arman Sabir

KARACHI, Jan 28: At least five people were killed and 35 injured in 
two bomb blasts on Friday. The bomb blast that shook the City 
Courts in district South was followed by another inside a mosque at 
Sohrab Goth in district Malir within an hour.

In the second blast, four persons were killed and 31 others injured 
when a bomb went off in a mosque in an Afghan settlement near 
Sohrab Goth on the outskirts of the city, at 1.45pm. One of the 
injured succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The bomb was placed inside the mosque under a mat that remained 
hidden on the space created by an opened door and the wall adjacent 
to it, according to bomb disposal squad chief Moinuddin. He said it 
was an improvised explosive devise with a 150 to 200 grams weight 
and was fitted with a 15-minute timer. He added that the blast had 
caused a crater of seven inches deep and one foot in dia.


A visit to the mosque showed that the blast had completely 
dismantled the entire roof structure of asbestos sheets of the main 
hall and had also caused damage to the sheets made of asbestos and 
tin in mosque's veranda.


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 BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20000128
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CBR audit rules need complete revision
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Correspondent

MULTAN, Jan 27: Rules and regulations regarding audit by the 
Central Board of Revenue (CBR) need complete revision as tax payers 
and business concerns are alike disgusted with its procedural 
complications.

This point was conceded by the member coordination (sales tax) of 
the Central Board of Revenue, Riaz Ahmed Malik, here on Wednesday 
while addressing a select gathering of local businessmen at Multan 
Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI).

The CBR official was on a visit to Multan to allay apprehensions of 
the business community regarding sales tax. He mostly listened to 
the complaints and suggestions and took note of where the rules 
hurt the tax payers.

He said CBR was making all possible efforts to collect relevant 
information about each and every tax payer so that no one could 
obtain more than one tax number. He also hinted at the abolition of 
negative list of ST-exempted goods to reduce complications.Besides, 
he continued, the government was considering to reintroduce 'no 
duty no drawback' scheme for the exporters.

Mr Malik also hinted at the rationalization of rate of penalty on 
the sales tax defaulters as the present 5% per month was rather too 
high.Earlier, MCCI president Fareed Mughees Sheikh welcomed the CBR 
member and presented some 24 proposals to simplify the existing 
sales tax collection system.

The CBR official later also held talks with the representatives of 
retailers headed by the central vice chairman of All Pakistan 
Chamber of Small Traders and Cottage Industry and discussed all the 
controversial issues hampering imposition of general sales tax 
(GST) at retail level.

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20000128
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Banks tell WB mission bad debt is a key problem
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Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Jan 27: Three state-run banks have told the visiting World 
Bank mission that recovery of bad debt still poses the most 
challenging task for Pakistani bankers.

"We told the mission that recovery of bad loans still remains 
problem number one," said senior executive of a state-run bank 
where the mission received a briefing.

A World Bank mission headed by Joseph Pernia is currently in 
Pakistan to assess the performance of the financial sector here.

The executive said top bankers told the mission that creation of 
Corporate Industrial Restructuring Corporation was a healthy 
development in tackling the issue of sick units. The corporation - 
a modified version of Resolution Trust Corporation - would take 
over bad industrial loans of state-run banks and DFIs. It would 
then sell the sick units concerned or dispose of their real estates 
and other fixed assets to recover the loans.

Senior executives of National Bank, United Bank and Habib Bank told 
the mission that recovery of bad debt had become a complex issue 
particularly in the backdrop of the ongoing economic slump.

The mission is here to see how the financial sector has shaped up 
under the financial sector reforms initiated with the help of the 
World Bank in 1997. The mission has so far received briefing by 
State Bank, three state-run banks and Karachi Stock Exchange.

Senior officials of state-run banks said the mission was keen to 
know how the State Bank was discharging its regulatory and 
supervisory role. "We told them that SBP has made a significant 
improvement in this area with the technical help from the World 
Bank," one of these officials told Dawn.

They said they had told the mission that SBP had enhanced the 
balance sheet disclosure requirements thereby making banking 
operations more transparent in Pakistan.

They said the mission was further told that SBP performance in 
foreign exchange regime has also improved and made a special 
reference to the efforts SBP had made to prevent a possible run on 
banks triggered by the millennium bug.

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20000126
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ECC approves Wapda's financial restructuring
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Jan 25: The Economic Coordination Committee of the 
Cabinet has approved Wapda's financial restructuring plan, 
establishment of a health insurance company and import of 700,000 
tons of wheat.

The ECC, which met here on Tuesday with Finance Minister Shoukat 
Aziz in the chair, projected over 4 per cent GDP growth rate during 
1999-2000 against the target of 5 per cent, fixed by the deposed 
government last year.

The committee was presented a report on the financial re-
structuring of Wapda and was told that the organization's financial 
problems had risen due to a number of factors, including heavy line 
losses.

It approved Wapda's financial restructuring plan which included 
conversion of government's outstanding loans into equity. The 
financial restructuring of Wapda was a part of its overall 
strengthening which will include its corporatization.

Additional secretary and the spokesman for the finance ministry, Dr 
Waqar Masood Khan, told Dawn that with the approval of the plan, 
Wapda would come out of red."It will no longer face a default 
situation", he said adding that the purpose was to improve the cash 
flow of the authority.

"It will certainly lower the financial burden of the authority", he 
added. He said he did not know the exact outstanding amount that 
Wapda owed to the Centre to be converted into the equity.

ECONOMY: The meeting was told that on the basis of data available 
so far, it appeared that the overall GDP growth rate was likely to 
be over 4 per cent for the current financial year against 3.1 per 
cent achieved last year.

"As such there were indications that the growth was beginning to 
accelerate as compared with the previous year", claimed a handout 
issued at the end of five-hour-long meeting.

However, a participant of the meeting said that the growth rate for 
the year would remain well within 5 per cent. "The ECC believed 
that the GDP growth rate will be in the region of 4.1 to 4.8 per 
cent", he said adding that things have certainly improved as 
compared to 1998-1999 when the growth rate remained 3.1 per cent.

The ECC discussed at length the performance of the economy in the 
first six months of the current year. It was told that the 
inflation rate was well below the annual target of 6 per cent and 
that the GDP growth in agriculture and large-scale manufacturing 
was showing considerable improvement.

WHEAT STOCK: The ECC also reviewed the wheat situation and was told 
that the stock in the country was satisfactory to cater to the 
local requirements. However, to firm up the reserves, the meeting 
approved the import of 0.7 million tons of wheat in addition to the 
wheat already lined up.

According to the food and agriculture ministry officials the 
government has finalized arrangement for importing 3.5 million tons 
of wheat which also includes 0.8 million tons for the provinces. So 
far 1.2 million tons have already been imported from Australia, and 
a credit of $125 million received from the United States for import 
of wheat from that country.

They said that the government preferred to import wheat from 
Australia because the freight charges from that country was less 
than the others and the price quoted was $132 per ton ex-Karachi.

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20000128
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Foreign cos oppose gas price formula
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Kamal Siddiqi

KARACHI, Jan 27: The military government's efforts to attract 
foreign investment through Pakistan's lucrative oil and gas sector 
may not yield positive results as foreign oil and gas exploratory 
companies have not accepted the gas price formula proposed under 
the New Pricing Policy (NPP), saying that it severely erodes the 
value of any investment and it is not economically sustainable.

Under the '94 and '97 petroleum policy statements, the Pakistan 
government had set up four zones, depending on their risk profile 
and set their gas prices accordingly. The policies guaranteed 
payment in foreign exchange for the full amount payable to foreign 
petroleum companies. These incentives stimulated increased 
exploration activity in Pakistan, which resulted in the discovery 
of over 6 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas reserves in the past 
three years. This response was much better than what the government 
had expected. This is where also problems began as the Nawaz Sharif 
government held back payments to companies owing to foreign 
exchange constraints.

Negotiations for signing gas sales agreements (GSA) were 
unnecessarily slow and only one GSA has been signed for concessions 
granted after the '94 policy. Things have not changed since then. 
The Pakistan is currently refusing to nominate buyers to which the 
gas prices that itself had set would apply. Instead, producers are 
being told that they are free to sell to third parties at 
negotiated prices allowed under the petroleum policy. However, 
companies argue that the policy's vision of third party sales 
depended on liberalization, privatization and independent 
regulation of the gas sector, which has still not happened. As 
such, 'there is no free market for gas,' says one analyst.

In July '99, the director general gas informally discussed with gas 
producers a proposed new pricing policy (NPP) for cases where 
Pakistan did not wish to nominate a buyer. The proposal also 
specified that the nearest transportation pipeline or consumption 
centre as the delivery point, with no pipeline tariff allowed to 
producers. In addition, Pakistan also proposed a discount for below 
pipeline specification gas and part payment in Rupees to foreign 
produces based on their expected Rupee expenditures.

By December '99, Pakistan offered two options to gas exploration 
companies for the resolution of their year old stand-off on the 
pricing mechanism for newly discovered gas, as part of a new oil 
and gas package announced by the military government.

Under the package, the government has said that either the gas 
exploratory companies accept the revised tariff prescribed by the 
government or the government would not offer any commitment on gas 
purchase, as has been made clear in the previous petroleum 
policies. 'This is going back on their word,' says one company 
head.

Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Usman Aminuddin clarified 
that agreements with two companies had already been concluded on 
the basis of the price package which is slightly lower than what 
was agreed earlier. Under the new package, the government changed 
its policies on issues like gas and oil pricing, new gas 
discoveries, gas supply in winter, import lines for natural gas, 
restructuring of public sector entities in the power sector, fuel 
substitution, increased use of CNG in transport, opening up of the 
Balochistan province for oil and gas exploration and resumption of 
a restructuring process in state owned Oil and Gas Development 
Company Limited (OGDCL).

Aminuddin said that there had to be some 'quid pro quo on the 
tariff issue' if the gas companies wanted the government to deviate 
from previous petroleum policies but added that companies were not 
being forced to accept any of the options as the government did not 
want to send negative signals to the investors in the private 
sector.

He said that active negotiations with the industry were going on 
and the government was hopeful to reach agreements with these 
companies very soon so that it could move ahead with the production 
at newly discovered fields.

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20000126
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Progressive textile policy under study
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Jan 25: A high-level meeting was held on Tuesday which 
discussed formulation of a long-term progressive textile policy.

Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Abdul Razak 
Dawood chaired the meeting which was attended by stakeholders of 
textile sector. 

 It was participated also by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, 
Shafqat Ali Shah Jamot, Sec, Industries and Production, 
representatives of growers, ginners, spinners, weavers, garment 
manufacturers and exporters.

The commerce minister said that 'textile is our main industry and 
it is going to get our full attention in future as well. No doubt, 
we are trying to diversify our export base but textile will retain 
its predominant position'.

He urged stakeholders to help the government to frame a textile 
policy which should ensure Pakistan's rightful position in the 
international textile trade and pointed out that silver lining was 
visible and it was the result of this year's cotton surplus. 'Allah 
has blessed us with this opportunity and we should not waste it', 
he said.

Gradually the economy was recovering from slumber and these signs 
of revival were being reflected by the recent stock-exchange 
upsurge, he said adding that growers could not get due price this 
year, hence future textile policy should look-after growers 
interest as well.

The minister said that Pakistani pavilion in Frankfurt's textile 
fair out-shinned other participants from the developing world. 
'However, the range of our product was not very wide but the 
quality was of par excellence'.

According to press release of the ministry of commerce, it was an 
open debate and stakeholders also expressed their view point. 
Suggestions and problems were put forward. 

 It was pointed out that Pakistan's product range was quite narrow 
which needed to be made wider to tap the international market 
adequately. Need of joint venture with foreign investors, 
improvement of staple size, forward-market mechanism to protect 
growers and improvement of quality and crop insurance system were 
proposed in the meeting.

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20000126
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Banks reinvest rupee counterpart of swap funds
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Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Jan 25: Major local and foreign banks are reinvesting with 
the State Bank, the rupees equivalent of foreign currency swap 
funds they had rolled over in late '98. They are doing this to earn 
a guaranteed 14.5% or more return at a time when the yield on one-
year treasury bills has fallen to 10%.

Senior bankers say this is one of several reason behind the present 
liquidity crunch in the inter-bank market. They say over half a 
dozen banks, including local and foreign ones. have reinvested with 
SBP in past two-three weeks huge amounts of the rupee counterpart 
of the foreign currency swap funds rolled over in '98.

The SBP had $1.450bn worth of swap funds rolled over by these banks 
after Pakistan plunged into a financial crisis triggered by May '98 
nuclear explosion. In December last, SBP started repaying 20% of 
the rolled over swap funds as agreed in the agreement reached with 
the banks at the time of the rollover.

Senior bankers say SBP has so far repaid some $150m on this account 
and it would repay another $130m by the end of March to complete 
repayment of 20% ($280m) of the total $1.450bn worth of rolled over 
swap funds. Senior bankers say the rupee counterpart of the 
remaining 80% ($1.120bn) of the rolled over swap funds were with 
the banks.

Here begins the story. As the yield on treasury bills fell after 
five lead banks cut their lending rates early this month, most 
banks began reinvesting the rupee counterpart of the $1.120bn worth 
of rolled over funds with SBP. The trend goes on as it ensures a 
very attractive return of 14.5% per year for these banks.

When SBP had the swap funds rolled over, it had agreed to pay a 
guaranteed return of around 14.5% to the banks on the rupee 
counterpart of these funds. That is why, SBP cannot say No to these 
banks, or offer them a lesser return. This is bringing bonanza for 
the banks that had rolled over their swap funds: they are earning 
at least 4.5% more by reinvesting the rupee counterpart of the 
rolled over swap funds with SBP than what they could have earned by 
investing them in T bills.

'This is one of the chief reasons for the liquidity crunch in the 
market,' said head of a European bank that had rolled over its swap 
funds. Senior bankers close to SBP say reinvestment of the rupee 
counterpart of rolled over swap funds means that the cost of 
government borrowing remains high. 'But there is no such thing as 
free lunch,' one of them remarked implying that it was the price 
the government has to pay after holding interest rates down.

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20000126
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CBR working being reviewed
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Jan 25: The government's teams have started on-the-spot 
review of performance of Central Board of Revenue (CBR) in the tax 
collection, implementation and administration.

A team led by Maj Gen Mohammad Ashraf, visited the CBR on Monday 
and Tuesday and discussed with its chairman, Members and heads of 
various tax sections the performance in collection and 
implementation/administration. The team was reportedly supplied 
with data on revenue collection.

Official sources revealed to Dawn that the army officers' team put 
a number of questions regarding monitoring and assessment system of 
tax potentials and the CBR's capacity to tap the revenues to the 
maximum.

The CBR officials were informed by the team as to which of the 
posts and positions in the CBR and the field formations is 
programmed to be taken over by the army officers for monitoring and 
performance assessment. Three major wings made presentations.

The team was informed that the CBR has evolved its own system of 
estimation and monitoring of collection, and that the right-sizing 
would make the field formations more efficient.

The CBR officials presented with the help of charts and graphs a 6-
month review of the estimates of tax collection vs estimates made 
for the July-Dec '99 saying that more than 41 per cent of the tax 
estimated for the entire financial year has been collected in the 
past six months. 

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20000123
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No GST on power up to 500 units
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) 
announced here on Saturday that General Sales Tax (GST) on 
electricity chargeable from the consumers is conditioned to 
reduction of 15 per cent in additional surcharge.

A spokesman of Wapda said here that "GST is being imposed at the 
standard rate of 15 per cent which will be collected from all 
categories of consumers. However, in case of domestic, agricultural 
and commercial consumers who consume less than 500 units of 
electricity per month, GST would be adjusted against the additional 
surcharge to make the electricity billing neutral, as such there 
would be no increase in the price of electricity for these 
consumers."

All other categories of consumers, including commercial consumers 
who use more than 500 units per month, would be levied general 
sales tax over and above their existing tariff. The GST has been 
levied on all the electricity bills to be issued with effect from 
January 1, 2000, the spokesman added.

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20000127
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UBL seeks approval to shut 200 branches
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Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Jan 26: State-run United Bank Ltd wants to shut down 200 
more branches by the end of 2000. But it cannot implement the plan 
without the State Bank permission.

"We are waiting for a nod from the State Bank," said a senior UBL 
official. He said UBL closed down 219 branches during the past two 
years with the permission of the State Bank.

The number of UBL branches fell to 1424 at the end of December 1999 
from 1643 in December 1997 when a new management took over.

The official said the State Bank considers an area "Unbanked" if 
there is no bank branch within 2km radius. "UBL has asked SBP to 
change this to 10 km so that it could close down commercially 
unviable branches," the official said.

He said UBL management had prepared the blueprint of its plan to 
shut down 200 more branches and the only thing that is needed to 
carry it out is the SBP permission.

The official declined to say how much saving UBL would make in its 
expenditures by closing down 200 more branches. "It would certainly 
reduce our operating cost. But I cannot give numbers," he said. UBL 
had 15619 employees at the end of December 1997: The number fell to 

14006 in December 1999 with the closure of 219 branches in two 
years. But UBL officials say the workforce did not shrink because 
of closure of branches. "The shrinkage was natural. People retired 
or left the bank," one of the officials said.

UBL executives say closure of 200 more branches and resultant cut 
in operating cost would make the bank "a better buy" if the 
government goes on to privatize it.

Senior officials say UBL has sought State Bank permission also for 
investing more in information technology and human resources to 
make UBL more profitable-and more viable for privatization.

"The State Bank has put sort of freeze on our expenditures and that 
freeze is quite understandable in the backdrop of how things had 
been at UBL," said one senior official.

"But now that the bank has turned around it makes sense that we 
spend more in the areas where investment would make the bank more 
profitable." He said SBP was yet to respond to the request.

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20000123
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Railways to raise fares by 15pc
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: Pakistan Railways has decided to raise its fares 
on all routs to overcome deficit, APP learnt here on Saturday.

Likely to be increased by about 15 per cent, the new fare schedule 
will be implemented after its approval by the government.

About the percentage of the increase, the sources said, final 
decision in this regard will be taken by the government.

They said the increase in fare had become inevitable due to the 
recent raise in petrol price and increase in pay and pension of the 
railways employees, including the ad hoc relief. "This has added to 
the burden on railways to the tune of Rs1.2 billion per annum."

The deficit, they added, has now increased to around Rs18 billion, 
that is badly affecting the development of one of biggest public 
service departments.

They said it had become imperative, as the department was meeting 
its huge expenditure through over-drafts amounting to Rs20 billion 
from the State Bank. There will be maximum increase in the fare of 
lower classes, they added.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
 EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20000128
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A weary scene re-enacted
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Ayaz Amir

POLITICS in Pakistan is the death of the imagination. The same 
scenes repeated endlessly, even some of the directors, as in the 
case of Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, performing the same role from one 
generation to the next. The actors of course change but as if in 
obedience to a higher dramatic law they too stick closely to the 
ancient script.

Consider the latest circus (for it is a bit more than a play) 
arranged for the benefit of their lordships of the superior courts. 
Such a circus was expected because with the Constitution set aside 
and displaced by the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), it 
stood to reason that sooner or later this contradiction would have 
to be resolved. But the need for such a circus also stood on firm 
historical ground.

In March 1981 a similar exercise was ordained by another benign 
military figure, General Ziaul Haq, whose protestations to hold 
elections in 90 days were, if anything, more vociferous than 
General Musharraf's proclaimed determination to return Pakistan to 
the fold of 'real' democracy. Barring a few honourable exceptions, 
most of their lordships, led by the pragmatism which has been the 
guiding spirit of the Pakistani higher judiciary, preferred 
discretion to valour by swearing allegiance to General Zia's PCO. 
The master of ceremonies on that occasion too was Syed Sharifuddin.
    
As if to prove that while the world may have moved on we remain 
stuck in the same grooves, 19 years later as Pakistan heroically 
enters a new millennium, another generation of judges has been 
called upon by another military saviour to negotiate a similar 
obstacle course. Again, shunning rashness and opting for 
pragmatism, the overwhelming majority of their lordships, 89 out of 
102, have sworn fealty to another PCO.
    
In a land where nothing is surprising anymore, it is still not a 
little remarkable that the moving spirit behind both the circuses, 
otherwise separated by a distance of 19 years, should be the same 
eminence grise: Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada. Active in General Ayub 
Khan's service when many of us were in school, he has raised a 
monument to longevity by serving another military figure as his 
principal legal adviser, with a seat in the National Security 
Council and the freedom to continue with his legal practice. If 
Pakistan's fate is to remain in the grip of military rule, it is 
the fate of our military rulers to remain captive to Syed 
Sharifuddin's beguiling advice. This is the closest thing we have 
to immortality in this country.
    
Whether the superior judiciary - its conduct tarnished in many ways 
- deserves what it has got is beside the point. Of greater 
relevance is to see the implications of the latest move for the 
country's immediate future. Since this is a nation where the level 
of gullibility remains high, it was scarcely surprising if on the 
morrow of the celebrated 'counter-coup' of October 12 there was no 
shortage of people who were ready to believe that the promised land 
had been sighted and a new coming was at hand. In that exalted mood 
the pronouncements of the Chief Executive were greeted with 
enthusiasm and criticism of his intentions was considered almost 
akin to sacrilege.
    
That was then. Today the feeling is different. The performance or 
rather non-performance of the military government over the last 100 
days (which is the time it took Napoleon to leave the island of 
Elba and fight the battle of Waterloo) has been such that even some 
of the fiercest partisans of military rule are a bit down-at-heart. 
After the judicial drama just enacted in Islamabad this mood can 
only be strengthened because by now it should be clear even to the 
congenitally benighted that what we are witnessing on the national 
stage is not so much a temporary reform movement - which will pick 
up its tools when its immediate task is done - as the kind of long-
drawn-out military rule which (to its grievous cost) the nation has 
experienced once too often in the past. That General Musharraf 
seems to be playing for keeps is the real significance of the 
trauma through which their lordships have been put.
    
To be sure, judicial freedom and military rule were incompatible 
from the start. But it is only now that this incompatibility was 
about to be tested in the shape of the constitutional petitions 
before the Supreme Court challenging military rule. The critical 
hour approaching, it was judicial independence which had to submit 
before the exigencies and higher requirements of military rule.
    
Nor could it be otherwise. In Pakistan it is not only power which 
flows from the barrel of a gun. Legality and validation also flow 
from the same source. Every dictator in Pakistan's history has 
received approval and benediction at judicial hands. It would have 
been unrealistic to assume that General Musharraf or anyone else in 
his place would have allowed this hallowed tradition to be broken. 
Why after all was Sharifuddin Pirzada hired in the first place? 
Just for this eventuality.
    
The trouble is that there is so much else that is incompatible with 
military rule: fundamental rights as a whole for one, press freedom 
for another. How long will the saviour in General Musharraf 
tolerate these deviations from the military norm?  One illusion 
that it is in our best interests to get rid of fast is regarding 
the American concern for democracy in Pakistan. From Washington 
Pakistan is just a blip on the world screen and although democracy 
and human rights are issues with which the US likes to whip other 
countries when it wants to, of greater concern to the US as far as 
Pakistan is concerned is a raft of other issues: terrorism, Osama 
bin Laden and the CTBT.
    
If we are forthcoming on these issues democracy can take a back 
seat. The military government also understands this, which is why 
it has started this wholly unnecessary debate regarding the CTBT. 
To sign or not to sign it should be our sovereign decision quite 
uninfluenced by such ephemera as Clinton's forthcoming visit to 
South Asia. What if he misses Pakistan? Will the heavens fall? We 
obviously think they will, which is why the likely itinerary of 
Clinton's visit is such a hot issue in Pakistan.
    
Anyway, what happens at home is of greater importance. Nawaz Sharif 
no longer is the issue. If he had overreached himself he has met 
his just deserts through the operation of those forbidding laws 
which hold sway over Pakistani politics. The issue today is 
different. The lack of direction from which the country suffers is 
only made worse by a regression to militarism because just as 
judicial freedom and military rule are incompatible, vision and 
military rule are two different things.
    
Accordingly, if getting rid of Nawaz Sharif's luckless rule seemed 
to be the overriding national imperative on the evening of October 
12, the imperative today is how to shorten the lengthening shadows 
of military rule. How do we go about this? How does the nation 
persuade the military? This is the foremost problem facing Pakistan 
today.
    
Tailpiece: Last week while in New Delhi I was visiting the Pakistan 
High Commission to pay my respects, I felt my heart sink when I saw 
in the foyer the photographs of President Rafiq Tarar and General 
Pervez Musharraf, the latter in full military regalia. While it 
goes without saying that the two together make a striking 
advertisement for Pakistan, why not simply a picture of Jinnah 
instead?

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20000129
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Give peace a chance	 					
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Irfan Husain

GREECE and Turkey signed four agreements last week. Not being of an 
earth-shaking nature, this news item was duly reported on page 8 of 
this newspaper.

But one aspect of this report deserved closer attention: the two 
countries have long been arch enemies, and their mutual hatred goes 
back to the earlier part of the last century when Greece won its 
freedom from the Ottoman Empire, and then joined the Allies when 
they invaded a prostate Turkey after the First World War. Rightly 
or wrongly, the Turks felt betrayed while the Greeks thought they 
were avenging centuries of occupation by their neighbour.

Another bitterly divisive element in their rivalry has been Cyprus: 
the Greeks view its forcible partition as an aggressive act aimed 
at dividing a Greek island while the Turks feel it to be their duty 
to protect the Turkish minority from Greek oppression. Finally, 
both sides have territorial claims on some of the islands in the 
Aegean Sea. As usual in such bitter historical feuds, both think 
they are right and the other side is totally wrong.

Given these differences, this dispute was one of the constants in 
international relations through most of the 20th century. For 
decades, the Greeks thwarted the Turkish bid to enter the European 
Union, while the Turks missed no opportunity to block Greek 
ambitions whenever they could. The first signs of a thaw came last 
year when earthquakes hit both countries and caused enormous 
damage, particularly in Turkey. The Greeks immediately sent 
assistance to their neighbour. When a quake struck Greece, the 
Turks were quick to reciprocate.

Against this backdrop of animosity that has coloured relations 
between the two nations for generations, it took a genuine act of 
statesmanship for their leaders to go against the flow of public 
opinion and take the first, tentative step towards peace. The 
agreements signed recently may not in themselves be very important, 
but they signal a change in the atmospherics in the region. Wisely, 
they have not tried to tackle the knotty question of Cyprus and the 
Aegean islands immediately, preferring to improve relations through 
trade and cultural links before embarking on tough negotiations to 
resolve the other outstanding issues.

This pragmatic approach could serve as a model for India and 
Pakistan. If two bitter foes like Turkey and Greece can begin a 
process to end their long-running dispute, surely, the leaders in 
New Delhi and Islamabad suffer from a blinkered vision that does 
not permit them to see the wider world as they pursue their narrow 
agenda. Like moles, they burrow deeper and deeper into the ground 
without paying attention to the changes taking place on the 
surface.

Pakistan is fixated on a 'Kashmir-first-and-last' policy that 
precludes discussing any other issue with India, while India is 
willing to discuss everything else except Kashmir. In actual fact, 
India is currently refusing to discuss anything on account of its 
reservations about the 'legitimacy' of Pakistan's military 
government. This is a myopic view, and one that seeks only to score 
points. In fact, the reality is that this is probably the best time 
to negotiate a settlement of all outstanding issues.

Traditionally, the Pakistani military has called the shots on 
Kashmir and Afghanistan, even when elected governments have been in 
the saddle. Neither Nawaz Sharif nor Benazir Bhutto could 
significantly alter the official policy in our relations (or lack 
of them) with India. In her first stint, there was a narrow window 
of opportunity for Ms Bhutto in 1989 when she signed an agreement 
with Rajiv Gandhi in Islamabad to end hostilities on the Siachen 
glacier. This was accompanied with a flurry of other agreements 
dealing with trade, culture and tourism. Unfortunately, the Indian 
government soon went back on this accord, and the following year a 
full-fledged uprising broke out in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The 
last decade has seen bloodshed on an unprecedented scale as freedom 
fighters have escalated their activities, and Indian security 
forces have clamped down ruthlessly.

Even if stark economic compulsions have gone unheeded, the nuclear 
tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998 have lent greater 
urgency to the need to resolve this conflict. But the Indian 
refusal to talk to a military regime flies in the face of the 
political realities of Pakistan. One reason why Benazir Bhutto was 
sacked in 1990 was the perception in GHQ that she was "soft" on 
Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif, too, was kept on a short leash, despite his 
avowed desire to make peace with our neighbour. The battle on the 
Kargil heights effectively derailed the nascent peace process begun 
earlier last year with the famous bus trip taken by the Indian 
prime minister from Amritsar to Lahore.

Given the pre-eminence of the army in our dealings with India, it 
makes eminent sense for New Delhi to agree to negotiations now. The 
Indian leadership is well aware that ultimately, it is the army 
high command that will determine the course of any future talks 
from the Pakistan side, irrespective of who is occupying the Prime 
minister's House in Islamabad. Mr Vajpayee and his colleagues would 
do well to remember that it took Richard Nixon, a right-wing 
Republican president, to re-establish ties with Communist China 
after decades of hostility. A liberal democratic initiative would 
have been unacceptable to the American establishment. Similarly, 
the Pakistan army can deliver on a deal without the hawks going on 
the rampage.

Clearly, the Indian government feels that they are in control of 
the insurgency in Kashmir, and they are probably right in this 
assessment. But the price India pays will not be restricted to the 
Vale: right or wrong, the Kashmir dispute will continue to poison 
relations between the two countries, as well as preventing any 
regional grouping to work effectively in South Asia. As the bigger 
and more powerful party in the dispute, it is for India to take the 
lead and set the pace for a peace process. Saying that Pakistan has 
to somehow 're-establish trust' between the two countries is a 
clear cop-out as there was very little trust to begin with.

Peace will only dawn on the subcontinent when the leaders of both 
countries begin to comprehend that far more than Kashmir is 
involved. Without peace, neither country will reach its potential 
as each squanders billions on defence every year. After all, if 
arch-enemies like Greece and Turkey can start talking, why can't 
we?


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SPORTS
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Pakistan end India's hope with crushing win
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 PERTH, Jan 28: India's tour of misery continued here on Friday 
night when they were crushed by 104 runs by Pakistan in a tri-
nation series match at the WACA Ground.

India collapsed for 157 in only 46 overs to the pace of skipper 
Wasim Akram (3-10 off seven overs), Waqar Younis (2-33) and the 
spin of Shahid Afridi (3-42).

They were replying to Pakistan's 8-261 from 50 overs after they won 
the toss and chose to have first use of a wicket which played 
consistently well.

India's innings began chaotically and at one stage, with 33-5, they 
seemed unlikely to reach their all-time one-day low - the 63 they 
made against Australia in Sydney 19 seasons ago.

It was India's sixth defeat in seven matches in the current 
competition, totally ruling them out of any possibility of 
qualifying for the final series.

Sachin Tendulkar's men were also whipped 3-0 by Australia in the 
Test series immediately before the limited-overs festival began.

While India have sunk to the depths of despair, Pakistan are 
shaping as an increasingly competitive unit and must have high 
hopes of giving Australia a good run for their money in the finals 
starting in Melbourne next Wednesday.

Until this match, there was a tiny theoretical possibility India 
could still become Australia's opponents, as long as they won by a 
huge margin in this encounter and handed out a thrashing to 
Australia on Sunday in the last qualifying clash of the 
competition.

India's goose was probably cooked as soon as Pakistan romped to 
their handsome total - a score which promised to be even bigger as 
opening pair Saeed Anwar (44 from 52 balls) and Afridi (41 from 61 
balls) smashed 77 in the opening 13.2 overs.

In a curious innings in which most contributed well, but none 
topped 50, Pakistan also had good service from Inzamam-ul-Haq (35 
from 43 balls) and Wasim Akram (31 not out from 38 deliveries).

Seam bowler Saurav Ganguly (3-34) was the one Indian bowler who 
contained the batsmen.

To have any chance of challenging the Pakistan score, India had to 
start well and have plenty of wickets in hand. Instead, they were 
33-5 after 12.1 overs - with skipper Sachin Tendulkar among the 
parade of victims.

The Indian hopes disappeared almost as soon as they took their turn 
to bat when the top order slumped after Tendulkar was 
controversially given out for 17, caught by wicket-keeper Moin Khan 
off Waqar Younis.

It was perhaps symptomatic of India's plight that injured batsman 
Jacob Martin was sent out to the middle at number four - and then 
humiliatingly ordered back to the changing rooms by umpires Darrell 
Hair and Simon Taufel because he had been off the ground with an 
injury during the Pakistan innings.

Under the rules of the competition, players leaving the field in 
the first innings cannot bat in the second until the innings is as 
old as the time they were off or until the fall of the fifth 
wicket.

Pakistan players, apparently aware of the rules, drew the umpires' 
attention to them, leaving the men in charge with no choice but to 
send Martin off.

Martin had limped off earlier with a sprained left knee. Indian 
officials should have been familiar with the competition's 
regulations.

The right-hander returned to the crease, with a runner, at 33-5, 
with India in dire straits, and pluckily figured in a fighting 
stand of 86 with Robin Singh.

Singh top-scored with 51 from 106 balls, while Martin composed 39 
from 72 balls.

With their final hopes now gone, India face Australia in the final 
preliminary match, an all day affair at the WACA, on Sunday while 
Pakistan will fly to Melbourne to prepare for the first final.-
AFP/Reuters

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Imran for change in bowling law
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KARACHI, Jan 27: Pakistan's legendary fast bowler Imran Khan on 
Thursday backed his fellow countryman Shoaib Akhtar and called for 
a change in the bowling law.

"I hope he gets a fair deal and can concentrate on his career after 
all the trouble he was subjected to," Imran said.

"Sooner or later the law of illegal deliveries has to be changed 
because its a faulty law, just like the law of ball tampering which 
is faulty," said Imran.

The ICC should revise its laws, Imran said.

"There is no way possible for an umpire to detect an odd ball that 
is thrown. The ICC should deal with the matter seriously now that 
more than a few cases have come to the fore," he said.-AFP

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PCB threatens to withdraw from Sharjah contests
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Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Jan 26: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said here on 
Wednesday that it would not participate in any tournaments in 
Sharjah on present participation fee.

The chairman of the PCB, Lt-Gen Tauqir Zia, said the Cricketers 
Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) has been informed of the decision.

"For this season, we have agreed to play but for 2001 we will 
demand an increase in participation fee," Gen Tauqir said at a 
reception held in his honour by the Rawalpindi Division Cricket 
Association (RDCA) at a local hotel.

The PCB last year had also refused to play in Sharjah. But the 
dispute was settled when the board and CBFS signed a fresh three-
year deal.

Pakistan play India and South Africa in March-April in a Sharjah 
tournament to be contested on double league.

General Tauqir said the PCB has succeeded in getting the number of 
beneficiaries in Sharjah event increased from two to three. He said 
the board was also working out a beneficiary plan for Pakistan 
cricketers in the age bracket of 50-60-70.

The PCB boss said efforts were being made to increase its 
sponsorships and generate more funds.

PCB's share of $3.3 million from the profits of the 1996 World Cup 
is also expected to be released by the PILCOM soon, he said.

General Tauqir said a system was being evolved that would allow the 
selection of cricketers at the grass roots level.

"No one will be ignored because he was poor or had no one to 
influence the selection," he vowed.

He said the board has already put together a "confidential" plan to 
prepare team for the 2003 World Cup. "In fact, the team shaped up 
by next year would carry the stakes for Pakistan's chances at the 
next World Cup," the chairman said.

Setting up of cricket club houses at Karachi and Rawalpindi will be 
the priority of the PCB chairman.

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