------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 23 December 2000 Issue : 06/49 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Pakistan to pull out part of troops from LoC + No interim setup planned, says CE + Many army officers dismissed + Nawaz exile to usher in harmony: CE + Exile deal made govt unpopular: NYT + Petrol adulterated with kerosene + 0.3 million Afghans facing starvation + Sharifs' property not yet taken over + Assemblies' revival possible + India should respond to LoC pullout + JI keen to restore army's credibility, says Qazi + Govt chasing IMF target: Net bank borrowing up in Nov + PML demands elections --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Tariff row with Hubco resolved + Minimum daily CRR cut to 3%: Banks asked to buy more special TBs + CE to be briefed on tax survey estimates + Cement barons squabbling leads to closure of plants + Pakistan needs to qualify for ADB farm loan + Govt to increase drug prices + ADB okays $707m for seven projects: $250m for KESC restructuring + State Bank injects Rs12 billion: Money market still tight + Early deregulation of diesel prices doubtful + KESC gets loan guarantee + SBP allows evening banking --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Nawaz speaks Ardeshir Cowasjee + As spoke not Zarathustra Ayaz Amir + Days of rage Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Islah appointed director of international wing + Fit-again Shoaib eyes NZ, England + Akram, Afridi clinch double wicket title

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NATIONAL NEWS
20001221
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Pakistan to pull out part of troops from LoC
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ISLAMABAD, Dec 20: Pakistan took another bold initiative on 
Wednesday by announcing that it will withdraw part of its forces 
deployed along the line of control.

An Inter Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) press release 
said, "As a followup of the policy of exercising maximum restraint 
along the line of actual contact and line of control, Pakistan has 
unilaterally taken another bold initiative to withdraw part of its 
forces deployed along the line of control.

"The move back has already commenced and the troops have started 
moving towards cantonments" the press release stated. However, 
necessary safeguards had been taken against any possible Indian 
misadventure across the line of control and to ensure protection of 
the local population, it added.

It said: "This action manifests Pakistan's earnest and genuine 
desire to de-escalate the situation in order to facilitate the 
process of meaningful dialogue on the issue", and hoped that "India 
would also reciprocate in a similar manner and de-induct part of 
its 700,000 strong force deployed in Indian occupied Kashmir."-H.A.

Faraz Hashmi adds: Pakistan has decided to withdraw parts of its 
troops from the Line of Control with the hopes that India will 
reciprocate and 

agree on tripartite talks for resolving the Kashmir issue, said Lt-
Gen Rashid Qureshi.

"A number of troops are being pulled back," said the official 
spokesman of the Pakistan army without disclosing the exact number 
of troops cautioned to march back to the cantonments.

However, he said, "no gaps or vulnerable points" would be left at 
the LoC while scaling down the deployment of soldier, from the area 
of highest military concentration in the world.

When asked if the withdrawal of Pakistani troops would be monitored 
by the United Nation Observers deployed at LoC, he said, the UN 
observers have not been asked to formally monitor the troops' 
withdrawal.

"However Indians posted at the LoC will certainly feel the scaling 
down and withdrawal of Pakistan troops," he said.

Mr Qureshi pointed out that it was not the first withdrawal of 
Pakistani forces from the LoC. He said the first one had been 
carried out just after the October 12, 1999, military takeover by 
Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The latest initiative has been taken with a view to expose Indian's 
"theoretical" measures. India has only been paying lip service to 
the Kashmir issue, he added.

The announcement of ceasefire by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari 
Vajpayee during Ramazan was only "verbal" as Indian military 
operations in the occupied territories had been going on as usual, 
he remarked.

Thepractical steps taken by Pakistan from announcementof 
maintaining maximum restraint to scaling down of troops have been 
mounting pressure on India, he said.

"We want to show to India and the world that Pakistan means what it 
says," he said adding, "India should reciprocate to show the 
"genuineness," of its pronouncements regarding talks on the Kashmir 
issue.

Welcome: Meanwhile, Kashmiri leaders in Srinagar welcomed on 
Wednesday the one-month extension of the Indian forces' ceasefire, 
but stressed the need for a permanent peace, adds AFP.

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20001222
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No interim setup planned, says CE
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Correspondent

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Dec 21: Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf 
denied on Thursday rumours being spread by the vested interests 
that the present government was planning to step down to make way 
for an interim setup in its place. He also denied that local bodies 
elections would be postponed, adding that he would complete his 
mission.

Addressing a public meeting after inaugurating Daraban Khurd-Roda 
Road, some 17 kilometres from here, the chief executive said: "I 
don't intend to leave the field." "I will not leave my mission 
unaccomplished - which is aimed at developing the country."

General Musharraf said that poverty alleviation was the top 
priority of the government. He said the government desired to 
replace the existing system with a revolutionary system in order to 
make the country and the masses prosperous. He said that Rs35 
billion had been allocated for the poverty alleviation programme 
which had now been renamed as "Khushal Pakistan Programme."

Gen Musharraf said, radical changes would be made in the Zakat and 
Baitul Maal system to make it more effective for the deserving 
people.

He said under the proposed system, Rs15,000 to Rs50,000, would be 
given to needy persons in order to make them self-reliant and their 
names would be deleted from the Mustahiqeen's list.

He said new Zakat committees would be set up all over the country, 
comprising honest and sincere people.

Federal Minister Mehmood Ghazi has been assigned the task to 
suggest and recommend measures for effecting changes in the system.

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001223 
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Many army officers dismissed
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Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: An unusual number of army officers have been 
sacked for tampering with their service record in an attempt to 
improve their promotion prospects, it is learnt.

Those sacked - compulsorily retired - include brigadiers, colonels 
and even a major-general. The total number of those officers could 
not be ascertained but it is said to be "extraordinary."

The military authorities neither confirmed nor denied the action. 
However, some termed it a perfect example of the in-built 
accountability system in the army.

It was detected recently that many officers had been tampering with 
the service record, the annual performance evaluation reports, to 
better their promotion prospects or help their favourites.

The military secretary branch of the GHQ is the custodian of the 
service record of all officers. The tampering was reportedly 
committed in collusion with some insiders.

Those found involved are being issued letters of compulsory 
retirement in small batches. It is said that pensionary benefits 
are also being denied to them to make them an example for others.

Army spokesman Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi said he had no knowledge of 
any such development. When Dawn insisted on getting the report 
confirmed or denied from the relevant quarters, he replied: "No one 
will speak about this."

Accountability in the military, he explained, was an on-going 
process and officers found guilty of offences of different nature 
were punished accordingly.

"But for the sake of armymen's morale we don't publicize such 
punishments," Gen Qureshi said, adding, "those who face bullet are 
not dishonoured publicly." In certain cases however, he said, such 
developments were circulated within the army circles.

He further said that the punishment in military was severer than in 
civil service where one could easily get away with anything. "Even 
two and three star generals have not been spared."

The adjutant-general of GHQ, Lt-Gen Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai, who 
handles the disciplinary cases, said the issue of tampering of 
record did not fall in his jurisdiction. He, however, said that he 
had not heard of en bloc sacking.

Gen Orakzai said the reported sacking of "many" might be an 
exaggeration of facts and maintained that there was nothing unusual 
to be excited about or given any importance. "There is nothing to 
be worried about," he said.

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20001221
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Nawaz exile to usher in harmony: CE
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Nasir Malick 

ISLAMABAD, Dec 20: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on 
Wednesday, justified his decision of sending Nawaz Sharif into 
exile, saying it would usher in an era of political harmony and 
economic development.

The General divided his hour-long speech to the nation on radio and 
television in two parts -- justifying his action of sending Nawaz 
Sharif and his family into exile in the first half and explaining 
his government's devolution plan in the second.

Dressed in commando uniform, the General spoke in Urdu using 
English sentences excessively, in what appeared to be an attempt to 
reach the international audience simultaneously.

The CE also accused both Nawaz Sharif and Ms Benazir Bhutto of 
working against the military government's "devolution plan" and 
gave an impression as if the decision of sending Nawaz Sharif was 
indirectly related to this issue as well.

He said: "There must have been some good reason that I took this 
decision." He, however, did not explain those reasons. "There is a 
difference between a popular decision and a correct decision," he 
said indirectly saying that his decision was correct.

The CE also accepted that a Saudi prince had intervened to seek the 
release of Nawaz Sharif.

Accusing the Nawaz and Benazir governments of institutionalizing 
corruption, he said, "all institutions were corrupted by the two 
parties, I will not name those institutions because all of you 
understand what I mean."

Ignoring the basic principle of politics that today's foes could be 
friends tomorrow, the General accused Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz 
Sharif of trying to join hands.

Without naming them, he said: "Two political leaders, Pakistan's 
political stalwarts, who hated each other till yesterday, were 
shamelessly trying to join hands in an attempt to jointly loot the 
country, if anything had been left from looting."

Similarly, he also regretted that veteran politician Nawabzada 
Nasrullah Khan (without naming him) had been helping and supporting 
these leaders to come closer and once again loot the country.

Defending his decision, the General claimed that it had been 
appreciated and acknowledged internationally.

On the issue of dealing with political leadership, General 
Musharraf took a completely different line from what was taken by 
his predecessor General Ziaul Haq, who had sent a deposed prime 
minister to the gallows.

"Extreme actions against the political leaders do not go well with 
the international community as such (extreme) actions are 
considered (a sign of) backwardness and rigidity," he explained. 
"Besides they (extreme actions) have a negative impact on foreign 
investment."

He indirectly hinted that several investment-related issues were 
also linked with this decision and especially mentioned that the 
long-standing dispute with Hubco, whose majority shares are owned 
by a Saudi national, was resolved after sending Nawaz Sharif into 
exile.

Similarly, he said, since sending Nawaz Sharif into exile, many 
international investors had shown great interest in the purchase of 
Pakistan Telecommunications.

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20001218
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Exile deal made govt unpopular: NYT
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Correspondent

NEW YORK, Dec 17: General Pervez Musharraf's decision to let former 
prime minister Nawaz Sharif go into exile "is only part of the 
disillusionment with his rule, which was initially greeted with an 
almost giddy hope that a tough-guy military man could whip the 
country into shape," the New York Times said in an article on 
Sunday.

"Mr Musharraf promised nothing short of Pakistan's moral and 
economic rejuvenation when he took power, but he has found it very 
difficult to deliver, particularly on people's bread-and- butter 
hopes. At a time of political uncertainty, both foreign and 
domestic investment in the country have lagged," the newspaper 
said.

The New York Times observed that "already Gen Musharraf is feeling 
the discontent of the public and the press, largely because there 
is an absence of fear about speaking out against his government".

It also noted that "the military dictators of earlier eras crushed 
dissent. But the current rulers have tolerated scathing press 
criticism. Perhaps it is because Gen Musharraf is more liberal. Or 
perhaps it is because they fear a crackdown would up- end their 
cooperative relationships with international lenders on whom 
Pakistan depends financially".

"Fourteen months into Gen Musharraf's rule, the military - often 
described here as Pakistan's last viable, effective institution - 
stands demystified. Most people still credit the general with good 
intentions, but he is often depicted as a bumbler whose government 
has been too weak to halt sectarian killings or to stand up to 
Islamic fundamentalists," the paper said.

However, the New York Times said that "the general has one big 
thing going for him: the lack of an inspiring civilian leader to 
challenge him. Benazir Bhutto, who was Mr Sharif's main national 
rival for power, has been convicted on corruption charges and is 
living in London. And now the general has removed Mr Sharif from 
Pakistan - and in such a way that Mr Sharif's character has been 
further discredited."

The paper says that "members of Mr Sharif's party, the Pakistan 
Muslim League, say he was a man accustomed to a life of luxury and 
power who apparently could not tolerate the rigours of prison life. 
He had always had it easy. He rose to positions of power in the 
1980s with the backing of the military. He and his family amassed 
fabulous wealth during his time in office".

"He loved being chauffeured in a black Mercedes. He had a taste for 
expensive watches and fancy shoes. Before the coup, he was close to 
moving into a 22-room mansion with stuffed lions and rococo 
furniture," Shaikh Rashid, a former minister in Sharif's cabinet, 
told the New York Times.

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001223 
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Petrol adulterated with kerosene
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: More than 40 per cent of the samples of petrol 
collected from petrol pumps all over Pakistan are adulterated, on 
average, with 13 per cent kerosene oil.

This is one of the startling conclusions of a sample survey 
conducted recently by M/s Hagler Bailly, consultants on energy and 
environment.

As if this was not enough, the petrol pumps generally indulge in 
creating shortage of supply thus cheating their customers of 3.7 
per cent petrol/diesel on each litre purchased by them.

Explaining the details of the survey, Waqar Zakriya, Chief 
Executive of Hagler Bailly, advised the people to occasionally ask 
the petrol pump management to measure one litre of oil in a 
graduated cylinder which is mandatory on all petrol pumps to keep. 
"It is the customer's legal and moral right to ensure that he gets 
full measure," he remarked.

The problem here was that many petrol pumps did not keep these 
cylinders - in disregard of the legal requirement in this respect.

Research had also established that 70 per cent of all the kerosene 
oil consumed in Pakistan was used to mix in diesel. The incentive 
for this crime was given by increasing the difference between the 
prices of diesel and kerosene oil to Rs three per litre.

Another disturbing observation made by him was that 60 per cent of 
lubricant oils did not meet the specifications.

The almost universal indulgence in these irregularities was 
attributed mainly to the fact that under the law, the only person 
authorized to collect petrol/diesel samples was the DG Oil in the 
ministry of petroleum.

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001223  
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0.3 million Afghans facing starvation
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The drought currently affecting Afghanistan has 
put at risk lives of approximately 50,000 families (300,000 people) 
in the western region, a UN report said.

The report issued here on Friday by the office of the UN 
Coordinator for Afghanistan also disclosed that due to insufficient 
response to funding requests, conditions in camps, established for 
displaced persons outside Herat city, were poor.

"In the newest and largest camp, Maslagh, new arrivals had to sleep 
out in the open air despite freezing temperatures. At present, 
there is a shortfall of at least 2,500 shelters."

The report added that while some non-food items were in stock, 
there were shortfalls of all non-food items including blankets, 
tents, quilts and other supplies. Most of the families in the camps 
had few assets and therefore were in need of both food and non-food 
items.

"To complicate matters further, the World Food Programme (WFP) will 
run out of food in April 2001, if further pledges are not 
forthcoming," the report feared.

In a six-day period from Dec 11 to 16, the report said, just under 
800 displaced families, comprised over 4,600 people, arrived in a 
camp for displaced persons outside Herat city in western 
Afghanistan. Of the six existing IDP camps in Herat, five are 
already full.

The Herat camps, the report said, now housed over 11,000 families 
or 68,000 people. However, it is not known that how many people in 
western Afghanistan had gravitated into Herat city (not the camps) 
or crossed the border.

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20001222
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Sharifs' property not yet taken over
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Reporter

LAHORE, Dec 21: Notwithstanding official claims, the government has 
so far not taken over any property of the deposed prime minister, 
Nawaz Sharif or any member of his family.

Though all belongings were removed from the Model Town residence of 
the former prime minister on Dec 10, the day Sharifs were exiled to 
Saudi Arabia, the former Punjab chief minister's son, Hamza Sharif, 
is still living there with his family.

Sources close to the family said on Thursday that so far everything 
was with the Sharifs and the government had not taken over 
anything.

Empress Road offices of various industrial units of Sharifs are 
still lying sealed and nobody can enter there.

Hamza Shahbaz has set up offices in a Muslim Town building.

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20001222
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'Assemblies' revival possible'
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Reporter

LAHORE, Dec 21: PML Vice-President Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri believes 
that the suspended assemblies can still be revived as the chief 
executive did not rule out the possibility in his Wednesday address 
to the nation.

In a statement here on Thursday, he said Gen Pervez Musharraf could 
have easily stated that he was not going to restore assemblies, but 
he did not say any such thing. He said the general had ruled out 
the establishment of an interim set-up which was something totally 
different from the fate of assemblies.

Mr Kasuri said the hanging of Mr Bhutto was being criticized as a 
wrong decision even three decades after the tragic incident took 
place although he was convicted on criminal charges.

He said time would prove that the banishment of Mr Nawaz Sharif was 
a right decision taken by the present government. He said the 
historian would appreciate the decision.

In his opinion with Mr Sharif going into exile, political tension 
in the country would scale down and a conducive atmosphere for 
economic development would emerge.

He said the chief executive had deplored that in the past there was 
no continuity of policies because of which development projects 
launched by one government were shelved by its successor.

He said fresh elections or revival of assemblies were the only two 
options available to the government and in the present 
circumstances restoration of assemblies was a better option.

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20001222
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'India should respond to LoC pullout'
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ISLAMABAD, Dec 21: Director General, ISPR, Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi 
has said that New Delhi should respond positively to pull out its 
troops from some areas of Line of Control in Kashmir by reducing 
the Indian troops in the Held Kashmir and pave the way for talks.

"This step has been taken so that India may reciprocate it and 
should reduce its troops in Kashmir," he told BBC Radio.

He said, this step will help defuse tension and there will be 
possibility of resumption of talks on the issue of Kashmir.

Qureshi said, Pakistan welcomes every such step which defuses 
escalation in Kashmir and helps in finding out a solution of the 
dispute.

Replying to a question, he said, Pakistan has taken a big step and 
added: "We are not only making announcements, rather our troops 
have already started movement."

Pakistan, he said, has always said it is prepared for talks.

"It says that talks should be held and some solution to Kashmir 
issue ought to be found out. Now it seems that the world and 
specially the West has exerted pressure on India that when Pakistan 
is prepared for talks why India is hesitant to resume the process," 
he added.

When asked if any indirect talks are going on between the two 
countries at any level, Qureshi replied that "individuals do make 
such efforts."

He said, in the beginning India had been completely refusing to 
resume talk. Now from the statement of Indian Prime Minister 
Vajpayee, it seems that India was willing. "If Vajpayee is saying 
all this sincerely, talks should be resumed immediately, he added.

Troops movement: The director-general said troops are being 
withdrawn from some areas of the line of control.

He said troops have started moving. "I believe we have taken a very 
big step. This step has been taken so that India may reciprocate it 
and should reduce its troops in Kashmir. This will help defuse 
tension and there will be possibility of resumption of talks. We 
welcome every such step which defuses escalation in tension in 
Kashmir and helps in finding out a solution to this issue," he 
added.

He said now it was up to India to reciprocate by withdrawing its 
troops from the line of control and making headway for resumption 
of talks. "I think it is a very big step that Pakistan has taken. 
We are not only making announcement, rather, our troops have 
already started moving." Brig Qureshi said it seems that the world, 
specially the West, had exerted pressure on India to resume 
negotiations.-APP/NNI

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20001222
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JI keen to restore army's credibility, says Qazi
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Correspondent

RAWALPINDI, Dec 21: The Jamaat-i-Islami Amir, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, 
on Thursday, dispelled the impression that the Jamaat was out to 
damage the institution of the army. In fact, he said, the Jamaat 
was keen to restore the army's credibility and desirous of boosting 
its morale.

Speaking at a "Meet the Press" session organized by the Rawalpindi 
Press Club, he said his party never wanted to create dissensions 
within the ranks of the army. All that the Jamaat-i- Islami wanted 
was to restore the credibility of the army and boost its morale. He 
said his party believed in the integrity of the army and its 
prestige.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed announced that after Eidul Fitr, the Jamaat 
would organize a wide-ranging convention of all sections of the 
society including retired generals, former diplomats and 
bureaucrats , intellectuals, journalists to find a way for the 
military government to extricate itself out of the present 
quagmire.

The JI chief claimed that all the ills in the society were the 
creations of the army. He said, the army was no solution to the 
problems afflicting the people, adding that after the exile of 
Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan, there was no justification for 
continuing the accountability process.

On the principle of provincial autonomy, the JI chief said the 
quantum of provincial autonomy allowed in the 1973 constitution, 
had not been implemented by any government in the country.

He described Gen Pervez Musharraf as the "biggest politician of 
all." He asked the CE as to who had given him the mandate to bring 
in a new system - as there was no justification at all for a long 
agenda. He said the army should not interfere in a task which was 
not entrusted to it. He said, all the politicians were not bad, 
adding, many of the bad politicians were the creation of the army.

Talking about the unilateral withdrawal of Pakistan troops from the 
Line of Control, the JI chief described it as a wrong move. He 
said, the decision taken by the government showed as if it 
recognized the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian troops. 
Heemphasized that India must announce that Kashmir was a disputed 
territory and that there were three parties to the dispute.

Qazi Hussain urged the government to apprise the nation in detail 
about its offer of unilateral ceasefire along the Line of Control.

He also wanted the government to inform the masses about the 
justification of intervention if Nawaz was to be sent into exile. 
He accused the army of disrupting the democratic process, adding 
that all the ills facing the country were due to the army; and the 
new system to be ushered in the country was directed at eliminating 
the constitutional institutions.

He announced his decision to go to the electorate and seek its 
opinion. He said, his party would go to the streets and seek the 
masses' decision. He said if the people supported the party, the JI 
would live up to their expectations. He criticized the "politics of 
alliances" as the politics of hypocrisy.

He hinted that India was responsible for sectarian terrorism and 
subversion taking place in Pakistan.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed also criticized the devolution plan of the 
present government. However, he said, despite its reservations 
about the plan, the JI would take part in the local bodies polls.

He wanted to know why the government had banned the political 
parties from participating in the LB elections. "Why is the 
government shy of facing the masses," he asked.

The government wanted the feudals to field their maid- servants for 
the women's seats, the JI amir remarked.

About the latest UNSC sanctions on the Taliban, he said, the 
imposition of more sanctions against the brave people of 
Afghanistan was not only condemnable but it would add to the misery 
of the people of Afghanistan, adding that in the time of trial and 
tribulations his party would fully cooperate with the Taliban 
government.

He said the negative impact of the sanctions would affect not only 
Afghanistan but Pakistan and Iran as well.

Qazi Hussain appealed to the Taliban government to set itself in 
the right direction and asked the regime to listen to those 
elements that had supported the Afghans in their brave struggle 
against a super power.

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20001221
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Govt chasing IMF target: Net bank borrowing up in Nov
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Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 20: Net government bank borrowing that stood at Rs22 
billion at end-October rose to Rs26 billion at the end of November. 
But sources close to the ministry of finance say the government is 
making all efforts to bring down its net bank borrowing from Rs26 
billion as on December 2 to Rs6.4 billion by the end of the month 
to meet the IMF target.

This is a herculean task particularly because the tax revenue 
collection at Rs135 billion between July-November has fallen short 
of Rs150 billion target. They say tax collection target of Rs430 
billion for entire fiscal year (July-June) 2000-2001 may also 
remain unaccomplished.

Senior bankers said the government borrowed Rs47 billion for 
budgetary support in the first five months of this fiscal year- 
between July 1 and December 2, 2000. But at the same time it also 
placed Rs21 billion in its debt retirement account thus reducing 
the net borrowing to Rs26 billion.

The government keeps in this account with the State Bank the rupee 
equivalent of rescheduled foreign debts so that SBP could pay these 
debts on maturity by converting the rupee amount into foreign 
currencies.

The conditions attached with $596 million IMF loan require the 
government to keep its net bank borrowing for budgetary support at 
Rs6.4 billion by end-December 2000; at Rs19.9 billion by end-March 
2001 and finally at minus Rs16.7 billion at end-June 2001. Pakistan 
received $192 million first tranche of the standby loan on November 
30.

In early November, Pakistan had agreed to this and many other tough 
conditions that were to be tagged with the 10-month loan. Even 
before that the ministry of finance had realized the need for 
containing government bank borrowing which they knew would help the 
country in meeting the IMF performance criteria. What leads one to 
draw this conclusion is that government borrowing started to come 
down from October.

In the first quarter (July-September) of this fiscal year, net 
government bank borrowing for budgetary support stood at Rs35.8 
billion that fell to Rs22 billion at end-October but then rose 
again to Rs26 billion on December 2.

On November 12, the government also raised Rs4.4 billion worth of 
non-bank credit through maiden auction of Pakistan Investment 
Bonds. This helped in keeping the government bank borrowing from 
shooting up. The second auction of the bonds is due on December 26. 
The State Bank has set a sale target of Rs10 billion. If it 
succeeds in raising Rs10 billion non-bank credit the government 
would easily cut down its net bank borrowing by the same amount.

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20001220
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PML demands elections
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 19: The Pakistan Muslim League has rejected the 
proposal of restoring assemblies in favour of immediate holding of 
fair, free and impartial elections.

An informal meeting of the party's advisory board held here at the 
residence of Kulsoom Nawaz concluded that only fresh general 
elections could steer the country out of present political crisis.

The meeting, presided over by Raja Zafarul Haq, also endorsed the 
decision of Nawaz Sharif to leave the country and accept exile.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Mr Haq said: "We held 
deliberations for keeping the party united and strive for 
restoration of democracy and holding of elections."

Acting president Javed Hashmi said they reviewed the situation and 
reposed confidence in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20001217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Tariff row with Hubco resolved
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 16: The three-year long electricity tariff dispute 
between Wapda and Hubco was resolved on Saturday night when the two 
sides reached at a "mutually agreed tariff," a government official 
said.

Though the two sides were reluctant to give the agreed tariff, a 
highly-placed source told Dawn that the Hubco had agreed on Wapda's 
offer of 5.6 cents a unit.

The Hubco had initially demanded 6.4 cents but finally agreed to 
Wapda's offer.

The source said that it would result in an annual saving of $63 
million to Wapda.

He added that the two sides also agreed to withdraw cases against 
each other.

The government had filed criminal cases against Hubco officials, 
which would be withdrawn as a result of the agreement, the sources 
added. Hubco would also withdraw its application for the 
international arbitration in the dispute.

Soon after reaching the agreement before Iftar on Saturday, the 
government and Hubco negotiators called on Chief Executive Gen 
Pervez Musharraf to inform him about the it.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who was heading the government side, 
termed the agreement as "beneficial" for both sides.

"It is a win-win situation for both sides," Mr Aziz told Dawn 
without disclosing the details.

The minister said he would disclose at a press conference on Sunday 
what had been agreed on after intense negotiations that virtually 
continued day and night since the arrival of the Hubco team here on 
Wednesday.

"Hubco will get good return," said Mr Aziz when this correspondent 
insisted to divulge the agreed tariff.

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001223
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum daily CRR cut to 3%: Banks asked to buy more special TBs
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 22: The State Bank of Pakistan on Friday asked banks 
to buy two-week treasury bills out of the rupee equivalent of 
institutional foreign currency swap deposits, senior bankers told 
Dawn.

The rupee equivalent of these deposits worth more than Rs30 billion 
are lying with the State Bank and banks are earning a high return 
of a little over 15 per cent on the same.

Bankers said the interest on two-week T-bills so purchased would be 
equal to the return banks are already getting on the rupee 
equivalent of swap deposits placed with SBP i.e. around 15 per 
cent. SBP chief spokesman confirmed it when reached by telephone.

Meanwhile, SBP also lowered the minimum daily cash reserves for 
banks from four to three per cent of their total deposits. A 
circular issued to all banks said the one per cent reduction in 
minimum daily cash reserves was effective for one week only i.e. 
from December 30, 2000 to January 5, 2001. The circular said 
average weekly cash reserves would, however, continue to be five 
per cent of the total time and demand liabilities of banks.

Senior bankers said the twin moves would ease off a severe year-end 
liquidity crisis in inter-bank market and help SBP meet an 
important IMF target attached with its $596 million standby loan. 
The IMF approved the 10-month loan for Pakistan on November 30.

Senior bankers said SBP had asked them to purchase two-week T-bills 
out of the rupee equivalent of institutional FCY swap deposits to 
reduce its net domestic assets to minus Rs26.3 billion by the year-
end, under the conditions attached with IMF's standby loan.

SBP recently sold to banks about $250 million in one-month swap 
against rupees to ease off the year-end liquidity crunch so that 
banks do not borrow short-term funds from the central bank 
increasing its NDA. It also lowered weekly cash reserves 
requirement from seven to five per cent and asked banks to buy 
special treasury bills out of the rupee funds so released. Again, 
the purpose was to reduce SBP's NDA. Net domestic assets of SBP 
move up when it injects rupee funds into the market and they come 
down when it mops up excessive liquidity.

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20001223 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
CE to be briefed on tax survey estimates 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: Revised revenue estimates from the Tax Survey 
for the financial year 2000-01 would be presented to Chief 
Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday.

Chairman, Central Board of Revenue (CBR), Riaz Hussain Naqvi and 
members of different tax department would brief the CE on the 
survey achievements and the performance of CBR in collecting taxes 
during the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal.

The initial estimates of revenue receipts survey for documentation 
of economy for 2000-01 were of Rs100 billion. However, these 
estimates had to be revised as the achievements of the survey have 
remained partial.

Official sources told Dawn that the revised estimates from the 
survey are for achieving net receipts of Rs40 billion. The 
additional revenue estimates are being based on the increase in 
registration of taxpayers and better coverage of taxable 
activities.

The Income Tax department, which has already recorded an increase 
of about 80,000 in its registered persons' list, is expected to add 
to its revenues by Rs20 billion from the survey. The sales tax 
department is also expecting to improve its coverage of trade and 
industry on the basis of survey and collect another Rs20 billion in 
the remaining half of the current financial year (January-July 
2001).

The briefing would also focus on a "New Tax Strategy" for achieving 
the current fiscal year's revenue targets (Rs430 billion) as per 
commitments made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The CBR has collected Rs141 billion in five months, and needs to 
collect another Rs300 billion in the remaining seven months of the 
financial year, at the rate of about Rs43 billion per month. So 
far, the CBR has collected revenues at the rate of Rs23.5 billion. 
The CBR officials would explain to the CE about their plan to 
increase the per month collection by Rs19.5 billion.

The new strategy, to be implemented from January 1, 2001, aims to 
fulfil the IMF demands for covering the hitherto out-of- net and 
partially taxed areas of the economy. These include fertilizers, 
agriculture, services and savings in a number of categories.

It also aims at minimising the tax officials' discretionary powers, 
maximise revenue collection, revise tax rates under income and 
sales tax nomenclatures and introduce administrative reforms for 
quick disposal of tax litigation cases.

The Central Board of Revenue officials would also submit replies on 
queries made by the CE Secretariat on the strategy. The CE 
Secretariat had earlier prepared a report on taxation issues in 
which it had questioned the performance and fresh changes in tax 
laws.

It termed Sales Tax penal laws and the procedure for refund as 
"draconian" saying that "these (laws) suit the bureaucracy for 
corruption purposes."

On the administrative side, the tax automation experts would be 
presenting to the CE their reports on sales tax refund automation, 
the performance of the automated import assessment system (EASY), 
and the changes to be made in income tax challan submission system.

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001223 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Cement barons squabbling leads to closure of plants
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Dec 22: The squabbling of cement barons has eventually led 
to the closure of two plants - Gharibwal and Dhandot - last Sunday 
in Punjab following the severing of their supply.

With a little over a million ton annual cement production capacity, 
the two plants are owned by a single group of overseas Pakistani 
investors and have more than 2,000 employees who have now been 
rendered jobless.

A top official of the Sui Northern Gas company confirmed to Dawn 
from Lahore by the telephone on Friday the discontinuation of gas 
supply to the two cement plants since December 16 on instructions 
of the ministry. The ministry is reviewing a petition from other 
cement manufacturers, who contended that their units were based on 
furnace oil, which has shown a steep price rise in the recent past 
throwing them at a disadvantageous position as compared with those 
cement plants, which operate on gas.

He pointed out that under the gas supply agreement with more than 
900 industries in the Northern areas, the SNGPL is empowered to 
discontinue gas supply for three months, from December 1 to 
February 28 to any of these industries. This is because of the 
mounting gas demand from the domestic sector, when temperature 
touches freezing and sub freezing points.

"But with prudent management practices, we have been able to save 
enough gas last winter and this year too, and maintaining an 
uninterrupted gas supply to all the industry," he said.

The SNGPL spokesman said that under the agreement gas supply to any 
industry could be suspended for three months. He hoped that the gas 
supply to Gharibwal and Dhandot would be resumed after the ministry 
worked out a fresh tariff, which should ensure an even playing 
field for those, who depend on furnace oil or gas.

Gharibwal was established in 1962 and since then was operating on 
gas. Since it is based on wet process, the switch over to furnace 
oil will render this unit sick and finally closure.

Dhandot was secured by a Chakwal-based well known business group. 
It remained close for more than three years and was revived in 
March this year, after Gharibwal management took it over and worked 
out a deal with the financing banks and other institutions to 
adjust over Rs2 billion liabilities. The deal is based on a cash 
flow generated from gas run operations at the current tariff and 
management fears that any upward revision would force them 
permanent closure.

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001223 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan needs to qualify for ADB farm loan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has asked 
Pakistan to take steps to meet farm agreements conditions singed by 
it under the WTO regime to qualify for a $250 million loan.

ADB is giving loan to the farm sector under its second agriculture 
sector programme. Before releasing the loan, the ADB has also 
obtained a number of reports from Islamabad on certain issues 
highlighting bottlenecks in the agriculture sector's growth, 
investment in the farm sector and export that can easily be 
identified and lead to rapid reforms.

The ADB said it was necessary for Pakistan to qualify for the 
second agriculture sector programme loan of $250 million to bring 
about institutional reforms in the farm sector.

Sources said ADB's Raymond Renfro in a recent letter to the 
government of Pakistan has pointed out that the bank's team held 
discussion in Islamabad during Nov 28-30 with the senior officials 
of ministries of finance, food and agriculture.

The ADB had also met the finance minister Shaukat Aziz and 
agriculture minister Khair Mohammad Junejo.

The ADB has now submitted its comments on these meetings to the 
concerned officials.

The ADB said to complete the process of loaning under the 
Agriculture Sector Programme, ADB needed more studies to address 
those aspects for which there is little information available.

It said the bank needs information on the production of agriculture 
commodities markets, future trading and integration of 4.5 existing 
agriculture commodity markets.

It also required information on market imperfections (domestic and 
export/import market) including private sector cartels. The ADB has 
sought details about the agro processing and storage problem as 
well as private sector development and marketing of new products 
and technologies.

It also needs report on the agriculture finance issues such as 
reforms of ADBP, new agriculture credit banks in the private 
sectors etc.

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001223 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Govt to increase drug prices
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The government will continue to increase the 
prices of drugs annually in accordance with the 1994 pricing 
formula approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of 
the cabinet.

Official sources told Dawn on Friday that the decision to this 
effect had been taken by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz at an ECC 
meeting earlier this week.

Earlier at its meeting on March 2, the ECC had called for a 
revision of the six-year-old pricing formula and constituted a 
committee to recommend changes in it.

The ECC sub-committee after long deliberations informed the ECC at 
its last meeting about the recommendations it had sent to the 
health ministry. Consequently, the health ministry submitted a 
summary to the ECC for a final decision.

In its recommendations, the committee said that there was no need 
to change the formula as it was very rationally crafted. The health 
ministry, too, believed that it would not be desirable to reopen 
this issue.

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20001222
-------------------------------------------------------------------
ADB okays $707m for seven projects: $250m for KESC restructuring 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 21: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 
record level of assistance worth $707 million for seven projects in 
Pakistan.

Senior Economic Advisor of the ADB Naved Hamid said that out of the 
approved amount, $150 million were recently disbursed and another 
$100 million would be disbursed by March next year.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday along with ADB's senior 
Project Implementation Officer Katsuji Matsunami, Hamid said the 
rest of the funding would be disbursed in 2002 after the clearance 
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

All the seven loans were approved in the energy sector 
restructuring, export promotion, poverty reduction, judicial and 
legal reforms and debt and risk management.

He said $350 million had been approved for the energy sector, which 
also included $250 million for the restructuring of Karachi 
Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) and the $100 million would be 
offered for the corporatization of Water and Power Development 
Authority (WAPDA). Other major objectives include improving 
governance and the legal and regulatory framework, strengthening 
the capacity of the National Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), 
and creating an enabling environment for a competitive market. In 
addition, a soft loan of $5 million in technical assistance is 
being provided to build up capacity for energy sector.

There would be a $150 million loan for promoting the development of 
the microfinance sector of Pakistan and the aim is to finance 1.6 
million small income generating activities and 4,500 small scale 
community based infrastructure projects, during the next six years.

"And then another $150 million are approved to boost Pakistan's 
export by improving trade financing for small and medium sized 
enterprises," he said. A partial risk guarantee up to maximum 
aggregate liability of $150 million was also approved to reduce 
risk associated with the letters of credit issued by Pakistani 
banks to import goods for export production. The project, he said, 
is expected to increase Pakistan's export by around $350 million 
annually and help create 135,000 new jobs.

He said a $52 million concessional loan would be for helping farm 
families in the barani area of the North West Frontier Province 
(NWFP). The project will raise incomes by providing a range of 
measures to increase agricultural productivity and by providing 
earning opportunities.

In addition, six technical grant assistance (TA) for a total of 
$6.8 million were approved and "we expect approval of two more TA 
for $1.2 million in December 2000 to support capacity building and 
institution building," Hamid added. A $2.9 million TA is for 
strengthening institutional capacity for judicial and legal reforms 
in Pakistan. "This could later lead to disbursement of $80 million 
for carrying out legal and judicial reforms.

He said about $5 million would be extended for institutional 
strengthening of Export Promotion Bureau and some other 
organizations.

Responding to a question, he said the delay in carrying out the 
restructuring of KESC, was causing a loss of over Rs1 billion 
annually in the shape of line losses. "This loss is equal to 70 per 
cent of the spending of the bank in the social sector," he added.

"We have lined up huge resources for Pakistan and now the ball is 
the government's court to qualify for all these loans by 
implementing certain conditionalities attached to the programme," 
he said.

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20001222
-------------------------------------------------------------------
State Bank injects Rs12 billion: Money market still tight 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 21: The State Bank on Thursday injected Rs12.25 
billion into cash-starved inter-bank money market. But that had a 
little impact on lending rates in the face of an outflow of Rs19 
billion from the market through maturity of previous injections.

Senior bankers said the SBP injected Rs12.25 billion for one week 
in reverse repo of treasury bills at 11 per cent. But that failed 
to hold high lending rates down. Bankers said overnight repo and 
call rates moved in the range of 12.5-13 per cent and 14-14.5 per 
cent, respectively.

In plain words, the central bank purchased treasury bills from 
banks for one week and paid them Rs12.25 billion in cash. It will 
sell the bills back to the banks at the same rate after one week. 
This arrangement known as reverse repo of securities helps central 
banks in keeping the inter-bank money market liquid when necessary.

Bankers said though the injection failed in lowering lending rates, 
it helped banks in squaring their daily positions without borrowing 
overnight funds from the State Bank.

Inter-bank money market has been short of liquidity for past 
several weeks as the SBP is making moves to contain monetary 
expansion and is particularly trying to cut expansion in its net 
domestic assets.

The central bank is supposed to keep its net domestic assets at 
minus Rs26.3 billion by the year-end under the terms of the $596 
million IMF standby loan. Pakistan received the first $192 million 
tranche of this loan on November 30.

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20001221
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Early deregulation of diesel prices doubtful
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Aamir Shafaat Khan

KARACHI, DEC 20: Diesel prices may not be deregulated in 2001 as 
the government intends to allow oil marketing companies (OMCs) to 
import the product directly from April next year to avert any price 
surge, sources in oil industry said.

The biggest obstacle in price deregulation is how to dismantle the 
freight pool system under which the government ensures uniformity 
in prices throughout the country, sources told Dawn on Wednesday.

The freight pool administered by the petroleum ministry reimburses 
the actual transport cost for movement of petroleum by rail, road 
and pipeline, and presently is about Rs8-9 billion (after the 
deregulation of furnace oil and its removal from the freight pool). 
The reimbursement follows the nearest depot concept whereby actual 
cost for primary transport (from key supply point to depot) is paid 
only to the nearest depot of any OMC.

Besides, the issue of subsidy on diesel will also be considered 
before price deregulation as the government imports diesel at 
higher prices and sells to the consumers at lower prices with a 
difference of Rs2-3 per litre. The government manages subsidy in 
order to avert any price distortion in the domestic market, they 
said.

The government had planned to deregulate diesel imports in December 
but later on decided to extend it to early next year due to booking 
of 360,000 tons of gasoline for October-December 2000 delivery. And 
again similar situation has emerged as the ministry of petroleum & 
natural resources has already awarded tender to Bakri Trading for 
supply of 300,000 tons of diesel for January- March delivery.

"This tender seems as the last tender before deregulation of 
imports," an official in an OMC said.

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20001220
-------------------------------------------------------------------
KESC gets loan guarantee
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Nasir Malick

ISLAMABAD, Dec 19: The Economic Coordination Committee of the 
federal cabinet has agreed to provide a government guarantee to the 
commercial banks, to enable Karachi Electric Supply Corporation 
(KESC) in obtaining a loan of three billion rupees, for bailing 
itself out from the "worst financial crises", a reliable source 
told Dawn.

The KESC is also the recipient of a $250 million Asian Development 
Bank loan, approved on December 15, for restructuring the 
organization.

The source said the looming threat over the KESC, regarding 
deduction of Rs3 billion from the current year's budgetary 
allocations by Islamabad, on account of recovery of foreign relent 
loans; had been removed after the ECC decided to provide a 
supplementary grant from the federal government, to the 
corporation, to overcome its problems.

Because of the serious financial crises, the KESC had earlier 
sought a short-term loan of Rs1.0 billion, from a consortium of 
Pakistani banks in October.

The government had provided unconditional and irrevocable financial 
guarantees through the ministry of finance for the repayment of the 
principal amount and the 15 per cent mark-up on maturity of that 
loan on December 31, 2000.

The ministry had given an undertaking to National Bank of Pakistan 
(Rs339 million), Habib Bank Ltd (Rs288 million), Muslim Commercial 
Bank (Rs154 million), United Bank (Rs144 million) and Allied Bank 
(Rs102 million), to repay the facility from the proceeds of a loan 
from Asian Development Bank.

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20001217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
SBP allows evening banking
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, Dec 16: The State Bank has allowed evening banking 
facility at all banks in the country to facilitate the people, 
specially business community, with banking hours from 2.30pm to 
8:30pm.

It had been a longstanding demand from the general public and 
business community to provide evening banking facility as they were 
encountered various problems, particularly for the payment of 
utility bills, the SBP said on Saturday.

The central bank through a circular on Saturday also directed all 
banks to show the transacted amount in their trial balances for the 
next working day.

"All banking transactions conducted during the said period shall 
form part of the bank's trial balance for the next business day," 
it said.

The State Bank further asked the banks to provide it the list of 
their branches where the evening banking would be conducted.-APP

Back to the top
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20001217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Nawaz speaks
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

My fellow Pakistanis, that Sunday columnist of the Dawn newspaper, 
the Parsi, whose writings were printed on Fridays before I 
reconverted our weekly holiday to Sunday, for which act he said he 
would present me with a rusted brass medal, is completely incapable 
of understanding the Muslim mind. He has often repeated himself by 
writing and rewriting the same two paragraphs :

"Every citizen of this country who can read, write and think, can 
say without any fear of contradiction that it is, and always has 
been, the intent of all our leaders (barring the first), to enforce 
their will, to tailor the Constitution and all of the laws of the 
land and to interpret them to suit their own special needs so that 
they may remain in power for ever. During the early years, the 
leaders did make some sort of effort to pretend that they had the 
interests of the country and its people at heart, bogus though it 
may have been, but since 1971 even pretence has been discarded. 
Now, it is total blatant glasnost ; machinations, schemes and scams 
are publicly, fearlessly and contemptuously aired.

"The whole wise world knows that whatsoever be the foundation of a 
democratic government, whether it be the Magna Carta, the 
Declaration of Independence, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, the 
Objectives Resolution, or whatever, the democratic grundnorm is 
firmly based on the belief expostulated by Jefferson: "that all men 
are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation 
they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the 
preservation of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

Cowasjee has consistently maintained that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was 
our sole statesman and every leader who has followed him has been a 
good-for-nothing selfish uneducated man, a robber and a crook. One 
cannot deny him his right to his opinion.

On the last of our Friday holidays , on February 21 1997, he wrote 
:

"As for the new ringmaster, Nawaz, by now he must find himself 
walking a slack rope without either a pole to balance him or anyone 
handy to take up the slack. The ordinary citizen cannot afford the 
luxury of being a party to what he is likely to do, but he could 
write for Nawaz the speech he might give at the inaugural session 
of our latest National Assembly :

" 'My dear countrymen, my fellow travellers, my brothers, my 
sisters, my supporters, my opponents : I stand before you as your 
leader. My aim is to save this country, bankrupted by the excesses 
of the last three democratic governments - two of Benazir and one 
of mine. The president said that Benazir and her husband have 
robbed you , the people, of $1.5 billion, of which there is no 
proof. I must declare that my family, my friends and myself have 
been accused of robbing you, the people, of the lesser sum of $1 
billion, of which there is also no proof.

" 'However, I have vowed that my new government will not victimize 
anyone, friend or enemy, but, at the same time, will continue the 
process of accountability, barely started, and will spare no one, 
not even the president or my talented brother, Shahbaz. Cases in 
court against us and the Chaudhrys which have been adjourned for 
good reason will not be withdrawn.

" 'The president has committed a gross indiscretion. Knowing how 
broke we are, just before Eid this month, he chose to fly in a 200-
seater Boeing 707 to perform Umra at your expense. Had he felt that 
it was below his dignity to travel by PIA, or Saudia as I did, he 
could have arranged to charter a Tiger Moth. Vain pomp and glory we 
can no longer afford. I hold him accountable and will be asking him 
to make good our loss. In the interests of open government I will 
make the issue public.

" 'Following Mr Jinnah, who said in his inaugural speech that his 
first priority was to maintain law and order, my government will 
ensure the safety of life and property and will take action against 
those responsible for political extra-judicial killings. The 
culprits will be found and punished, as will the killers of Editor 
Salahuddin, whose heirs suspect that it was the MQM that had him 
murdered, of Lawyer Nizam Ahmed and his son who it is suspected 
were murdered by the PPP, and the killers of Mir Murtaza the 
beloved brother of our former prime minister.

" 'Congratulating me in the assembly on February 17, Benazir 
seemingly said that the goose that lays the golden eggs is now on a 
life-support system, the eggs broken and scrambled. Let us now 
unscramble them. The task is onerous but with help I can succeed. 
To work is a basic human need, which maxim we must heed and work 
harder.

" 'Whatever I will do on the economic front will of necessity be 
harsh, stringent and incisive. The bitter pill will have to be 
swallowed for many a long year.

" 'Not wishing to emulate Churchill, I offer you nothing but sweat, 
toil and tears. Again, not wishing to emulate Garibaldi, I say to 
anyone who loves his country - Follow me'."

Now today I speak to you from heaven on earth, the Kingdom of my 
Brothers of Saudi Arabia. I am at peace with the world and the 
world I now know is at peace with me.

I will soon be accommodated in my temporarily permanent abode, 
close to that of my Brother Field Marshal for Life Idi Amin Dada, 
VC, Iron Cross, Croix de Guerre, Purple Heart, who is in good 
health, well-fed and enjoying the company of his nineteen wives. 
Now, read on, and forgive me if you can.

I was happily spending my life as the son of a blacksmith when in 
1981 I was picked up by none other than the Doon School educated 
General Ghulam Jilani, army dictator-general Zia-ul-Haq's chief 
spymaster, and installed as the finance minister of Punjab. In 1985 
I was made chief minister of my province and in 1990 prime minister 
of my country. Because of a silly misunderstanding I was removed 
from that position in 1993, but brought back again by the army in 
1996. During each of my terms in office I made as much money as 
possible and to the best of my ability helped my family and friends 
follow suit.

After all, of what use was it being in power if I could not use it 
to my advantage ? Some termed this corruption, but most of my 
fellow travellers in Pakistan voiced no objections.

By picking me up in 1981 the army did not do anything which by 
their standards was unique. In the 1950s, President Colonel 
Iskander Mirza and Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army General 
Ayub Khan picked up a stray named Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. How much did 
he rob and plunder? And did he not lose half our country before he 
was hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq ? His legacy persists, and the 
present army is quite capable of making peace with his daughter, 
the incompetent and corrupt Benazir, and of installing her yet 
again as prime minister, of pardoning and freeing her husband and 
allowing her to have him by her side as her minister of plunder.

The third army pick-up was Altaf Hussain of the terrorist party, 
the MQM. How many people have suffered at its hands, how many has 
it killed and maimed, how much did it rob ?

Now, having been deprived of a lucrative job, arrested, tried, and 
imprisoned by the same army which picked me up, I have managed to 
extricate myself from my dire predicament. I have been sold by the 
generals for more than my weight in gold. The country will benefit 
from the gift of free oil from my Saudi brothers, oil which costs 
millions of dollars a day, which gift will continue to flow for as 
long as I am at liberty.

My brothers have also sent Ali Reza of HUBCO to strike a settlement 
of that ongoing bitter dispute. As you all know, apart from Benazir 
and a few Egyptians of the World Bank, I was also involved in the 
shady deal made between the government of Pakistan and HUBCO. 
However, now I will indirectly be the saviour in the matter.

I have aided in the destruction of my country, I have robbed the 
national till, but all has now been made good.

The moral of the story, my brothers and sisters, is that success 
and luck lies in the choice of one9s friends. Can Benazir, Asif or 
Altaf Bhai boast of friends who will pay billions to rescue them ? 
My friends from the Holy Land, God bless them, have prevailed upon 
General Pervez Musharraf to maintain my honour and not speak out 
about terms of the ransom agreed. As payment is being made by the 
day, I am worth more to my country alive than dead.

If Allah should will it, as said Colonel Douglas MacDonald of 
Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1942 when he was forced to leave 
Corregidor, "I shall return". Until then, Pakistan Paindabad.

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20001222
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As spoke not Zarathustra 
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Ayaz Amir

I HAVE come to the reluctant conclusion that there is no point in 
analyzing this government's actions according to common standards 
of right and wrong, so profound being this government's divorce 
from reality. People are concerned about other things. Our generals 
are operating on a wavelength all their own. There is little sign 
this gulf will ever close.

Just consider the flow of the General's arguments in his speech 
Thursday evening. At one point he said he feared no one except God 
and said the decision to let Nawaz Sharif go was not due to any 
panic. In almost the same breath he denounced Nawaz Sharif and 
Benazir Bhutto for trying to come together (in the Alliance for the 
Restoration of Democracy) in order to loot the country once again. 
If nothing else, does not this textual evidence betray the 
suspicion that the General might have been protesting too much? Who 
helps him with his speeches?

But this is nitpicking. Instead of answering public concerns 
expressed in the wake of the Sharifs' great escape, the General 
merely reinforced the impression that like so many other things he 
and his colleagues had muffed this issue as well. The 
justifications offered were poor and would not satisfy the chairman 
of a union council: the departure of the Sharifs would usher in a 
new era of confrontation-free politics; it would be to the economic 
good of the country. Outwardly the General was calm. In his 
starched commando uniform he even looked impressive and stern. But 
this impression might best have been left for parachute jumping. It 
was of little help in a speech resting on weak arguments and 
riddled with inconsistencies.

There was also in it the rhetorical device to which most Pakistani 
rulers resort when they are in difficulties. General Musharraf said 
that the Almighty had chosen him to lead the Pakistani nation and 
it was the Almighty Who would guide him in this endeavour. In the 
lexicon of Pakistani leadership this is the oldest trick. If 
General Musharraf can use this argument, cannot Benazir and Nawaz 
Sharif say that they too were the chosen of the Almighty? And what 
about the more rounded scoundrels of Pakistani history - Yahya and 
Zia? Faith in God is the necessary weapon of every Muslim but why 
must it be used to condone failure? We are all here because of a 
grand design. So at least we believe. But how does this 
circumstance mitigate individual sin and folly?

In truth, however, I no longer have the heart to criticize this 
military government. It was fun doing so when people were looking 
upon General Musharraf as a messiah and expecting him to perform 
miracles. But when criticism of its performance has become near-
universal there is no fun in joining the pack and running with the 
rest of the hounds. This government has been a disaster, no doubt 
about it. But at the same time, exceptions apart, it has not been a 
vicious or cruel government. Whether the times make repression more 
difficult I cannot say. But this much I can aver that as a 
journalist I have never felt more free or unfettered as during this 
period of extended ineptitude. During Nawaz Sharif's time I may not 
have deserved the midnight knock but I feared it. Not any more. I 
therefore have a vested interest in the continuation of this 
freedom and would hate to see it go under.

At this point may I be permitted to say that I have few illusions 
about press freedom. In their giddier moments journalists are wont 
to say they won this freedom through hard and protracted struggle. 
If so, I must have missed this Long March. Most newspapers that we 
now see got permission to publish in the Zia regime. Press curbs 
that remained were lifted by the interim government installed after 
Zia's death. As I say, if there was any life-and-death struggle for 
press freedom I missed it.

They say that the freest period in Russia was the Kerensky 
interlude between the fall of the Czarist monarchy and the triumph 
of the Bolshevik Revolution. Political activity was free and papers 
could publish what they liked. And although Lenin went into hiding 
the Bolshevik party preached revolution. In darker moments I am 
assailed by the thought that we are living through similar times, a 
discredited democracy having come to its natural death, an 
interlude of gathering uncertainty and freedom and ahead a dark 
future. In Russia's case the future was the long night of 
Stalinism. What might it be in our case?

When out for my lonely evening walks I sometimes think Stalinism to 
be the right medicine for us (provided of course I was not touched 
by its terror). But Stalinism and the transformation of Russia was 
not the work of pygmies. It was wrought by giant hands. Where are 
the giant hands in our puny and confused Republic? Stalinism or its 
oriental variant, Khomeinism, are therefore out as political 
options. What then remains? A choice between a pallid democracy, 
bumbling militarism and a crude fundamentalism, the last taking 
heart from the weakening writ of the Pakistani state and the 
triumph of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Note in the context of the last of these choices Qazi Hussain 
Ahmed's soaring vituperation. No one before him has ever called in 
quite the same words for the overthrow of a ruling general. Or 
termed a ruling general as a security risk. I can lay any bet that 
the Jamaat-i-Islami or anything like it will never come to power in 
Pakistan. The anger of the Furies cannot go that far. A Jamaat-
dominated university or college is no place for learning. I shudder 
to think what a Jamaat-dominated country would be like. Certainly 
not worth living in. Still, it is a mark of the times that a 
political leader should be giving such open calls to sedition and 
rebellion. Another throwback to the anarchic freedom of the 
Kerensky era.

Many of the leading lights in this dispensation I personally know. 
This after all is my generation coming of age and coming to power - 
and making such a hash of both. Mahmood, master of ISI and the man 
who got things moving on October 12, was a year senior to me at 
Lawrence College. Amjad, formerly of NAB and now corps commander 
Multan, was also a year above me. Farooq Adam who has now left NAB 
was our senior by several years. Ehsan who now commands MI was with 
me at Kakul. Tanvir Naqvi I and many others were impressed by when 
we heard him talking during General Beg's Zarb-I-Momin exercise. 
General Musharraf I have had the privilege of meeting once or 
twice. He is what he comes across, a man without subterfuge 
(although for his sake and ours I wish he had some in him). 
Individually, all fine men. Collectively, a disaster.

If Major Nadir Pervaiz and the others had succeeded in overthrowing 
Bhutto in 1973 (the Attock Conspiracy Case) we would have seen much 
the same results because putschism is a dry political vessel and no 
answer to Pakistan's problems.

Still I ask, why are these men, all sound professionals, so 
clueless about politics? Do they have no idea of what they are 
doing and what opprobrium they are bringing on the army's head? 
They must get their act together or we've had it. The Kerensky 
period was good while it lasted. But after that came the deluge.

Why are these generals obsessed with politician-bashing? Why do 
they ignore the need for wise political counsel? Akbar had his Nine 
Jewels. Are these men greater than Akbar? The curtains have to be 
drawn around this shambles and the country taken out of the woods. 
But first this dyarchic method of government must end whereby corps 
commanders are acting like so many petty governors. To each his 
own. The corps commanders had better look to their troops while 
administration and road-inspecting were best left to others. And 
then, if the Fates be kind, a game-plan for democracy.

None of this is complicated mathematics. But for some odd reason 
the generals of my generation are having a hard time grasping even 
the rudiments of politics.

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001223
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Days of rage
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Irfan Husain 

IN the current carnage in Palestine, we have become so hardened to 
the images and descriptions of barbarity and bloodshed that we 
often only count the casualties in terms of the dead and the 
wounded.

To remind us of the human dimension of the tragedy, and to bear 
witness to the injustice being perpetrated against the Palestinian 
people by Israel, and to only a slightly lesser extent, by the rest 
of the world, Ahdaf Soueif ventures into the heart of darkness. The 
gifted Egyptian writer (now settled in England) is the author of 
Sandpiper, In the Eye of the Sun and, recently, The Map of Love and 
has published her searing impressions of her journey to Jerusalem 
and the West Bank in two recent issues of The Guardian.

In many ways, Soueif is the ideal person to undertake this 
wrenching journey: a practising Muslim, she has been educated in 
England and is intimately familiar with the idiom of secularism. 
With courage and honesty, she explores the trauma that has shaped 
the intellectual and emotional response of two generations of 
Muslims towards the West. However, there is no attempt at academic 
objectivity here: Soueif declares her sympathies in the opening 
paragraph of her narrative: "I have never, to my knowledge, seen an 
Israeli except on television. I have never spoken to one. I cannot 
say I wanted to. My life, like the life of every Egyptian of my 
generation, has been overcast by the shadow of Israel. I have 
longed to go to Palestine, but have not wished to go to Israel. And 
now I am going there."

I, too, have long wished to visit Jerusalem, but have vowed not to 
set foot in the city as long as it is an occupied territory. No 
doubt I will be long dead before it is liberated, but given 
Israel's short-sighted policies of violent land-grabbing and 
overbearing arrogance, I can see a point of time in this century 
when the effete and supine Arab governments will be forced by their 
own populations to adopt a firmer stance against the occupying 
power.

In the not-too-distant future, Muslim voters in America will get 
more organized and lobby for a more even-handed Middle East policy. 
Once Israel can no longer count on Washington's blind financial, 
military and diplomatic support, it will be forced to review its 
actions and policies. These changes will take time, but Israel's 
current bully-boy tactics have made them inevitable.In many ways 
the ancient city of Al-Khalil (or Hebron) typifies the Israel-
Palestinian conflict. A city of 40,000 is being forced to live 
under curfew to protect a maximum of 400 Israeli settlers. Twelve 
thousand children cannot go to school, and fifteen mosques have 
been closed down. Soueif describes the plight of a local taxi 
driver who broke the curfew to drive a woman home from the hospital 
after she had had a baby. Israeli soldiers slashed two tyres of his 
taxi, forcing the woman to walk home with her baby, and the driver 
to try and change his tyres. The settlers deliberately throw their 
weight around, provoking the Arabs, secure in the knowledge that 
they will be protected by Israeli soldiers.

Muslims across the world have been dismayed and disgusted by the 
complicit attitude the West has adopted towards Israeli actions. 
They cannot fathom why the UN Security Council resolutions against 
the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait must be enforced rigorously and 
immediately, while SC Resolution 242 demanding that Israel returns 
to its pre-1967 boundaries can be wilfully and contemptuously 
ignored. Clearly, international morality and law is not equally 
applied.

Paradoxically, the Palestinians with their stones and slings are 
viewed as the aggressors while the Israelis with their US-supplied 
arsenal of missiles and helicopter gunships are the victims. But as 
the casualties mount, Palestinian resolve is growing firmer: an 
unarmed uprising is being transformed into a low-intensity guerilla 
war with Israeli settlers and soldiers being increasingly targeted 
by Palestinian militants.

And yet the West viewed Afghan freedom fighters with admiration as 
they fought the Soviet invaders of their land. Going back further 
in time, the French resistance fighters were heroes in the eyes of 
the West as they launched attacks on the Nazis. Others who have 
resisted foreign occupation have received praise and support. Why 
is it that almost uniquely, the illegal Israeli occupation of 
Palestine is not condemned? Indeed, it is the Palestinian 
resistance that is criticized, and the Palestinians are daily urged 
to accept whatever bits of land and scraps of autonomy the Israelis 
are generous enough to offer in a final settlement.

In Oslo, Arafat inexplicably accepted that Israel would control 
access to the towns his Palestinian Authority controlled, and his 
people would have to show their ID cards to Israeli soldiers. Now 
they have simply blocked this access and it is at these choke-
points that clashes occur daily. These are the battle-lines where 
over 300 Palestinians have been killed and thousands of others 
wounded. Westerners often ask why parents permit teenagers to go 
out and join the intifada, implying that they do not care for their 
children as much as Europeans and Americans do. They ignore the 
fact that it is impossible to keep kids locked up in small houses 
for weeks on end. Often, children returning from school join the 
crowds confronting the Israeli army. As one mother tells Soueif: 
"We do not send our children to the Israeli soldiers! The soldiers 
come to us!"

It is easy to demonize all Israelis, tarring them with the same 
brush of brutality and arrogance. But the truth is that except for 
the soldiers and settlers who are in regular contact with the 
Palestinians, most Israelis living at a distance from the occupied 
areas simply ignore the problem. Liberals among them would be happy 
to hand over the settlements and accept a Palestinian state. But 
even the most liberal Israeli will not accept that Jerusalem could 
become a shared capital between the two people. And as long as 
Washington continues its knee-jerk support of this position, it is 
difficult to see how this deadlock can be broken.

Americans are often puzzled by the depth of resentment and hatred 
they encounter in much of the Muslim world. They see themselves as 
even-handed referees in the Middle East conflict and benefactors of 
countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. For Muslims 
generally, and the younger generation specially, the creation of 
Israel and the decades of humiliation at its hand can be directly 
attributed to American policies. Indeed, in Muslim eyes the Zionist 
state is an adjunct of America, and is seen as a dagger planted in 
the heart of the Arab world.

On her return to London, Soueif writes: "I am angrier than before I 
went. And more incredulous that what is happening in Palestine - 
every day - to men, women and children, should be allowed by the 
world to continue.

The choices are in the hands of Israel. They can hand over the West 
Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem and live within their borders as a 
nation among nations. There are no choices for the people of 
Palestine."


SPORTS
20001222
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Islah appointed director of international wing
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE,Dec 21: Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui was appointed director 
of International Wing of the PHF while "Flying Horse" Samiullah was 
named director of the Domestic Wing.

The announcement was made by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) 
secretary Brigadier Musarratullah Khan during a Press conference at 
a local hotel on Thursday. The PHF secretary also announced two 
years (2001-2002) international and domestic activity programme of 
the federation.

BrigMusarratullah Khan said that, besides the international and 
domestic wings, three other wings had also been formed of the PHF 
as part of resurrecting of the game in the country.

The PHF secretary said that Islahuddin would assist him in dealing 
with all the international home and away activities of the team. 
Samiullah would helped the PHF secretary in monitoring all the 
domestic activities, he added. Both the directors would be paid 
TA/DA, he said.

The other three wings formed are technical, marketing and 
administrative but no director was appointed for these wings.

He said that major reason behind the declining of standard of the 
game in Pakistan was lacking in expertise for which the technical 
wing was formed. To prepare well-trained coaches and umpires, the 
International Hockey Federation (FIH) had provided two technical 
experts, both from Netherlands, who would conduct courses for 
coaches and umpires, separately. Moris Hendrick would conduct the 
course for coaches at Lahore from Jan 10 to 24 while Peter Van Rath 
would organise course for umpires side-by- side the 48th National 
Hockey Championship at Lahore from Jan 14 to 24, the PHF secretary 
said.

The PHF had invited all the 30 coaches, who had served the Pakistan 
team in this department but would only pick 15 from them to attend 
the course. Three more similar courses would be held for coaches 
before hosting the 23rd Champions Trophy which was scheduled to be 
held at Lahore from Nov 3 to 11. Only those would be appointed as 
coaches of Pakistan senior and junior teams who would attend these 
courses, he said.

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20001222
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Fit-again Shoaib eyes NZ, England
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, Dec 21: Pace ace Shoaib Akhtar is back to full fitness in 
an ominous sign for New Zealand and England, who will host Pakistan 
in the new year.

Shoaib said on Thursday he was bowling at full speed again after 
seven months out of the game due to injury.

"I have been bowling in the nets for a week now and have found no 
problem. It looks like a rebirth for me," Akhtar told AFP.

Tagged the "Rawalpindi Express" for his thunderbolts, Shoaib Akhtar 
has not played international cricket since May due to problems with 
his ribs, knees and shoulders.

"I have missed a lot of cricket but the new year will definitely 
bring some good cricket for me.

"I look forward to the New Zealand and England tours next year and 
will now try to maintain my fitness."

Shoaib has clocked 99 miles (158.4 kilometres) per hour, close to 
the world bowling record of 99.6 miles per hour set by Australian 
firebrand Jeff Thomson in the 1970s.

He is currently under the care of Tauseef Ahmed, a nutritionist and 
physical trainer, who says Shoaib is "totally reconstructed."

"We have rectified all his problems and he can play anytime from 
now. He is a much better athlete now," Tauseef said.

"Shoaib Akhtar has broken two stumps with his deliveries in the 
nets and by that you can judge he is bowling at his fastest again.

"We have six weeks before the New Zealand tour and in that time he 
will shape up to his best."-AFP

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20001220
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Akram, Afridi clinch double wicket title
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, Dec 19: Belligerent batting by Wasim Akram and Shahid 
Afridi carried Pakistan Blues to a thrilling 19-run victory over 
Pakistan Greens in the final of the Shell-Pepsi International 
Double Wicket Floodlit Cricket Championship which concluded at the 
National Stadium in the early hours of Tuesday.

Aggressive Afridi produced highly entertaining and enterprising 
batting display to grab $500 Man-of-the-Match award both in the 
semi-final and the final.

After smashing a pugnacious 102 off 39 balls with 11 boundaries and 
eight sixes in the semi-final against New Zealand, Afridi hammered 
95 in 39 balls with eight boundaries and seven sixes in the final.

The strong crowd of over 15,000 turned wild amid flurries of sixes 
and fours in a blazing batting display. Some of sixes landed in the 
stands.

Batting first, Pakistan Blues powered to 162 for five in stipulated 
12 overs. They finished with a net total of 112 after being 
dismissed five times.

Afridi was dismissed three times in his brisk 95. Wasim Akram 
blasted 61 with eight boundaries and a six off 37 balls but got out 
twice. Aamir Sohail took four for 84 with his left arm spin.

The Pakistan Greens pair of Aamir Sohail and Abdur Razzaq were 
cruising towards victory with 25 required in the last two overs. 
But Aamir was brilliantly run out off a direct throw from Mohammad 
Masroor in the 11th over.

The left-handed Aamir was in punishing mood hitting 66 off 45 balls 
with five huge sixes and five boundaries. But in the process he got 
out four times, becoming Wasim's victim on three occasions.-APP

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