------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 29 July 2000 Issue : 06/29 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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The DAWN Wire Service (DWS) is a free weekly news-service from Pakistan's largest English language newspaper, the daily DAWN. DWS offers news, analysis and features of particular interest to the Pakistani Community on the Internet. Extracts, not exceeding 50 lines, can be used provided that this entire header is included at the beginning of each extract. We encourage comments & suggestions. We can be reached at: e-mail dws-owner@dawn.com WWW http://dawn.com/ fax +92(21) 568-3188 & 568-3801 mail DAWN Group of Newspapers Haroon House, Karachi 74200, Pakistan Please send all Editorials and Letters to the Editor at letters@dawn.com (c) Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt.) Ltd., Pakistan - 2000 DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS

CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Musharraf hits out at UK, says report + CE pledges continued support to Kashmiris: + Chinese FM meets Musharraf + Countrywide reshuffle in bureaucracy + Nawaz given 14 years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI), fined Rs20m + Nawaz plea dismissed in Attock court trial + Provinces allowed to issue 'NOC' to private security agencies + Pakistan wants APHC role in dialogue: FO welcomes G8 declaration + French MPs warn of 'domino effect': N-proliferation + Japan's PM to visit Pakistan from Aug 20 + Chief Executive assures Madaris of non-interference + Moin sees elected government in three years + India-Pakistan talks likely in October + Dispute with Sabre: PIA clarification + Customs agents observe token strike + Dispute with Sabre: PIA seems set for out-of-court deal --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + No compromise on tax survey: Talks with Lahore traders today + State Bank of Pakistan intervenes to check dollar rise + CBR yet to frame charges against suspended officers + Chief Executive warns tax-evaders of tougher penalty + Combined Income Tax, Sales Tax at 1.5% urged + Spot $ selling at Rs53.25: Forward premiums move up + Customs agents strike on Thursday + EoI invited for sale of cement company + Incentive for investment soon + Inputs cost shies away investors + Wheat issue price in NWFP increased + LSE member CDC accounts unfrozen --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Information technology Ardeshir Cowasjee + Core issue, my goat Ayaz Amir ----------- SPORTS + Outplay Pakistan by 57 runs: Sri Lanka lift U-17 Asia Cup + Pakistan look forward to playing against India + Pakistan Cricket Board hiring agent to watch team

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NATIONAL NEWS
20000728 
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Musharraf hits out at UK, says report
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LONDON, July 27: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, has hit 
out at Britain for not cooperating with efforts to root out 
corruption in his country, The Times reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted Gen Musharraf as saying that attempts to 
locate the property of wealthy Pakistanis, including former prime 
ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, had met with flat 
refusals.

"We are extremely disappointed with the British government not to 
assist us, a poor country, which has been plundered," Gen Musharraf 
was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "We have got no information 
whatsoever from Britain."

Gen Musharraf also said that statements from Britain and the 
Commonwealth, condemning his Oct 12 takeover which ousted Mr 
Sharif, were "unfair", and stressed that he wanted Pakistan to 
remain in the 54-nation grouping.

"I am a bit disappointed in the statements from the Commonwealth, 
from (British Foreign Secretary) Mr Robin Cook, against what 
happened on Oct 12," he said. "We have been in the Commonwealth. We 
would like to be in the Commonwealth."

The Commonwealth barred Pakistan from taking part in its councils 
and has expressed concern at the lack of progress towards the 
restoration of democratic rule.

Mr Musharraf, however, said he was more concerned about cleaning up 
political and economic life.

"Pakistan has in the last 11 to 12 years gone down in all important 
areas. Economically it has taken a nosedive. All institutions are 
in total disarray. They have been politicised and corrupted."

He also said that signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was 
"not featuring very high on my agenda." "It is a priority, though 
not a top priority," he added according to the Times, report.-AFP

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CE pledges continued support to Kashmiris: 
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, July 27: The Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, on 
Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan's resolve to support the Kashmir 
freedom struggle under all circumstances.

Inaugurating an envoys' conference at the foreign office, the CE 
highlighted the historical perspective as well as Pakistan's 
commitment to principles, and underlined the centrality of the 
Kashmir issue to peace and security in the region.

"Pakistan has consistently pursued a negotiated, just settlement of 
the Kashmir dispute," he stated, adding that the issue was the 
source of tension in South Asia as acknowledged by the 
international community.

The CE emphasized the role of the foreign policy as "first line of 
defence" and said Pakistan's foreign policy was based on norms of 
peace, justice, friendship and cooperation, according to a press 
release.

Identifying the country's security concerns which governed the 
policy, he stressed the role of Pakistan missions abroad for 
advancing its economic and trade interest, and the welfare of 
Pakistan's expatriate community.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the foreign minister assured the CE 
of the ability of the foreign office to vigorously implement the 
government policy.

The conference has been organized to discuss with the envoys 
important aspects and specific issues of the foreign policy.

Pakistan's ambassadors to Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, New Delhi, 
Paris, Riyadh, Tehran, Tokyo and Washington; permanent 
representatives in New York and Geneva as well as ambassadors-
designate to Kabul and Moscow participated in the conference.

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Chinese FM meets Musharraf
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ISLAMABAD, July 25: Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji reaffirmed in 
his greetings to Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf the 
importance attached by the Chinese leadership to developing the 
close cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad.

Mr Zhu's goodwill message was conveyed by Mr Tang who called on the 
CE on the last day of his three-day visit to Pakistan on Tuesday.

Reciprocating the Chinese PM's felicitation, the CE reiterated 
Pakistan's desire to strengthen the friendship and cooperation 
between the two nations which was based on shared interests and on 
the similarity of views on regional and international issues.-H.A.

Underscoring the significance of dialogue to resolve all 
outstanding problems between India and Pakistan, the Chinese FM 
said that "use of force will lead them nowhere", adds APP.

ABDUl SATTAR: Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar termed the Pakistan-
China relationship "ever-green and ever-growing" like a thick 
forest.

He said this while talking to newsmen at the airport where he saw 
his Chinese counterpart off for Lahore.

Mr Sattar said Kashmiri leadership could decide about mode of their 
struggle but expressed confidence that its decision would be in the 
best interest of their freedom movement.

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Countrywide reshuffle in bureaucracy
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Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, July 28: In a major countrywide reshuffle in 
bureaucracy, the government on Friday transferred 94 officers 
belonging to district management group (DMG) and police service.

The move has been made in consequence of the recently unveiled 
"rotation policy", framed to ensure that the officers of these two 
most important groups, should serve at least in two provinces under 
the federal government during their career.

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Nawaz given 14 years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI), fined Rs20m
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Rafaqat Ali

ATTOCK, July 22: The accountability court here on Saturday 
sentenced deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to 14-year rigorous 
imprisonment and disqualified him from holding public office for 21 
years on corruption charge.

The court ruled that Nawaz Sharif had failed to justify the 
expenses made on the purchase, maintenance and operation of MI-8 
helicopter, and fined him Rs20 million. Nawaz Sharif will undergo 
three-year imprisonment more if he fails to make the payment.

Saifur Rehman, the co-accused facing the abetment charge, was 
acquitted by the court which ordered that Saifur Rehman should be 
released if he was not required in any other case.

"He [Nawaz Sharif] is convicted under section 10 read with section 
9 (a)(v) of the NAB ordinance, is sentenced to rigorous 
imprisonment for a period of 14 years and a fine of Rs20,000,000."

Judge Farrukh Latif observed that holders of public office and 
leaders were expected to be honest and above board. "Nation expects 
that its leaders should be beyond suspicions. Corruption is 
undesirable but when it is committed by a person who has held 
public office, it is much more undesirable as it has far-reaching 
effects on the society."

Kulsoom Nawaz and other family members of both Nawaz Sharif and 
Saifur Rehman were present in the jampacked courtroom when the 
judgment was announced at 3.40pm.

No prominent Muslim Leaguer, except secretary-general Saranjam 
Khan, Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal and Ahsan Iqbal, was there to hear the 
verdict.

Under the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance a person 
convicted by the accountability court is entitled to challenge the 
verdict within 10 days in the high court.

The section 10 of NAB Ordinance reads: "A person who commits the 
offence of corruption and corrupt practice shall be punishable with 
imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years, or with fine, 
or with both, and such of the assets and property of such person 
which is found to be disproportionate to the known sources of his 
income, or which acquired by money obtained through corruption and 
corrupt practices, whether in his name or in the name of any of his 
dependents or benamidars, shall be liable to be forfeited to the 
appropriate government."

The section 9(a)(v) reads: "If he or any of his dependents or 
benamidars owns, possesses, or has any right or title in any 
movable or immovable property or pecuniary resources 
disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot 
reasonably account for."

The prosecution case was that in August 1993, Nawaz Sharif got 
imported the helicopter from Moscow on wet lease for 60 days at the 
rate of $550 a flying hour. In October the same year, he purchased 
the helicopter in consideration of $800,000.

>From July 1993 to June 1997, Nawaz Sharif spent $1.377 million and 
Rs8.8 million on the wet lease, purchase, maintenance and operation 
of the helicopter.

The amounts spent were disproportionate to his known and declared 
sources of income, and thus he had committed an offence punishable 
under section 10 read with section 9(a)(v) of the NAB Ordinance.

Saifur Rehman was charged with abetting the principal accused under 
section 9(a)(vi). The court held that since the charge against 
Nawaz Sharif under section 9(a)(vi) was not proved, therefore 
Saifur Rehman could not be burdened with the criminal liability of 
abetment.

Saifur Rehman was also charged with dishonestly manipulating the 
sale-deed benami>es< so that the ownership of the principal accused 
of helicopter remain concealed and he might be able to evade the 
wealth tax thereon. The court held that benami contract was not 
illegal, therefore, it Saifur Rehman had abetted in the 
manipulation of the sale-deed which was otherwise legal and not 
unlawful, no offence was committed by him.

The helicopter case began on May 12. The prosecution produced 15 
witnesses, including Sartaj Aziz and Haleem Siddiqui - both 
ministers in the then cabinet of Nawaz Sharif.

The prosecution's case was pleaded by Raja Mohammad Bashir and 
Mohammad Ilyas Siddiqui. Farouq Adam, prosecutor-general of 
accountability, also addressed the court on a number of occasions.

Nawaz Sharif, who is serving two life sentences handed down in 
April in the plane hijacking case, boycotted the proceedings on the 
ground that he did not accept the law under which the 
accountability court had been set up in the 16th century Attock 
Fort.

Saifur Rehman too boycotted the trial in its early stages but 
participated in the proceedings later. He not only recorded his 
statement under Section 342 of the Cr.PC, but also submitted 22-
paged arguments.

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Nawaz plea dismissed in Attock court trial 
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Shujaat Ali Khan

LAHORE, July 27: A five-member bench of the Lahore High Court on 
Thursday dismissed ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's writ 
petition challenging his trial in the Attock Fort.

After hearing the petitioner's counsel, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, for 
four days at the preadmission stage, Chief Justice Falak Sher, who 
headed the bench, asked Deputy Attorney-General Sher Zaman Khan to 
briefly touch upon the issues raised.

The bench rose and reassembled soon afterwards at 1.15pm and the CJ 
announced that "it has opted not to interfere in the matter in 
constitutional jurisdiction lest anybody's case is prejudiced. The 
petition is dismissed".

Mr Ahsan took the verbal order to mean that the grounds in the 
dismissed petition remain available to the petitioner to agitate in 
his appeal against his conviction in the impugned trial. If the 
same points are raised in the appeal, however, it might have to be 
heard by a much larger bench as there is a five- member bench 
judgment dismissing a somewhat identical petition filed by former 
Sindh minister Dr Farooq Sattar, who has challenged the dismissal 
in the Supreme Court through Dr Abdul Basit.

Earlier, when the DAG argued that if Mr Sharif's counsel could 
travel from Lahore to Karachi to defend him in the place hijack 
case, why could they not go to a much nearer Attock Fort, the CJ 
remarked that probably they would have no objection if a chairlift 
was arranged for them from the Marriot Hotel, Islamabad, to the 
Fort. The NAB chairman might consider providing them one if they 
applied to him, the law officer replied. "Is there no Sheraton in 
Pindi?" the CJ earlier asked.

In his short rebuttal, Mr Zaman Khan said the petition primarily 
challenged the federal government's power to order an 
accountability court to hold a trial at a particular place (Attock 
Fort) and the NAB chairman's authority to file a reference with the 
Attock court. Both the powers were fully covered by Sections 16 and 
18 of the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, he added. The 
government could direct any accountability court to sit anywhere in 
Pakistan and the NAB chairman could file a reference with any 
accountability court in the country, he observed.

Asserting that the issues raised in the present case have broadly 
been settled by a five-member bench judgment on Dr Farooq Sattar's 
petition, the DAG said the main thrust of Mr Ahsan's argument was 
that the trial had been prejudiced by mislocation of the court. 
This ground could be taken in appeal. The Attock Fort had a large 
number of barracks and only one barrack had been declared a 
detention centre. Everybody was free to enter the Fort so long as 
he was prepared to identify himself and undergo body search, he 
said.

The DAG said it was the Section 352 of the Criminal Procedure Code 
which required trial in an open court. However, the government 
could ignore the provision under Section 33 of the NAB Ordinance. 
He also pointed out that the petition had been first filed in the 
LHC's Rawalpindi Bench and a single judge, Justice Khalilur Rehman 
Ramday, had called for written comments while referring it to the 
chief justice for consideration by a larger bench.

Mr Ahsan earlier argued that the petitioner was not responsible for 
delay in the consideration of his petition. He would have 
restricted the scope of his argument if he had a right to rebut the 
respondent's case. The petition was not confined to one case and 
the court could still grant relief by restraining the Attock 
accountability court from proceeding with other cases, he said.

Distinguishing the case of Mehram Ali, the lawyer said he was 
accused of some 30 killings and invoked constitutional jurisdiction 
after fully participating in the trial. Mr Sharif stayed away from 
the trial and sought constitutional remedy when it was still in 
progress. The present petition did not question the qualification 
of the presiding officer of a special court but the very 
constitution of the court, he argued.

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20000725 
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Provinces allowed to issue 'NOC' to private security agencies
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Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, July 24: The government has authorized provinces to issue 
'No Objection Certificate' to parties intending to establish 
private security agencies, official sources told Dawn here on 
Monday.

"The provinces have been authorised to issue NOCs but we are a bit 
cautious at the moment to avoid legal complications in the future," 
secretary of home and tribal affairs department Mir Laiq Shah told 
Dawn.

Several number of applications are pending with the home and tribal 
affairs department which is apparently adamant to issue NOCs 
without having a legal cover.

In this connection, the home secretary said: "We are in the process 
of preparing a law which would be promulgated through an ordinance 
by the provincial governor".

The provincial governments would issue NOCs for their respective 
areas whereas federal government would issue NOCs to the parties 
intending to set up security agency in the federal capital.

According to home secretary, concerned federal authorities have 
been requested to provide the copy of the law to be promulgated 
through an ordinance by the provincial governor.

In the meantime, said the sources, provincial home and tribal 
affairs department was also working on the preparation of a summary 
on the subject for the perusal of the provincial governor.

Among the applicants who have applied for establishing private 
security force in the Frontier province also include the NWFP 
police, according to sources.

Presently, a total of 24 security agencies are working in the 
Frontier province including Frontier Constabulary Security, Fauji 
Security Services and Askari Guards.

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Pakistan wants APHC role in dialogue: FO welcomes G8 declaration 
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Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, July 26: The Foreign Office said on Wednesday that while 
it was for the freedom fighters to determine the course and 
strategy of their struggle, Pakistan would be willing to associate 
the All Parties Hurriyat Conference as the recognized 
representative of the Kashmiri leadership in any dialogue with 
India.

FO spokesman Riaz M. Khan told a press conference that any 
differences among various Kashmiri groups on their strategy was 
part of a political leadership process.

Pakistan, he stated, supported their objective to exercise their 
right to self-determination, as was recognized by the United 
Nations and a large international opinion.

He said that Islamabad's offer to Delhi to hold dialogue without 
preconditions was yet to get a response from India. However, the 
dialogue with Kashmir as its central issue should be sincerely 
meaningful and result-oriented.

The spokesman denied that the recent visit of Chinese Foreign 
Minister Tang Jiaxuan to Pakistan was linked to any event in 
Kashmir. But Kashmir was the main issue in talks that Mr Tang had 
held with the chief executive and the Pakistan foreign minister, Mr 
Khan said.

The Chinese FM had briefed the CE and the Pakistan foreign minister 
on the talks that he had held last week with the Indian government 
leadership, he said.

The CE, he said, would attend the UN General Assembly's millennium 
summit in New York in September and added that the CE would also 
meet various leaders but no meeting with the Indian prime minister 
has been planned so far.

He said the Japanese PM might be visiting Pakistan soon. The G-8 
declaration calling for Pakistan-India dialogue is welcomed, the 
spokesman said, since such endorsement from major world powers 
could be helpful.

The spokesman said that the Pakistan government had not sponsored 
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad's visit to the United 
States which has been undertaken at the invitation of the Islamic 
Council of North America.

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French MPs warn of 'domino effect': N-proliferation
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CAIRO, July 26: Two members of France's parliamentary committee on 
defence warned here on Wednesday that nuclear weapons were 
spreading around the world like dominos, with proliferation 
outweighing efforts at restraint.

"India went nuclear only because of China," Pierre Lellouche, a 
deputy from Paris, told reporters near the end of a fact-finding 
mission to countries faced with the race in nuclear arms and other 
weapons of mass destruction.

"In doing that it posed a major strategic threat to Pakistan, which 
is in an inferior position in conventional forces," he said. 
Pakistan and India joined the club of nuclear countries when they 
tested exploded atomic bombs. And the "domino effect" is also 
relevant in the Middle East where, he added, "Iran's future nuclear 
weaponry is the consequence of Israel's nuclearization."

Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied experts' claims it 
has 200 nuclear warheads, considers Iran a long-term threat and 
refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

That angers Egypt and other Arab countries, which object to 
Israel's reported monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East. 
It was even possible that Pakistan's acquiring the bomb may fuel 
the arms race in the Middle East, Lellouche said.

"On the Israeli side, there is the dimension of Iraq, Iran and 
probably Pakistan, which enter into the equation," he said.

However, unlike in the case of Pakistan and India, he said, there 
was an Arab-Israeli peace process that diminished the risks of 
nuclear confrontation in the Middle East.-AFP	

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Japan's PM to visit Pakistan from Aug 20
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, July 28: Japan's prime minister Yashiro Mori will visit 
Pakistan from Aug 20 to 21, a foreign ministry statement said here 
on Friday. It said during his visit, the Japanese prime minister 
would hold talks with chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on 
bilateral cooperation, mutual interest, regional and international 
issues. He will also call on President Rafiq Tarar.

"Pakistan attaches a high degree of importance to its relations 
with Japan, which is a major trading partner and one of the biggest 
foreign investors in Pakistan," it said.

Sources said Mr Mori was likely to take up the issues of 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and Islamabad's return to 
democracy - key areas of Tokyo's concern - with Gen Musharraf.

Japan imposed sanctions, including a freeze on non-humanitarian 
grants and loans, after India and Pakistan carried out a series of 
nuclear tests in May 1998.

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20000729 
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Chief Executive assures Madaris of non-interference
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Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, July 28: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, was 
briefed on Friday on a set of recommendations formulated to 
integrate around 12,000 Madaris in the country into the mainstream 
education system.

The briefing was given by National Security Council member Dr 
Mahmood A. Ghazi at a meeting presided over by the CE. Dr Ghazi 
told Dawn that the NSC would finalize these proposals shortly.

An official study showed that 10,000 to 12,000 Madaris were 
graduating 35,000 to 40,000 students every year, he said.

The total budget of these institutions is over Rs1.5 billion which 
is more than the total spending of all the universities in the 
country. Dr Ghazi dispelled the impression that large portion of 
this amount was being injected by various Muslim countries. He said 
this amount was mainly raised through donations or the overseas 
Pakistanis, adding that very few of these institutions were 
producing militants.

He said these institutions were producing Ulema having no knowledge 
of modern sciences. "Unless you know nothing of what is around you 
how can you help in transformation of society."

Asked how he would integrate the institutions being operated by 
different sects, he said that all of them agreed on broader issues 
and that there would not be much difficulty in introducing a common 
syllabi of modern sciences in those institutions.

He said the government would help Madaris acquire trained teachers 
for imparting modern education.

The recommendations have been prepared after deliberations, 
analysis and interaction with a number of Madaris by a select 
committee of educationists and scholars, a press release said.

At a meeting, Dr Ghazi said, the religious scholars had realized 
the need for including science, mathematics, vocational training 
and computer courses in the syllabi of Madaris.

Dr Ghazi also gave a number of proposals for the improvement of the 
Zakat and Ushr system.

The CE said the majority of Deeni Madaris were contributing greatly 
to improving knowledge of Islam among people, and imparting quality 
religious education to them.

"The exercise being conducted by the government is in no way 
directed at undermining the autonomy and independence of these 
institutions, nor is it an attempt to interfere with the curriculum 
of religious subjects," the CE reiterated at a briefing.

The CE said that the aim of incorporating the right blend of modern 
science subjects in their syllabi was to help students graduating 
from religious institutions to have equal opportunities in 
attaining employment as compared to those from other institutions.

The CE directed that the proposals should be discussed with the 
scholars managing these religious institutions. The recommendations 
for improvement of the Zakat and Ushr system should also be 
discussed with them before being presented for consideration before 
the NSC, he added.

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Moin sees elected government in three years
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Reporter

LAHORE, July 28: Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider expects that a 
strong, elected and democratic government will be put in place 
before three years given to the military by the Supreme Court end.

The minister was speaking at a seminar on "Towards viable 
democracy" organized here by the National Democratic Institute here 
on Friday.

He said democracy had never taken roots in Pakistan but added he 
would not go into its reasons for it. He said holding elections, 
forming assemblies and government did not constitute democracy. 
"The form is there but democracy is missing. The people have never 
been empowered and political clout has remained confined to a few 
families which has given birth to dynasties. Political clout is 
transferred from father to daughter and from husband to wife. There 
is no democracy within political parties," he stated.

He said institutions vital to democracy had been destroyed by so-
called democratic governments. The financial institutions had been 
plundered, the police were in a shambles and the judiciary attacked 
by the elected governments.

The minister claimed that the seven-point agenda given by the chief 
executive had given the country a direction. He said it was the 
responsibility of all -- the judiciary, the Press, the armed 
forces, the educated elite and politicians -- to help implement 
this agenda to embark upon a journey to viable democracy. He said 
criticism for the sake of criticism would slow down this journey.

He admitted that the pace of accountability was slower than public 
expectations and could not be called "across the board" so far 
because certain segments had been left out of its ambit. But, he 
said, the day would come when everyone would be brought into the 
net of accountability. He said those who had left the country would 
be brought back. "We have told developed countries that if they 
want good governance in Pakistan, they should help us bring 
fugitives to justice," he added.

He said the military regime was taking effective measures to stop 
drug-trafficking and smuggling and eliminate weapons and militancy. 
He said Pakistan would not be known as a soft state unless we 
addressed these issues.

The general also dilated upon several measures taken by the 
military to reform the electoral process to improve the quality of 
elections. He said those who had misused their office would be 
excluded from the local government polls. He said new faces would 
be allowed to enter politics and serve the people. He said the 
measures taken by the military would lead the country to viable, 
durable democracy and continuity of political process in which 
development could take place.

Replying to a question, Gen Haider said the regime did not plan to 
include politicians in the present set-up as stated by the chief 
executive himself. However, he said, he could not say anything 
about the future. He said no one, including the armed forces, could 
have interfered with political process if those responsible for 
running democracy had acted responsibly.

Senate (suspended) chairman Wasim Sajjad advised the military 
government to refrain from amending the Constitution. "The 
Constitution is far more a sacred document and a basis for a 
consensus in the country. Please don't touch the Constitution. It 
was prepared after putting hard work into it and only a very 
special majority, in Pakistan and other countries, is allowed to 
change it. I urge you to consult political parties and others to 
prepare your suggestions and put them before parliament whenever it 
comes into existence for amending the Constitution. Don't do it 
yourself because you will destroy the consensus and damage the 
document," he pleaded. He said non-representative rule was harmful 
to both short and long-term national interests.

The former Senate chairman said that it was true to say that the 
democratic system had been unviable to a certain extent. But it was 
because of one single factor: sense of insecurity experienced by 
successive governments in the past 15 years. This sense of 
insecurity emanated from the fear of possible military intervention 
and change of allegiance by the (ruling party) legislators. The 
sense of security made the rulers try to please everybody. He said 
the previous government of the PML, which enjoyed a two-thirds 
majority in the parliament, was motivated by this sense of 
insecurity to pass the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution 
to take away presidential powers to dismiss governments and 
dissolve assemblies and to prevent legislators from switching their 
loyalties. He said the armed forces were always behind the 
dissolution of the assemblies and dismissal of successive elected 
governments by presidents under the article 58(2)(b). He said the 
significant factor was that all political parties represented in 
the parliament unanimously supported these amendments. He stressed 
the need for creating a sense of security in the elected 
governments so that they could take decisions on merit.

He said it was in the interest of the country to return to 
democratic rule as soon as possible. It would restore Pakistan's 
credibility and image and public confidence. He said democracy 
could be restored earlier than the period of three years allowed to 
the military by the Supreme Court.

The chairman said no government should be dismissed on charges of 
corruption or other such allegations. Some sort of corrective 
mechanism within the system should be developed and allowed to work 
to rectify the faults in democracy.

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India-Pakistan talks likely in October
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mahmood Zaman

LAHORE, July 27: New Delhi would like to go very cautiously and 
watch the actual on-ground gains before spelling out a time 
schedule for parleys with Islamabad, a senior Indian diplomat told 
Dawn here on Thursday.

The diplomat added that the earliest the talks could resume was 
October. "By then our side will have fully ensured that the 
intrusion has actually come to a halt," he said. Explaining, he 
noted "intrusion in Kashmir is very difficult after snow starts 
heavily falling and the it will be known to us by early October 
whether there is a real cessation of hostilities".

The diplomat said he was mindful of the fact that most of the 
Jehadi organizations were not subject to any state discipline and 
had their own priorities. He added that most of these organizations 
had spirited young men and were capable of stepping up fighting 
with the Indian forces to continue the freedom movement.

The severe condemnation of the Hizbul Mujahideen's decision by the 
rest of the Pakistani religious groups fighting Indian troops in 
occupied Kashmir, is also a matter of concern for the Indian 
diplomat.

The diplomat understands that a dialogue has to re-start to address 
several other issues like promoting trade and an increased exchange 
of tourists. "If the two countries negotiate on such peripheral 
issues first, it will amount to easing tension and cooling emotions 
on both sides with the passage of time and this will help solve the 
main question".

As for the high Indian emotions on the occasion of the Hizbul 
Mujahideen announcing a unilateral ceasefire, the diplomat says 
"this development is more important than the Lahore process because 
this amounts to delivering (to the Indian side) right on the 
ground". The ceasefire, according to him, is the second major event 
after the withdrawal from Kargil in July 1999.

Nevertheless, he feels that the success of the move (ceasefire) 
will depend on the government of Pakistan backing it fully and for 
a longer period of time.

The onus also falls on the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to 
guarantee that the ceasefire holds. Only then New Delhi will be 
able to express its willingness to hold talks. It was the APHC 
which has to ensure that conflict in the valley is over. 

If the APHC was not capable of "delivering" to New Delhi, then it 
is no better than Farooq Abdullah whose government had been unable 
to stop violence and intrusion in Kashmir, the Indian diplomat 
said.

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20000729 
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Dispute with Sabre: PIA clarification
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, July 28: The Pakistan International Airlines on Friday 
confirmed that it was filing a strong defence and counterclaim to 
Sabre's claim, and contesting the issues on their merits in the 
arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce 
International Court of Arbitration.

A PIA press release issued in Karachi said the dispute between PIA 
and Sabre (arising out of an agreement reached by the management of 
the national carrier during the government of deposed prime 
minister Nawaz Sharif), are the subject of an arbitration reference 
before the Paris-based ICC's International Court of Arbitration 
which is to take place in London. "This procedure is strictly 
confidential," the press release said.

It said that reports in a section of the national press regarding 
PIA's position and intentions with regard to its dispute with Sabre 
are "inaccurate, misleading and whatever the source, it is neither 
authorised by PIA nor informed, as to the national carrier's 
position and intentions."

The managing director PIA, Sher Afgan Malik, who is in London to 
attend the annual Farnborough Air Show, reviewed matters concerning 
the issue between PIA and Sabre with the airline's solicitors. He 
is returning home from London late Friday night.-PPI

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20000728 
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Customs agents observe token strike
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, July 27: Work at all customs posts of the country, 
including Karachi Customs remained at standstill because of one day 
token strike observed by customs clearing and forwarding agents on 
Thursday.

Official sources disclosed that no bill of entries were filed by 
private and commercial importers except five entries belonging to 
the ministry of defence were processed.

Similarly, exports trade was totally at halt and there were no 
payment of duties except some pending securities amounting to Rs3 
million were deposited in the bank, sources said.

At oil terminal payment from Pakistan State Oil (PSO) was rejected, 
however, Rs100 million from National Refinery was allowed and 
accepted.

According Karachi Customs Agents Group (KCAG) sources, work at all 
other customs posts of the country, including air, sea and dry 
ports remained at standstill.

However, Additional Collector, Karachi Customs conveyed a message 
of the CBR chairman CBR to KCAG office-bearers, wherein he 
expressed his resentment over a token strike of the group.

The country-wide one day token strike of customs agents is 
estimated to have costed Rs1 billion to national exchequer, in 
revenue losses and allied economic costs.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary government of Sindh, Wajid Rana, who 
earlier refused to see KCGA delegation is now going to meet them on 
Saturday.

The President of KCGA, Javed Ahmed Vohra, addressing a press 
conference in the groups offices announced that with consultations 
with others customs groups of the country a three-day country wide 
strike will be observed from Aug 4.

PPI adds from Lahore: Lahore Customs Agents Group on Thursday 
observed one day token strike for the removal of sales tax and 
warned the government that if tax was not withdrawn, then they 
would go on an indefinite strike.

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20000726 
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Dispute with Sabre: PIA seems set for out-of-court deal
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Dawn Report

KARACHI, July 25: PIA is understood to have decided to concede a 
$50 million claim by US aviation giant Sabre, despite directions by 
the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, to vigorously defend 
PIA's interests in its legal battle against Sabre, it was learnt 
here on Tuesday.

Managing Director of PIA Sher Afgan Malik has flown from Tehran to 
London with a team of legal experts to hasten an out of court 
settlement with Sabre, after Dawn exposed the deal on July 16 and 
Gen Musharraf reportedly directed the next day at a briefing here 
that interests of PIA be strictly safeguarded.


=================================================================== 
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
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No compromise on tax survey: Talks with Lahore traders today
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, July 27: Reacting to traders' decision to go on a three-
day countrywide strike from July 28, an official spokesman said on 
Thursday that the government would not accept any demand which 
would undermine the process of documentation of the economy.

"Anything which undermines the process of tax survey or 
documentation of the economy would not be accepted," Dr Viqar 
Masud, Secretary, Finance, said on Thursday.

Though the government was not ready to budge on the issue of 
reduction in turnover tax from 2 per cent to 0.75 per cent, 
Privatization Commission Chairman Mian Altaf Saleem, who was also a 
member of the official team which negitiated with traders, had been 
asked to visit Lahore and Karachi to hold talks with other trade 
bodies, Dr Masud said.

Mr Saleem would proceed to Lahore on Friday where he would hold 
talks with other traders' associations and seek their suggestions 
for the simplification of procedures, he said. Mr Saleem would then 
visit Karachi and talk to the traders community there, Dr Masud 
added.

The talks had not been initiated to bargain with the traders but as 
an effort to create an "enabling environment" where traders could 
comply with the proposed tax regime, Dr Masud said. The talks had 
reportedly failed on the traders' demand for reduction in the 
turnover tax from 2 per cent to 0.75.

A representative group of traders had given a call of a three-day 
countrywide strike after the failure of the two-day talks with the 
government here on Wednesday.

Dr Masud said the process of consultation with the traders had not 
been stalled and even on Thursday, negotiations were held with a 
select group of traders in the ministry of finance.

He said it was a continuous process and it would go on till all the 
issues were resolved. He said the government was holding in-house 
discussions to give maximum possible facility to the traders in 
complying with the tax survey.

The government, he maintained, was ready to accommodate all genuine 
demands of the traders without compromising the process of 
documentation of economy.

Dr Masud said the government's effort to hold talks with more 
traders and widen the scope of negotiations reflected its " keen 
desire" that all genuine problems of the traders should be 
addressed.

Strikes and other pressure tactics would not force the government 
to give up the process of documentation of the economy.

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State Bank of Pakistan intervenes to check dollar rise
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, July 27: The State Bank on Thursday had to intervene in 
inter-bank foreign exchange market to keep the exchange rates 
within a desired level.

Senior bankers said SBP intervened when the dollar shot up to 
Rs53.65: after the intervention the dollar slipped and settled 
around Rs53.35.

Bankers said the intervention was very mild and SBP had hardly 
poured in $1.5-$3.0 million into the market but they admitted that 
it helped in checking the rise of the dollar against the rupee. It 
was the first intervention after the lifting of an unofficial cap 
on inter-bank exchange rates on July 20.

"It changed the entire sentiment," remarked treasurer of a big 
local bank. "Exporters started selling their export proceeds and 
importers slowed forward bookings." They did so after testing an 
undisclosed benchmark of exchange rate that SBP officials would not 
like the market to cross. For most of the market players it was 
Rs53.50 to a dollar.

Bankers said in addition to intervening in the market SBP also 
carried out a random inspection of treasury operations of about 
half a dozen leading local and foreign banks. The purpose was to 
verify whether foreign exchange transactions of these banks were 
backed by commercial needs or they were involved in speculations - 
or were trading between themselves for the sake of profit making.

There was no official word on the outcome of the inspection but 
bankers said SBP auditors raised specific questions about certain 
dealings of some of these banks. They said though the banks claimed 
all of their foreign exchange deals were backed by commercial 
transactions SBP auditors asked them to prove the same within a 
couple of days.

While lifting the cap on exchange rates last week SBP had made it 
clear to all banks that their foreign exchange deals must be backed 
by commercial transactions. That is banks should refrain from 
trading of foreign exchange between themselves. Some bankers claim 
this has added to the panic instead of defusing it in the inter-
bank market. 

 They say the volatility in inter-bank exchange rate may subside 
after an initial surge in the dollar if the SBP allows banks to 
start the trading of foreign exchange. But this seems unlikely at 
present because a low net foreign exchange reserves of less than 
one billion dollars is discouraging SBP from taking risks.

Bankers said the twin measures of intervention and inspection of 
some banks sent a strong signal to all banks that SBP was keeping a 
close eye on inter-bank activities. 

This refrained some banks from being erratic and exchange rates 
stabilized at a level acceptable to State Bank.

In the kerb market the dollar rose to Rs55.72 and Rs55.78 for spot 
buying and selling on Thursday up 18 paisa overnight. Currency 
dealers said the dollar was short in supply because of lower supply 
by overseas Pakistanis who were expecting further depreciation of 
the rupee.

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CBR yet to frame charges against suspended officers
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, July 27: The central board of revenue (CBR) has not yet 
initiated disciplinary proceedings against its officers suspended 
on corruption charges two months back. Lack of evidence is said to 
be the main cause of delay.

The CBR chief on May 27 had suspended 1,045 officials, including 
300 from income tax and customs groups in grade 17 to 21, on 
charges of corruption and malpractices. But, none of them have so 
for been issued even the charge sheet.

"We have not yet even framed charges against any of the officer," a 
CBR source, who has been engaged in the suspension exercise, told 
Dawn.

He admitted that the authorities were finding it hard to bring up 
concrete evidence against the officials that could stand the 
independent inquiry and ultimately justify the CBR's action.

Framing of charges, serving of these charge sheet and constitution 
of committees for initiating inquiry against the accused officers 
are the three main steps required to be taken during the 
disciplinary proceedings, he said. But nothing has been done so 
far, he added.

There is a great realization within the bureaucracy that indecent 
haste was shown by the CBR administration in compiling the list of 
"corrupt" officials and in their suspension.

In an apparent effort to separate the wheat from the chaff many 
innocent officials might have been victimised because of the 
personal liking and disliking of those involved in the exercise, a 
source commented.

He said initially the government had decided to dismiss, straight 
away, these officials by issuing a stringent legislation but later 
the decision was reviewed and the authorities were convinced to 
suspend them and give them a fair trial.

The chief executive, the sources said, was even told that most of 
the suspended officials would be reinstated as the CBR would not be 
able to back these suspensions with concrete evidence that could 
stand a fair trial.

The framing of charges is also said to be a tedious and technical 
job. The uncalled for delays in disciplinary proceedings, they 
said, would further spoil these cases because of possible tempering 
of records by some well connected suspended officers.

The CBR chief, who is also revenue division secretary, had acted 
under the newly-promulgated ordinance - Civil Servants (Special 
Power) Ordinance 2000 - to suspend the 1,045 officers.

Under the rules, the secretary will issue charge sheet to officers 
in grade 17 to 19 and in case of grade 20 and above he will seek 
the chief executive's approval before issuing the charge sheet.

The officials in lower grades will be issued the charge sheet by 
their respective regional bosses. The officials were suspended 
initially for a period of six months. The suspension period can be 
extended by the revenue division secretary.

Though the Civil Servants (Special Power) Ordinance, 2000, was 
issued to ensure swift proceedings against the corrupt, there is no 
time limit set by the ordinance for the completion of the inquiry 
proceedings after the suspension of an officer. 

However, once the inquiry committee is constituted it is required 
under the law to give its recommendations as to impose penalty or 
exonerate the accused within 30 days.

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20000729 
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Chief Executive warns tax-evaders of tougher penalty 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, July 28: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, 
reiterated on Friday that the government would not withdraw the GST 
or discontinue the tax survey. Presiding over a meeting, he 
directed the finance ministry and the CBR to go ahead with the GST 
and the survey launched on May 27.

The three-day strike by traders from Friday was discussed in 
detail, official sources said. The CE told the participants, 
including Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, to make sure that an 
additional Rs100 billion must come in the kitty in the current 
fiscal through the rationalization of taxes and the levy of 
turnover tax.

The CE said he was not against holding dialogue with traders but he 
made it clear that there would be no reduction in the rate of 
turnover tax, as is being demanded by the traders. If the salaried 
class and other businessmen could pay their taxes, why were the 
traders not ready for it and opposing the GST and the survey, he 
asked.

He also sounded a warning to the tax evaders and those concealing 
their income, saying they should either pay their taxes or get 
ready for a "tougher" punishment.

He hoped that more and more people would opt for the tax amnesty 
scheme which is restarting on Aug 1. He approved an increased rate 
for the new tax amnesty scheme which is likely to be continued for 
another two months.

When the CE was told that traders were asking for a 0.5 per cent 
turnover tax instead of the proposed 2pc and that too without any 
documentation, he said: "No way to withdraw the decision of 
documenting the economy".

The CE was categorical in saying that those who were opposing the 
documentation of the economy would have a "very tough time" and 
that gone were the days when governments succumbed to such 
pressures.

Sources in the ministry said a number of traders bodies had 
expressed willingness to meet the finance minister to sort out 
various issues. These bodies said they were not interested in 
observing the strike.

A senior official in the ministry said it was difficult to hold 
talks with each organization, adding that the minister would be 
meeting some groups on Saturday and that a similar meeting had 
already taken place in Lahore on Friday.

"Had there been a federation level body or the organization like 
the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the problems relating 
to the turnover tax or the tax survey would have been resolved by 
now," he said, adding that it would be better for the traders to 
give up the strike.

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20000726 
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Combined Income Tax, Sales Tax at 1.5% urged
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, July 25: Trade leaders have asked the government to 
scrap the GST and income tax rates for the retail sector below the 
turnover slab of Rs5 million, and deduct a combined income/sales 
tax at the rate of 1.5%.
 They met the Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz here on Tuesday and 
discussed the issues relating to the taxation plan concerning the 
retail sector for the financial year 2000-2001.

The finance minister is reported to have told the traders that the 
government wanted to take steps in coordination with the trade 
sector to ensure early implementation of the tax measures contained 
in the Federal Budget 2000-2001. The minister is also reported to 
have informed them that long-term policy decisions have been made 
to implement sustainable tax policy, which could not be ensured 
without the cooperation of the trade sector.

Some of these were most important measures without the 
implementation of which the aims of revenue generation budgeted for 
the current fiscal year would not be realised if the majority of 
the trade sector continued to remain out of the tax net. The 
government wanted to complete the chain of registered taxpayers by 
documenting the turnover of the retail sector.

The trade leaders, however, pleaded that the rate of turnover tax 
(2%) was too high for the retail sector majority with annual sales 
less than Rs5 million. They also wanted reduction in the income tax 
rate and asked the finance minister to agree to a formula under 
which the total tax rate, both under the sales tax and income tax 
schedules for the retailers, should not exceed 1.5%, and that 
should, on payment, be deemed as final discharge of tax liability 
on the part of retailers.

Apart from this, they also asked the minister not to carry out the 
pronounced intention of the government to render the traders of 13 
major cities, where the documentation survey is currently being 
conducted, ineligible for declaring their income tax as final 
liability under the Self-Assessment Scheme-2000.

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20000726 
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Spot $ selling at Rs53.25: Forward premiums move up
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, July 25: The removal of the unofficial cap on inter-bank 
exchange rate last week has raised premiums on forward sale of 
dollars: the six-month premium shot up to Rs1.75 and three- month 
premium Re1.0 above the spot price on Tuesday.

Bankers say before the removal of the cap six-month and three month 
premiums were being quoted at 95 paisa and 50 paisa above the spot 
price.

Even one-month forward premium has doubled from 20 paisa above the 
spot price to 40 paisa.

Bankers say the sharp increase in forward premiums means that the 
foreign exchange market is still erratic. "Forex rates would 
possibly take a week or so to stabilize," said treasurer of a big 
foreign bank. "The reason why forward premiums is shooting up is 
that there is still some panic in the inter-bank market." Bankers 
say even a nominal buying of dollars by a bank turns other banks 
panicky and they also make a bee-line for buying pushing exchange 
rates up in the process.

On Tuesday, the US dollar oscillated between Rs53.10-Rs53.25 in the 
inter-bank market up from Rs53 on Monday. The greenback was 
unofficially pegged at Rs52.30 before the removal of the cap on 
Thursday afternoon.

In the open market the greenback closed at Rs55.38 and Rs55.43 for 
spot buying and selling. Bankers close to the State Bank said the 
SBP was keeping a close eye on the activities in inter-bank market 
to ensure that banks were not manipulating exchange rates after the 
free float of the rupee. Money changers say the volatility in 
inter-bank exchange rate is reflecting in kerb market rates as 
well.

Senior bankers say the removal of the cap on exchange rates is 
likely to speed up conversion of the remaining frozen foreign 
currency deposits. Up to July 24 deposits worth $8.0 billion had 
been converted-$6.2 billion in to rupees and $1.8 billion into 
dollar bonds. Of the $11 billion foreign currency deposits frozen 
after nuclear blasts in May 1998 $1.5 billion worth of deposits 
were in shape of swap funds. Part of the remaining $1.5 billion are 
collateral for loans.

The rest of the amount is to be converted one day or the other into 
rupees or dollar bonds. The pace of conversion is expected to rise 
because the removal of the cap on inter-bank exchange rate has 
pushed up the conversion rate for encashment of frozen foreign 
currency deposits by 80 paisa. The conversion rate is worked out by 
the State Bank everyday on the basis of weighted average exchange 
rates of the previous day of more than a dozen big local and 
foreign banks. Before the removal of the cap the conversion rate 
was Rs52.30 to a dollar that has now risen to Rs53.10.

Senior bankers say whereas the State Bank has lifted the cap on 
exchange rate it is still using the monetary tool of moral suasion 
to keep banks from indulging in excess buying of foreign exchange.

Moral suasion means persuading the banks informally for doing 
something or refraining them from doing something else-whatever the 
case may be. Bankers close to the SBP say the SBP is keeping a 
close watch on inter-bank foreign exchange market adding that if 
the exchange rate shoots past a certain level then the central bank 
may start using other monetary tools to keep them from rising 
further. Whereas it is literally impossible-or it should be-to say 
what benchmark the State Bank authorities have in their mind but 
top bankers are of the opinion that if the dollar crossed the 
Rs53.50 mark within this week it might invite the SBP intervention.

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Customs agents strike on Thursday
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, July 24: Over 5000 customs agents all over the country 
will observe one-day token strike on Thursday, as a mark of protest 
against non-acceptance of their demand for deferring the imposition 
of the general sales tax for a period of six months.

This has been stated by the president Karachi Customs Agents Group 
(KCAG), Javed Ahmed Vohra, on Monday, in a letter addressed to 
Governor Sindh Mohammadmian Soomro.

After expressing his displeasure over the attitude of the 
bureaucracy for not allowing the office-bearers of the group to 
have parleys with him (Governor), President KCAG stated, the 
emergent meeting of the general body called on July 22, has 
resolved to observe one-day token strike on Thursday.

"We did our best to resolve such sensitive issue which involves 
country's external trade through dialogue but the denial for a 
meeting with you (governor) upset our members, who were left with 
no other choice but to go for a token strike, followed by 
indefinite strike from August 1, 2000, if the matter was not 
amicably decided," the KCAG president maintained.

He also briefly explained to the Governor Sindh about the legal 
lacunas in the way of imposition of GST on the services of customs 
agents and stated that the Sindh Ordinance NO VIII of 2000, 
couldn't be applied mutatis mutandis to the value of services.

Vohra said that customs agents on providing their services for the 
clearance of goods at customs point act as procurators in obtaining 
Rs63 billion annually collected through customs duty on import and 
exports worth $20 billion per annum.

Consequently, a one-day strike by customs agents will stop the 
clearance of incoming and out-going (imports/exports) goods at the 
customs posts all over the country which will result in revenue 
loss to a tune of Rs0.2 billion in customs duty and $20 million on 
account of non-clearance of export economy.

Besides, other revenue losses will include on account of sales tax 
and withholding tax (income tax) at import stage for non-clearance 
of Bill of Entry. Indirect losses will include transportation and 
idle work force at sea and air ports of the country.

A spokesman of the group told Dawn that transporters have also 
assured them to participate in their one-day peaceful strike of 
Thursday.

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EoI invited for sale of cement company
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, July 24: The Privatization Commission on Monday invited 
interested parties to participate in the bidding for the purchase 
of assets belonging to Associated Cement (Rohri) Ltd.

According to PC sources, the bidding will be held on Sept 16, 2000 
at 1000 hours at the Privatization Commission Office, Islamabad in 
accordance with the methodology detailed in bidding documents.

The sources said that in order to facilitate maximum participation 
from the prospective bidders the bidding schedule has been extended 
up to Sept 15.

Expression of interest to participate in the bidding along with 
investor profile should reach the office of the Privatization 
Commission in a sealed envelop clearly marked "Expression of 
Interest for A.C Rohri" latest by 1500 hours by Aug 28, the sources 
added.

The PC sources said that the parties who submit "Expression of 
Interest" will be provided an opportunity to carry out due 
diligence/inspection of assets offered for sale from Sept 1 to 7.

They said that a pre-bid conference will be held at Privatization 
Commission Office in Islamabad on Sept 12, at 1100 hours.

The bidders will be required to deposit earnest money as per the 
Bidding Documents in the form of a bank draft/pay order in favour 
of "Privatization Commission, Government of Pakistan", payable at 
Islamabad by 1500 hours, Sept 15 with the Privatization Commission, 
the sources added.

PC sources said Information Memorandum was available w.e.f. June 22 
upon payment of Rs300.

The bidding documents are also available from the office of the PC 
from June 22, during office hours between 0800 and 1500 hours on 
any working day against non-refundable payment of Rs10,000 or 
equivalent through Bank Draft or Pay Order in favour of 
"Privatization Commission, Government of Pakistan," payable at 
Islamabad.-APP

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20000727 
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Incentive for investment soon
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, July 26: Overseas Pakistani expatriates are being 
offered a package of incentives for investment in certain areas of 
the country.

Official sources revealed to Dawn here on Wednesday that the 
incentives would be offered in a package which would contain 
facilities, both fiscal and infrastructural. 

 These facilities would be in addition to those already enjoyed by 
the entrepreneurs under the time-bound notifications, or have been 
specified sectorwise, from time to time.

The fiscal incentives pertain to import duty, sales tax and central 
excise duty. 

 Sources said that though new sales tax exemptions would not be 
allowed, incentives attached to the already exempted areas and 
sectors would be made more attractive for investment. Introduction 
of new items, participation in the expansion in the hi-tech sector 
and projects for improving exportable goods quality would be the 
main areas where fiscal incentives would be offered.

They added that the customs duty related incentives would include 
concessions on raw materials, equipment, parts/ accessories and 
machinery under a unit-based package which would be sector and area 
specified in terms of volume of concessions and the level of 
investment.

The ministry of commerce and the Central Board of Revenue will be 
coordinating during the next fortnight on this issue for 
determining the investment levels and volume of incentives. 

 For technical assistance, later on, the Engineering Development 
Board is also to be engaged in this exercise, said the sources.

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20000727 
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Inputs cost shies away investors
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M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, July 26: The high cost of industrial inputs has dampened 
foreign and local investors' interest in the privatization process. 
In a report sent to the foreign donors on why the privatization 
process in Pakistan has not taken off even after a decade-long 
efforts, the government has stated that the process has been 
constrained by a number of factors including a lack of depth in the 
domestic capital market and a lukewarm international investor 
interest in this process.

The not-so-active interest of the international investors in the 
privatization process has been attributed by the government to the 
high country risk, economic sanctions, lack of depth in domestic 
capital market and high cost of industrial inputs, such as 
electricity, oil and credit.

Legal and legislative constraints, large and entrenched labour 
unions, problems of natural monopolies in utility sectors, high 
sale proceeds expectations, ambiguity regarding strategic sale 
process - transfer of management with minority shareholding - have 
also had their adverse impact on the process, officials believe.

The privatization has to date generated about Rs57 billion 
(approximately $1.7 billion) from the sale of over 100 units so 
far, including automobile, cement, engineering units, fertilizer 
and chemicals plants, rice mills, various other small and medium-
sized industrial units, commercial banks and power plants.

But most of the major privatizations are still under process and 
therefore, the proceeds are expected by the government to rise to 
$3 billion in the next three years.

Work on two major commercial banks, United Bank and Habib Bank has 
been started. Similarly, the government stake in different 
development financial institutions (DFIs) and mutual funds is also 
planned to be divested in the next one year.

In the utilities sector, work on the divestment of government stake 
in the thermal generation and distribution, in assets of Water and 
Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Karachi Electric Supply 
Corporation (KESC) is under way. Work on further disinvestment 
along with management control to a strategic investor for Pakistan 
Telecommunication is also at an advanced stage.

Meanwhile the government has decided to take the following steps to 
make the privatization process more meaningful: 1) Provision of 
legal system and information disclosure of biding procedures; 2) 
establishment of a system to examine in advance financial status 
and management background of the purchasers, and business and 
operational plans after privatization; 3) a monitoring section will 
be established in the privatization commission to give necessary 
advice for proper operation of the privatized companies so that 
privatization leads to efficient operations; 4) guidance and 
support by the financial sector will be provided for business 
management after privatization and; 5) vocational training system 
would be improved so that the surplus workers can easily change 
jobs.

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20000729 
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Wheat issue price in NWFP increased
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, July 28: The NWFP government has enhanced the issue 
price of wheat by Rs 50 per 100 kg for the Federally Administered 
Tribal Areas, Chitral and Kohistan.

Sources in the chief executive's secretariat toldDawn here on 
Friday that the NWFP had told the federal government that it had 
fixed the new issue price, for the current year, to meet 
expenditure incurred on account of transportation and procurement 
of eheat.

The sources said the Director, Food, NWFP, had stated that 
following the increase in support price from Rs 240 per 40 kg to Rs 
300 for the same, as well as enhancement of wheat price by the 
federal government, the provincial authorities had agreed to revise 
ex-godwon sale price of wheat.

In FATA, Chitral, Kohistan, Battgram (dealers), 100 kg wheat (with 
bag) would now be available at Rs 820 against the existing rate, 
Rs770, the sources added.

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20000727 
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LSE member CDC accounts unfrozen
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, July 26: Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan 
(SECP) has unfrozen the accounts in Central Depository Co (CDC) of 
Tanvir Malik, a member of Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE) but 
restrained him from transactions with two of his investors, M/s 
Nisar Elahi alias Danka and Iftikhar Shafi without SECP's 
permission.

The SECP had frozen the member's CDC account and suspended some 
other members including Tanvir Malikafter sharp drop in share 
prices in the second half of May, and over-exposure and default in 
the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and LSE. To prevent the crisis 
further, trading at the two exchanges had to be suspended for a day 
each.

A committee was subsequently formed by SECP Chairman, Khalid A. 
Mirza, to look into the crisis and determine responsibility of 
market-players including stock brokers for the run on the stock 
market.

Danka and Iftikhar Shafi had gone to the court against the freezing 
of the accounts and the court had directed the Commission to take 
expeditious decision on the measures adopted by it to deal with the 
crisis and provide relief in appropriate cases.

The Commission, the SECP Commissioner, Tariq Iqbal Khan told Dawn, 
decided to take action on the basis of information received from 
the inquiry committee tentatively pending receipt of full report 
from it.

He scheduled a hearing on July 18 and summoned Tanvir Malik. He, 
however, did not appear. A second hearing was held on July 25. This 
time, in addition to Tanvir, a representative of CDC too was 
present.

The SECP decided to unfreeze Tanvir's CDC account in order to save 
the public and investors from any inconvenience or loss but 
restrained him from any dealing with M/s Nisar and Iftikhar without 
prior approval of the Commission. This decision, Khan explained, 
was considered necessary in view of the fact that most of the 
dealings of Tanvir were with them, the Commissioner explained.

The SECP also heard Haji Hanif Musa, who was removed from 
membership of KSE, after having declared default during the May 
crisis. 

 In his case, certain transactions were un-earthed as a result of 
the inquiry over which the Commission has issued a restraining 
order. The Commission has given the KSE three days in order to give 
it the opportunity to prove that the transactions relating to 
general investors conducted by him just before declaration of 
default were bonafide.

A final order would be passed on the basis of the report to be 
received from KSE.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
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20000723 
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Information technology 
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Ardeshir Cowasjee

WHY is it that all government decisions are based on circumstances 
or happenings as they existed fourteen centuries ago? Could it be 
ignorance stemming from lack of education?

The prime vital issue of the nation's education has from the birth 
of the country been the last on the lists of priorities of all our 
governments. The majority of the ministers who have been given the 
education and science and technology portfolios have not only been 
unconnected with either the field of education or of science and 
technology but have largely been uneducated men, the word 
uneducated' being here used in the profound sense of the word. For 
instance, in the last two governments, the second for both Benazir 
and Nawaz, Benazir's federal education minister was one Khurshid 
Shah, building contractor by profession, and Nawaz's, of all 
people, the proven corrupt and uncouth Ghous Ali Shah. And this in 
a land where the world's first university was established in 700 BC 
at Taxila, the ruins of which still stand at a few miles distance 
from the capital city.

By comparison, the government of General Pervez Musharraf has 
chosen an educationist as its education minister and the science 
and technology portfolio has been handed over to a scientist, 
Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rahman. Professor Rahman, in a speech 
delivered at Islamabad last Friday, told his audience that good 
governance is not possible without there being a merit-based 
challenging education system." If Pakistan wishes to forge ahead, 
he rightly said, education must be the main priority. Worthy of 
remark is the startling fact that the total GDP of all the Islamic 
countries put together is half that of Germany and a quarter of 
that of Japan in spite of the fact that the Islamic countries 
control 74 per cent of the world oil business. This low GDP rating 
is the result of a low level of education, the only area in which 
countries such as Germany and Japan have the advantage.

Now for the bad news. Information technology and the Internet are 
controlled by the antiquated inefficient Pakistan 
Telecommunications Company Limited which is overstaffed, and is 
incapable of even publishing a telephone directory which lists 
current information. The present board members of PTCL who direct 
the affairs of the company are: Bureaucrat Abu Shamim Arif, 
Secretary Information Technology and Telecom Division, a flip-flop 
non-technical man; Zafar Ali Khan, Secretary Privatization 
Commission; Major General Mohammad Tariq, described as Signal 
Officer in Chief'; Mohammad Yunis Khan, Secretary Finance Division, 
Finance Ministry; Arshad Mahmud, Member Finance PTCL; Akhtar Ahmad 
Bajwa, Member Operations PTCL; Dr Altamash Kamal of Xibercom; Dr 
Awais Kamal, Managing Director of LT Engineering and Trade Services 
(Pvt) Ltd; Syed Mazhar Ali, Chairman IT Commission; Zafar Usmani, 
CEO Mobil Oil Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd; Fakir Aijazuddin, Chairman Arts 
Council Lahore; Barrister Rafiuddin Ahmed of Orr Dignam; Syed 
Zahoor Hasan, Associate Dean of LUMS; Asghar Dawood Habib, Chairman 
Habib Sugar.

These men have been asked to provide an undertaking one clause of 
which states:        I am not a defaulter in repayment of any loan 
amounting to Rs.1 million or more as adjudicated by a court of 
competent jurisdiction or a tribunal within the meaning of Section 
187(1) of the Companies Ordinance 1984." This ipso facto means that 
if one of them is a defaulter to the tune of Rs.999,999 he is 
qualified to sit on the board. Another undertaking stipulates : I 
shall, to the utmost of my capability, ensure and safeguard the 
interests of the government in PTCL during the tenure of my 
directorship. Any lapse shall make me liable to be proceeded 
against under the relevant laws."

With due respect to all, it is difficult to conceive of a 
respectable responsible individual putting his pen to either of 
these two undertakings? After all, there is no compulsive reason, 
no guns are held to any heads. Should they not be guided by the 
dictates of their consciences and what is good for the people?

More bad news. PTCL is establishing two National Access Points 
(NAP) in Karachi and Islamabad to block Internet telephony and 
pornographic websites." (APP, July 13.)

The NAP aims at directing all Internet traffic in and out of the 
country through two PTCL controlled gateways. Whilst this is still 
a proposal, it is increasingly obvious that elements within PTCL, 
with the tacit support of our insecurity agencies and other 
government elements, are trying to push it through as fast as 
possible.

This must be vehemently opposed. It is fundamentally faulty and has 
the potential to cause catastrophic damage to the information 
infrastructure of the country.

One fundamental and obvious principle of network design is the 
provision of multiple pathways. The more pathways there are, the 
more robust the resulting network. To some extent we already have 
this redundancy in our exiting Internet access, but rather than 
introducing additional pathways to the Net, the NAP proposal aims 
at reducing these to two choke points to be controlled by our very 
own PTCL, an organization renowned for its unreliability, 
inefficiency, incompetence, and zero-level customer service.

Within the next few years, global services will permit direct 
satellite access. If the NAP logic is followed, these services 
would also be illegal in Pakistan. Is this what a country 
endeavouring to leapfrog into the information age should be doing?

NAP also raises the question: are we serious about attracting 
foreign investment in information technology (IT) when we have an 
organization intent on controlling and dictating as to which 
pathways the people may use to access the net? Even the relatively 
totalitarian UAE now allows direct rooftop-to-satellite Internet 
connectivity, completely bypassing the Etisalat Infrastructure. And 
here we are, proposing the reverse.

PTCL itself admits that it has no way in which it can estimate the 
revenue lost to Internet telephony. The number being thrown around 
is $ 2.8 million per year which is at best an exaggerated 
guesstimate, and a figure which amounts to less than a fifth of one 
per cent of PTCL's total revenue. Is this miniscule loss sufficient 
justification to thwart and sabotage a national objective - the 
swift expansion of IT in Pakistan?

With two years to go until PTCL's monopoly expires, is it not time 
that it started to experience the real world, where markets dictate 
tariffs, where better technologies replace the obsolete, where 
customers decide what services to use, where only the efficient and 
competent survive? Rather than all this, PTCL is aiming at 
retaining its monopoly over international data traffic and 
hoodwinking the nation in the process.

NAP also smacks of Big Brother. In a country such as this, it is 
likely that NAP will be used to block access to information that 
someone decides will damage national security' or the ideology of 
Pakistan' or the national moral fibre'. Does not NAP itself raise 
national security concerns by providing enemies within and without 
with exactly two large targets to take out if they wish to cut off 
the entire country's access to the Net?

That there are minds in Islamabad in this 21st century which are 
seriously considering this proposal is, sadly, not surprising. 
After all, not so long ago capital minds did consider e-mail 
messages from MQM supporters abroad sufficient cause to ban the 
Internet in Pakistan. However, all should take heart from the fact 
that Pakistan has survived the fax machine and the satellite dish, 
both of which were delayed for years as the same convoluted 
reasoning was used against them as is now being used to justify 
NAP.

The ball is in the court of Minister Herr Doktor Professor Atta-ur-
Rahman, in charge of information technology and of the dreadful 
PTCL. Academically, he was a First Division student, he has a PhD 
and a Sc D from King's College, Cambridge, of which college he was 
a Fellow from 1969 to 1973 when he was discovered by one of the 
greatest scientists of Pakistan, Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, and 
brought to the HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry at the Karachi 
University. 

 At HEJ he was responsible for buying certain equipment from Japan. 
When the Japanese offered him a kickback of around Rs.25 million, 
he asked them to donate the amount to his Institute, which they 
did. He is a cousin of the people's barrister, Mohammad Gilbert 
Naim-ur-Rahman, and grandson of our good judge, Sir Abdur Rahman. 
We can surely trust him to take the right decision as to NAP or no 
NAP. He would surely rather continue to meely direct the affairs of 
HEJ, which he still does, than to additionally remain a minister 
and do wrong.

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20000728
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Core issue, my goat
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Ayaz Amir

ANYONE using the term 'core issue' which has been made current and 
fashionable by a generation of tight-minded diplomats and security 
experts (God save us from them), deserves to receive a kick on his 
shins. If Kashmir was solved tomorrow would Pakistan and India rush 
into each other's embrace and forget the atavistic memories of the 
past? Kashmir is not the core issue between us. Size and geography 
are and will remain so 500 years from now.

Not out of any innate wickedness but because of its sheer weight, 
and the sense of false destiny which afflicts a country when it 
moves from one stage of development to another, India will want to 
exercise hegemony over the subcontinent. This is the nature of 
power and has nothing to do with morality.

In the subcontinent, after all, India holds the position which the 
Soviet Union held in Europe after the second world war, which China 
has in East Asia today, which Napoleonic France had on the 
continent after the wars of the French Revolution. Size, numbers, 
the computers of Bangalore, a mythologized view of its past and the 
long-legged beauty contestants (ravishing so many of them) who give 
India's rising middle class the illusion of first world rank and 
mobility will all fuel India's drive towards regional bossdom. It 
will remain in Pakistan's abiding interest to resist this ambition.

How we resist it is up to us. We can do this crudely as we have 
been doing for the past 52 years, achieving little in the process 
except international fatigue and opprobrium, or, calling up a 
wisdom which has yet to be discovered, we can do it subtly, keeping 
India hard-pressed and occupied (to the extent that we can achieve 
this) while avoiding at all costs getting caught in a corner. India 
is the elephant of the subcontinent. We should be the gnat buzzing 
round its ears.

So far of course the genius of our higher military command has seen 
to it that it should be the other way round: India reaping the 
rewards of subtlety while we have been getting the country into 
pitched elephant battles. The 1965 war, the '71 imbroglio, the 
involvement in Afghanistan with our eyes closed (which means that 
whereas we should have been involved, we should not have been blind 
to our long-term interests), and Kargil: even Ares, the god of war, 
inured to the spectacle of human folly, would be aghast at the 
stupidity pitch-forked into these ventures. From the British our 
military command inherited a conventional mindset. Although we call 
the Chinese our friends, from them we have learned nothing of 
Maoist warfare.

American military aid in the fifties is partly to blame for the 
military attitudes we adopted, American tanks and planes giving our 
political and military leadership the illusion of superiority over 
India. Of the atmosphere reigning at the time, Brian Cloughley, no 
enemy of Pakistan, in his informative and well-written account of 
the Pakistan army has this to say: "...the army had a high opinion 
of itself without having done very much except expand a bit and 
conduct some mediocre training with its new American equipment."

Partly of course we were victims of our own myths, seriously 
believing at one time (although mercifully no longer) that one 
Muslim was good enough for ten Hindus. Hard though it may be to 
believe this, in the order for Operation Gibraltar signed by Field 
Marshal Ayub Khan (who deserved his rank about as much as Uganda's 
Idi Amin did his) it was said that as a rule Hindu morale could be 
expected to crack under the impact of a succession of hard blows.

This was then; it should be different now but it isn't, Kargil 
being the decisive proof of the military command's continuing love 
affair with set-piece thinking. The folly of Kargil lay not in 
betraying the Lahore Declaration or breaching any other barrier of 
abstract morality. The prosecution of war can dispense with such 
niceties. Its folly lay in the fact that it committed Pakistan to a 
battle which it could not, under any circumstances, win and which 
was unrelated to any political objective.

You fight a war to achieve a political aim. What were we hoping to 
achieve in Kargil? Forcing India to the negotiating table? 
Internationalizing the Kashmir issue? Kargil has done more to 
obscure the Kashmir issue and damage the cause of the Kashmiri 
people than anything else in recent memory. A few more 
internationalizations like this and Kashmir will be swept into the 
rubbish-can of history.

The best thing going for Pakistan was the uprising in occupied 
Kashmir. At relatively little cost to us, a goodly part of the 
Indian army was tied down in Kashmir. We should have kept it like 
that without resorting to loud rhetoric, at which we as a nation 
excel, or acquiring too high a body profile. Indeed, instead of 
appearing obdurate, which also comes easily to us, we should have 
espoused moderation and the virtues of dialogue, all the while 
keeping our head low and extending, as we have been doing since 
1989, practical help to the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. Our 
moral and diplomatic support the Kashmiris can do without. It is 
our practical help that is of any use to them.

But holding on to these different strands would have required the 
subtlety and quickness of the gnat. We went for elephant tactics 
and ended up with Kargil. Our image took a battering and what had 
been an intelligent and, until then, a sustainable policy of 
inflicting maximum damage at little cost became a millstone round 
our neck, the freedom struggle in Kashmir becoming confused with 
"cross-border terrorism".

What did Assad do in the Levant? While avoiding war with Israel he 
kept the Israeli army bogged down in Lebanon. The Hizbul Mujahideen 
of Lebanon were the Hizbollah, funded and armed by Syria and Iran. 
Through the Hizbollah and not directly was relentless pressure kept 
on the Israelis, ultimately compelling them to vacate South 
Lebanon. This did not prevent the Americans from talking to Assad. 
In fact, much as they disliked him (for he was a hard nut to crack) 
they had to take him seriously. Globalization or not, steeliness 
pays.

But Assad never made a pantomime of the Lebanese resistance. The 
Maulana Masood Azhars of Lebanon did not have the freedom of Syria, 
going about toting guns and making vitriolic speeches. Resistance 
to Israel was serious business conducted seriously without any of 
the crass irresponsibility and empty showmanship which have cast 
Pakistan as the prime villain of fundamentalism in the western 
media.

Even the Hizbollah cultivates a careful and restrained public 
image. Some of the Kashmiri fighters, or at least those who 
periodically appear in Pakistan, the Mast Guls and the Syed 
Salahuddins, look like dangerous buccaneers. This does their cause 
no good. To some extent this is a denominational difference. 
Throughout the Islamic world the Shia beard, which is what we see 
in Lebanon, is closely cropped. The Sunni beard which is to be seen 
in Afghanistan and Kashmir is fuller and often more threatening. 
Image being king in the global village, some change is called for 
here if only to deny grist to the mills of western sensationalism.

A few words finally regarding the Hizbul Mujahideen announcement of 
a ceasefire in occupied Kashmir. I don't know all the facts and so 
I could be wholly wrong but I cannot see the Hizb making this 
announcement without Pakistani approval, tacit or otherwise. What 
lends support to this impression is the restrained and sensible 
reaction to the ceasefire announcement from the Pakistan 
government. Had the Hizb pulled this off on its own, panic buttons 
would have been pushed in ISI headquarters in Islamabad.

But if Pakistani approval is there, American involvement cannot be 
far behind. It all fits in then, doesn't it? General Musharraf 
cosying up to the religious parties by allaying their fears over 
the anti-blasphemy law and then, to the dismay of the spineless 
liberati, incorporating the Islamic provisions of the suspended 
Constitution into the interim 'military' constitution. All this 
done so as to protect the government's flanks and prepare the stage 
for the props being rolled out in Kashmir. We seem to be getting 
subtle after all.

Already, at a stroke, the spotlight has shifted from the issue of 
cross-border terrorism to the Hizb announcement. This is the first 
smart move from this side after a year of floundering during which 
Pakistan's stock touched rock-bottom, what with our nuclear 
firecrackers and the folly of Kargil.


===================================================================
SPORTS
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20000726 
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Outplay Pakistan by 57 runs: Sri Lanka lift U-17 Asia Cup
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Khalid H. Khan

 KARACHI, July 25: Sri Lanka, displaying brilliant all-round 
performance, outplayed Pakistan by 57 runs to clinch the inaugural 
Under-17 Asia Cup Cricket Tournament at the National Stadium here 
on Tuesday.

The islanders, after winning the toss and electing to bat first on 
a placid pitch, rattled up 230 in 44.3 overs. The hosts, in reply, 
were bowled out for a disappointing 173 in 40 overs.

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20000726 
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Pakistan look forward to playing against India
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, July 25: The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) 
Lt Gen Tauqir Zia said on Tuesday that he was confident that India 
would tour Pakistan later this year. Although he has not received 
tour confirmation from BCCI yet despite a reminder sent last week.

He, however, said if India refused to play three Tests and as many 
one-day internationals in Pakistan, he would have no objection in 
playing the series on neutral ground.

"We can play the series in Sharjah, Dhaka or Kuala Lumpur. I have 
no problem. But that would be the last option.

He was replying to a question if the PCB had prepared a contingency 
plan in case India cancelled the tour as in the past. Two days 
after the Indian series, Pakistan jet off to New Zealand for three 
Tests and five one-day internationals.

The general added that Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has expressed 
its desire to play the inaugural series against Pakistan. But he 
said the dates they have given clash with Pakistan's international 
commitments.

Bangladesh wants to play in November when Pakistan would be hosting 
England or in January when Pakistan would be busy against India.

The general, nevertheless, said if the series ended in cancellation 
from Indian side, Pakistan would make itself available to 
Bangladesh for the series. He said Pakistan would not press for a 
home series and would be prepared to play in Bangladesh.

He said one of the options available was to organize either a five-
nation Super Sixes or Super Eight tournament. He gave no further 
details.

General Zia, who is also the chairman of the Asian Cricket Council 
(ACC), said Pakistan was ready to organize and defend its Asian 
Test Championship title in front of its crowd. He, however, said 
the dates and venue have not been finalized.

He said the Asian Cricket Foundation (ACF) has been given the task 
to prepare the schedule of the tournament and the event management. 
He said the ACF's output would be discussed in mid-August in 
Sharjah before it is decided when and where the Asian Test 
Championship has to be organized.

The general defended his decision to finalize a three-match series 
against Sri Lanka in September in the desert city of Dubai. He also 
dispelled impression that his decision was an indication to 
Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) that Pakistan would reduce 
its visits there.

"The series against Sri Lanka would serve as a warmup for the ICC 
knock-out tournament in Kenya. The team would proceed to Kenya from 
Dubai. The CBFS has no objection because they have been informed 
that the series was a warmup exercise besides being a promotional 
and development activity," he said.

The PCB chairman, on Pakistan Under-17's defeat in the final, said 
the boys played well and deserved encouragement. But he didn't 
mince words in expressing his dismay at the team management.

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20000726 
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Pakistan Cricket Board hiring agent to watch team
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Samiul Hasan

 KARACHI, July 25: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to 
appoint a 'mole' to keep an eye on the outside-the-field activities 
of the players during home and away tours.

According to sources, the appointment is expected to be made in the 
first week of August and his assignment would begin with the 
Singapore tour.

The spy will shadow the team, stay in the same hotel and keep an 
eye on the cricketers, like who they meet, where they go and when 
they return to the hotel.

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