------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 24 June 2000 Issue : 06/24 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Rs700bn budget outlay for 2000-2001 + Rs 25.61 billion outlay: No new taxes in Balochistan budget + Rs68.28bn Sindh budget presented oGST on services levied + Political activities to remain banned + Gas rates to be increased shortly + Constitution of bench: SHC verdict on Nawaz's petition on 27th + Attock court adjourns hearing + CE opens Ormara naval base: Deterrence level not to be lowered + Amnesty International deplores Indian HR abuses + Pakistan, India urged to resume talks + Writ filed against Nawaz for 'treason' + EU waiting for democracy in Pakistan + ICJ refuses to hear Atlantique case --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Pakistan seeks cash for F-16s + Major changes in tax system + Govt servants get relief + Defence budget not reduced: Shaukat Aziz + 'No cut in export finance rates' + Survey form: NTN holders get facility + Sindh to net Rs850m farm tax + Privatization programme: Shaukat asks banks to lure investors + World Bank offers $90m for poverty alleviation + SBP allows rupee-slide by 20 paisa on inter-bank market + Shaukat on import of furnace oil: Govt monopoly to go on July 1 + Panjgur power plant starts production --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + The sole statesman Ardeshir Cowasjee + The other drought Ayaz Amir + Dialogue with Washington Afzaal Mahmood ----------- SPORTS + Razzaq youngest bowler to record Test hat trick + Rashid offers to testify at Cronje hearing

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NATIONAL NEWS
20000618
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Rs700bn budget outlay for 2000-2001
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M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, June 17: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday 
presented a relief-cum-investment-oriented but modest budget of 
about Rs700 billion for 2000-2001, managing for the first time in 
many years a decrease in the allocation for debt servicing, a 
significant cut in the defence share and at the same time 
increasing the development budget by over 19 per cent.

Describing it as the first part of a three-year (2000-2003) 
framework, the minister on TV and radio proposed a budget with an 
overall deficit of 4.6pc (Rs162 billion) of the GDP.

He hoped to keep the budgetary deficit well below 5pc of the GDP on 
the assumption that in the next year the CBR revenues would 
increase by over 24pc from Rs352 billion to Rs438 billion, and the 
expenditure would expand by only 2pc from Rs566 billion to around 
Rs578 billion.

In the next three years the finance minister hoped to achieve an 
annual average growth rate of 6pc, an inflation rate of 4pc, an 
investment rate of 18pc, budgetary deficit in the final year at 
3.2pc, a fall in the current account deficit to half a per cent of 
the GDP from the present 2.4pc, and an increase in the foreign 
exchange reserves equivalent of 12 weeks import bill from the 
present four weeks.

He announced abolition of wealth tax from the next year and 
proposed reduction in the number of other taxes and their rates.

To provide relief to the salaried class, the minister proposed 
reduction of income tax rates to the tune of 80pc for those earning 
lesser amounts and 5pc for those who are earning higher salaries. A 
50pc cut was proposed in the tax on the incomes of researchers and 
teachers.

The minister identified the debt burden as the foremost problem 
facing the country as the total public debt at the end of this 
month would go up to Rs3,200 billion of which 56pc was foreign. On 
the other hand, he said, the tax base was extremely narrow with a 
tax to GDP ratio of 13pc compared to 18pc in countries at our level 
of development.

The computer training institutes set up between 1997 and 2005 have 
been exempted from paying income tax. Software exports have been 
exempted from the minimum income tax rate of half a per cent.

The overall expenditure for the next year at Rs698 billion is only 
about 4.7pc more than the revised budget for the current year at 
about Rs637.70 billion. If adjusted against the current rate of 
inflation the size of the new budget in real terms seems to have 
been kept almost at par with the size of the current budget.

The current expenditure for 2000-2001 has been estimated at Rs577.6 
billion, showing an increase of 2.2pc over revised estimates of 
1999-2000. This would mean that in real terms (adjusted against the 
current rate of inflation) the size of the current budget next year 
would be significantly smaller than the size of the revised current 
budget for the outgoing year.

Debt servicing for the next year has been estimated at Rs305.6 
billion, indicating a 2.6pc decrease over revised estimates for 
1999-2000 of Rs313.7 billion. The domestic debt servicing is 
estimated to decrease by 4.6pc, foreign debt servicing by 8.9pc and 
foreign loan repayment would decrease by 5.1pc against the revised 
estimates of 1999-2000.

Defence expenditure in 2000-2001 at Rs133.49 billion has been 
slashed by almost Rs10 billion but at the same time an expenditure 
of Rs26.1 billion for military pensions has been transferred to the 
head of running civil government. As a result, the expenditure 
under this head at Rs80.2 billion has increased by 67.4pc in 2000-
2001 over the revised budget for 1999-2000.

The resource availability for the next year has been estimated at 
Rs700.2 billion, showing an increase of a modest 9.7pc over the 
revised estimates for the current year, and net revenue income for 
the year at Rs412.1 billion also shows an increase of only 9.3pc 
over the revised estimates for 1999-2000.

The capital receipts (net) for 2000-2001, however, show a 
substantial increase of 25.8pc at Rs78 billion, but on the other 
hand receipts from external sources are estimated at Rs178.5 
billion, showing a decrease of 3.5pc over the budgeted estimates 
for 1999-2000.

The share of provinces from the federal receipts next year would 
see a whopping increase of almost Rs40 billion at Rs182.48 billion 
against Rs142.28 billion of revised estimates for the current year.

While the report of the pay and pension committee is being awaited, 
the government servants from grade 1-16 will be allowed to draw one 
month's salary up to Rs2,000 on the occasion of their religious 
festivals.

The government proposes to cover part of the losses suffered by the 
victims of Taj Company and the Cooperatives from the funds 
collected by the NAB from corrupt people.

In the next three years, the minister hopes to decelerate the 
growth of public debt through stringent fiscal policy that attempts 
to reduce the budget deficit, broaden tax base without burdening 
people with high incidence of tax, institute a transparent system 
of expenditure control, significantly increase the share of social 
sectors' allocations and poverty reduction programs, encourage and 
facilitate investment in industry, particularly small and medium 
industry, encourage exports, particularly manufactured and non-
traditional, effect savings and reconstruct and revitalize 
institutes of governance.

The second most important area of reforms of the government, 
according to the finance minister, is the privatization and in this 
connection a law is being promulgated that would guide the process 
of privatization.

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20000620 
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Rs 25.61 billion outlay: No new taxes in Balochistan budget
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Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, June 19: Governor Amirul Mulk Mengal on Monday presented a 
surplus and tax-free budget of Rs25.613 billion for the financial 
year 2000-2001 on national hookup.

Total revenue receipts are expected to be about Rs26.66 billion out 
of which Rs17.75 billion have been earmarked for current 
expenditures and Rs7.85 billion for public sector development 
programme (PSDP). The figures show a surplus amount of Rs1.05 
billion.

The provincial government would make internal financing of Rs 3.08 
billion during the next financial year. The Poverty Alleviation 
Programme will continue to be a high priority area with an 
allocation of two billion rupees.

With the financing in PSDP and PAP, the total outlay of the current 
budget would be Rs22.84 billion. An amount of Rs971 million will be 
left at the disposal of the provincial government.

In his speech, the governor said: "For the first time, the 
provincial budget has been streamlined on realistic basis and 
strictly in accordance with the requirements of provincial 
government departments."

He said that the element of over-estimation has been eliminated 
making room for transparency. He said that the overall size of the 
budget did not exceed more than 3.5 per cent from that of the 
previous one in spite of the fact that all the departments had been 
entertained suitably.

Mr Mengal said that in the public sector development programme, 
provincial contribution would be Rs5.08 billion. He said that 
Balochistan would get federal government assistance of Rs2.8 
billion. An amount of Rs3.08 billion will be spent on provincial 
social development programme.

He announced that no new tax is being levied in the budget. The 
elimination of ghost employees, screening out of workers with 
multiple employment and retrenchment of staff from B-Wasa have 
enduring effects on the expenditures on account of pay and 
allowances.

"We are expecting remarkable achievement in this direction in the 
coming months of the financial year,"the governor said.

An amount of Rs600 million has been made available for food subsidy 
besides Rs3.02 billion for debt servicing which shows an increase 
of Rs152.633 million.

The governor said that the government would focus on the recovery 
of taxes and duties and streamline the revenue collection system. 
He announced that an ordinance regarding agriculture income tax and 
general sales tax will be issued in due course of time.

Mr Mengal said 788 new vacancies in different categories would be 
created during the next fiscal year.

He said that education sector has been given the highest priority 
with special emphasis on quality educational services. An amount of 
Rs1,274 million has been allocated for development activities in 
education sector.

During the next financial year, new collages and schools buildings 
will be constructed, 50 primary schools will be upgraded to middle 
standard, 12 technical trade centres will be set up in rural areas 
and additional rooms in the existing school and college buildings 
will be constructed.

In health sector, the governor said, utmost importance would be 
given to the provision of healthcare to maximum number of people.

In this sector, 13 schemes costing over Rs380 million will be 
implemented. Nine new schemes under social action programme will be 
under taken at a cost of Rs90 million.

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20000622 
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Rs68.28bn Sindh budget presented .GST on services levied 
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Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, June 21: The Governor of Sindh, Mohammad Mian Soomro, has 
announced a revenue budget of Rs68.28 billion and a development 
programme of Rs11.25 billion for the next fiscal year. 
The budget is loaded with heavy taxation measures and shows a 
deficit of Rs1.6 billion.

Unfolding the budget at a news conference at the new Sindh 
Secretariat Building here on Wednesday, the governor declared his 
government's determination to raise enough resources from the fresh 
taxation measures, by bringing about an improvement in the existing 
tax collection process and through savings in budgetary expenditure 
that would enable Sindh to finance the bulk of massive development 
outlay of Rs11.25 billion. 

This development outlay includes Rs4.51 billion for poverty 
alleviation, Rs4.5 billion for the Annual Development Programme 
2000-2001 and Rs2.24 billion for foreign funded programmes.

The new taxation measures, 13 in all, hit mostly the urban areas 
and propose a straight 20 per cent increase in the existing gross 
rental values on urban property pending the notification of new 
valuation tables to be done on completion of property survey.

The government proposes levy of Rs5,000 stamp duty on new 
declarations for printing press, newspapers and periodicals. The 
registration fees under the Societies Registration Act is to be 
increased 10 times from Rs1,500 to Rs15,000. Stamp duty is being 
levied on many sub-leases and an upward revision is being made in 
respect of stamp duty on insurance and on power of attorney.

The governor announced that tariff of various existing fees under 
different statutes is being revised for which respective 
departments will issue necessary notifications. He announced the 
levy of GST on 16 services in the province and an increase in the 
fees for trade and retail license as well as duties on liquor. 
Penalty for violating Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance is also 
being increased ten times from Rs1,500 to Rs 15,000.

Without quantifying the impact of all these taxation measures on 
the general public and the improvement in the provincial exchequer, 
Mr Soomro unveiled a package which, it was later explained, would 
offer a relief of Rs150 to Rs200 million to the general public. 
Under the package the number of provincial taxes are being brought 
down to 10, stamp duty on property transactions from nine to 5 per 
cent and stamp duty on registration of lease or tenancy deed from 
six to one per cent. Besides, license fee on shops dealing in food 
grains is being abolished, maximum limit under Tax on Professions 
is being brought down to Rs 100,000 from Rs 500,000.

He announced the abolition of betterment tax, all surcharges and 
additional surcharges on the urban property but only after the new 
valuation tables were notified for all the urban rating areas.

In rural areas, however, the valuation tables will be notified to 
assess stamp duty on property transactions to eliminate discretion 
of the revenue officers.

The Sindh government will henceforth provide three-year/five-year 
driving licences. Charitable hospitals receiving donations lesser 
than operating expenses have been exempted from property tax. 
Federal excise and provincial taxes on marriage halls, lawns, 
banquet halls and caterers and services will be withdrawn following 
the enforcement of GST.

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20000621 
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Political activities to remain banned
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 20: The government has delayed its plan to lift the 
March 15 ban on political activities at least for the time being to 
avoid any possible unrest. Political circles were expecting the ban 
to go in near future amid some positive indications from official 
sources involved in smoothing ground for the devolution of powers 
at grassroots level.

However, the series of unprecedented strikes and protest rallies, 
which turned violent at some places also, seems to have changed the 
military government's mind.

Interior ministry sources, on a query, told Dawn: "We have no such 
proposal under consideration at our level."They were of the view 
that some sort of leniency could be practices towards political 
activities but that too only after the unveiling of the approved 
devolution plan and announcement of the district level elections.

Speculations about an early lifting of the ban were created by the 
remarks of the interior minister, Moinuddin Haider, who on May 16 
had hinted at the revival of political activities 'in a few weeks'. 
He had, however, made it clear at that time that such a move would 
be possible only if political parties desisted from activities 
harmful to the national interests and the economy.

The traders' nationwide strike and their protests elsewhere in all 
the provinces have apparently made the government reconsider its 
plan to allow any public show involving political or other 
organized groups which could create law and order problem.

Official sources told this scribe on Tuesday that the ruling clique 
had shown no sign yet of an active consideration to the lifting of 
the ban.

They said though the interior ministry was authorized to lift the 
ban, a decision for any such move would have to be taken by the top 
military leadership.

They pointed out that the recent strikes and protests could have 
turned a major law and order problem had there been no restriction 
on public political meetings and processions. The situation, they 
believed, could have exploited by certain political parties to 
create lawlessness in the country.

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20000621 
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Gas rates to be increased shortly
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 20: The rates of natural gas are being revised and 
the government would take a decision on an increase very shortly. 
This was stated by the federal minister for petroleum and natural 
resources (P&NR), Usman Aminuddin, at a press conference here on 
Tuesday.

Accompanied by the secretary of P&NR, the minister disclosed that 
an increase in gas rates had been recommended to the federal 
cabinet. "The era of cheap gas is over,"uttered some of the P&NR 
officials adding that an increase was now inevitable.

The low rates had been maintained to provide relief to the urban 
population which makes just 15 per cent of the total, they argued. 
The secretary of the ministry pointed out that gas was cheapest 
among all the energy resources including wood, kerosene and LPG. 
However, he added, there was no justification of keeping the gas 
rates at such a low level.

He told the newsmen that Pakistan was selling gas from its new 
fields at the rate of two dollars per cubic feet while the price of 
the commodity from other fields was just two cents per cubic feet. 
He cautioned that the Sui deposits would start declining from the 
next year.

The officials recalled that the government had taken a policy 
decision regarding the industry switching over to gas to reduce the 
import bill.

Turning to the prices of POL, the officials said "they are supposed 
to be revised after three months."

They observed that furnace oil had already been deregulated while 
the LPG would be deregulated soon. Now the industrialists, they 
added, were free to purchase furnace oil from wherever available 
cheaper.

About the IPPs and other firms, which have signed an agreement with 
the government for the supply of furnace oil, the officials said 
they were also free to procure the commodity from the open market. 
They government, they added, would charge only 15 per cent GST on 
such procurements. The officials said that the PSO could also 
oblige them in honouring the agreements if these IPPs or firms 
desired so.

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20000621 
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Constitution of bench: SHC verdict on Nawaz's petition on 27th
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Shujaat Ali Khan

KARACHI, June 20: A Sindh High Court full bench on Tuesday reserved 
its order on ousted premier Nawaz Sharif's challenge to its 
constitution and out-of-turn hearing of his and other hijacking 
case appeals for announcement on June 27.

The fourth consecutive adjournment for an interlocutory order 
partly meets the defence objection to day-to-day hearing of the 
appeals. The two parties and the court seem to be coming round to a 
consensus that the proceedings be put off until after summer 
vacation.

By another order, the bench allowed suspended senator Saifur Rehman 
Khan's counsel, Khwaja Naveed Ahmad, to withdraw his power of 
attorney. Mr Saif was brought to the court premises from the Landhi 
Jail, seated in the advocate-general's anteroom and allowed to see 
his wife.

Two other respondents appearing in person, Ghous Ali Shah and 
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, were present in the courtroom.

Advocate-General Raja Qureshi informed the bench that the National 
Accountability Bureau or the accountability court in the Attock 
Fort had not so far sought the transfer of the accused-respondents' 
custody from Karachi, though the Attock court could not conduct its 
proceedings on Monday due to Mr Saif's absence. He alleged that the 
counsel's withdrawal was a ruse to evade or delay the Attock trial 
but since the hijacking case involved death penalty, a counsel 
shall have to be engaged for him at the state expense.

Besides, if Mr Saif wants to stay on in the Landhi Jail to attend 
the appellate proceedings, he shall have to end boycott of the 
Attock court proceedings and seek exemption from it through a 
counsel. The AG said he had already taken up the matter with the 
home department.

Earlier in his arguments in favour of a special three-member bench 
and day-to-day hearing, the AG said the offence of hijacking as 
incorporated in the Pakistan Penal Code in 1981 was different from 
the identical provisions of the English and Indian law. There was 
only one division bench judgment on the relevant PPC sections (402 
A and B) and a three-member bench was required to authoritatively 
interpret them. The distinctive feature of the Pakistan law was 
that the hijacker need not be on board.

The ex-premier, the AG argued, could challenge the constitution of 
the special bench before the Supreme Court and the present 
application invoking inherent powers of the court was not 
entertainable. In view of the national and international importance 
of the case, the CJ chose to hear it himself at the head of a full 
bench just as the chief justice of the Supreme Court constituted a 
12-member bench and expeditiously disposed of petitions against the 
Oct 12 military takeover. Z.A. Bhutto was tried by a five-member 
bench of the Lahore High Court on its original side, he recalled.

References to 'present rulers' in the ex-premier's application, the 
AG further argued, were intended to cast doubts on the independence 
and integrity of the judiciary. Citing Hakim Khan's case, he said 
the insertion of Article 2-A in the Constitution to make the 
Objectives Resolution an operative provision does in no way affect 
the CJ's power to constitute benches.

Challenging the AG's assertions, Barrister Ijaz Hussain Batalvi, 
who has been engaged by the ex-PM in the state appeal against him, 
said the court should not be handicapped by technical 
considerations. The matter should be looked at from "the eyes of 
those whose lives are at stake". They have been made to jump the 
queue and pushed from the rear to the front. As against 40 prior 
appeals filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act, a special bench has 
been constituted only for their case for out-of-turn and day-to-day 
hearing during summer vacation.

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20000620 
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Attock court adjourns hearing
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Bureau Report

Attock, June 19: The Accountability Court here again adjourned the 
proceedings against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Saifur 
Rehman as they could not be produced before it on Monday.

As Judge Farrukh Latif took up the case as scheduled, he was 
informed by prosecutor Mohammad Ilyas Siddiqui that the accused 
were in Karachi as their presence was required by the SHC on 
Tuesday.

The judge fixed next Monday, June 26, as the next date of 
production of the accused, subject to SHC orders.

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20000623 
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CE opens Ormara naval base: Deterrence level not to be lowered
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Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI, June 22: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, said 
on Thursday that Pakistan's defence would never be allowed to be 
undermined.

"We have a strategy of deterrence which is well looked after and we 
would never allow any let-up in our defence and security."

The CE was responding to reporters' questions after inaugurating 
the Jinnah Naval Base at Ormara in Balochistan, some 240kms from 
here. When his attention was drawn to a recent increase in the 
Indian defence budget, he said "whatever investment was required to 
maintain our deterrence, we would certainly make arrangements for 
that".

"For the time-being, however, we are not going to make any extra 
spending on defence. But it does not mean we are lowering our 
guard. We know what is their (India) strength and what is ours. At 
the moment our defence is at its place and there is nothing to 
worry about."Referring to the decision of the International Court 
of Justice in the Atlantique case, Gen Musharraf said he would not 
say what step Pakistan would take in the matter unless he consulted 
legal experts.

About the GST issue, he declared that the government would not 
change its mind and carry out documentation of the economy, which, 
he said, was essential for the revival of the economy.

He, however, said that he would consider it if traders had any 
genuine problem or suggestion on the issue.

Earlier in his speech at the ceremony, the CE said that the naval 
harbour, Jinnah Naval Base, would open new strategic, operational 
and economic avenues.

"The establishment of this harbour is bound to have a positive 
impact not only on Ormara but also on the entire coastal belt. I 
see a bright future for the neglected coastal areas."

He then unveiled the plaque of the Jinnah Naval Base followed by 
dua. He was briefed about salient features of the harbour with the 
help of a model before he moved to PNS warship Khyber for 
reception.

The harbour has birthing facilities for eight ships and four 
submarines with space for small auxiliary units. The 3.5km-long 
approach channel leads to a turning basin and both have been 
dredged by 10 meters.

The Turkish minister of state, Faruk Bal, delivered a brief speech 
besides Commander of Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Taj Mohammad 
Khattak.

Responding to Mr Bal's speech, Gen Musharraf in fluent Turkish 
expressed gratitude to the Turkish government for cooperation and 
collaboration between the two countries. Efforts for further 
cooperation would continue, he added.

He pointed out that JNB had been a long-standing requirement of the 
Pakistan Navy and had become a reality after many years of 
hardwork.

Without naming India, the CE said that its hegemonistic designs in 
the region had serious military, political and economic 
ramifications on Pakistan. Therefore, he stressed, it was 
imperative for us to provide the navy with the desired flexibility 
of operation and the level of deterrence to counter the threat 
posed to our maritime frontiers and assets.

He said that finding an alternative base away from Karachi was a 
strategic imperative. "Let me, however, reiterate that Pakistan 
remains a peace-loving country with no offensive designs against 
anyone. But we shall defend our national interests with all our 
available resources,"he asserted.

The CE announced that the work on the coastal road would commence 
next month and it would be ensured that it completed swiftly. 
Similarly, he added, the decision to complete deep water seaport at 
Gwadar had already been taken and hoped that work would commence 
shortly. "I hope that we shall be able to plan more development 
projects for Balochistan."

He appreciated the Pakistan Navy's role in ensuring the standard of 
education in the coastal areas. "I am happy to see PN ships and 
submarines at this naval base which from today will be their home."

In his welcome address, Rear Admiral Khattak termed the ceremony a 
landmark occasion not only for Pakistan Navy but also for 
Balochistan and the entire nation.

Referring to the presence of extra regional forces at sea, he said 
the massive Indian Naval build-up much beyond its bona fide needs 
was a matter of concern for us as it was clearly directed towards 
control of shipping lanes, and domination of the Arabian Sea.

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20000623 
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Amnesty International deplores Indian HR abuses
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Nasir Malick

LONDON, June 22: The Amnesty International has severely criticized 
the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir regime for its failure to 
respond to the national and international concerns over the grave 
and massive human rights violations in the Valley.

In a strongly-worded statement issued here, the AI said the 
regime's stated commitments to human rights could not be taken 
seriously.

It regretted that protection and promotion of human rights was not 
a priority of that government.

The AI recalled that it had written to the Indian controlled 
territory's rulers a month ago to ensure investigations into the 
series of unlawful killings in March and April and punishment to 
the perpetrators. However, it added, no response had been given by 
the other side as yet.

The organization has sought support from the governments around the 
world, HR groups and individuals for its efforts to exert pressure 
on the regime in this regard.

It again called for an independent and impartial judicial inquiry 
into the three tragic events in which almost 50 people were killed 
"unlawfully".

Thirty-five Sikhs were massacred in Chithisinghpora by a group of 
people wearing Indian army uniforms on March 20 and the culprits 
have not been identified till date.

 A few days later, security forces gunned down five people in 
Panchalthan and identified them as 'armed militants' involved in 
the Sikhs' massacre. On April 3, police unleashed a reign of terror 
on protesters demanding exhumation of the five victims. They 
insisted that the victims were innocent villagers, and not 
militants, who were executed by police after their arrest. Seven 
more people were shot dead in the police action against the 
protesters.

The AI also indicated the governments in New Delhi and Srinagar 
were ignoring its report pertaining to the disappearance of 700 to 
800 people. The report was published in February last year.

In response to another report pertaining to the frequent abuse of 
the Public Safety Act, India had conveyed a two-page extract from 
the PSA, the organization said. "People are often held in 
preventive detention without reference to any law,"it remarked 
adding: "Recent letters about the rising number of custodial deaths 
and extra-judicial executions reported from the state have also 
been left unanswered".

Agencies add: A Kashmiri leader on Thursday alleged a sharp 
increase in custodial killings in occupied Kashmir and threatened 
to launch a strike.

Abdul Gani Lone, a senior leader of the All Party Hurriyat 
Conference, told a press conference in Srinagar: "custodial 
killings are taking place under a well coordinated plan under the 
supervision of the Indian home ministry to break the political will 
of the people,"the 70-year-old Lone said.

Yaseen Malik, another prominent Kashmiri leader, has vowed to go on 
a death fast from the end of this month if nothing is done about 
the killings.-AFP

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20000623 
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Pakistan, India urged to resume talks
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

LONDON, June 22: Britain on Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to 
resume the Lahore process to resolve the Kashmir dispute, which is 
threatening the stability of the region and the human rights of the 
people of Kashmir.

"We continue to urge both Delhi and Islamabad to get together to 
resolve the matter (of Kashmir),"British Foreign and Commonwealth 
Office Minister Peter Hain told members of the House of Commons on 
Wednesday afternoon during question and answer session. "It 
(Kashmir dispute) cannot continue as a festering sore, threatening 
stability in the region and the human rights of those in the area 
concerned"

MP Alice Mohan from Halifax had raised the issue of Kashmir in the 
House saying that a vast majority of the people believe that 
Kashmiris should decide their own fate and suggested that Britain 
should ask the United Nations to promote a plebiscite in Kashmir 
before considering expansion in the UN Security Council.

Replying to her question, Peter Hain said the issue of an enlarged 
Security Council was quite different from matters that might or 
might not be occurring in Pakistan or India, even if those matters 
might influence the Asian group's decision about its 
representative. "That is a matter for the Asian group, not Britain, 
to decide."

He accused Gen Pervez Musharraf of setting back the process of 
peace between the two countries by sending troops to Kargil when 
the prime ministers of India and Pakistan were engaged in talks.

He said the Kargil incident had set back the Lahore process.

Saying that Britain would continue to remain actively engaged in 
seeking to resolve the Kashmir conflict, he said Britain wanted 
India and Pakistan to resume the Lahore process, which resulted 
from the courageous decision of the Indian Prime Minister to travel 
to Lahore.

"The discussions (between Indian and Pakistani prime ministers at 
Lahore talks) provided a breakthrough, and it is unfortunate that 
the subsequent Kargil incident in Kashmir - the author of which was 
Gen Musharraf - has, along with last year's coup, set the process 
back,"Mr Hain said.

Asked by another MP Fiona Mactaggart from Slough to make a 
statement on Britain's relations with Pakistan, the foreign 
minister said Britain had close and longstanding ties with Pakistan 
and would like to see democracy restored in that country. He said 
Britain would continue to urge Gen Musharraf to produce a complete 
timetable for the transition to democracy.

When Ms Mactaggart pointed out that the Pakistani community felt 
that the legitimate concerns of Islamabad were being ignored as a 
result of Britain's pressure on the government to restore democracy 
and that an isolated Pakistan could be a more threat to peace in 
South Asia, Mr Hain agreed that an isolated, embattled and 
beleaguered Pakistan could find itself reacting accordingly, and 
that could be dangerous.

Mr Hain said Britain wanted to see Pakistan develop, succeed and 
return to democratic rule. "We will work with the Pakistani people 
and their representatives to achieve that, as we are now doing."

Asked by John Wilkinson from Ruislip whether it would not be 
appropriate for Pakistan to return to a single electoral list when 
elections were held so that minorities living in that country could 
get a better deal, and whether the British government would press 
for lifting blasphemy laws, Mr Hain said Britain would continue to 
press for the lifting of the blasphemy laws.

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20000623 
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Writ filed against Nawaz for 'treason'
-------------------------------------------------------------------

LAHORE, June 22: The Lahore High Court has issued a notice to the 
Attorney General asking him to state whether the deposed prime 
minister, Nawaz Sharif, should stand a trial on treason charge.

Justice Mohammed Qayyum issued the notice, asking the AG to appear 
before the court on June 30, on a petition filed by a resident of 
Lahore, Arif Noor. The petition has cited 'leakage of state 
secrets' as the basis for the case.

Nawaz Sharif had remarked in his June 13 statement that the Chief 
Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in his capacity as the chief of 
the army staff, had initiated the Kargil operation without his 
knowledge, which had led to an armed conflict with Indian armed 
forces and resulted in heavy casualties on Pakistan side.

The ex-PM is serving life imprisonment in the infamous plane 
hijacking case and facing many more corruption cases. He had 
demanded setting up of a high level commission to for a thorough 
inquiry into, what he called 'a misadventure'.

Gen Musharraf has rejected the claim as an attempt to 'belittle and 
undermine' the army saying that it spoke very low of ex-premier's 
patriotism.-Agencies

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20000622
-------------------------------------------------------------------
EU waiting for democracy in Pakistan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shadaba Islam

BRUSSELS, June 21: Relations with Asia are back on the European 
Union's crowded foreign policy agenda as the 15-nation bloc seeks 
to extend its global political reach.

Meetings with Asean and members of Asem, the process of Asia Europe 
Meetings launched in 1996, will be held in Lisbon from June 25-26, 
with a first-ever summit meeting with India on June 28. Last month 
the EU signed a new cooperation treaty with Bangladesh.

In recent days also, EU leaders have promised closer relations with 
Singapore following discussions with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong 
and on June 14, Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab and the EU 
held a first-ever political dialogue to launch a new era in their 
often-troubled relations.

The flurry of EU activity excludes Pakistan. The EU diplomats say 
the Union is anxious to maintain good relations with Islamabad 
despite military rule in the country. But a so-called "qualitative 
leap forward"in EU-Pakistan relations will have to wait until the 
military government sets a date for a return to democracy.

The renewed focus on Asia is part of the EU's efforts to play a 
more powerful global role, including efforts to engage Asian 
nations in unprecedented talks on security issues.

"The EU is a global power, certainly from the economic point of 
view, but also with an increasing political will to participate 
actively in world politics,"said an EU official.

With its potential flashpoints in the Korean peninsula, Kashmir and 
the Spratlys - not to mention "recurring tensions"between China 
and Taiwan - Asia must be part of the EU's new security purview, 
says a recent European Commission report.

Portugal, current "president"of the EU, has laboured hard to put 
relations with Asean back on track. In a sense its crowning glory 
before it hands over the presidency to France on July 1 is the 
organization of a first-ever summit meeting with India on June 28.

EU diplomats stress that the high-level encounter - to be followed 
by regular annual summits between the EU and India - is in 
recognition of India's growing economic and political clout both in 
the Asian region and the wider global stage.

The summit put EU relations with Delhi on a par with its 
institutional links with China, Japan, Russia and the United 
States. "We believe that as the world's largest democracy it is 
important to engage India,"said a senior EU official.

The meeting also marks a definite end to earlier EU determination 
to keep a balance in its relations with Delhi and Islamabad.

Progress is also being made on other EU-Asian fronts. After months 
of diplomatic efforts, a meeting of EU and Asean officials has been 
scheduled for Lisbon on June 26-27 to relaunch region-to-region 
political talks.

Preparations are also under way to hold long-awaited ministerial 
talks between the two groups, probably in Laos, just after the Asem 
summit in Seoul on October 20-21.

Political contacts between the EU and Asean have been at a 
standstill for the last three years following Burma's entry into 
Asean. However, diplomats say there is growing recognition in both 
regions that it is time to push EU-Asean relations forward despite 
disagreements over Burma.

As such, representatives from Burma will be attending the meeting 
in Lisbon and the ministerial dialogue in Laos despite the Union's 
policy of economic sanctions against the country.

EU insiders say Britain and the Netherlands, which were initially 
hostile to political contacts with Burma, have agreed to 
participate in meetings attended by Burmese diplomats and the 
foreign minister following a recent EU decision to toughen 
sanctions against Rangoon.

The new sanctions package includes a comprehensive blacklist of 
some 200 of Burma's military leaders who are banned from travelling 
to Europe. But EU insiders say no such restrictions are in force 
for either Burma's foreign minister or diplomats from the country.

"Essentially the EU has taken an important decision to delink its 
policy towards Burma from its wider desire to have closer relations 
with Asean,"an official stressed.

But Burma can be expected to be quizzed in detail about both its 
economic difficulties and continuing refusal to open a dialogue 
with pro-democracy forces, say sources.

A delegation of EU officials is expected to visit Rangoon in 
September as part of the Union's policy of trying to maintain a 
discussion on human rights with the country.

The meeting of Asean senior officials will be followed by talks 
within the wider Asem framework, with the focus on preparations for 
the third meeting of Asem leaders in Seoul in October.

The EU is hoping to revive the Asem relationship by including 
security and defence issues on the agenda but officials say that 
China and many others in Asia remain opposed to the initiative. 
Instead, Asians want the focus to be on trade, economics and 
cultural cooperation.

Portugal has also succeeded in putting relations with Indonesia on 
a new footing following talks with Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab in 
Luxembourg earlier this week. The EU has pledged to back "historic 
changes"taking place in Indonesia and to support a "strong, 
democratic, united and prosperous"Indonesia.

Officials say the EU will be giving special assistance to 
strengthen the office of Indonesia's attorney-general in a bid to 
improve the country's efforts to combat corruption and ensure good 
governance.

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20000622 
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Pakistan dismayed over verdict: ICJ refuses to hear Atlantique case
-------------------------------------------------------------------

THE HAGUE, June 21: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled 
on Wednesday that it had no authority to adjudicate a dispute 
between Pakistan and India over the shooting down of a Pakistani 
naval plane.

Judges voted 14-2 in favour of New Delhi, which argued that in 1974 
it had filed a "reservation", or exemption from the World Court's 
jurisdiction, in disputes pitting India against another 
Commonwealth country such as Pakistan, or in armed conflicts.

The court did not accept Pakistan's contention that the exemption 
conflicted with India's other international obligations, including 
the United Nations charter.

Pakistan had asked the court, the main judicial organ of the United 
Nations, to rule that India was responsible for bringing down its 
naval surveillance aircraft, the Atlantique, on August 10 last 
year, killing 16 people.

Pakistan wanted India to pay compensation. India claimed that the 
plane had intruded into Indian airspace and was fired on only after 
warnings were given.

"The Commonwealth reservation... may validly be invoked in the 
current case,"said ICJ President Gilbert Guillaume. "The court 
finds that it has no jurisdiction."

Guillaume told the two states that even though the court will not 
hear the case, they are obliged under international law and 
treaties among themselves to settle disputes peacefully.

Pakistan's attorney general and law minister, Aziz Munshi, said the 
ruling offered hope for the two rivals.

"I am not totally disappointed with the decision...this is in fact 
a step forward,"he told Reuters. "This means that all disputes, 
including the Kashmir dispute, must be settled through peaceful 
means."

In Islamabad, Pakistan on Wednesday expressed dismay over the 
International Court's ruling that it lacked jurisdiction to decide 
a dispute over the shooting down of a Pakistani navy plane by India 
in August last year.

"It is unfortunate that the procedures of the International Court 
of Justice (ICJ) do not permit dealing with cases involving 
international terrorism and gangsterism,"foreign office spokesman 
Iftikhar Murshid told AFP.

"This reflects poorly on its ability to address international 
crimes such as the shooting down of the unarmed Atlantique of the 
Pakistan navy, which was well within Pakistan territory, by India,"
Murshid said.

During four days of public hearings in April, Pakistan argued that 
the court in the Hague was competent to rule while India opposed 
its contention.

In New Delhi, an external affairs ministry spokesman told reporters 
India welcomed the court's ruling, and also praised its remark that 
under two key accords the two neighbours were obliged to settle 
their differences peacefully.

"India stands committed to dialogue and calls Pakistan to create a 
peaceful environment for such a dialogue through cessation of 
cross-border terrorism and abandonment of hostile propaganda,"he 
said.

The air incident heightened tension between the neighbouring 
countries just a month after they had pulled back from the brink of 
war over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Pakistan says the aircraft was in its own airspace when it was 
brought down by Indian air-to-air missiles. The rulings of the 
court are binding and without appeal.-Reuters/AFP


=================================================================== 
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20000619 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan seeks cash for F-16s
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, June 18: Pakistan has refused to import wheat from the 
United States and sought cash in lieu of the outstanding amount of 
F-16 aircraft.

The US government has been asked to pay the remaining amount of $80 
million in cash during the financial year 2000-2001, disclosed 
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz while replying to a question at a 
post-budget press conference here on Sunday.

Pakistan last year had imported food commodities worth $60 million 
against F-16s money.

And for the year 2000 the US had offered Pakistan to import food 
commodity worth $30 million to balance the amount. The remaining 
$50 million was to be utilized in the next US fiscal year 2001.

But, due to surplus wheat production, Pakistan has now declined to 
receive wheat from the US and asked for the payment of its 
outstanding money.

Islamabad had paid $140 million to the US for the purchase of 28 F-
16 planes. But the US declined to provide these planes. In 1998, 
after hectic negotiations, it was agreed between the two countries 
that Pakistan would import food commodities from the US against 
this amount in the next three years.

Elaborating the answer on behalf of the finance minister, the 
finance secretary, Mohammad Younis Khan, told this correspondent 
that Pakistan had also asked the US administration to repay the 
outstanding amount in dollar. "We have requested the US government 
to pay our money in foreign currency as we have already made this 
amount part of our external resources to be realised next fiscal 
year", the secretary added.

He said the GoP had told the US administration that we did not want 
to import wheat as the country had produced a surplus wheat of 3 
million tons this year.

To another question, Mr Khan replied that Pakistan would not import 
other food items from the US, even if offered.

The secretary made it clear that the government was interested in 
its pending money and in this connection a formal request had 
already been placed before the US government.

It may be recalled here that Pakistan has already mentioned the 
Rs4.392 billion F-16 money in its external resources for the year 
2000-2001.

Meanwhile, sources said, the foreign office had asked the Food 
Minister, Dr Shafqat Ali Shah Jamote, to explain as why did he 
issued a statement to the press in the first week of this month 
regarding wheat import from the US against F-16 deal.

The minister while replying to a question at a press conference 
recently had told the reporters that his ministry was not in favour 
of wheat import from any country, including the US, under the F-16 
deal as "we have surplus production this year."

"It was the responsibility of the foreign office and the finance 
ministry to convey the actual situation to the US government as 
personally, I am not in favour of wheat import", Dr Jamote had 
emphasized.

His statement had put the FO officials in an awkward position as 
the US had already adjusted the money in wheat import head for 
Pakistan.

The foreign office had taken a serious note of the minister's 
statement and had asked Dr Jamote to explain in which capacity he 
spoke on the issue related to the foreign office.

Dr Jamote is likely to submit his reply on this issue in a couple 
of days.

NNI adds: The US had blocked the delivery of 28 F-16 fighter planes 
to Pakistan after Islamabad was subjected to economic sanctions 
under the Pressler amendment in 1990.

The former government of Nawaz Sharif had struck a deal with the US 
under which, the US administration was obliged to provide "goods 
and benefits"to Pakistan worth $140 million.

An agreement signed by the US and Pakistan on Feb 23, 1999 for 
provision of 0.2 million tons of wheat, worth over $2 million, 
under the same programme. This wheat was delivered at Port Qasim in 
May 1999. The shipment cost was $10,259,360.

Another agreement was signed by the US and Pakistan on Aug 4, 1999 
to provide 100,000 tons of wheat, value $13 million under the PL-
480 programme.

This wheat has not yet been delivered because of delay in 
contracting for shipment. The US administration told the GoP that 
under these agreements, it provided wheat worth $60 million.

These arrangements included an agreement singed by the US 
administration and the (GoP) on Jan 8, 1999 to provide 100,000 tons 
of wheat worth over $11 million under the US government section 
416(b) programme.

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20000618
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Major changes in tax system
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, June 17: Five major changes have been effected in the 
taxation system, says Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

In his budget speech here Saturday he presented a package which 
contains the following:

Wealth tax has been abolished; gross profit rate (GPR) will be 
fixed for the income taxpayers in consultation with the business 
representative bodies; the tax issues with regard to textile and 
cement sectors would be exclusively dealt by two zones to be 
created shortly - one in Karachi and the other in Lahore; central 
excise duty on 16 locally-manufactured goods has been exempted; 
under the new time limit, 70 per cent of refunds to exporters would 
be paid within 24 hours, and the rest in 30 days. This facility 
would be apart from the authorization to income tax department for 
issuance of exemption certificates for compensating delay in refund 
repayment.

Customs duty on import of sugar has been reduced from 35 per cent 
to 25 per cent and 10 per cent central excise duty has been waived; 
duty on import of television has been increased from 25 per cent to 
35per cent; duty on 1800 and above cars has been increased from 225 
per cent to 250 per cent; rate of duty on ship-breaking industry 
(ship plates) reduced from Rs1500 PMT to Rs1,000 PMT plus 15 per 
cent; duty on poor students' books and newsprint reduced from 10 
per cent to 5 per cent; duty rate on viscose yarn filament reduced 
from 25 per cent to 10 per cent; baggage limitation for travellers 
abroad removed on value/quantity; penalty-free storage/warehousing 
period for edible oil increased from 15 to 30 days; information 
technology items exempted from duty; and new passbook scheme for 
exporters was announced for duty free import of raw materials.

Compound additional sales tax rate has been reduced from 5 per cent 
to 1/2 per cent; 3 per cent further tax reduced to 1/2 per cent; 
further tax not chargeable on supplies to registered persons; sales 
tax non-compliance penalties reduced to 40%-50% of the present 
rates; oil cake used as cattle feed exempted from sales tax; 
retrospective exemption of sales tax on supplies of soybean oil and 
palm oil granted; exemption on import and local supply of CNG kits 
withdrawn; NRI-Scheme one-bus exemption on import duty withdrawn.

Apart from these, the following relief has been offered to the 
salaried class:

80 per cent reduction in tax liability for low-salaried group, 5% 
for the higher salaried employees; teachers and researchers allowed 
50% reduction in tax lability; income tax exemption for computer 
training institutions to set up between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 
2000, extended up to June 30, 2005; educational and scientific 
research exempted from 25% customs duty and whole of sales tax; 
0.5% income tax on software export waved; another one year tax 
exemption for brokerage houses; disabled persons allowed exemption 
from vehicles import duty of 5%; presumptive tax facility extended 
to the industrial undertakings at the EPZs; rate of additional duty 
reduced from the compound rate of 2% per month to 1/2 percent per 
month.

Other important changes made in the taxation system are: Anti- 
Dumping Duty Ordinance 2000 stands implemented; National Tariff 
Commission to examine budgetary anomalies.

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20000618
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Govt servants get relief
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, June 17: The government on Saturday announced an interim 
relief of up to Rs2,000 for the government employees of grades 1-16 
for their religious festivals.

The finance minister said the government was conscious of the 
economic hardships facing the government employees.

Their salaries and allowances, he said, had not kept pace with 
inflation, though some ad hoc relief had been provided since 1994 
when the last pay and pension revisions were made.

"The answer to their problems lies in revision of salaries and 
pensions on the basis of the Pay and Pension Committee."

Mr Aziz said: "I have directed the new chairman of the Pay and 
Pension Committee to devote extra efforts to finalize the report at 
the earliest."-APP

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20000619   
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Defence budget not reduced: Shaukat Aziz
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 18: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Sunday 
that there would be no fundamental changes in the budgetary 
framework during the next three years, with a view to restoring the 
confidence of local and foreign investors.

"There could be some minor adjustments here and there but 
essentially there will be a consistency, and I assure you that 
largely our fiscal, trade and monetary policies will remain 
unchanged during the next three years,"he told a post-budget news 
conference.

He said that one of the major jobs of the government was to restore 
the confidence of investors which, he regretted, had been shattered 
so much that people were still hesitant to come to this part of the 
world for any meaningful investment. "Our three years' economic 
framework programme, which has been carved out for the first time 
in Pakistan at the time of the budget, is designed in such a way 
that it would click the investors,"he claimed.

Asked how the government would revive investors' confidence and 
ensure that no cases were framed against them as was witnessed 
during the previous government, the minister said: "The incentives 
we are offering are clearly sufficient to attract foreign investors 
in Pakistan."

He said that issues with 13 IPPs had been settled and now Hubco was 
the remaining case which was to be decided. He hoped that an 
agreement with Hubco would soon be reached once the government gave 
its counter-offer of tariff to them. However, he said, the 
benchmark set by the 13 IPPs should become the basis for getting 
the tariff and other issues settled with Hubco.

"We will settle issues on a commercial basis so that interests of 
the government, Hubco and those who offered loans are protected 
adequately."

Mr Aziz revealed that the government had formulated a contingency 
plan to meet any eventuality if the IMF did not offer any funding 
in the next fiscal.

"We have not received a penny from the IMF since May 1999 which 
forced us to have some contingency plan to meet our funding 
requirements,"he said, adding that the plan had been reviewed from 
time to time. However, he was optimistic that the IMF funding would 
soon be restored. "We are working with the IMF to have a new 
programme from them".

He said the IMF review mission would visit Pakistan next month to 
discuss various issues, including the budget. "Later the mission 
would give its report to the executive board after which we hope to 
see our aid restored."

Defending the budget, he said it had largely been a welfare-
oriented budget which offered relief to almost all sections of 
society.

He did not believe that the target of collecting 24 per cent 
additional revenue would be a very difficult task. He said the GST 
would be the future tax and the purpose was to widen the tax net 
without creating problems for the taxpayers.

He said the 24pc tax target would increase the revenue to 12.4pc of 
the GDP, compared to existing 11pc. "On the basis of this 24pc 
increased revenues in 2000-2001, we have increased the development 
budget by over 20pc."

The minister said the GDP growth rate for the outgoing fiscal was 
likely to be around 5pc instead of 4.5pc because of the expected 
over 21m ton wheat production. The GDP growth rate during the next 
three years was expected to be 6pc.

"Then our stress would be on achieving 3.5pc fiscal deficit in the 
next three years with half a per cent current account deficit,"he 
said, adding that foreign exchange reserves would be sufficient for 
12 weeks of imports against the existing for 4 weeks during the 
next three years.

He said the economy was facing serious challenges for which bold 
decisions would continue to be taken. He said the government did 
not entertain any lobbyist for the budget which had been prepared 
keeping in view the national interests in mind. The minister said 
that increase in the salaries of government employees would soon be 
possible after the pay and pension committee, headed by Finance 
Secretary-General Moeen Afzal, finalized its recommendations.

At this stage Mr Afzal told a reporter that without having 
resources it was difficult to propose any big relief for the 
salaried class.

Mr Aziz said that assets declaration worth Rs20 billion had been 
filed by the people under the tax amnesty scheme, which he termed a 
big success. "And we have received over Rs2 billion in this 
behalf."

He said the central board of revenue would give Rs10 billion 
exports refund in the next 10 days so that the department should 
start its job with a clean slate from the next financial year. 
"This amount of Rs10 billion will be paid across the board so that 
enough liquidity should go into the economy,"he added.

The minister announced that on Aug 14, the newly-established Micro-
Credit Bank would give first loan to a deserving unemployed person.

"We have decided to revive 114 sick industrial units within next 90 
days for which Rs7 billion will be offered by the government,"he 
said, adding that such units had already been identified.

He said the government had also decided to deregulate the furnace 
oil and LPG prices to remove complaints about corruption and to end 
black-marketing.

In reply to a question, the minister dispelled the impression that 
the defence budget had been reduced. "In fact, there is a 10pc 
increase in the defence budget as we could not be careless about 
our security, and growing threat perceptions in the region".

When asked why the government had reclassified defence pensions by 
putting it in the civil administration, Finance Secretary Younus 
Khan said that any pension did not form part of defence budget. "We 
decided to do so not to overhang our defence budget."

He told another questioner that the privatization process had been 
accelerated as LPG companies were being put up for sale next month. 
Similarly, two of the state entities would also be privatized in 
July.

"But let met tell you here that we would not privatize everything 
as we are going to have corporatization of many institutions."The 
National Bank would not be privatized but its 5 to 10pc shares 
would be initially sold through stock market. He claimed that a 
number of investors from the Middle East had shown interest to take 
part in the privatization programme.

The finance secretary told a reporter that bank borrowing would 
decrease during the next financial year as "we have decided to 
lower the budget deficit from Rs193 billion to Rs162 billion to 
achieve deficit target of 4.6pc of the GDP against the 6.1pc in 
1999-2000".

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20000624 
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'No cut in export finance rates'
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, June 23: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz candidly told 
textile millers on Friday that there would be no further cut in 
export financing rates: exporters currently get export finance at 
eight per cent.

"The minister was very clear on this that there is going to be no 
reduction in export financing rates,"vice chairman, All Pakistan 
Textile Mills Association Nadeem Maqbool told Dawn by telephone. He 
said after attending a three-hour meeting at the State Bank head 
office that the minister made it clear that while financing value-
addition in textiles banks would not crowd out weaving and spinning 
sub-sector: the meeting chaired by Shaukat Aziz, was attended by 
Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood, SBP Governor Dr.Ishrat Husain, 
heads of banks and DFIs and representatives of the textile 
industry.

The meeting which was convened to discuss textile-vision 2005, 
discussed textile financing under the five-year policy aimed at 
preparing Pakistan to compete with other nations in a quota and 
restrictions-free textile market by 2005. The chairman of Small & 
Medium Enterprises Authority (SMEDA) Iqbal Mustafa briefed the 
meeting on textile vision 2005 and also on financing to small and 
medium enterprises.

"The minister said the country needs to have a better weaving and 
spinning base for promoting value-addition,"Maqbool said. He said 
facts related to poor value-addition in Pakistan came to the for at 
the meeting and quoted SMEDA chief as having told the meeting that 
value-added textile exports of Pakistan stand around $1.5 billion 
only.

SBP chief had said on Thursday that Pakistan's value-added textile 
exports stood at $800 million-far below than $4.5 billion of 
Bangladesh-a country which does not produce cotton.

Participants of the meeting said that textile millers told heads of 
banks and DFIs that they would need a bank financing of around $400 
million in the current and next year for expansion and BMR 
projects. They said the bankers replied that they would look at 
each financing proposal individually and evaluate it in a most 
professional manner before lending money. 

 The participants said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz appreciated 
the position taken by the banks and DFIs and made it clear that the 
government had no intention to dictate its terms for financing 
textile projects.

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20000619 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Survey form: NTN holders get facility
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 18: The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) said on 
Sunday that the Finance Ordinance, issued here on Saturday, had 
amended the Survey for the Documentation of the National Economy 
Ordinance 2000 the way it had been agreed by the government and 
traders.

In a statement issued here, a spokesman for the CBR explained that 
the ordinance had exempted the holders of the national tax number 
(NTN) from filling out the column 13 of the business survey form. 
This section of the form required them to declare value of stocks.

The ordinance had also notified that the information gathered 
through the survey would be issued for the financial year 1999- 
2000 and these concessions were for existing NTN holders, the 
spokesman added.

The spokesman said the amendments had given a chance to the 
existing NTN holders to declare their stocks in their income tax 
returns for the financial year ending on June 31, 2000.

He clarified that small traders were exempted from the General 
Sales Tax (GST) as it was imposed only on those traders who had 
annual turnover of more than Rs1 million.

He also dispelled the impression that retailers were required to 
maintain a complex record. He explained that the retailers who were 
required to pay a turnover tax needed to maintain a simple record. 
This record should contain a daily record of purchase, including 
the date of purchaser, items purchased, quantity and value of 
purchase.

The sales record needed to maintain a total value of the sale of 
the day. On the basis of the record of the month, a sales tax 
return had to be submitted by the 15th of the next month, he 
explained.

The return, he said, was submitted to a designated branch of the 
National Bank and at no stage any other office had to be visited.

The retailer was also required to keep a record of utility bills, 
he said, adding that in the return to be filed at the end of each 
quarter he was required to declare the value of stock.

The sales tax return, he argued, was simple as it only required the 
name and address of business, sales tax registration number, record 
of purchase and total sales without the sale of items exempted from 
the GST.

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Sindh to net Rs850m farm tax
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Reporter

KARACHI, June 21: Sindh Governor Mohammad Mian Soomro has no idea 
if the tax on agricultural income being proposed by the federal 
government would be different or identical to that of the Sindh 
Agricultural Income Tax (Amendment) Ordinance '97.

"The federal government wants uniformity in agricultural income 
tax"the Governor replied when asked by a number of reporters to 
spell out the features of the new agricultural income tax after he 
delivered the budget speech on Wednesday.

He was not sure when would the provincial government receive the 
draft of the new agricultural income tax ordinance.

The Sindh budget documents show an expected collection of Rs850m 
next year from agriculturists in Sindh. It also show a recovery of 
Rs650m in the current outgoing fiscal of '99-2000.

Strangely, the Sindh government promulgated the Agricultural Income 
Tax (Amendment) Ordinance '97 only recently after the Supreme Court 
gave mandate to the military rulers for legislation. The Sindh 
Board of Revenue did not make any serious effort to collect taxes 
from the kharif when three main cash crops-cotton, rice and 
sugarcane- are sown and harvested.

Reports suggest that the Board of Revenue is in process of making 
assessment of the rabi crop income after the agriculturists 
reported to have harvested a rich wheat crop of three million tons.

According to the federal finance minister, an increase of 25% in 
the official procurement price of wheat has injected additional 
liquidity of Rs 50 to Rs 60bn in the rural areas. A rough estimate 
shows that agriculturists in Sindh have earned additional income of 
at least Rs 15 to Rs 20bn in the last rabi.

The Board of Revenue is expected to serve demand notices for tax 
collection from agriculturists and the recovery would begin 
sometimes late July. The amount of Rs 650m agricultural income tax 
recovery shown in the budget document is therefore just an 
estimated figure and not an actual recovery.

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20000624 
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Privatization programme: Shaukat asks banks to lure investors
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, June 23: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Friday asked the 
local and foreign banks to market around the recently initiated 
privatisation programme in Pakistan.

He was addressing the heads of banks, DFIs and investment banks at 
State Bank of Pakistan during a post budget briefing for banks. SBP 
Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain was also present on the occasion.

He said Pakistan was gearing up to launch a transparent 
privatisation programme which will be done partly through sale of 
strategic shares of state enterprises and floating of 5 percent to 
10 percent shares through stock market.

He said first to come on the list includes National Bank of 
Pakistan, meter unit and LPG of SSGC, etc, adding that overseas 
investors have shown keen interest in PTCL and PSO.

The minister said banks particularly global banks can play a role 
of catalyst in Pakistan's privatisation programme locally and 
globally.

He was of the view that the banks can identify good managements in 
Pakistan which can purchase public sector companies on the list of 
privatisation.

He said the banks can also finance the purchase of privatisation 
deals for good management companies under five to six year 
repayment arrangement.

"I think banks should also pay attention to this side as it is a 
part of corporate financing. The banks, of course should do 
financing on logical basis to ensure a good cash flow,"Mr Aziz 
said.

He pointed out that it is a universal approach by the banks.

The minister suggested the heads of banks to go to Middle East as 
not only sufficient finances were available there but investors 
were also interested in the Pakistani companies being privatised.

He was of the view that instead of Pakistan government going to M.E 
to market its privatisation programme, the banks must go there for 
the purpose. He said two banks can go in a group to at least two 
countries and market there the privatised units.

He said the government will also arrange a presentation by 
Privatisation Commission for banks, but before that banks should 
also initiate at their own for the purpose.

The minister also suggested banks, DFIs and investment institutions 
to offer adequate corporate financing as the area required maximum 
concentration.

Similarly, he said banks should also take up the issue of dead and 
stuck up assets with the government. He said government has taken 
decision to release 1,100 cars at the ports

Giving details of the salient features of the federal budget, the 
minister said several steps have been taken for the development of 
banking and financial sector.

He said removal of non-accrual interest on banks will cost Rs 700 
million to the national exchequer.

Similarly, he said exemption from 5 percent surcharge will also 
help banks.

To a question, he said the income tax rate of 55 percent is higher 
on banks and the government will take this issue in the next year 
budget.

He offered banks to utilize the services of National Accountability 
Bureau (NAB) for the collection of stuck up loans and said NAB will 
act only after State Bank's signal and approval of the CE's 
committee.-APP

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20000624 
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World Bank offers $90m for poverty alleviation
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 23: The World Bank has offered $90 million to 
Pakistan for poverty alleviation, specially by providing small 
loans to unemployed youth.

"We have been offered $90 million by the World Bank for undertaking 
a three-years poverty reduction programme", stated the chief 
executive of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Kamal Hayat.

He told Dawn that PPAF was a private organization operating with 
the help of credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He said 
the Bank had promised to offer another $100 million if the PPAF 
showed some success during the next three years.

Mr Hayat said the PPAF was the single biggest programme launched in 
the private sector to reduce poverty both in rural and urban areas.

Giving the details, the Fund chief executive said out of the $90 
million, $45 million would be spent on extending micro credit, $30 
million for building community physical infrastructure while the 
remaining amount had been kept for capacity building which meant 
the training of the NGOs.

"This would be the first time in the history of Pakistan that the 
funds, being given to the NGOs, will have to be returned to the 
PPAF", Mr Hayat said adding these NGOs would pay back the money 
with certain mark up.

Asked how would PPAF ensure the corruption-free loaning through 
NGOs, he said there would be a full monitoring system of the 
programme and that auditors would also be appointed to see that the 
funds was not misused.

Responding to a question he said so far 12 NGOs had been offered 
money. "We are giving them money on quarterly basis and further 
funds are offered keeping in view their past performances", he said 
adding formal agreements for Rs800 million had so far been signed 
with the NGOs in this regard.

To a question he said funds had been given to those NGOs which had 
the experience of two years. He said it was being ensured that the 
NGOs operating in Sindh should also get adequate share to help 
reduce poverty in the province.

Besides NGOs, Mr Hayat pointed out that the task of alleviating 
poverty was also being done with the help of the community-based 
organizations.

To another question he said PPAF was different from the 
government's newly-established micro credit bank. He said foreign 
donors were also interested to provide additional funds for 
improving literacy rate in the country.

The fund chief executive said the government had done a good job by 
establishing a micro credit bank with initial money of Rs01 billion 
to provide small loans to the people.

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SBP allows rupee-slide by 20 paisa on inter-bank market
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, June 22: The State Bank on Thursday allowed banks to buy 
and sell the US dollar in a new unofficial band of Rs52.10 and 
Rs52.30 - up from Rs51.95/Rs52.10. Bankers said that the greenback 
changed hands at Rs 52.20/Rs 52.27 in spot transactions in the 
inter-bank market after the SBP move. Currency dealers said that 
the dollar closed 10 paisa up at Rs54.70 and Rs54.75 in the open 
market against the Wednesday close of Rs54.60 and Rs54.65.

Explaining the rationale for a new informal exchange rate band, the 
SBP governor, Dr Ishrat Husain, said at Karachi Chamber of Commerce 
& Industry that it was done because of more demand for foreign 
exchange in the market on Thursday. He also referred to the 
depreciation of Indian rupee while commenting on the downward 
adjustment of Pakistan rupee.

This becomes an important reference when seen in the backdrop of 
the total depreciation in the value of Indian and Pakistan currency 
since July 1, 1999. As per Dawn's calculation, both the currencies 
depreciated about one per cent during this period. The Indian rupee 
fell to 44.68 to US dollar on 22nd instant from 43.32 on July 2 
last year whereas Pakistan rupee fell to 52.30 from 51.63.

Treasurers of local and foreign banks told this scribe that there 
was no unusual demand for foreign exchange in inter-bank market on 
Thursday. They said that a 20 paisa depreciation was allowed in the 
value of the rupee as part of the State Bank strategy of bringing 
down the value of the rupee in phases.

Bankers were of the view that there was also no panic-driven 
forward buying by importers after the fall of the rupee.

The chairman of All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Mohsin 
Aziz, opined that the downward adjustment was a welcome move from 
the exporters' point of view. He said that the APTMA recognized the 
SBP right to regulate foreign exchange market on the basis of 
demand and supply.

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20000620 
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Shaukat on import of furnace oil: Govt monopoly to go on July 1
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, June 19: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Monday the 
government had decided to deregulate import of furnace oil from 
July 1. He told Dawn at the end of his press conference at State 
Bank here that commercial importers would be allowed to import only 
furnace oil and not other petroleum products. He said state-run 
Pakistan State Oil would continue importing furnace oil as usual.

Earlier he told the press that the ministry of commerce would 
release a detailed trade policy later this month adding that the 
policy would focus on export growth.

He said the State Bank would manage foreign exchange rates in a 
manner to make sure that exporters maintained competitiveness in 
world markets adding that the market-driven and trade-weighted 
exchange policy would continue. "There is no such move to (do) what 
you alluded to,"he told a reporter who had asked him whether a 
devaluation was on cards.

The State Bank governor, Dr Ishrat Husain said the SBP had so far 
kept the exchange rates stable through intervention in inter-bank 
market and it had a right to do so.

But he would not challenge the observation made by a reporter that 
in addition to intervening into the market the SBP had also put in 
place an informal exchange rate band-currently at Rs 51.95- Rs 
52.10 to a dollar. "This is moral suasion. There is no mystery 
about it,"Husain explained and went on to say that the unusual 
circumstances the country is passing through call for it. In 
central banking jargon moral suasion means persuading banks to do 
what a central bank wants them to do-without saying so in a formal 
manner.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told a questioner that "Ushr will be 
treated as deductible against agricultural income tax"in the 
provinces. Details would be announced in the provincial budgets.

Talking about transparency in tax administration, the minister said 
the government would issue a list of tax payers every month showing 
collection from them in different heads of direct and indirect 
taxes.

Replying a question, he said it was wrong to presume that anti-
smuggling drive had been abandoned. He disclosed that in line with 
its anti-smuggling strategy the government had cancelled 27 out of 
total 41 licences for diplomatic bonded warehouses. These 
warehouses were found to have been misused as smuggling channel.

About tax reforms, he said the first meeting of proposed tax reform 
commission was held in Islamabad on Sunday on the arrival of its 
chairman-designate Shahid Hasan, a former World Banker. He said 
members of the commission would include federal finance secretary, 
CBR chairman, one representative each of large and small size 
businessmen, a nominee of tax bar and a chartered accountant.

The minister said UK had shown willingness to offer aid in the 
shape of technical assistance for carrying out tax reforms. He said 
a team of British experts had flown in in Islamabad adding that 
they would shortly start negotiations with the CBR on this subject.

Talking about corruption in the Central Board of Revenue and in 
other government departments, he said the process of flushing out 
the corrupt would continue. He said suspension of more than 1000 
CBR employees on charges of corruption was the beginning of a 
process adding that a similar exercise would be undertaken at all 
other departments.

Replying a question on the working of National Accountability 
Bureau, he said cases of bank employees involved in unscrupulous 
activities would be sent to NAB after screening by the State Bank. 
The minister said NAB would also need a go-ahead from a high-level 
committee headed by him before laying hands on businessmen.

Replying a question, the minister said that National Finance 
Commission would meet within six to eight weeks to finalize its 
recommendations. He said it would be premature to say what formula 
would be applied for resource distribution under in new NFC awards.

The minister who is the arbitrator in Sindh-WAPDA dispute over 
electricity bills said he would soon hold meetings with the two 
sides and announce a final verdict.

The finance minister said the allocation of Rs 133.5 billion for 
the defence sector in the 2000-2001 budget represented a 10 per 
cent increase in absolute terms. But he said that despite this 
increase in defence budget Pakistan had not moved away from its 
declared policy of not entering into arms race in the region. He 
said the increase in defence budget - much lower than that of India 
(28.5 per cent) - was meant for maintaining a defence capability.

Talking about return of F-16 money by the USA, Aziz said the USA 
government was still examining Pakistan request for repayment of 
$80 million against F-16 in cash.

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Panjgur power plant starts production
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Correspondent

QUETTA, June 22: The 45-MW Panjgur Power House has started 
production with the completion of its construction with a total 
cost of Rs1.5 billion. The Quetta Electric Supply Company (QUESCO) 
said here on Thursday that the Chief Executive, 
Gen Pervez Musharraf would formally inaugurate the project shortly.

The test transmission from the unit was conducted on June 17 
without load after which power supply to the entire town was 
started successfully. Following the completion of work related to 
feed back transmission, electric supply to the entire Makran 
division from the unit would begin in a few days, the company said.

The chairman of Wapda, Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan, had lately visited 
the division and directed the chief executive of Qesco, Brig Agha 
Ahmed Gul, to take appropriate measures to solve the chronic 
problem of less power supply to the region.

Brig Gul had proposed construction of the power house by utilizing 
the machinery which was laying idle at the Sheikh Mandah Thermal 
Power Station. 

 After getting a green signal, work on the project was started 
under the supervision of Brig Gul who accomplished the task in a 
record period of a few months.

The Qesco chief has appreciated the relentless efforts of the 
project engineer and his entire team for demonstrating their 
skills.

Greeting people of Makran division, he assured them that the 
project would cater to their needs at least for 10 years.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20000618
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The sole statesman 
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Ardeshir Cowasjee

"The government of the United States invariably does the right 
thing after having exhausted all other possibilities."So said 
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the premier statesman of last 
century.

Had Churchill been alive today, and still ruminating over the loss 
of the Empire ("I have not become the King's first minister in 
order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire") he 
would have said of Pakistan of the year 2000 that the government of 
General Pervez Musharraf makes the right noises but too often 
swiftly retracts its words when one or more of the unrepresentative 
obscurantists of the country voices an objection.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a proud man, proud for good reason; by the 
overriding force of his indomitable will, and that alone, he carved 
out a country for us. Not following the form of his day, Jinnah did 
not go to jail for a single day, never embarked on a hunger strike, 
did not encourage rowdy protest marches, he abhorred any form of 
violence. Liberal-minded and self-confident he did what he liked, 
ate and drank what he liked, dressed as he liked, encouraged others 
to do the same, held his head high - and kept to his faith.

"Do your duty and have faith in God. There is no power on earth 
that can undo Pakistan."This conviction was soon to be proved 
wrong. His buoyant optimism and his firm certitude in the future of 
this country clouded his perception of the calibre and character of 
the leaders who would immediately and later follow him. He failed 
to conceive that through their lack of ability, lack of integrity, 
their avarice, their unquenchable greed, their hunger for power, 
pomp, pelf and position, they would be the undoing of Pakistan.

He was the sole statesman this country has had. Those who followed 
were small men, narrow of thought, fearful of others, who grabbed 
at today and ignored the morrow. Within a quarter of a century half 
of Jinnah's Pakistan was lost. What was left slid swiftly down the 
slithery hill. It is now an overpopulated, illiterate, bankrupt 
country, the principal aim of its leadership being to fight to 
acquire a disputed territory. Its main claim to fame, of which it 
rarely ceases to remind the world at large, is its nuclear prowess.

To repeat (and it bears repetition ad nauseam), when Jinnah 
addressed the first constituent assembly of the country on August 
11 1947 he embodied in his speech the core of his philosophy, his 
ideas, and his vision for the state he had founded. It was a fine 
piece of rhetoric; too fine, too moral, too democratic, too 
liberal, too full of justice, too idealistic for the Philistines. 
This speech has been interpreted in many different ways, it has 
been subject to distortion, it has inspired fear in successive 
governments which would have been far happier had it never been 
delivered. It is to the misfortune of the people of this country 
that their so-called leaders have refused to live with, or up to, 
the principles by which Jinnah wished them to be guided.

It is a matter of national shame that, from top to bottom, the 
citizens of this country live in dread of contamination by the 
truth - such is the measure of self-deception, insecurity, 
disunity, indiscipline, and faithlessness.

On August 11, 1947, before the flag of Pakistan had even been 
unfurled, Jinnah told his people and their future legislators :

"You are free, free to go to your temples, you are free to go to 
your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of 
Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that 
has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, 
history shows that in England conditions some time ago were much 
worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and 
the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some 
states in existence where there are discriminations made and bars 
imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting 
in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no 
discrimination, no distinction between one caste or creed and 
another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we 
are all citizens and equal citizens of one state. The people of 
England in course of time had to face the realities of the 
situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens 
placed upon them by the government of their country and they went 
through that fire step by step. today, you might say with justice 
that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now 
is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain 
and they are all members of the nation. Now I think we should keep 
that in front of us as our ideal.....".

[This particular passage has been subject to deliberate distortion 
and misinterpretation, inspiring the dishonest dogmatists who 
misappropriated the country after his death with such fear and 
unease that in the official biography of Jinnah commissioned by the 
Government of Pakistan, written by Hector Bolitho, published in 
1954, it was censored to falsely read : ".....You may belong to any 
religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the 
fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens 
of one State..... Now, I think we should keep that in front of us 
as our ideal....". (Most of the above passages were ommitted).]

That same August day, he made it clear to the future legislators 
and administrators that "the first duty of a government is to 
maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious 
beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state."He told 
them he would not tolerate the evils of bribery, corruption, 
blackmarketeering and "this great evil, the evil of nepotism and 
jobbery,"the daily bread of powermongers. Little did he know that 
day that these prime evils were to become prerequisites for the 
survival of the politicians in and out of uniform and of the 
administrators of all ranks and grades for the maintenance of their 
power.

In a way, it was fortunate that Jinnah did not live long enough to 
see the negation of his principles, the perversion of his vision. A 
man of high ideals, of impeccable moral and material honesty, 
tolerant, open-minded, liberal to the core, a consummate statesman 
- his disillusion would have been too great to bear.

This newspaper of record founded by Jinnah carried an editorial on 
December 25 1989, his 113th official birthday, headed 'Back to 
Quaid's ideals', from which I quote :

"At this juncture, a true appreciation and understanding of the 
precepts and practices of the Quaid-i-Azam is crucially important. 
His visionary concepts of statecraft could provide the basic 
guidelines in charting an unfaltering democratic course for the 
nation. What is needed is a revivification of the basic postulates 
that the Father of the Nation enunciated in various speeches and 
policy statments he made during the struggle for, and imemdiately 
after, the creation of Pakistan. A serious effort must be made to 
rediscover the essence of his message and vision from the plethora 
of twisted interpretation of his acts and utterances. We have been 
guilty of passivity in the face of deliberate misrepresentations 
and selective distortions of the Quaid's precepts by a whole tribe 
of charlatans, pretenders and crafty autocrats to serve their 
selfish ends . .. . It was neither theocracy nor feudalism nor 
exploitative capitalism that the Quaid ever approved of. What he 
basically desired was a sovereign state for the Muslims of the 
subcontinent based on the principles of constitutionalism, 
democracy, federalism and Islamic social justice in which the civil 
liberties and human rights of all citizens would be guaranteed 
without any discrimination on any ground whatsoever.. . . . "

Oxford University Press in its Millenium Series has just published 
a book of Jinnah's speeches and statements made in 1947-48, with an 
introduction by S M Burke, historian and writer, successively an 
ICS judge, a diplomat of Pakistan, and Professor and Consultant on 
South Asian studies at the University of Minnesota. It is essential 
reading for the generals and the others who rule over us from 
Islamabad.

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The other drought
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Ayaz Amir

BARREN political landscapes there have been before. But this one, 
more lunar than earthly, takes the cake. Nothing like it has ever 
been seen in Pakistan's history before.

We have had dictatorships in the past but none without a strong and 
lively opposition. Something strange has happened this time. The 
poverty of dictatorship that we are seeing is about evenly matched 
by a poverty of democratic inaction. If Pakistan's military 
saviours are in the dark, no better equipped with clarity and 
purpose are the putative standard-bearers of democracy.

I have yet to make up my mind what makes me reach faster for my 
gun: dispiriting pictures of this government at work or tired 
images of the Muslim League, the PPP and the Grand Democratic 
Alliance at democratic play. The reformers in this government are 
enough to make the stoutest heart quail. The politicos crying in 
the wilderness for some role as political extras would not be hired 
by a director desperate for free help.

Loonies on the internet (a virulent species which makes one rethink 
the advantages of progress) advise me to dispense hope, look on the 
brighter side of things and give this government a chance (as if 
this government was dependent upon my goodwill, and that of others 
like me, for its survival). One of my favourite journalists, the 
sharp-winged Masood Hasan, has also 'suggested' - his suggestion 
coming with all the gentleness of a mild whiplash - that I should 
take time out and write about Brahms, Mozart and Russian tigresses.

A sore point he touches because if I were to write of all the 
Tanias and Lauras I saw and missed during my time in Moscow, my 
tale of lamentation would be loud and long. Since he talks of 
Russian tigresses, has he ever encountered one? To the wise man who 
takes his pleasures as they come, let me say only this: he who has 
not experienced the bracing climate of old Muscovy has seen 
nothing.

But, granted, Masood has a point. One should be cheerful. If anyone 
can believe me, I want to be cheerful. Only for this reason do I 
look kindly upon the varied products meant for domestic consumption 
and export of that famous enterprise in northern Punjab, Murree 
Brewery. But, leaving my humility aside, can anyone please tell me 
what on the national scene is there to be so cheerful about?If 
anyone's idea of fun is General Aziz, Javed Jabbar, General 
Moinuddin Haider or the shenanigans passing for accountability 
under the aegis of the National Accountability Bureau, I can only 
say this is an acquired taste and, in the nature of things, takes 
time to be shared with the same avidity by everyone else. We can of 
course close our eyes to what is happening and hope that in the end 
everything turns out for the best. For such optimism there is a lot 
to be said. If things are not to be changed they must be endured (a 
piece of wisdom every girl learns as she grows older). In God's 
good time everything passes. The statue of every Ozymandias in the 
end lies in the dust. But of what consolation is this to the 
living?

In the whole of Faiz I have found nothing more fatuous than that 
refrain, to which the liberati start dancing, that a time will come 
when crowns will roll in the dust. That prospect of future 
retribution leaves me cold. If crowns in the dust will make me 
happy (of which I am doubtful because with my advancing years I 
have come to like the trappings of monarchy) I would like to see 
them roll before my eyes.

As for Mozart, Brahms and Russian tigresses, all these are spurs to 
movement and action, not quiet aids to resignation and endurance. 
Mozart, I concede, blows no loud trumpets. But Brahms? At his 
finest he is a summons to action, indeed in the same league with 
Beethoven and Wagner. Listen to anything stirring in the concert 
hall and you want to be up and about, your feet ready to stamp, 
your hands eager to clasp a banner. To be sure, there are quiet, 
meditative pieces in the best music, slow movements and funeral 
marches in Beethoven and Wagner that are full of introspection and 
sorrow. But listen carefully and you will note that even in the 
quietest pieces there is a hint of action, a warning of 
thunderbolts yet to strike.

If quiet and resignation is what one is seeking then far better to 
turn to the solace of our own subcontinental music. Indeed ever 
since being able to visit India in March whence I brought back a 
load of lilting stuff, I have listened to nothing but the great 
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Malikarjun Mansur, Pandit 
Kumar Gandharva, and the sweet and irresistible Kishori Amonkar. 
This is not vain name-dropping. Only an attempt to show what in 
this country we miss.

If it had been always like this there would have been no regrets. 
But it was not. I have it on the authority of the Urdu columnist 
Abdul Qadir Hasan that when the great Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was 
still here in Pakistan, of an evening he would fortify himself with 
a few of the best, or what was available, and come down to the 
Lahore railway station where he would walk up and down the length 
of the platform quietly humming a tune to himself. What wouldn't it 
be worth to have this scene revisited? But the great Ustad did not 
remain for long in the cultural desert that we made of our land. 
When the opportunity beckoned he fled away.

Since March not once have I listened to the great western masters. 
Somehow they do not answer to the mood created by our present band 
of Kemalist reformers. After reading the morning papers, an 
increasingly irksome chore, and after doing this or that on my 
computer screen, I seek forgetfulness and oblivion, not in any wine 
that Ghalib would recognize but, in the instruments and voices of 
our own music - music once as much ours as anyone else's but now 
dead to us just as so much else that was fine and redeeming in our 
lives is also dead.

Politics does not exist in a vacuum. It is beaten into shape by a 
host of things, foremost among them a people's sense or experience 
of culture. If in the collective existence of a people there is no 
culture - no rhythm, no poetry, no music - how on earth can there 
be balance and proportion - the pre-requisites of democracy - in 
their political life? Right at the beginning of Plato's Republic, 
one of the persons taking part in the conversation says about 
inherited property that it is a great blessing for its possessor 
because it frees him from want. In Pakistan we have stood this 
principle upon its head. Amongst us not the poor but the most rich 
have been the most greedy. For someone suffering from want to be a 
thief is understandable - at least up to a point. But for the 
chosen of Mammon, which is the case with our governing class 
(whether dressed in khaki or mufti), to follow the same path shows 
nothing so much as a basic want of culture.

Why then bemoan the absence of inspiring figures in our midst? 
Given the climate that prevails across our land, we can only get 
the yahoos we see on the national stage. No point in naming names. 
Run a thick comb, forget about a fine one, through the serried 
ranks of the national leadership and what will you get? Dandruff, 
oily matter and other decaying stuff. We keep saying we are a 
nation of 140 million souls as if numbers alone can confer 
greatness upon a nation. We forget to add that the foremost 
qualities of this mass of humanity are philistinism and illiteracy 
and, lest our manhood be questioned, an unrivalled talent for 
reproduction.

Do I exaggerate? Possibly. But then, pray, point out to me the 
outstanding individuals who lend lustre to our fair land: the 
artists, musicians, men of letters, or even gymnasts or athletes, 
who can give company to the Immortals. Or if this be too severe a 
test, let us run another one. Who are the most prominent Pakistanis 
these days? Professor Oppenheimer aka Dr A. Q. Khan with his gift 
for self-promotion and publicity. His Holiness the President, Rafiq 
Ahmed Tarar. Certainly the Redeemer himself. At a stretch a few 
faceless generals and a few nondescript ministers. And, sobering 
thought, the traders' leader, Umar Sailya, and the most successful 
national politician currently on offer, Barrister Sultan Mahmood 
Chaudhry of Azad Kashmir, who has already seen off two prime 
ministers and is now into his third Pakistani government. Name me 
any others and I will stand educated.

We should still be cheerful. No quarrelling with this. But there is 
no harm in realizing at the same time that cheerfulness in these 
circumstances requires all the stoicism of a Roman army.

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20000624
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Dialogue with Washington
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Afzaal Mahmood

THE first formal engagement between Islamabad and Washington after 
the military takeover in Pakistan indicates that a thaw has taken 
place and their bilateral relations are now on the mend.

The recent extensive talks between Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar 
and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott on issues of mutual 
concern, with focus being primarily on the nuclear issue and 
regional security, have taken place after a lapse of 16 months. 
First, the Kargil crisis and its aftermath and then the events of 
October 12 last year prevented the resumption of formal dialogue 
between the two countries. The US's willingness to engage Islamabad 
in a formal dialogue on issues of mutual concern is a clear 
indication of the appreciation by Washington of the ground reality 
in Pakistan by Washington. That augurs well for the future of their 
bilateral relations.

Both sides seem satisfied with the tenor of the dialogue. Both 
Pakistan and the US have described the talks as "positive, 
productive and useful."According to Mr Sattar, the atmosphere was 
"very friendly"and he found his interlocutors "empathetic"to 
Pakistan's concerns. "Everyone I met looked forward to better 
relations between the US and Pakistan."He was, however, frank 
enough to admit that Pakistan's relations with the United states 
remained "troubled but friendly, at times intense, but always open 
to amicable discussion, so that even when crisis seemed to be 
impending we have generally been able to achieve a measure of 
understanding and accommodation if not concord and agreement."

The nuclear issue and the security situation in the region, in the 
context of Pakistan-India relations, appear to have dominated the 
discussions in Washington. America urged Pakistan to sign CTBT, and 
Mr Abdul Sattar's response was that, while Pakistan believed the 
CTBT to be a good treaty, no decision would be taken without a 
national consensus. Pakistan's stand on the CTBT, which is no 
different from the one adopted by India, was justified by Mr Sattar 
on the ground that there was no rationale for quick action since 
the CTBT was not likely to come into force in the near future.

Another topic relating to the nuclear issue which came up for 
discussion was the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) which is 
being addressed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. While 
assuring Pakistan's cooperation on the FMCT, Mr Sattar made it 
clear to his interlocutors that the treaty should be non-
discriminatory and verifiable.

Pakistan's views on the FMCT are linked to its assessment of what 
it needs for minimum credible nuclear deterrence vis-a-vis India. 
Therefore it cannot agree to any demand for a moratorium on the 
production of fissile material before the conclusion of the FMCT. 
Fissile material consists of weapon-grade plutonium of highly 
enriched uranium and constitutes the essential building block of 
nuclear weapons. Islamabad is in favour of the FMCT which promotes 
both nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament because 
otherwise the treaty would be discriminatory and thus ineffective.

Another point of concern for Pakistan is the unequal stockpiles of 
fissile material existing at the global, regional and sub-regional 
levels. By cutting off future production of fissile materials, 
without taking into account the existing stockpiles at the global, 
regional and sub-regional levels, FMCT will be freezing a situation 
of nuclear imbalances and creating more security problems than 
solving.

At his press conference in Washington, after his talks with Strobe 
Talbott and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Sattar dealt 
with the question of US sanctions against Pakistan. He called for 
the lifting of these sanctions as some of these singled out 
Pakistan and were thus not consonant with friendly relations. He 
hoped that the United States government and Congress would review 
the Pakistan-specific sanctions and adopt a more general, even-
handed and balanced stance on the issue.

The two sides also discussed Pakistan-India relations and the 
continuing tension over Kashmir between the two countries. The 
increasing confrontation between New Delhi and Islamabad and the 
danger it poses to stability in the region must have figured 
prominently in the talks. Despite the US prodding for a more 
flexible approach, India has refused to talk to Pakistan unless its 
conditions are fulfilled. It is unfortunate that New Delhi has even 
rejected Pakistan's June 14 offer relating to a strategic restraint 
regime in both the nuclear and conventional fields on "a reciprocal 
basis."The Pakistani offer to consider any restraint arrangement 
on a reciprocal basis aims at avoiding a nuclear conflict or an 
arms race, nuclear and conventional, and at promoting confidence-
building in South Asia.

It may be recalled that the strategic restraint regime offer of 
June 14 was first made by Pakistan during the October 15-18, 1998, 
foreign secretary-level talks held in Islamabad. Nuclear risk 
reduction measures came up for discussion during Mr Vajpayee's 
Lahore visit and the memorandum of understanding signed by the two 
foreign secretaries on February 20, 1999, sought to ensure that the 
two sides would engage in bilateral consultations on security 
concerns and nuclear doctrines with a view to "developing measures 
for confidence-building in the nuclear and conventional fields, 
aimed at avoidance of conflict."

By terming the Pakistani offer of June 14 as a "propaganda"ploy, 
the Vajpayee government has wasted one more opportunity to bring 
the two countries back to the negotiating table through a 
resumption of bilateral talks. It is strange that while the 
Vajpayee government was prepared to discuss with Islamabad a 
strategic restraint regime in the nuclear and conventional fields 
in October 1998 and February 1999, it is not prepared to do so now.

New Delhi has already rejected General Pervez Musharraf's offer of 
resuming the dialogue on contentious issues without any 
preconditions. Now by rejecting the June 14 offer, which was in 
fact in conformity with the Lahore Declaration, New Delhi has 
declined to remove a tool of mutual annihilation in potentially 
dangerous situations in times of tension or conflict. The rejection 
of that offer makes little political or strategic sense.

A dialogue on a strategic restraint regime can enable India and 
Pakistan to move towards conflict avoidance and confidence-building 
which in turn, will promote peace and security in the region. In 
rejecting it the intention apparently is to avoid any meaningful 
contact with Pakistan which might force the pace for a broader kind 
peace and normalization talks between the two countries which India 
wants to avoid at this stage.

If the political compulsions of Mr Vajpayee do not allow him to 
hold talks with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, wisdom and common 
sense demand that the two countries should at least initiate a 
security dialogue on the nuclear issue to achieve a modus vivendi 
and develop the ground rules for coexistence in the nuclear era. 
Recognizing its responsibilities in the region, New Delhi should 
give up its present non-engagement stance towards Islamabad and 
acknowledge the fundamental fact that if the possibility of a 
catastrophe in a nuclear-armed subcontinent is to be avoided, there 
is no alternative to dialogue and detente between India and 
Pakistan.


===================================================================
SPORTS
20000622 
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Razzaq youngest bowler to record Test hat trick
-------------------------------------------------------------------
GALLE (Sri Lanka), June 21: Abdur Razzaq became the youngest player 
to claim a Test match hat trick as the last six Sri Lanka wickets 
tumbled for just 18 runs on the opening day of the second Test 
against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka were all out for 181, Pakistan replying with 74 for two 
by the close. Medium pacer Razzaq, 20, took the wickets of Romesh 
Kaluwitharana for four, Rangana Herath and Ravindra Pushpakumara.

He became only the second Pakistan bowler to achieve the feat after 
Wasim Akram who has claimed hat tricks twice against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan innings fell apart after a 116-run fifth wicket 
partnership between Mahela Jayawardene and Ranatunga had been 
broken. Jayawardene made 72 and Ranatunga 51.

Ranatunga was run out and Jayawardene, who hit one six and eight 
fours in his 194-minute knock, was caught at slip.

In the first session to play, Waqar Younis ripped through the Sri 
Lanka top order, reducing them to 67 for four. Marvan Atapattu was 
Waqar's first victim. He was caught behind for one with the score 
on 13.

Waqar then struck two further blows, dismissing Russel Arnold for 
five and Aravinda de Silva for four to claim figures of three for 
25 from nine overs.-Reuters

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20000619 
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Rashid offers to testify at Cronje hearing
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, June 18: Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif on 
Sunday said he would record a statement at the South African 
inquiry into match-fixing allegations if his testimony was sought.

"It will be an honour for me because if I can help eradicate the 
malice from cricket I will leave no chance,"Latif told AFP.

Reports from South Africa suggested Latif and Indian captain 
Mohammad Azharuddin may be called by a commission probing 
corruption in cricket.

The commission has heard a confession over bribe-taking from sacked 
South African captain Hansie Cronje.

"Cronje's confession was not full because he has hidden some names. 
He should have named Australian players who are also involved,"
Latif said.

The 30-year-old Latif led a crusade against match-fixing in 
Pakistan, alleging involvement of teammates.

"For me match-fixing in Pakistan is history and players have been 
punished, I am satisfied, but its now the turn of other countries 
to take the matter seriously,"he said.-AFP

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