------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 06 May 2000 Issue : 06/19 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Border talks begin with India + No military help to Colombo + Pakistan denies involvement: US terms South Asia hub of terrorism + Bara traders decide to contact politicians + Judges took oath in national interest, says CJ + IPU suspends Pakistan's membership + Foreign Office rejects US report + Chashma Nuclear Reactor goes 'critical' + Ban on trade unions in WAPDA lifted: Umar + Attorney-general opposes relief to Nawaz, others + Sindh slams Punjab over wheat sale to NWFP + Provinces to get 90% of poverty funds: Shaukat + Army top brass briefed on LoC --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Budget 2000-2001: Agenda to provide basis for IMF credit + Tax survey, assessment: CBR set to net Rs3 billion from Karachi + Sailiya gives May 10 deadline for talks + Mission coming to Islamabad: IMF ready to back reforms + Vegetables, poultry become costlier + Cut in Internet rate to promote IT: minister + Cotton, yarn hedge market: Proposal under study: Dawood + State Bank of Pakistan clarifies + Shaukat's China visit to focus on stalled projects + General Sales Tax, Income Tax survey postponed + Software park feasibility under study + State Bank of Pakistan to launch website --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Till the rains come Ayaz Amir + Intimations of mortality Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Contracts to be amended to offset bookies + Saleh beats Naveen to retain snooker trophy + First Test begins: Ambrose sends Pakistan reeling

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NATIONAL NEWS
20000504 
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Border talks begin with India
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ISLAMABAD, May 3: The biannual India-Pakistan border talks between 
the Pakistan Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force began on 
Wednesday at Jalandhar, India.

Talking to newsmen before departure, head of the Pakistan 
delegation Major-Gen Abdul Qadir, who is also the director general 
of the Pakistan Rangers, said discussion on escalation of tension 
along the borders went out of the purview of talks which were held 
in accordance with an agreed code of conduct. "However, Pakistan is 
not interested in creating tension (along the borders)," he said, 
adding that the talks would not cover national-level issues.

According to a handout issued by the Pakistan Rangers, the meeting 
is part of a mutually agreed programme and aimed at coordination of 
measures being taken by the two forces to maintain sanctity of the 
border line. 

The two sides will discuss matters encompassing a wide range of 
issues, including smuggling, illegal border crossing, drug 
trafficking, repair and maintenance of border pillars, cattle 
grazing and repatriation of inadvertent crossers. The meeting will 
continue till May 6. -NNI

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20000505  
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No military help to Colombo: 
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Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, May 4: Pakistan on Thursday asked India to drop pre-
conditions for talks if it really sought resumption of a peace 
dialogue between them. Accusing India of launching a "hate 
campaign" 
and a propaganda war against Pakistan, Foreign Office spokesman 
Tariq Altaf told a news briefing: "There is no doubt that it is war 
of a kind".

To a question about a recent suggestion by the chief executive, Gen 
Pervez Musharraf, to the Indian prime minister for a meeting at a 
neutral Middle East venue, the spokesman said: "It shows our 
positive approach to dialogue at the highest level and our 
willingness to resolve the outstanding disputes, particularly the 
core issue of Jammu and Kashmir".

He said the Indian leader's negative response towards the CE's 
offer also showed the negative attitude of India, which, he added, 
needed to undergo a change. "Intransigence is part of their 
perennial attitude," he observed.

The spokesman told a questioner that Sri Lanka had requested both 
India and Pakistan for help against Tamil Tigers. He did not 
elaborate the point.

He, however, declared that Pakistan upheld the sovereignty of Sri 
Lanka which had accused India of assisting the Tamil invasion of 
Jaffna town.

He rejected the Delhi charge of using Pakistan missions in Nepal 
and Bangladesh for spying against India, saying that was also part 
of the same malicious anti-Pakistan propaganda. "One expects 
greater intensity in this campaign if they don't succeed," he 
added.

About Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar's visit to Saudi Arabia from 
May 6 to 8, the spokesman said it was in pursuance of Pakistan's 
continuous consultations with the Saudi leadership on important 
regional developments and international issues.

"With Saudi Arabia, we have very substantive and special 
relationship at all levels - at the highest as well as at the 
people-to-people level," Mr Altaf observed.

He pointed out that there had been many developments in the region 
in recent times, many important visits had taken place and the 
situation remained difficult about which the Saudi leaders would be 
briefed.

To a question about Osama bin Laden, the spokesman said the foreign 
minister would brief the Saudi leaders on Pakistan's "position" if 
the issue came under discussion.

He deplored the killing of nine people by Indian artillery and 
mortar firing on Wednesday across the Line of Control in the 
Chakoti sector. It was, he said, a proof of Indian behaviour of 
wanton killing of innocent civil population and raising tension 
across the LoC. He rejected the Indian allegation that the firing 
was made to prevent "infiltrators".

CONTACT WITH UN: The Pakistan government was bringing the issue of 
May 3 killing to the notice of the UN secretary-general, an FO 
statement said.

Pakistan condemned the killing and demanded India must stop such 
wanton acts and desist from escalating tension in the region. 
Instead of making unprovoked attacks and intimidatory action 
against Pakistan, India should commence dialogue, the statement 
said.

The Indian troops using heavy artillery, mortar and field guns 
fired about 300 rounds, in two hours at the villages near the LoC, 
the statement said.

Agencies add: Pakistan said it will back any consensus reached by 
the Kashmiri Mujahideen groups on holding talks with India to 
resolve the dispute.

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20000501 
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Pakistan denies involvement: US terms South Asia hub of terrorism
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Masood Haider

NEW YORK, April 30: The US States Department has, for the first 
time, identified South Asia as a major hub of international 
terrorism, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

A 107-page report, to be published on Monday and a copy of which 
was provided to the paper in advance, accused Pakistan and 
Afghanistan of providing safe haven to international terrorist 
groups. However, it did not include the two countries among states-
sponsors of terrorism.

Washington's list of the states harbouring and aiding terrorists 
since 1993 contained the names of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North 
Korea, Sudan and Syria. Certain tough sanctions automatically apply 
on the states named in the list, the paper said.

"When contacted to comment on the report, Zamir Akram, the deputy 
chief of the Pakistan mission in Washington, vigorously denied that 
his country was supporting or tolerating terrorism," the paper 
said.

"Washington has refused to present evidence to support such 
charges. If they have evidence, they should share it with us," it 
quoted the diplomat as saying.

"We are more of a target and victim of terrorism than the United 
States has ever been. We need to jointly fight against terrorism. 
Charges like this simply get our backs up."

Talking to Dawn Mr Akram said: "The US, when it walked away from 
Afghanistan, abandoned that country (which) fell in the trap of all 
these problems like narcotics, terrorism, gunrunning etc. They 
(Americans) are as responsible as anyone else for creating the 
forces that they are now condemning. Terrorism can only be tackled 
by resolving its root cause and the issues that created it."

Mr Akram, while commenting on Pakistan's support to the Kashmiri 
freedom fighters, said describing their struggle for self-
determination as terrorism would be travesty of facts. "Millions of 
Kashmiri people fighting against the Indian occupation can not be 
called terrorists," he said.

The State Department report has accused Pakistan of harbouring and 
aiding "known terrorists - many fighting to wrest control of 
Kashmir from India."

It said Afghanistan was posing a major terrorist. The US wants 
custody of the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden, and some other Afghan-
trained militants hiding in Afghanistan. Laden has been accused of 
being involved in the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in Africa 
which had caused a lot of casualties.

"While Americans were once threatened primarily by terrorism 
sponsored by states, today they face greater threats from 'loose 
networks' of groups and individuals motivated more by religion or 
ideology than by politics and financed increasingly by drug 
trafficking, crime and illegal trade," the report observed.

Such a network, it added, supported the failed attempt to smuggle 
explosives material and detonating devices into Seattle in 
December, it added referring to the arrest of Ahmed Ressam, an 
Algerian, and several others in connection with the attempted 
millennium bombing.

The assessment is decidedly more upbeat than in years past about 
some other regions, including the Middle East, and notes that while 
terrorist attacks worldwide increased, the number of casualties 
declined, with only five Americans killed last year. Michael A. 
Sheehan, the State Department's coordinator for counter-terrorism, 
told the New York Times that Afghanistan was not added to the list 
because Washington did not recognize its government. Pakistan, it 
claimed, was not included because "it is a friendly state that is 
trying to tackle the problem although its record badly needs 
improvement."

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20000503 
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Bara traders decide to contact politicians
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Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, May 2: Bara market traders of the Muttahida Tajir Ittehad 
(MTI) have decided to contact politicians and representative bodies 
of other provinces' Bara market traders to press the government to 
accept their demands.

A decision to this effect was taken at an MTI meeting held here on 
Tuesday. The Muttahida Tajir Ittehad had also formed a five-member 
committee to contact politicians and Bara market traders of other 
provinces, said a press release issued by Muttahida Tajir Ittehad 
press secretary Ibrahim Shinwari.

The Muttahida Tajir Ittehad had asked the government to reconsider 
its recently announced package, said the press release. The Bara 
traders expressed the resolve that if they were forced to pay 
duties at the rate announced in the package, they would close down 
all the Bara markets for an indefinite period in protest.

The meeting was attended by that faction of the MTI which had 
stayed away from a press conference organized by the MTI on Monday. 
The meeting decided that nobody from the MTI would contact the 
government functionaries or hold meetings with them on behalf of 
the traders. It also decided that action would be taken against 
those members of the Muttahida Tajir Ittehad who tried to contact 
the federal government or paid duties at the rate announced by the 
government. Such persons would be subjected to heavy fines, it 
decided.

Earlier, the meeting reviewed the government's package and rejected 
it, declaring it against the April 28 agreement reached between the 
Bara traders and Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider.

The meeting expressed the resolve that in the future instead of 
negotiating with the government alone, the Bara traders of other 
provinces would also be included in negotiating teams.

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20000502
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Judges took oath in national interest, says CJ
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan on Monday 
observed that the judges who took a fresh oath under the 
provisional constitutional order, had done so in the national 
interest.

The chief justice of Pakistan was heading the full bench of the 
Supreme Court that resumed the hearing of the constitutional 
petition challenging the Oct 12 military takeover.

He remarked that those of his colleagues who opted not to take the 
fresh oath, had done so according to their conscience.

In response to Wahabul Khairi's request seeking an order from the 
SC regarding the privileges of those judges who had resigned 
instead of taking the fresh oath, the CJ said "we bid farewell to 
them in a befitting manner because this court believes in the human 
dignity and gives full respect to the legal fraternity".

Mr Khairi, chief of the Al-Jihad Trust, is among the seven 
petitioners who have challenged the proclamation of emergency and 
the PCO.

During arguments, he sought the court's intervention for abolishing 
the political cell of the ISI. Otherwise, he alarmed, the future 
election would again be a farce like the previous ones.

He said the ISI had always been subverting the election process and 
thus it had deprived the masses of true representatives by 
installing "puppets".

Mr Khairi alleged that the ISI had doled out huge funds to Mir 
Afzal, Nawaz Sharif, Lt-Gen (retd) Rafaqat, Abida Hussain, Ghulam 
Mustafa Jatoi, Jam Sadiq, Altaf Hussain Qureshi (journalist), 
Salahuddin and many others to manipulate the elections. He urged 
the court to intervene.

The CJ explained that the petitioner wanted to say that it was the 
duty of the court to safeguard the integrity of the territories, 
sovereignty and rights of the federation besides issuing 
appropriate orders if the integrity was jeopardized.

 Khairi disagreed that the judges had surrendered their 
independence by taking a fresh oath under the PCO. On that point, 
the CJ recalled that both Khalid Anwar and Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq 
had conceded that taking a fresh oath did not effect much as the 
judges had to take decisions according to the law and the 
constitution.

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20000502
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IPU suspends Pakistan's membership
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AMMAN, May 1: The international Inter-Parliamentary Union decided 
on Monday to suspend the membership of Ivory Coast, Pakistan, and 
Sudan, whose parliaments have been dissolved, secretary general 
Anders Johnsson said.

The IPU's governing council decided "to suspend the membership of 
the parliaments of Sudan, the Ivory Coast and Pakistan until 
parliamentary life is re-established in these countries," Johnsson 
said.

An attempt by China, Indonesia and Iran to postpone the decision to 
suspend Pakistan until the next IPU conference in October failed, 
as did a similar Egyptian effort on behalf of Sudan.

Neither request was able to muster the majority of votes required 
to override the council's decision, Johnsson said. The council also 
assigned its executive council the task of "pursuing contacts with 
the US Congress to persuade it to join the IPU." The IPU 
conference, which is held twice every year, opened Sunday night and 
continues until Friday.-AFP
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20000502
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Foreign Office rejects US report
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Pakistan on Monday rejected the US State 
Department's allegations against Islamabad and termed them 
"unfounded". "Pakistan is opposed to terrorism in all its forms," a 
foreign office spokesman said in a statement issued here as a 
rejoinder to the State Department's report launched on Monday.

The spokesman said Pakistan had always cooperated with the 
international community, including the United States, to combat 
terrorism. The spokesman, however, noted that the report 
acknowledged Pakistan's efforts to tackle the problem of terrorism.

"A number of suspect terrorists have been handed over to the US 
government and to other countries. Recently, the government of 
Pakistan announced a de-weaponization drive aimed at cleansing 
society of all illegal arms that are being used by militants and 
extremists."

President Clinton during his visit to Pakistan, the spokesman said, 
had also appreciated the level of cooperation that existed between 
the two countries on this issue. The chief executive, the spokesman 
added, had also assured the US President of Pakistan's serious 
approach to the problem and its commitment to continue to fight 
terrorism.

The chief executive, he said, had also referred to the state- 
sponsored Indian terrorism in Occupied Kashmir where fundamental 
human rights of the Kashmiris had been suppressed.

Indian atrocities against the Kashmiris naturally generated 
sympathy and support in Pakistan which should not be 
misinterpreted, the spokesman said, adding, "contrary to the 
conclusion drawn in the report, Pakistan believes that state 
terrorism is far more pervasive and pernicious in today's world."

Referring to Afghanistan, he said the carry-over of the Afghan war 
had left many problems in Pakistan, particularly the influx of arms 
and presence of militants of various nationalities who had come to 
Afghanistan to fight the Soviet military intervention and had been 
lauded internationally. "Pakistan has itself been the major victim 
of the Afghanistan war," the spokesman remarked.

He said Pakistan had always conveyed international concerns to the 
Taliban and had emphasized the need for cooperation with the 
international community. "Pakistan, however, cannot be expected to 
interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan," the spokesman 
said.

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Chashma Nuclear Reactor goes 'critical'
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Correspondent

MIANWALI, May 3: The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (CHASNUPP) crossed 
another important milestone of its final phase of completion on 
Wednesday evening when the reactor was made critical.

"This is the first major step towards nuclear power plant start-up 
for producing electricity," says a Pakistan Atomic Energy 
Commission press release.

A nuclear reactor becomes critical when the fission chain reaction 
is made self-sustaining in a highly-controlled and regulated manner 
to produce energy, it said.

Earlier, nuclear fuel was loaded in the reactor between Nov 22-28, 
1999. After rigorous testing of various reactor safety systems, the 
plant was made ready to go critical.

CHASNUPP, like all nuclear power facilities in the country, is 
regulated by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Board (PNRB). The 
board monitors all plant activities and grants the permit to make 
the reactor critical.

CHASNUPP will now be made ready in the coming weeks for its 
connection to the national grid for supplying electricity. The 
plant will be formally inaugurated later this year.

The criticality event was witnessed by Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, Chairman 
PAEC, Member (Power) of the Commission and some members of PNRB; 
senior Chinese and Pakistan experts were also present.

On successful completion of the criticality procedures, Dr Ishfaq 
Ahmad congratulated the Chinese and Pakistani engineers and thanked 
them for their painstaking efforts to make this project a success. 
He said CHASNUPP is a symbol of successful South-South cooperation 
in high technology and yet another landmark of everlasting 
Pakistan-China friendship.

Mr Pervez Butt, Member (Power), also thanked all involved in the 
event and said that PAEC engineers have gained valuable expertise 
by directly participating in various stages of plant construction 
and commissioning of the plant. He looked forward to efficient 
operation of the plant for the economic development of the country. 
General Manager CHASNUPP Mirza M. Azfar Baig was also present on 
this occasion.

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20000504 
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Ban on trade unions in WAPDA lifted: Umar
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, May 3: The government has lifted ban on the trade union 
activities in Water and Power Development Authority and restored 
public holiday on International Labour Day, 
Labour and Manpower Minister Umar Asghar Khan announced here on 
Wednesday.

The ban on trade union activities in the country's major labour-
intensive organization was imposed by the deposed government of 
Nawaz Sharif after handing over WAPDA management to the army.

Mr Khan said the government had also decided to streamline the 
workers welfare fund that was constituted for the welfare of 
industrial workers in 1974.

The minister added that the government was considering a proposal 
to increase the participation of workers and employers in the WWF 
board of directors.

The government, he said, was encouraging dialogue between 
employers, workers, government and the consumers to achieve 
sustainable economic revival in the country.

To a question about the hitches in formulation of a new labour 
policy, he said a number of issues had already been addressed and 
the policy would be finalized in near future. However, he did not 
give any time-frame for announcing the policy.

Labour secretary Yousaf Kamal in response to a question about any 
amendment in the WWF charter said that they could utilize the fund 
for providing medical and educational facilities to the workers 
without amending the charter.

Though the charter gives priority to providing housing facilities 
to the workers, it can be used for other welfare activities, he 
added.

The International Labour Organization in January had warned the 
government to lift ban on union activities in WAPDA otherwise they 
would recommend the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to 
suspend aid to Pakistan.

The ILO experts committee on a complaint filed by All Pakistan 
Federation of Trade Unions in Feb 1999 had recommended a six-point 
indictment against the GoP.

It had also deplored that the government had backed down from its 
obligations regarding ILO conventions 87 and 98, pertaining to 
freedom of association and the right of collective bargaining.

It had asked the government to repeal ordinances banning trade 
union activities in WAPDA.

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20000506 
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Attorney-general opposes relief to Nawaz, others
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, May 5: Attorney General Aziz A. Munshi on Friday asked 
the twelve judges bench of the Supreme Court, seized of petitions 
challenging military take over, not to provide any relief to the 
party of Nawaz Sharif
 who indulged in all kinds of financial irregularities for amassing 
wealth by using official position.

The AG consumed whole day in informing the bench how much land -
rural and urban- was acquired by the family of Nawaz Sharif when he 
entered into politics in 1983-84.

The AG asked the court that if relief was granted to the 
petitioners who were followers and associates of Nawaz Sharif, they 
would try to bring him again in power. The AG tried to convince the 
court how the former prime minister made fortune while in the 
corridors of power.

The former prime minister whose family owned an industrial empire 
worth over $3 billion was paying tax amounting to Rs. 897 in one 
year. They not only acquired lands at nominal rates also plundered 
nationalised banks.

In 1980 the number of industrial units owned by the family of Nawaz 
Sharif was only one. It rose to 10 industrial units in 1990 during 
the time when he held the office of finance minister Punjab and 
chief minister Punjab. During the period of his first stint as 
prime minister in 1990-93 the number of industrial units rose to 
30.

For rising from "furnace to fortune", the deposed prime minister 
used nationalised banks. He said total loan from nationalised banks 
for industrial units stood at Rs 350 million in 1983.

In 1985, at the time when he became finance minister Punjab, it 
rose to Rs 850 million. In 1989, when he was chief minister of 
Punjab, it rose to Rs. 2.25 billion. After becoming prime minister 
the loan from nationalised bank had rose to Rs 10 billion.

He said 31 nationalised banks and development financial 
institutions (DFIs) reached at the verge of bankruptcy as the loan 
obtained by the Ittefaq Group was never returned.

The AG said that family of Nawaz Sharif purchased land on the 
nominal rates from the farmers. After coming to power the place was 
declared as industrial and tax free zone. Within four months, the 
family of the former prime minister made Rs.30 billion by using 
their official position.


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20000504 
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Sindh slams Punjab over wheat sale to NWFP
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Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD, May 3: The Sindh government has protested against 
Punjab's unilateral decision of selling 80,000 tons of wheat to 
NWFP from the stock which it had already sold to Sindh last month 
to meet its requirement.

Sources told Dawn here on Wednesday that the Sindh government had 
approached the federal government to register its protest against 
Punjab food department's decision saying the "Punjab government 
must review its decision in the best interest of smooth and 
uninterrupted supply of wheat stocks to the government of Sindh 
from the same allocation."

Sources said the Sindh government has pointed out to the Centre 
that it has already sent its team to lift the wheat from the areas 
identified earlier by the Punjab food department.

The sources quoted the Sindh government as saying to the federal 
government that it had signed an agreement with the Punjab food 
department for the purchase of 125,000 tons of wheat to meet its 
requirement. However, it added, the Punjab government reduced the 
allocation to 100,000 tons.

The Sindh government said the transportation of wheat to Sindh from 
Punjab was negotiated with private contractors and the National 
Logistic Cell (NLC). After hectic efforts, it added, the NLC was 
given the contract of wheat transportation to the province as no 
private contractor turned up on the occasion.

Meanwhile, sources said "Punjab diverted its 80,000 tons of wheat 
to NWFP without taking Sindh into confidence". They said the matter 
was brought before the federal minister for food, agriculture and 
livestock by the Sindh minister for agriculture and the food 
secretary on April 25 in Islamabad during the wheat coordination 
committee's meeting.

Sources said the federal minister instructed the Sindh food 
secretary to contact the Punjab food secretary to get the details. 
They said Punjab was of the view that Sindh would be given wheat 
only on a written request by the ministry of food, agriculture and 
livestock (MINFAL).

They said the Punjab government was of the view that in the past 
the Sindh government had been taking different positions as far as 
wheat import from Punjab was concerned as it did not take any 
interest in the transportation of wheat from the province.

That was why, sources added, when NWFP contacted the Punjab 
government for the purchase of wheat, it sold 80,000 tons of wheat 
immediately to the wheat-deficient province which started lifting 
the wheat immediately.

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20000502
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Provinces to get 90% of poverty funds: Shaukat
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Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on Monday unfolded 
a poverty reduction strategy under which 90 per cent of the poverty 
funds would be allocated to the provinces on the basis of their 
populations 
and the rest will be distributed equally between Balochistan and 
the NWFP.

He said funds would be given for the Small Public Works Programme 
(SPWP) which had been launched to create employment opportunities 
for the deprived sections of society and improve their income. The 
new programme was named "pro-poor public works programme".

Inaugurating a workshop organized by the planning and development 
division, the minister that under the programme the share of each 
district will be determined by the concerned provincial government 
itself. He explained that less developed districts and poverty 
pockets in rural areas will get a larger share.

Mr Aziz said the government will pay special attention to the rural 
areas as social indicators had tended to be substantially worse in 
rural areas than urban centres, adding that women and children were 
particularly disadvantaged.

The sorry state of affairs as far as poverty was concerned, he 
said, could be judged from the fact that incidence of caloric-based 
poverty in Pakistan had increased from 17.4pc in 1987-88 to 33pc in 
1998-99.

Now, he said, almost every social indicator of the country 
(literacy, education, health, nutrition, population growth, and 
access to family planning services) compared poorly with other 
developing countries.

However, he contended that our development record showed a 
remarkable progress both in terms of growth in gross domestic 
product and structural changes in its composition. During 1980-99, 
he said, the real GDP grew at an annual average rate of above 5.4pc 
with performance in the key sectors being generally satisfactory. 
But this performance needed to be improved significantly, he added.

He said the key elements of the new strategy were: comprehensive 
understanding of poverty and its determinants; choosing public 
actions that have the highest poverty impact; transparency/good 
governance; outcome indicators that were set and monitored using 
participatory process.

The strategy, he pointed out, recognized that the development of 
the country was synonymous with the development of people. In the 
poverty reduction strategy, he said, sustained growth was critical 
to mobilize he resources. Without growth, he added, we would be 
embarking upon a road that lad to the redistribution of poverty.

"Our strategy is to develop those sectors where most of the poor 
live. The agenda is based on the development of agriculture sector 
whose growth reduces poverty because it generates income for 
farmers and increases demand for goods and services that can easily 
be produced by the poor," he said.

He said the government will emphasize on the farm water management 
as it helped conserve water and increase farm productivity, 
particularly in wheat production.

Another main area will be to enhance industrial sector efficiency. 
"An efficient and growing industrial sector raises the overall 
growth of economy leading to improved income and employment," he 
added.

He also put literacy on his list of priorities, saying there was a 
direct connection between illiteracy and poverty. Nearly all the 
poor were illiterate, he said, adding that there were about 50 
million illiterate of 10 years and above in the country. The 
government was initiating a reform agenda for education and health 
programmes, he added.

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20000506 
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Army top brass briefed on LoC
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, May 5: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Friday 
discussed the security situation of the country in a meeting with 
senior army officers and reiterated his peace talks offer to India.

Presiding over a meeting of the 71st Corps Commanders' conference 
held at the General Headquarter in Rawalpindi, Gen Musharraf 
reviewed the country's defence situation with special reference to 
the Line of Control (LoC).

According to an ISPR press release, the conference, which was 
attended by all corps commanders and principal staff officers, 
deliberated on operational preparedness of the troops.

"They received operational briefings pertaining to the prevailing 
situation along the LoC," the ISPR said, adding that Gen Musharraf 
expressed his satisfaction on the measures adopted to ensure 
security along the LoC.

The officers also carried out an analysis of the army monitoring 
system, which had been set up to assist the government.


=================================================================== 
 BUSINESS & ECONOMY
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20000505 
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Budget 2000-2001: Agenda to provide basis for IMF credit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Haris Anwar

KARACHI, May 4: A full-fledged IMF review mission is expected to 
visit Pakistan after the announcement of 2000-2001 budget whose 
findings will provide the basis for a reactivation of the IMF 
lending to Pakistan.

Economic experts are of the view that expectations of an early 
resumption of IMF assistance may be unrealistic, as restoration of 
Pakistan's credibility would be a necessary first step.

"In this regard, the forthcoming budget will be a litmus test for 
the reform agenda of the present government, and the required 
follow up actions, will provide the basis of reactivation of IMF 
lending," economists at the ABN AMRO Bank observed.

Foreign bankers said the sequence of events suggested that a team 
from the Fund was likely to visit Pakistan before the forthcoming 
budget, which would be followed by a full-fledged review mission 
afterwards. The Executive Board will then decide on whether to 
resume lending on the basis of the recommendations of this mission.

The International Monetary Fund last week promised early talks on a 
new loan programme after Pakistan offered to repay $55 million to 
compensate for the misreporting of fiscal data by the last 
government.

The disclosure of extensive misreporting of budgetary figures by 
previous governments has compounded efforts for an early 
reactivation of an IMF programme. The government is looking for a 
new IMF credit to replace the $1.56 billion loan agreed by the 
previous administration.

Sources said the recent visit of an IMF mission, followed by the 
continuation of negotiations in Washington DC, represents a return 
to serious dialogue between the two sides after an impasse of 
almost one year.

"While it appears a lot of ground has still to be covered between 
the two sides, the reengagement is an important first step in the 
process towards a new, augmented facility from the Fund," an 
economist said, adding that, the speed with which Pakistan's 
standing and credibility is rehabilitated depends on the strength 
of reforms in the new budget.

The IMF has been pushing Pakistan to raise revenues by broadening 
the tax net, and to control the budget deficit and contain trade 
imbalances to bring down the current account deficit.

The previous programme was suspended last July after it delayed 
meeting the IMF conditions, such as imposing a retail sales tax and 
resolving a bitter tariff row with private power producers which 
had hurt foreign investment.

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20000506 
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Tax survey, assessment: CBR set to net Rs3 billion from Karachi
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, May 5: The Central Board of Revenue (CBR), under a pilot 
project, has set a target of over Rs3 billion from the planned tax 
survey and spot assessment of the city's business centres and 
residential areas.

Though the government has deferred the survey and spot assessment 
after allowing extension in tax amnesty scheme up to June 15, 
official sources disclosed on Friday that preparations were afoot 
to set up survey teams comprising CBR officials and army personnel 
after imparting short courses.

Sources said that recommendations and the target revenue collection 
from city business centres on account of income tax, wealth and 
sales tax forwarded by local tax offices had already received CBR 
approval.

Under a pilot project the city's business and residential areas 
have been earmarked into six different revenue potential areas with 
Clifton, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gulistan-e-Johar expected to yield 
highest revenue followed by Saddar, SITE, Defence and Bahadurabad, 
sources said.

As per the pilot project of operational plan for survey and spot 
assessment the highest revenue collection on account of income, 
wealth and sales tax has been targeted from Clifton area where 
around Rs850 million is expected to be realized.

It has been estimated that Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gulistan-e- Johar 
are two other revenue potential areas having expected yield of up 
to Rs800 million.

Officials feel that SITE, Timber and Lea Market areas, have a 
revenue potential of up to Rs500 million. Similarly, Saddar, M.A. 
Jinnah Road and adjoining areas are expected to yield around Rs500 
million in revenue.

Bahadurabad and PECHS are being targeted for collection up to Rs200 
million and Defence up to Rs300 million.

However, it is difficult to understand that under what method tax 
officials have fixed area-wise revenue collection as there is a lot 
of disparity in the expected amounts to be realised from these 
areas.

Official sources disclosed that these surveys and spot assessments 
could not be challenged in any court of law. Similarly no stay 
could be granted to stop these revenue collecting and tax net 
expanding drive of CBR to be carried out with the assistance of 
army. However, in case of difference of opinion a departmental 
appeal could be filed, sources added.

In case of businesses, decision with regard to turnover would be 
made after assessing stocks of individual entity during the survey 
and spot assessment, official sources maintained.

Our correspondent from Islamabad adds: The government is likely to 
promulgate an ordinance for providing legal cover to conduct the 
proposed tax survey, said the sources on Friday.

Senior CBR officials met the Directorate of Operations (Army) 
officials on Friday and discussed the legal aspects of the survey 
on the pointation of CBR officials that there did not exist an 
operating law allowing door-to-door and shop-to-shop survey.

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20000430 
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Sailiya gives May 10 deadline for talks
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

LAHORE, April 29: Traders will observe a countrywide strike from 
May 19 to 21 if the government fails to negotiate with their true 
representatives till the May 10 deadline.

This was stated by All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and 
Cottage Industries Chairman Umar Sailiya at a news conference at 
the Lahore Press Club on Saturday.

Mr Sailiya, who had reportedly suffered a heart attack a few days 
ago, was administered a drip during the news conference by an 
accompanying medicoman.

He said the decision to go on strike had been taken after due 
consideration as "we do not want to damage national economy by 
unnecessarily resorting to such actions."

Mr Sailiya said the imposition of general sales tax, income tax 
survey and raids to recover smuggled goods had made the lives of 
traders miserable.

"But we will put up a stiff resistance if anybody tries to enter 
markets for any survey because this is a matter of life and death 
for us," he said.

Mr Sailiya said a meeting of his organization had decided that the 
traders would neither receive the GST from their customers nor 
would they keep a record of it or pay it to the government.

He said the government should not disturb and harass small traders 
and instead wind up the corrupt departments of the CBR which were 
costing billions of rupees to the national kitty.

Mr Sailiya said the traders would have to take direct action if any 
attempt was made to collect the GST.

He said the corrupt among income tax department officials were not 
allowing expansion in the tax net. At present, only 450,000 people 
were paying the tax while the income tax officials were keeping 
scores of others out of the tax net by receiving bribes from them.

He said the organization had offered to the government that it 
would bring the tax-evading traders to the tax net. But this offer 
was not heeded to because of the corrupt income tax officials, he 
alleged.

He blamed big traders for evading taxes and duties. The small 
traders were providing jobs to 70 per cent of the unemployed youth 
in the country. He said the traders wanted to pay the tax and had 
reached an agreement with the government on Sept 9, 1999, in this 
connection.

According to the agreement, the government was to impose the 
development tax and to realize Rs 14 billion from the traders under 
this head. But the CBR officials misled the government making it to 
tread some other path.

Mr Sailiya appealed to the government not to follow the wrong 
advice of the CBR officials and negotiate with the traders on the 
issues confronting them. He condemned what he said an attempt of 
the administration to disallow a meeting of the traders unions' 
meeting at a local hotel.

Replying to a question, he said his organization would negotiate 
only with the chief executive. He said his organization was against 
smuggling but instead of taking an action against the small 
traders, the government should lay hands on the 'big fish'.

Meanwhile, the Punjab home secretary held a meeting with the 
traders in his office earlier in the day. Reporters were informed 
that the proceedings of the meeting would be made public through a 
handout but this was not issued.

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20000430 
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Mission coming to Islamabad: IMF ready to back reforms
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Masood Haider

WASHINGTON, April 29: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has 
expressed its readiness to send a mission to Islamabad in near 
future for talks on bold and wide-ranging reforms programme.

Eduardo Aninat, the managing director of the IMF and chairman of 
the Fund's executive board, acknowledged here on Friday that 

Pakistan had agreed to repurchase SDR18.95 million in outstanding 
debt to the IMF and to voluntarily repurchase another SDR22 million 
(or $55 million) by May 31, 2000.

The IMF directors appreciated Islamabad's finance team for 
discovering the discrepancies in the fiscal data and reporting them 
to the Fund.

"Once the misreporting of fiscal data episode is put to rest the 
(Pakistan) authorities could move forward with a bold and wide-
ranging reform programme designed to achieve a high and sustainable 
growth path that could be supported by resources from the IMF," 
they said.

In a statement, issued after a meeting of the Board of Directors, 
Mr Aninat said that the directors commended Islamabad's cooperation 
with the staff in data revision process.

The directors expressed concerns over the misreporting between 1997 
and 1999 and observed that a mission from the IMF's Fiscal Affairs 
Department had visited Islamabad in January 2000 to assess the 
magnitude of the discrepancies and the factors responsible for the 
faults.

As a result, they noted, Pakistan's budget deficit for 1997/98 was 
revised upward by two percent of the GDP to 7.5 per cent, and the 
deficit for 1998/99 was raised by 1.4 per cent to 5.9 per cent.

The technical assistance mission found that the discrepancies had 
arisen principally in the domestic non-bank financing data, where 
the amount of sales of National Savings Schemes (NSS) instruments 
had been erroneously recorded in the fiscal reports, they 
acknowledged saying that the external and domestic bank financing 
data also required revision.

The corresponding adjustments to the expenditure data, which have 
so far been completed for 1998/99 only, pertained mainly to 
interest payments - corresponding to the higher than previously 
reported domestic non-bank debt and defence spending.

"In addition, some unbudgeted spending was identified," it was 
noted in the statement.
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20000502 
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Vegetables, poultry become costlier
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Aamir Shafaat Khan

 KARACHI, May 1: The kitchen budget swelled in the last one month 
due to price hike in various vegetables and poultry products. The 
rates of other essential items either remained unchanged or fell on 
imports and local crop arrivals.

According to a market survey (from April 1 to May 1), consumers now 
pay more on potato, Rs10 per kg at retail level as against Rs6-8 
per kg. The commodity is currently arriving from Punjab's cold 
storage. In Subzi Mandi, it is priced at Rs6-6.5 per kg. The new 
crop will arrive in October.

Tomato from Sindh's crop is also available for Rs12-14 per kg as 
compared to Rs8-10 per kg due to shortage in the markets. It is 
arriving from both Punjab and Sindh. Its wholesale price is now 
tagged at Rs8-10 per kg.

Good quality onion from Sindh crop in big markets is being retailed 
at Rs7 per kg as its wholesale price has surged to Rs4-5 per kg 
from Rs2-3 per kg. Last month, the commodity was selling at Rs3-6 
per kg at retail level.

The price of mash, currently arriving from Burma, Thailand and 
China, ranges between Rs40-42 per kg as compared to Rs38-39 per kg. 
At Tariq Road and other posh localities, it sells at Rs42 per kg 
while in areas like Korangi and Nazimabad it is tagged at Rs40 per 
kg each. Mash price is likely to go up further as its wholesale 
price has reached to Rs42 per kg on Monday due to flare-up in 
international prices.

As the heat is reaching its peak gradually, the price of lemon 
(from Sindh crop) is also shooting up. At the wholesale levels, it 
is now priced at Rs60-70 per kg as compared to Rs30-40 per kg last 
month. At the retail side, sellers demand prices on their own from 
minimum Rs80 to maximum Rs100 per kg depending on the quality.

Broiler live poultry bird prices shot up to Rs60 per kg from Rs44 
per kg last month while its meat, selling at Rs77 per kg last 
month, now sells at Rs105 per kg. However, egg prices fell to Rs17 
per dozen from Rs19 per dozen.

Gram pulse from local crop, which swelled last month, held 
unchanged due to frequent arrivals, maintaining at Rs28 per kg. Its 
wholesale price is Rs23 per kg. Consumers of posh areas now pay the 
old price of Rs28 per kg to buy mung (from local crop) while the 
price in Korangi and Nazimabad areas, its price is Rs24 per kg and 
Rs26 per kg. The wholesale price of mung is Rs21-22 per kg. Masur 
from Australia on Tariq Road sells at old rate of Rs34-35 per kg 
while some shopkeepers are charging Rs36 per kg. In Korangi, Landhi 
and Malir its price is Rs32 per kg while in North Nazimabad and 
Nazimabad it is available at Rs32-34 per kg. Its wholesale price is 
Rs26-27 per kg. Arhar (from Burma) prices were also stagnant at 
Rs44 per kg while in middle class localities it is priced at Rs42 
per kg. The commodity sells at Rs35-36 at wholesale price. Sugar 
price is unchanged at Rs22 per kg.

Fine atta price fell to Rs12 per kg from Rs13 per kg while the 
price of atta no. 2.5 is Rs10 per kg compared to Rs11-12 per kg.

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20000506 
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Cut in Internet rate to promote IT: minister
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, May 5: The minister for science and technology, Dr 
Attaur Rehman, has said the government is committed to promote 
information technology (IT) in the country.

Speaking at a briefing conducted by the Lucent Internetworking 
System at the PTCL headquarters on Friday, he said the recent 
reduction of 53 per cent tariff in internet bandwidth rates showed 
that IT promotion was the foremost priority of the government.

"Reduction in bandwidth rates will further open new avenues in IT 
sector," he said.

He said the PTCL had tremendous potential of expansion but 
commitment from vendors in the form of training, software, etc, was 
necessary.

He said the government had already established advisory boards in 
New York and San Francisco, which were being looked after by 
seasoned professionals. "The global scenario is changing so fast 

that services we are offering may become obsolete in a year or so. 
Therefore, the most modern technology should be adopted to meet the 
future challenges," he stressed.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr H. Wang, a Lucent representative, 
underlined the areas where his company could help Pakistan. He said 
they offered services like virtual private network, distance 
learning, linking university campuses, tele-medicine, e-commerce, 
bell labs, etc.

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20000502 
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Cotton, yarn hedge market: Proposal under study: Dawood
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, May 1: Minister for Commerce Razak Dawood on Monday hinted 
at opening of hedge market for cotton and yarn trading. During a 
visit to APTMA on Monday, he said the government was looking at a 
possibility of opening up hedge markets for these commodities.

A policy providing road-map to textile industry for achieving an 
export target of $13.8 billion, ahead of phasing out of textile 
quotas by year 2004, will also be announced by the end of this 
month, he added.

In a meeting with APTMA members, Razzaq Dawood said,"I will be 
discussing the financial aspect of the textile policy on Tuesday 
with the Governor State Bank, Dr Ishrat Husain and later on with 
the finance minister."

The minister categorically told the APTMA members that in order to 
face the challenges arising out from the phasing out of textile 
quotas given under MFA, the industry would have to change its 
concept and outcome of course (20 count) yarn production ideals.

Razzak Dawood said that presently Pakistan ranks eight amongst top 
ten Asian textile exporting counties at $5 billion textile exports, 
whereas China is ranking at the top at around $39 billion and India 
fifth with exports of $9 billion.

He said that under the draft proposal named 'Textile Vision 2005' 
the country would have to spend billions of dollar to upgrade and 
expand its textile industry which was the only way of increasing 
export earning in a short period of five years.

He asked the APTMA members to make available their suggestions in 
ten days time, if any, towards the textile policy which will be 
announced ahead of budget, and in any way will not be as usual part 
of annual trade policy.

Giving other details, he said the textile policy also suggests to 
open market allowing innovative and dynamic and free flow of ideas 
through global integration and open competitiveness.

The minister was critical of the typical 'mental setup' of the textile
industry as a whole and said you have to come out of this 
if you want to face the challenges of year 2004 and beyond. 

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20000502 
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State Bank of Pakistan clarifies
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, May 1: The State Bank of Pakistan does not set market 
interest rates for any sector or general borrowers directly but 
provides the benchmark for the banks and other lenders to follow 
its discount rate and auction rate.

This clarification has been issued by an SBP spokesman with regard 
to a report that appeared in Dawn with APTMA quoting governor State 
Bank, Dr Ishrat Husain, as saying that he had assured availability 
of bank financing for working capital and BMR requirements at 14 
per cent mark-up. 

The governor told an APTMA delegation that the average lending 
rates had declined significantly and he expected the banks would be 
able to provide BMR financing at the average lending rate of 14% to 
creditworthy borrowers, the clarification adds.

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20000506 
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Shaukat's China visit to focus on stalled projects
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, May 5: Finance minister Shaukat Aziz is scheduled to 
visit China for three days from 15th of this month to attend Pak-
China joint economic commission meeting and discuss arrangements 
for Chinese investment
 in five mega projects including the development of Gwadar port and 
leasing of Saindak copper-gold project.

Official sources told Dawn here on Friday that both sides were also 
likely to review the slow response to Chinese offers.

The finance minister who will head a delegation comprising 
professionals both from private and public sectors is likely to 
make final deals with Chinese firms for the execution of these 
projects.

Mr Shaukat Aziz has also asked the Farmers Association Pakistan 
(FAP) to nominate two of its members to accompany him to China.

Both sides are expected to take final decision about the award of 
contract for development of Gwadar port to the Chinese contractors.

The Chinese government had already indicated to extend financial 
assistance to Pakistan to complete that huge development project in 
Balochistan.

Similarly, the two sides are also likely to discuss leasing of the 
Saindak copper-gold project to Chinese contractors.

Pakistan has planned to hire the services of Chinese contractors 
for the development of other big development projects too.

The Pakistan government has now identified five mega projects to be 
offered for Chinese investment. Pakistan is likely to ask China to 
supply rolling stocks and tracks for Pakistan Railways.

Pakistan will finalize arrangements for leasing of land to Chinese 
agriculturists in the four provinces for developing model farms as 
well as the setting up of a pesticides plant with Chinese 
assistance in Pakistan.

Chinese investors have also offered Pakistan to develop Karachi 
Fish Harbour on modern lines.

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20000502
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General Sales Tax, Income Tax survey postponed
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, May 1: The Central Board of Revenue has postponed the 
GST and Income Tax survey which was due to be launched in the first 
week of May.

Meant to increase the number of registered taxpayers under the 
Sales Tax and Income Tax/Wealth Tax net, the survey will now be 
launched either in the first week of June or after the presentation 
of the federal budget for 2000-2001, say CBR sources.

No reasons for postponing the survey were officially given but Dawn 
learned from officials that the finance ministry wants changes in 
the schedules of taxes to be approved by the Chief Executive by May 
15, before setting a new date for the survey.

These changes are believed to be related, apart from a few other 
aspects, to the treatment of Wealth Tax (which is expected to be 
removed from the next year's Direct Taxes schedule), changes in the 
taxation format for the services sector (which is to be shifted 
from Central Excise to GST schedule), and cutting down on 
Withholding Tax deduction stages.

They added that the training of army personnel, tax officials and 
provincial staff in this regard has been completed in all the 13 
cities where this survey is to be launched.

The scope of survey includes information regarding telephones 
installed by a privately; warehouses/stores; NTN (if any), passport 
number; Sales Tax and Central Excessive registration numbers, 
National Identity Card number; nature of business; license number; 
total investment; value of current stocks; raw materials and their 
value; value of finished products; equipment used; rent amount on 
place of business; personal and family bank account numbers; 
monthly expenses (family); salaries paid; number and places/time of 
visits abroad; utilities bills; schools/ fees where children are 
educated.

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20000504 
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Software park feasibility under study
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Aamir Shafaat Khan

KARACHI, May 3: The proposed Indus Software Technology Park (ISTP) 
will now be set up in the heart of the city instead of at Nooriabad 
industrial estate as planned earlier.

Chairman SITE Association of Industries, Abdullah Rafi told Dawn 
that the Industries and Production Minister of Sindh wants software 
park to be located in an easily accessible area.

An official in the industries ministry said that a feasibility 
report on the software project is under preparation.

Sources said that Sindh Minister of Industries and Production, 
Dewan Yousuf Farooqui has objected to the proposed site of 
Nooriabad, terming it unviable for the software development park.

Some city-based IT experts had asked the minister to allot land for 
software park but the minister refused the same holding the view 
that it can be set up anywhere and no big land was required for 
that purpose.

Previously It was planned to set up the park on an area of 50 acres 
at Nooriabad but the Ministry of Industries was not in favour of 
allotting land to the prospective parties free of cost.

Officials said that the project will be based on the model of 
Silicon Valley in Banglore, Madras and Hyderabad where India's top 
companies of information technology are located.

India's exports of software have touched around $3bn annually as 
compared to Pakistan which is crawling at 15-20 million dollars per 
annum. At present, India has 5,800 export-oriented software 
companies whereas in Pakistan the companies could be counted on 
finger-tips.

Sources said the Sindh government will not invest any amount in the 
project due to liquidity crunch faced by the province.

Pakistan needs trained manpower, infrastructure facilities, 
reliable energy source and communication facility to develop a 
software park in the city.

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20000504 
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State Bank of Pakistan to launch website
-------------------------------------------------------------------

KARACHI, May 3: The State Bank of Pakistan has created its website 
which will be formally launched on Thursday, says the SBP Governor, 
Dr Ishrat Husain, at a press briefing here on Wednesday.

He said objective for launching the SBP website is to maintain 
transparency in providing information to people and media about the 
actions of the Central Bank and movements of the country's economic 
indicators.

"The website is the window to the SBP", the Governor observed. He 
said the availability of the data, SBP circulars, regulations, 
orders and other important documents with the media and the public 
will avoid the element of mis-reporting and speculation.

"You don't have to wait for the release of weekly, monthly, 
quarterly and other reports by the Central Bank. These will be 
available on the SBP's internet page", Dr Husain said.

He said through website, the Central Bank will also be responsive 
to various queries about issues of foreign exchange, remittances, 
external debt, credit, loan defaults, SBP balance sheet, etc.

He said mis-reporting and speculations causes severe injury to the 
investment environment and investors withhold investment decisions.

"We have opened up our books to you and now it is your 
responsibility to avoid the element of speculation or mis- 
reporting in news items", the SBP Governor advised.

We want to elevate accountability and transparency of the SBP and 
other institutions through website, he added.

Later, a demonstration of website, head of Information Systems 
Department Mehmood Siddique said the address of website is 
sbp.org.pk. APP

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
 EDITORIALS & FEATURES
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20000505  
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Till the rains come
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ayaz Amir

LAST week I picked up bootleg stuff worth Rs 6,122 from Islamabad 
and felt happy if not triumphant that at least for a few weeks in 
Chakwal I would not have to look to the local Christian Colony for 
moral sustenance. 

This morning (Thursday) I am feeling ashamed of myself. What would 
Rs 6,122 not mean for a family in Thar or the drought-hit areas of 
Balochistan?

This is a national emergency. It is also a challenge to what 
remains of our national honour after the piled-up humiliations of 
the last year and a half. If anywhere in Pakistan human beings and 
animals are dying from hunger and thirst, food and drink (and 
bootleg stuff) for the rest of us should come seasoned with a bad 
conscience. I say 'should' because immune to so much else, it is 
possible to be left untouched by starvation and suffering in remote 
regions most of us have never seen and perhaps never will.

But then other considerations prey upon the mind. If a dog went 
hungry by the banks of the Euphrates, said Caliph Omar, the Lord of 
the Universe would hold him responsible on the Day of Judgment. In 
the entire corpus of Islam there are no words more ringing than 
these. In Thar and parts of Balochistan not only are dogs dying but 
goats, donkeys, cattle, camels, men, women and children. This is an 
awful lot to answer for when the final bugles sound and the walls 
of Jericho come tumbling down.

Three days ago the caliph we have was gracing with his presence 
another of those meaningless functions without which Islamabad 
would not be Islamabad: a national conference on 'employment 
promotion, human resource development and industrial relations'. 
May God have mercy on us. Till this killer drought in the south 
lasts can we not do without such high-minded ceremonies?

The Chief Executive has acquired a reputation for being always on 
the move. For the next few months he might consider cutting down on 
his travel plans, leaving all else alone and reserving his 
attention for the calamity which has struck Thar and Balochistan. 
Like his counterpart across the border is it not high time he too 
went on television to make an appeal, an impassioned one if 
possible, for funds and other forms of relief aid?

But it is not only the government which needs to kick itself out of 
its torpor. What about the rest of us? What about the well-heeled 
citizens of Pakistan? If only they were to forswear their Black 
Label and their determined partying this summer, and put the money 
thus saved into a properly supervised national fund, there would be 
resources enough to fly - yes, fly - water to the thirsty regions 
of Sindh and Balochistan. If only they could forswear their foreign 
trips this summer imagine the money that would be saved.

We do not have to spread our hands before foreigners for this 
purpose. There are other disaster regions of the world competing 
for foreign sympathy and attention: Ethiopia, Mozambique, other 
parts of Africa, large swathes of India. Southern Afghanistan I 
have left out of this list because the West, and the US in 
particular, wants to punish and not help Afghanistan. We can come 
to the help of our own with our own resources provided: (1) there 
is a clarion call to arms and (2) some remnants of shame and 
humanity are still left in our hearts.

What then, as this cruel summer gets underway, should be the 
national agenda? To begin with, the caliph we have should get his 
priorities right: with a ruthless pencil he should cut pomp, 
glitter and waste from his schedule and devote the last ounce of 
national energy - or what remains of it after the constant exercise 
of cynicism and despair - to the plight of Thar and Balochistan.

A moratorium on seminars and similar functions at which the good 
and great like to congregate. No verbal histrionics, please, from 
Lt-Gen Moinuddin Haider. No further additions to the sum of 
national confusion on the part of the finance minister, Shaukat 
Aziz. For any three days running I find it hard to make out what 
his latest position is on tax survey and the documentation of the 
economy. Javed Jabbar was supposed to have his heart bleeding for 
Thar. What is he doing round the lecture circuit? In the 
constitutional petitions before the Supreme Court Sharifuddin 
Pirzada is regurgitating the same old arguments that a thoroughly 
tired nation has heard so often before. Is he being paid for his 
pains? Since this is not the age of miracles, very likely he is. 
Wouldn't this public money be better spent elsewhere?

The chattering classes need not sweat or worry too much. Just a bit 
of excess fat cut from their conspicuous and often tasteless 
consumption could mean the difference between life and death in the 
desert.

To the various jihadi organizations holding aloft the banner of 
righteousness a word is in order too. There is no greater jihad at 
the moment than the one waiting to be joined in the southern 
districts of Pakistan. Some of the intensity of these organizations 
needs to be turned in that direction.

But speed and a sense of urgency are essential. For better or worse 
General Musharraf is the commander of the faithful. More than 
anyone else it is his responsibility to sound the gong and summon 
up the spirit of sacrifice among the people. But before he does 
that he must rouse his government to a consciousness of its duty.

This government has justly been pilloried for its confusion and 
cluelessness. Six precious months (an eternity in politics) it has 
wasted without being able to find a direction for itself or the 
nation. The cup of popular patience is already full. Soon it might 
spilleth over. This is the chance for the government to redeem 
itself in its own eyes and in the eyes of the people, gullible as 
always, who saw the events of October 12 as the answer to their 
dreams.

The constitutional petitions in the Supreme Court, the plane 
hijacking appeal before the Sindh High Court, the Chinese torture 
that is General Amjad's concept of accountability, the district 
power devolution plan which is the smokescreen behind which 
wittingly or unwittingly confusion is being spread, the district 
monitoring system which has already demoralized the bureaucracy and 
looks set to further demoralize the people, are not the important 
issues before the country. All these pressing things can wait till 
meaningful (as opposed to token) assistance is rendered to the 
devastated areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

But what about myself who have been so free with advice? A bit, I 
must confess, like Joseph Surface, the smooth hypocrite in 
Sheridan's School for Scandal who is generous with his advice and 
little else.

The sense of contrition I felt at hauling bootleg from Islamabad 
does not mean that like Emperor Babar before the battle of Kanwaha 
I will break my cups or pour the guilty liquid down the drain. That 
would be a waste. In any case, the municipal drain in front of my 
house is so full of uncleared sludge (so much for the heroic 
exertions of the army monitoring team) that any honour done it will 
go unnoticed. What is more, from long experience I know the sad 
truth that with me the stern resolves of the morning all too often 
turn to dust by the time the day is done. No, there is little point 
in testing the flesh beyond its limits. But short of that there is 
still plenty that even slothful souls can bring themselves to do.

First, contribute in cash, which I propose to do, to any properly 
organized drought relief fund. Second, three months' voluntary 
service in the desert which I pledge to undertake with any decent 
NGO (are there any decent ones around?) or with something like 
Medicins sans Frontieres should it happen to set up camp in the 
drought-hit areas of Pakistan. A further pledge: while in the 
desert, no use of moonshine. From an occasional hauler of 
contraband spirits what greater sacrifice can be asked?

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20000506 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Intimations of mortality
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Irfan Husain

LOOKING for some papers in a battered old steel trunk that has been 
following me from city to city over the years, I came across some 
fifteen-year-old photographs of myself.

Vanity aside, they show me as a relatively presentable man whose 
hair had not turned gray, and whose midriff had not begun to 
succumb to the force of gravity. Inevitably and predictably, I 
began thinking about the intervening years and their ups and downs. 
While most of us take our bodies for granted when we are young the 
passing years remind us of our mortality. Now that we are middle-
aged, the conversation around the dining table is more about blood 
pressure, revolutionary new diet plans and cholesterol level more 
than politics, books and movies.

If readers (and my long-suffering editor) are bemused by the 
direction this column is taking, let me reassure them by breaking 
the good news that they will not have to suffer me for the next 
three months: by the time you read this, I will have left for 
England where I will undergo bypass surgery later this month. For a 
couple of months after I am released from hospital, I intend to 
recuperate quietly and then to travel a bit in Europe before I 
return in mid-August.

I must confess that I am not exactly looking forward to this 
experience, especially as I have no symptoms or pain. Nevertheless, 
good living and a sedentary lifestyle have silently been depositing 
plaque in my cardiovascular arteries. This was discovered during 

investigations carried out when a pacemaker was put in last year 
(at huge expense, I might add. In fact, if anybody needs a second-
hand pacemaker, please let me know...).

When a well-known cardiologist in London recommended a bypass, 
Shakir, my cynical son, suspected that the doctor had a mortgage 
payment to meet, and was therefore proposing an unnecessary 
operation. But this diagnosis has now been reinforced by another 
highly reputed (and therefore expensive) specialist, so the surgery 
is now on, regardless of Shakir's dark suspicions.

Since I read every bit of useful or useless information that comes 
my way, I had equipped myself with details about new procedures 
when I met the first specialist in London. For instance, I asked 
him, what about gene therapy? This consists of injecting the heart 
muscle with a chemical that induces the development of collateral 
blood vessels that bypass the blocked arteries. No chance, he 
replied. This is still very experimental and is only being tried on 
patients who cannot undergo an operation. Then what about keyhole 
surgery? Again, it seems that this would not be appropriate in my 
case.

Cursing the conservatism of the British medical fraternity, I had 
resigned myself to the inelegant procedure of open-heart surgery 
until a friend mentioned a brand new technique available for the 
first time in Pakistan. My old friend Fazal is a medical magpie who 
picks up all kinds of weird health-related information. According 
to a photocopied brochure he got me, chelation (pronounced 'key-
lation') therapy consists of a series of injections of a chemical 
that bonds with the chemicals in plaque and flushes them out of the 
system, thus clearing the arteries. The medical team offering this 
treatment here claimed that it had not been permitted in the United 
States because of the power of the hospital lobby.

For a Pakistani raised on conspiracy theories, this explanation was 
eminently believable, so I tried to make an appointment, but could 
never get anyone on the telephone. Meanwhile a close friend 
suggested that I seriously consider consulting her homeopath in 
Delhi. As she suffers from an impressive range of ailments but 
still soldiers on for her various causes, I thought this was good 
advice. So I spoke to the doctor in Delhi, explained the nature of 
my problems and she promised to send me a course of medication that 
I would have to take for three months. I figured that between 
chelation and homeopathy, my arteries would soon be as clean as a 
bottle after a party.

But when I discussed these possible cures with my wife, she went 
ballistic and immediately made another appointment with yet another 
expensive cardiologist in London. This worthy had never heard of 
chelation, and flatly said he had never encountered a single case 
where homeopathy had been successful in treating any disease, leave 
alone a blockage of the arteries. I thought this was a very 
unscientific attitude, and told him so. But prosaically, he said he 
only dealt in facts, not faith. When I told Shakir about this 
exchange, his worst suspicions about the medical profession were 
confirmed.

So I'm afraid it's back to the operation theatre. As a sweetener, 
my wife has added trips before and after surgery to overcome my 
reluctance and hasten convalescence. Although several friends have 
volunteered to undergo the operation if they can come along to 
Morocco, France, Spain and Turkey with us, I remain unenthusiastic: 
the thought of my heart being removed and placed on ice even for a 
couple of hours is not one that fills the soul with joy. Given my 
lack of confidence in a profession that ascribes any disease for 
which it has no explanation to a 'virus', I am taking no odds on 
the outcome of the operation despite, assurances that it is now 
about as straightforward as clipping one's nails.

Many well-wishers have suggested that I have the operation in 
Pakistan and save some money. No chance. How many people come here 
from abroad to have open-heart surgery compared with the number of 
people who go to England? Also, the private hospital in London 
where I will spend a week is supposed to run an excellent kitchen.

For the last couple of years, I have been going to the French Beach 
on weekends to relax and get away from it all. On most Saturday 
nights, I am alone and sit for hours looking at the stars and 
listening to the sea. I cook for friends who drop in for a meal, 
but generally relish the solitude. Of late, however, sundry groups 
of yuppies have taken to assembling there in large numbers on 
Saturday nights for their so-called charity balls. I would have no 
objection if they came to enjoy nature, but they insist on loud 
music and lots of lights, shattering the peace and ruining it for 
everybody else. The latest such assault on the beach took place 
last week when somebody had the bright idea of selling tickets at 
Rs 1500 per couple for a Karaoke evening. Mercifully, I found out 
about this travesty in time and cancelled my weekend at the beach.

Anyhow, I hope to get lots of rest over the next three months, and 
my health and editor permitting, will resume inflicting my views on 
readers in August.


===================================================================
SPORTS
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20000503 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Contracts to be amended to offset bookies
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, May 2: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will include new 
clauses in the players' contracts in which the cricketers would be 
clarified what they have to do if approached by any bookmaker in 
future.

The chairman of the PCB Lt-Gen Tauqir Zia told newsmen at the 
National Stadium here on Tuesday that the addition of the clause 
was now essential after all the boards have done it because of the 
growing trend of bookmakers approaching the cricketers.

"The clause was not added in the contracts which were given to the 
players before their departure for Sharjah. But now the addition 
appears essential as one realizes that the entire world is involved 
(in match-fixing)," the general said.

He, however, said the players have been briefed in detail that they 
have to immediately report to the team management if approached by 
any bookmaker.

Besides, he continued, the players have been banned from using 
mobile telephones or entertain friends in their rooms.

"If the players have to meet their friends, they have to meet in 
the manager's room. That practice was followed in the home series 
against Sri Lanka and would be implemented in future," he said.

According to sources, the clause in the player's contract would 
clearly mention that if a player was found having any contact with 
a bookmaker, not only his contract would be cancelled but he would 
also be banned for life.

The general said not only the cricket board had a directory of 
bookmakers, an additional list has also been mentioned by Justice 
Malik Mohammad Qayyum in his report.

QAYYUM COMMISSION REPORT: The general said he would get the 
possession of the judicial commission report on Friday.

But he set no deadline to publicize the Qayyum commission report. 
"I have to submit the report next month to the International 
Cricket Council (ICC). But before that, the report would be made 
public."

General Tauqir, nevertheless, clarified that the delay in the 
publication of the report was because of a misunderstanding.

He said the report was submitted to sports ministry rather than the 
President's secretariat. He said the PCB was an autonomous body and 
didn't come under the sports ministry umbrella.

He, however, added that President Rafiq Tarar was given the report 
by the sports ministry last week which will be passed on to him on 
Friday when he calls on the PCB patron.

The PCB chairman added that he has already had a meeting with 
Justice Qayyum in which the Lahore High Court judge briefed him on 
the contents of his report.

"The judge confirmed to me that he has recommended life bans 
besides cash penalties against certain players. But he didn't 
reveal any names of the players against whom he has recommended 
penalties.

"It was never a question of making up my mind. As soon as the PCB 
would get the report, it would be implemented," he said.

PLAYERS ARE HANDSOMELY PAID: The PCB chairman said the players were 
handsomely paid with each player having an annual earning of 
approximately between Rs eight million to Rs 9.5 million. He said 
these were figures from the payments the board made to the players 
in 1999.

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20000430 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Saleh beats Naveen to retain snooker trophy
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ian Fyfe

 KARACHI, April 29: Top seed Saleh Mohammad emerged the proud 
winner of the Fourth Red & White Style Snooker Championship when he 
downed Naveen Perwani 8-4 in the final to retain the title here at 
the Karachi Gymkhana on Saturday evening.

These two cueists also clashed in the final of the same tournament 
last year when Saleh won 8-5 and then went on to win all the four 
ranking tournaments.

But defending his National title this year at Faisalabad last 
month, Saleh surrendered his crown to the former World and Asian 
champion Mohammad Yousuf, who came through a 8-4 winner and become 
the national champion for a record ninth time.

But Saleh gained a measure of revenge when he brushed aside Yousuf 
6-3 in the semi-finalshere to set up a final encounter with Naveen 
Perwani, who in turn surprised third seed Farhan Mirza 6-4.

Naveen, who captained the Pakistan team in the six-nation snooker 
championship held in Dubai last October, it was a case of being so 
near and yet so far away once again.

Naveen has appeared in six ranking tournament finals and has yet to 
receive the winner's cheque.

When play began, Naveen was leading by 49 points in the opening 
frame before Saleh, with a splendid break of 64, took the lead 1-0. 
Helped on with another fine break of 52 points, Saleh breezed 
through the next frame to double the lead.

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20000506 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
First Test begins: Ambrose sends Pakistan reeling
-------------------------------------------------------------------

GEORGETOWN (Guyana), May 5: West Indies, inspired by veteran pace 
bowler Curtly Ambrose's three-wicket burst, reduced Pakistan to 68 
for five at lunch on the opening day of the first Test on Friday.

Ambrose took three for 17 in a hostile eight-over, new ball spell 
while fellow pacemen Courtney Walsh and Reon King each took a 
wicket. Walsh started Pakistan's woes when he bowled Wajahatullah 
Wasti with a beautiful outswinger for eight. In the next over 
Ambrose bowled Mohammad Wasim off the inside edge to leave the 
touring team 12 for two.

Ambrose then enjoyed a double strike in his sixth over, trapping 
Younis Khan leg before for two and then having Yousuf Youhana well 
caught behind by a diving Ridley Jacobs for nought. That left 
Pakistan precariously placed on 21 for four.

King, playing his first Test on his home ground, captured a wicket 
with first delivery which Moin cut powerfully but straight to West 
Indies's captain Jimmy Adams in the gully.

At that stage Pakistan were reeling on 39 for five but Inzamam-ul-
Haq and Abdur Razzaq halted the slide.

Inzamam, who survived a difficult chance to Sherwin Campbell in the 
penultimate over before lunch, was unbeaten on 38 off 53 balls at 
the interval.

Pakistan left out injured paceman Shoaib Akhtar, Imran Nazir and 
Shahid Afridi, who opened the batting in the triangular one-day 
series which they won 2-1.

Shoaib played in the decisive third final in Trinidad 12 days ago 
after resting a groin injury in the early part of the tour. He is 
now suffering from a side strain.

West Indies were missing Franklyn Rose, out with an injured finger 
on his bowling hand. They also omitted the uncapped Guyanese duo of 
leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo and teenaged batsman Ramnaresh 
Sarwan.-Reuters/AFP

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