------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 14 October 2000 Issue : 06/39 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Pakistan relaxes visa rules: 16 states on negative list + PML fails to show strength: Khosa claims countless workers held + Arms for India will destabilize region: Pakistan expresses concern + Musharraf says he won't form political party + Body set up to revive sick units, says CE + Musharraf spells out six achievements of his Government + Names of 87 members MPs deleted from ECL + Ordinance banning chemical weapons promulgated + Joint commission meeting begins with Malaysia + Hoti gets 14-year RI in motorway case + Benazir grieved at Wahid Bhutto's killing + Pakistan News Network poised for launch in face of PTV opposition + US expresses concern over blasphemy law + Pakistan criticized for HR violations --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Micro-Finance Bank not to lend over Rs50,000 per person + Date extended for filing returns + Tax returns show discrepancies: CBR briefs CE on recovery drive + State Bank to intensify monitoring system + Exemption to three industries may go: New deletion plan soon + Hubco chief protests against govt action + Steps taken to stabilize rupee, says Shaukat + Trade deficit at $508m: July-Sept + Rescheduling of $2.2bn debt service payments on cards + Home remittances double, foreign investment falls + Farm loans decline by 8% + List of GST-free kitchen items released + Rs700 billion investment plan to push growth to 6% --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + The storming of the Supreme Court - II Ardeshir Cowasjee + The nation and its redeemers Ayaz Amir + Jumping ship Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + ICC backs PCB call for World Cup probe + Changes in top order likely: Bari

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NATIONAL NEWS
20001014 
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Pakistan relaxes visa rules: 16 states on negative list
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Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13: The government announced an extensive relaxation 
of visa rules to be effective from Monday (Oct 16), and also 
abolished the requirement of police registration for nationals from 
most countries, 
except for those on a negative list.

The new rules, announced by Interior Minister Lt Gen (retd) 
Moinuddin Haider at a news conference on Friday, were aimed at 
attracting investment and tourists.

The nationals of 16 countries put on the negative list will however 
not benefit from the new measures. These 16 countries are: Algeria, 
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and its nationals settled abroad, Iraq, 
Israel, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, 
Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen.

Police registration has been abolished for nationals from most 
countries, except for those from the negative list. This includes 
Indian nationals and those of Indian origin who have obtained other 
foreign nationalities.

In the news conference which also briefly touched upon the one-year 
performance of the interior ministry, Moinuddin Haider announced 
the following measures to simplify the foreigners problems with 
regard to obtaining visas:

TOURIST VISA: All tourists (except for nationals of countries on 
the negative list) will be issued a 30-day Landing Permit at 
airports and other entry points, on arrival. Regional passport 
offices will grant entry visa up to three months on application, if 
the tourists are within the validity period of the landing permit.

A further extension of up to three months can also be granted by 
these offices, on application. These passport offices will also 
allow one of two re-entries to the tourists, on application, 
charging visa fees as fixed on a reciprocal basis, subject to a 
minimum of US$10 only.

For Northern Areas, the deputy commissioner of Gilgit is authorized 
to allow extension in visa and one re-entry to tourists in the 
Northern Areas. He would, however, exercise these powers himself 
and would not delegate these powers to his sub-ordinate.

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20001013
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PML fails to show strength: Khosa claims countless workers held
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Reporter

LAHORE, Oct 12: Except for a small gathering at the Muslim League 
House, the PML could not arrange any significant activity to 
observe the black day here on Thursday due to what Punjab PML 
president Sardar Zulfikar Khosa said harassment of workers by the 
police and administration.

He also attributed the arrest of "countless" workers to the poor 
show of strength.

Even seven members of the eight-man organizing committee made for 
the gathering, including its head, failed to turn up. The only 
member at the Muslim League House was suspended MNA Pervez Malik.

It was learnt that the rest had abstained because of the rejection 
of their plea by Begum Kulsoom Nawaz that the meeting should be 
held in the basement of the party's secretariat and not on its 
lawns.

Begum Kulsoom, who was detained in Rawalpindi, had reportedly asked 
an important party member by telephone to approach the court 
against her detention but nothing in this connection was done.

The police, in uniform and civvies, stood guard at every important 
crossing and place in the city with their high-ups making off and 
on visits to supervise the arrangements made to disallow any PML 
worker to stage a protest in the home town of the deposed prime 
minister Nawaz Sharif.

The situation continued to be monitored at the Governor's House by 
the army authorities and the civil administration.

Contrary to the PML announcement, no person was seen wearing a 
black armband. No black flag was hoisted at any place, including 
the Muslim League House and the Model Town residence of Mr Sharif 
where a handful of workers had held Quran Khwani in the morning.

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20001010
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Arms for India will destabilize region: Pakistan expresses concern
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Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9: Pakistan expressed concern on Monday over a 
recent arms deal between Russia and India as it would have 
destabilizing impact on the region.

The foreign ministry spokesman, Riaz Mohammed Khan, told a news 
conference that in contrast to Chief Executive Gen Pervez 
Musharraf's call to India for mutual reduction in arms and armed 
forces, the Indo-Russian massive arms deal during Russian President 
Vladimir Putin's recent visit to New Delhi had caused natural 
concern which would destabilize the region.

He said that the Indian ambitions which were evident in the recent 
28 per cent increase in its defence budget, fresh massive arms 
induction "does not augur well for promoting a security environment 
of trust, peace, stability and confidence" in the already highly 
tense South Asia.

Instead, he urged the major powers to play a positive role by 
persuading India to resolve disputes and differences (with 
Pakistan) and follow the path of dialogue and cooperation.

Pakistan pursued a policy of restraint and avoidance of arms race, 
conventional as well as nuclear, Mr Khan said recalling that in his 
UN Millennium Summit speech in New York last month, the chief 
executive had offered to India mutual reduction in forces.

The spokesman reiterated, "Our defence is impregnable and the world 
knows we have the capability to deter any aggressive designs 
against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan".

He was responding to remarks made by Indian deputy foreign minister 
Ajit Kumar Panja, who said Musharraf was the only world leader 
hostile to India.

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20001011 
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Musharraf says he won't form political party
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Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Oct 10: The Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, said on 
Tuesday he might give "serious thought" to the idea of reviving the 
assemblies.

This he stated at a news conference at the Governor's House when a 
reporter suggested that since the challenges facing the country 
were gigantic, the CE should review his opinion about the 
assemblies and seek cooperation from political forces.

The CE also said he might give serious thought to the idea of 
formation of a national government. "Though it is an uphill and 
impractical idea in the prevalent situation, I would consider the 
proposal," adds PPI.

He said he had no hesitation to restore the assemblies but the 
leadership of both major political parties had been experiencing 
odd situation. And the rest of the political leadership had 
divergent views, therefore it was difficult to bring them at a 
single platform.

After the local bodies election, he said, poll for the national and 
provincial assemblies would be held before October 2002, our staff 
reporter continues.

The CE gave an assessment of his government's performance during 
the first year in office at his first press briefing in the Punjab 
capital which continued for about three hours.

He said he would take steps to ensure that the "army did not have 
to intervene again and no future government could undo the system 
given by him".

The army, the CE said, was supposed to save the country from 
internal and external threats. There was a need for safeguards 
against any military takeover, he said, adding: "We are taking such 
steps."

In the past, he said, the presidents, prime ministers and army 
chiefs had been committing mistakes. But now, he added, there 
should be a system to stop repetition of such mistakes.

He dismissed as "mere non-sense" assertions by political parties 
that the local government system proposed by him was unworkable. 
Political parties, he said, had failed to keep people away from 
election in the past and they would not succeed in the future.

Gen Musharraf said he would ensure the continuity and 
sustainability of the LB system which would provide for checks and 
balances, and no future government would be bale to reverse it. He 
did not elaborate how he would achieve the goal. However, he said, 
a number of options were under consideration for the purpose.

He denied that he had any intention to form his own political 
party. He said he had stated it many times before and he was 
reiterating it now that he had no such intentions.

Punjab Governor Mohammad Safdar, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, 
Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood, NRB chairman Gen Tanvir Naqvi and 
NAB chairman Lt-Gen Khalid Maqbool were present.

The general did not seem inclined to associate political parties 
with his government to implement his agenda. He said a consensus 
could not be evolved in presence of parties with divergent views. 
Had the suggestion been practicable, he would have implemented it 
without delay, he said.

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20001011 
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Body set up to revive sick units, says CE 
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Reporter 

LAHORE, Oct 10: The government will extend the date for filing of 
tax returns and simplify the tax forms, Chief Executive Gen Pervez 
Musharraf declared on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters here, he regretted that people had to face 
difficulties because of complicated forms.

He admitted that the country faced many economic problems, but at 
the same time he said that the downward slide had been stopped as a 
result of the measures taken by the government.

Some steps that had led to the price-hike, he said, had been taken 
to meet conditionalities set by the IMF and the World Bank. Unless 
Pakistan stood on its own feet, such conditionalities would have to 
be met, he regretted.

He denied that Pakistan's economy was hostage to its Kashmir 
policy.

The CE said the government would step up the privatization process 
to retire its debt and raise foreign exchange reserves. By June, he 
said, the government estimated to get up to $4 billion form the 
privatization proceeds.

According to him, some 800 litigation cases about the privatization 
were pending before courts and the government would promulgate an 
ordinance to overcome the problem.

Gen Musharraf said it had been decided as a matter of policy that 
one major asset would be sold every month or after every two 
months. The PTCL, PSO, PPL and OGDC were being privatized in a 
manner that the government would keep 49 per cent of their shares 
with it. "We'll keep the strategic control with us."

He said he had already asked the United Nations that Pakistan 
should be allowed to divert its debt to health, education and other 
social sectors, and added that the idea had been well received.

Revival of economy, he said, was one of his top priorities and he 
was taking various measures for the purpose.

He said a "Corporate and Industrial Restructuring Corporation" had 
been set up which would revive some 4,000 sick units. The economic 
situation, he stated, had already started improving, and foreign 
private investment and remittances from overseas Pakistanis had 
registered an increase.

The agricultural sector was also improving as the production of 
various crops had gone up remarkably. The increase in the support 
price of wheat alone had benefited the growers to the tune of Rs60 
billion. 

He said it was a fact that prices of some items had registered an 
increase, but, he added, with the improvement in the overall 
economic situation the prices would also come under control.

He stated that information technology would be promoted on a 
priority basis. He denied the impression that capital flight was 
taking place at an alarming pace.

GDP GROWTH:The CE said that the country's GDP had registered 4.8pc 
growth in 1999-2000 against 3.1pc recorded last year, showing 
promising trends in the economy, adds APP.

Large-scale industrial production recorded over 6pc growth, while 
there was an improvement in foreign private investment by $100 
million, from $450 million to $543 million, he said.

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20001011 
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Musharraf spells out six achievements of his Government
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LAHORE, Oct 10: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf spelled 
out six achievements his government has accomplished at the end of 
its first year in office, on Tuesday morning.

Speaking at a news conference at Governor's House, he said the 
government has rebuilt a relationship of trust between the people 
and the government.

Secondly, the Chief Executive said, the government has enforced a 
strict code of ethics for the holders of public office.

Thirdly, he pointed out that the macro-level corruption has been 
rooted out. Billions of rupees were being siphoned off and there 
was a general loot and plunder taking place in the government 
organisations which has now been stopped.

General Musharraf said, his government had been "honest, direct and 
upfront with the people of Pakistan and the world at large, without 
fear or favour."

For the first time in Pakistan, the Chief Executive stated, the 
process of completely impartial and even-handed accountability has 
been initiated and is continuing without pressure from any quarter.

Fifthly, he said, the government has facilitated freedom of speech 
to an unprecedented level. "We have supported and strengthened a 
free and independent press and we will maintain that."

Lastly, the Chief Executive said, his government has strengthened 
Pakistan's relations with the international community in a positive 
and productive manner at a difficult time in the country's history, 
and during a period of tension in South Asia.-APP

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20001014 
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Names of 87 members MPs deleted from ECL
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13: The government has allowed 87 members of the 
suspended senate and legislative assemblies, both national and 
provincial, to visit abroad and deleted their names from the exit 
control list.

Those declared clear for travelling abroad include 19 members of 
the suspended national assembly, 10 suspended senators and 58 are 
members of the suspended provincial assemblies.

Interior minister Moinuddin Haider told newsmen in a press 
conference here on Friday that the ECL with this deletion now 
contained the names of only 210 politicians. The total number of 
persons on the ECL is, however, 4,271.

Before the military take-over, he said, there were a total of 2,258 
persons on the ECL which inflated and went up to 5,870 figure as a 
consequence of the change in the government. The ECL was revised 
and almost 2000 names were deleted recently, the minister said.

According to the list provided by the minister the suspended MNAs 
whose names have been removed from the ECL include A K Shams, Adnan 
Aurangzeb, Ajaz Mahmood, Capt (R) Haleem A Siddiqui, Dr Khalid 
Maqbool Siddiqui, Haji Zamir Gul (Zarin Gul), Inayat Khan, Mian 
Ghulam Abbas Qureshi, Mohammad Iqbal Bossal, Pervaiz Malik, Qaiser 
Ahmed Sheikh, Raja Mohammad Afzal Khan, Sahibzada Mohiuddin Khosa, 
Shabbir Ahmed Chandio, Shahzad Farooq Anwar Khan, Sheikh Liaqat 
Hussain, Sheikh Tahir Rasheed and Syed Ali Nawaz Shah.

Such suspended senators include Abdul Rehman Haji, Faridullah Khan, 
Haji Mohammad Shah Afridi, Khalid Anwar, Mian Raza Rabbani, Begum 
Nasreen Jalil, Mian Saifullah Pracha, Mir Nabi Bux Domki, Dr Safdar 
Ali Abbasi and Sir Anjam Khan.

The suspended members of the provincial assemblies excluded from 
the ECL include Abdul Rehman, Abdul Subhan Khan, Ali Afzal Khan 
Jadoon, Ali Raza Derashik, Amjad Hameed Dasti, Asadullah Baloch, 
Chaudhry Mohammad Iqbal, Chaudhry Khalid Javed, Farhat Aziz Mazari, 
Fateh Mohammad Khan, Fatehullah Khan Miankhel, Fazal Haq, Ghazanfar 
Ali Khan, Hafiz Iqbal Ahmed Khakwani, Haji Abdul Rehman Khan, Haji 
Ghulam Rasool Khan Shadikhel, Haji Imdad Hussain, Haji Mohammad 
Sharif, Haji Sajaullah Khan Miankhel, Iftikharuddin Khattak, Jam 
Masooq Ali, Jan Mohammad Khattak, Khawaja Riaz Mehmood, M Saleem 
Bandhani, Makhdoom Ali Akbar Mahmood, Malik Jahanzeb, Malik Azhar 
Abbas, Mansha Sindhu, Manzoor Ahmed Mohal, Mehr Mauhammad Aslam 
Khan Bharwana Sial, Mian Abdul Sattar (PP 124), Mian Abdul Sattar 
(PP 234), Mian Gul Asfandyar Amirzaib, Mian Shoukat Lalika, Mian 
Sikandar Ali Doultana, Mir Abdul Jabbar, Mohammad Afzal Khan, 
Mohammad Aslam, Mohammad Hussain, Mohammad Kamran Jaffari, Mohammad 
Sardar Khan Watto, Mohammad Tariq Khan Swati, Mohammad Yousaf Khan 
Trand, Munsaf Khan, Prince Musa Jan, Saeed Ahmed, Sardar Chakar 
Khan Domki, Sardar Maqsood Ahmed Khan Leghari, Sardar Mohammad Arif 
Nakai (expired), Sardar Mohammad Awais Khan Leghari, Seth Mohammad 
Aslam, Sh Mohammad Aslam son of Sh Ghulam Ahmed, Shafqat Rabera, 
Sheikh Khalil Ahmed, Syed Ali Akbar Mahmood, Syed Ali Shah, Syed 
Zeeshan Elahi Shah and Wakil Ahmed Jamali.

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20001012
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Ordinance banning chemical weapons promulgated
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ISLAMABAD, Oct 11: President Rafiq Tarar on Wednesday promulgated 
Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Ordinance, 2000 
prohibiting development, production, stockpiling and use of 
chemical weapons.

The ordinance, which comes into force at once, also bans transfer, 
directly or indirectly, a chemical weapon to anyone.

It also prohibits any person to engage in any military preparations 
to use the chemical weapons.

The ordinance was promulgated in pursuance of Pakistan's efforts to 
implement the Chemical Weapons Convention ratified by it in October 
1997.

"No person shall assist, encourage or induce, in any way, any other 
person to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under 
the Convention," the ordinance said.

It also prohibits use of 'riot control agent' as a method of 
warfare.

"Whosoever contravenes the provisions of this section shall be 
guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which 
may extend to twenty five years."

The ordinance also prohibits construction of any premises or 
equipment for producing chemical weapons.

It also bans production, use, acquisition, possession, transfer, 
import or export of toxic chemicals and precursors.

Secretary of ministry of foreign affairs has been named as National 
Authority who shall ensure effective operation of this ordinance.

The National Authority (Foreign Secretary) will also carry out, on 
behalf of Pakistan, such obligations which Pakistan has under the 
Convention. -APP

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20001013
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Joint commission meeting begins with Malaysia
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: The second meeting of the Pakistan-Malaysia 
Joint Commission (PMJC) commenced here in Islamabad on Thursday, 
aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, 
science and information technology, a Press release said on 
Thursday.

Among some of the other issues on the agenda relate to technical 
cooperation, education, agriculture, science and technology, 
petroleum and natural resources, water and power, population 
welfare, sports and culture.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, who co-chaired the 
meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Syed Hamid Albar, said that 
Pakistan would welcome investment from Malaysia in its 
privatisation programme.

He said Pakistan could provide a hospitable investment environment 
for Malaysian manufacturers who were considering shifting labour-
intensive industries overseas.

The Malaysian foreign minister, in his opening statement, said that 
the convening of the second PMJC, the first in the new millennium, 
was timely and opportunate. 

 He said it provided a useful platform to discuss, review and take 
stock of the progress of bilateral cooperation that had been agreed 
upon.

Referring to the frequent exchange of visits including that of the 
Chief Executive, he said, these visits bore testimonies to the 
growing brotherly relations that exist between the two countries.

APP adds: Mr Sattar said the government is striving hard to 
reconstruct and de-politicize state institutions, ensure across-
the-board accountability and devolve power to the grass-root level. 

 Pakistan wishes to learn from the Malaysian experience in 
achieving these goals, he said.

During the past year, he said, Pakistan has displayed positive 
economic performance. As a result of sound policies, the economic 
situation has stabilised and growth has been restored. Market-based 
incentives and deregulation of the economy have meant that the 
country is again seeing significant economic growth.

During 1999-2000, the economy grew by 4.8 per cent, led by an 
unprecedented increase in agricultural production and textile 
manufacturing. Inflation was below four per cent, although the 
steep rise in petroleum prices and debt servicing have generated 
hardship for our country and people.

The Foreign Minister said the First Meeting of the Joint Commission 
held in Kuala Lumpur in 1997 identified a number of proposals and 
projects for joint action. Our task at this meeting will be to take 
this process forward and to further expand, deepen and diversify 
our cooperation in the economic, industrial and other fields, he 
added.

He said that in the twenty-first century, it is the private sector 
which has emerged as the engine of progress and prosperity. 

 Like many other developing countries, in Pakistan also many public 
sector corporations are being privatized and opened up to foreign 
investment.

Pakistan would very much welcome Malaysian investments in its 
privatisation programme.

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20001008
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Hoti gets 14-year RI in motorway case
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Intikhab Amir

ATTOCK, Oct 7: The Attock Fort accountability court on Saturday 
awarded 14 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs20 million fine to 
former communications minister Azam Khan Hoti for misuse of power 
in the installation of emergency telephone system on the Islamabad-
Lahore section of Motorway.

Co-accused Shahmir Khan, managing director of the Karachi-based M/s 
SIPKA, was sentenced to a collective RI of 14 years and Rs50 
million fine.

Both stand disqualified from contesting any election and holding 
public office for 21 years.

Judge Farrukh Lateef found Mr Hoti, an ANP leader, guilty of the 
charges levelled against him under section 9(a)(iv) of the National 
Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999, and convicted him under 
section 9(a)(vi) read with section 10(a) of the ordinance.

Mr Shahmir was convicted of two charges - receiving seven years RI 
in each. He would separately pay Rs30 million and Rs20 million in 
the two charges.

Mr Shahmir, 72, was convicted under section 9(a)(vi) read with 
section 10(b) of the NAB Ordinance, 1999. The sentences awarded to 
him would run consecutively. Thus, he would spend a total of 14 
years RI.

In default of payment, declared the court, Mr Hoti would undergo an 
additional three-year RI. Mr Shahmir would undergo three years RI 
more if failed to pay the fine.

The court directed the convicts to deposit the fine within 30 days 
failing which it shall be recovered through warrant for levy of 
fine under section 386(b) of the CrPC.

It held that the convicts could file appeal against the judgment in 
the Lahore High Court within 10 days from the announcement of the 
verdict.

According to the prosecution, Mr Hoti had misused his authority 
being the minister in the award of the contract for the 
installation of emergency telephone system on M2 in November, 1997.

He was accused of issuing verbal instructions to the then managing 
director of the Carrier Telephone Industries (CTI), a subsidiary of 
the PTCL, to impose a condition in the letter of intent of M/s 
Telconet, an Islamabad-based firm which had initially been given 
the contract, binding it to complete 40 per cent of the work within 
12 days.

When M/s Telconet expressed inability to meet the deadline, Mr Hoti 
issued verbal instructions to the CTI MD to cancel the letter of 
intent of M/s Telconet and awarded the contract to M/s SIPKA.

Mr Shahmir was charged on two counts: of corrupt practices when he 
managed to win over the project in connivance with the accused No 
1, and causing a loss of Rs32 million to the exchequer as he had 
supplied the system non-conformable to the specifications mentioned 
in the tender documents.

The 42 page judgment contained that "in rebuttal of the evidence 
produced by the prosecution, virtually nothing was produced in 
defence. They did not even bother to enter the witness box and make 
statements on oath to disprove the allegations against them".

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20001008
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Benazir grieved at Wahid Bhutto's killing
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ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: The former prime minister and chairperson of the 
Pakistan People's Party, Benazir Bhutto, has praised chief 
executive Gen Musharaf and his team for responding quickly to the 
message regarding the disappearance of Sardar Wahid Buksh Bhutto.

"This quick response by Gen Musharaf and his team enabled the 
capture of a key killer even as he stood poised to flee Pakistan by 
crossing into neighboring Iran," Ms Bhutto said in a statement here 
on Saturday.

She said the brutal murder of Sardar Wahid Buksh Bhutto would have 
a "far-reaching effect on the members of the Bhutto tribe who 
demand that his killers be brought before the courts of law and 
punished for the heinous crime they have committed".

In a message to the members of the Bhutto tribe and to Amir Bhutto, 
younger brother of the Sardar, on Saturday, Ms Bhutto mourned the 
killing of Sardar Wahid Buksh Bhutto.

"I have been saddened and shocked by his untimely murder," she 
said, adding that Sardar Bhutto had been a "young boy" when his 
father Sardar Pir Buksh Bhutto had died.-NNI

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20001014  
Pakistan News Network poised for launch in face of PTV opposition
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M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13: Pakistan News Network (PNN), an exclusive news 
and current affairs channel of the Pakistan Television Corporation, 
is all set to start its transmissions from November 26 in the face 
of, what appears to be,
 strong opposition from powerful elements within the corporation.

Considered to be a baby of Information Minister Javed Jabbar, the 
PNN is being reportedly seen by PTV Managing Director Yousuf Baig 
Mirza as a potential threat for the 9 o'Clock news bulletin and 
PTV's other current affairs programmes.

The thinking among the PTV high-ups opposing the PNN is that, what 
the new network was being assigned to do could easily be done by 
the present news and current affairs setup itself with a little bit 
of improvement in the quality of news gathering and presentation.

However, those pushing for the PNN believe that there was nothing 
one could do any more to help the PTV news bulletin regain its lost 
credibility because of the continuous misuse of the channel by 
successive governments for propaganda purposes.

The PNN, which is headed by veteran TV newsman Burhanuddin Hassan, 
has already recruited some 120 persons including news reporters and 
presenters. It is now in the process of recruiting engineers for 
the setup.

Most of the reporters and presenters have been recruited on casual 
basis as the government as well as the PTV management have so far 
refused to allow the PNN to appoint permanent employees.

The PNN, however, has the latest equipment and it has fitted itself 
with the most sophisticated high-tech gadgetry including round-the-
clock monitoring of most of the world channels and internet 
downloading facilities.

The PNN is expected to use the camera extensively for presenting 
news items and it will have bureau offices in almost all the cities 
and towns in the country as well as in the major world capitals.

Those who are opposed to the channel within the PTV also express 
the suspicion that after it has been established the channel will 
be privatized to one or the other favourite of the government of 
the day.

The channel, which is being launched on Nov 26, the day on which 
the PTV had started its transmission in 1964, according to its 
proponents would set new trends on news coverage in Pakistan.

"To telecast all the news that is fit for telecast," is on the top 
of a set of eight points enlisted by the ministry for information 
and media development as the objectives of launching a complete new 
channel.

The ministry also plans to launch a fulfledged external service of 
the PNN. To start with PNN, would telecast news bulletins in Hindi, 
Bengali and Chinese. The news bulletins in regional languages are 
being included with an objective to counter anti-Pakistan 
propaganda from any quarter, specially from our hostile neighbour.

The PNN transmission will also contain instant comments by a panel 
of experts on significant stories of the day.

The PNN transmission, which will be beamed throughout the region on 
Asia Sat and on STN domestically, will be divided into three main 
chunks.

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20001009
-------------------------------------------------------------------
US expresses concern over blasphemy law
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Oct 8: The operation of the blasphemy law is critically 
examined in a dispatch from Lahore published here on Saturday which 
seeks to draw attention to the condition of the Christian minority 
in Pakistan.

The dispatch, carried on the front page of The Washington Times 
from one of its correspondents, claims that Christians in the 
country face an uneasy future as the growing religious fervour of 
its overwhelmingly Muslim majority promotes attacks on all 
minorities, with Christians especially vulnerable.

It quotes a senior State Department official as saying: "The United 
States is concerned about the situation of religious minorities in 
Pakistan. We are concerned about abuse of blasphemy laws and 
concerned that Gen Pervez Musharraf appeared to abandon an effort 
to reform those laws in the face of opposition. This is a serious 
problem."

The dispatch does not indicate when the comment was made by the 
State Department It also has rebuttal from a spokesman of the 
Pakistan embassy in Washington to the effect that Christians are a 
protected minority in Pakistan, and their social, financial and 
human rights are not violated. In fact, the spokesman stresses, the 
best schools in Pakistan are Christian schools.

The dispatch also admits that despite the concerns of the Christian 
community, religious life for the Christians of Lahore goes on as 
usual.

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20001010
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan criticized for HR violations
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Masood Haider

NEW YORK, Oct 9: Accusing Pakistan's military led government of 
widespread abuses, in the name of political reforms, the Human 
Rights Watch (HRW) has asked Chief Executive General Perez 
Musharraf to immediately return the country to the civilian rule.

In a 20-page report, " Repression or Reform? Post-Coup Abuses in 
Pakistan", the Human Rights Watch however has mentioned two 
important steps taken by the Musharraf government for the 
protection of rights of children and women.

The New York-based HRW says the Musharraf government had detained 
opponents and former officials without charge, removed independent 
judges from the higher courts, banned public rallies and 
demonstrations, and rendered political parties all but powerless.

"Musharraf follows a long line of generals in Pakistan who have 
claimed that a period of military rule is the path to true 
democracy" said Sidney Jones, Asia director of HRW. "In fact, he is 
systematically destroying civil liberties in Pakistan."

Human Rights Watch called on the Musharraf government to:

-Immediately lift the state of emergency;

-Set a clear and reasonable timetable for holding national and 
provincial elections;

-To revoke the Provisional Constitution Order that suspends the 
constitution and undermines the independence of the judiciary;

-To amend the November 1999 National Accountability Ordinance, 
ostensibly designed to punish corrupt officials, because it denies 
due process of law and invites politically motivated prosecutions;

-To cease using the army to monitor civil institutions;

-To hold judicial inquiries into allegations of custodial torture 
and prosecute those responsible.

The report says though the government has repeatedly boasted of its 
commitment to a free press, a September 27 raid by armed military 
personnel on the offices of the Karachi-based English daily Dawn 
has raised grave concerns about freedom of press and speech in 
Pakistan. According to the Dawn, the raid was preceded by legal 
notices to the newspaper from the Ministry of Information to 
restrict its coverage of a draft Freedom of Information Act, and by 
complaints from government officials about an article in Dawn 
stating that the administration was preparing new curbs on press 
freedom.

The HRW called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to 
visit Pakistan to raise human rights concerns, and on Pakistan's 
donors and trading partners to use every available opportunity to 
press for implementation of the legal and administrative reforms 
recommended by HRW.

The new report recalls the immediate aftermath of the coup on Oct 
12, 1999 when Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif, and the policy 
objectives that Musharraf announced for his government.

 It notes that the Sharif administration had alienated much of the 
public with heavy handed and increasingly authoritarian policies, 
and that Musharraf took pains to portray, the coup as necessary to 
reestablish a basis for democratic rule.

The report acknowledges that in two areas, Musharraf did take 
important steps to safeguard human rights.

One of these was to promulgate a juvenile justice ordinance 
protecting children's rights, and the second was to establish a 
National Commission on the Status of Women.

In other areas, the Human Rights Watch says, the human rights 
situation has noticeably deteriorated as the military has 
consolidated power.

Political opponents and suspected wrongdoers have been subjected to 
prolonged detention without charge, custodial ill treatment, and 
even torture. The report documents a particularly chilling case of 
detention and torture involving Rana Sanaullah Khan, an MPA, who 
was arrested under the sedition law for criticizing the military 
government in November 1999. He was whipped, beaten, held 
incommunicado and interrogated for a week in police custody before 
being transferred to Lahore Central Prison. He was eventually 
released on bail on January 5.

The report points out that two senior Sharif government officials 
who were detained on the day of the coup, namely Mushahid Hussain 
and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who continue to be held without charge.

The report describes other arrests of political party activists and 
abuses under the National Accountability Ordinance. The ordinance 
confers sweeping powers of arrest, investigation, and prosecution 
in a single institution, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).


=================================================================== 
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20001014 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Micro-Finance Bank not to lend over Rs50,000 per person
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, Oct 13: People will not get micro loans worth more than Rs 
50,000 in aggregate from Micro-finance Bank and micro-finance 
institutions, according to Micro-finance rules announced by the 
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) here on Friday.

The SBP said in a circular that the rules would come into force 
immediately.

The rules define poor persons (who would borrow money from MFB) as 
persons who have meagre means of subsistence and whose total income 
or receipts during a year is less than the minimum applicable 
taxable limit set for income tax purposes.

Under the rules the MFB shall maintain a cash reserve equivalent to 
not less than five per cent of its total time and demand 
liabilities. In addition to cash reserve it will also invest and 
place five per cent of its demand and time liabilities in 
government securities.

The rules say that MFB shall create a reserve fund and put in it 20 
per cent of its after-tax profit. It will also put 10 per cent of 
its after-tax profit into a social sector support fund.

The MFB shall not allow financing facility to any of its sponsors, 
directors, or employees including their spouses, parents and 
children. MFB shall also not allow micro-finance facilities for 
speculative purposes.

All non-performing loans should be written-off after two years from 
the date of default in performance. But theb MFB will have the 
right of recovery of such written-off loans.

The rules make it clear that in case of the MFB a non-performing 
loan means and include that part of loan which has become due and 
payable but has not been repaid by the borrower.

The MFB may acquire or hold shares of any company up to a maximum 
30 per cent of its paid-up capital, objective of which is to 
provide micro-finance services to the poor persons.

While considering proposals for fund-based or non-fund-based 
facilities the MFB shall make all reasonable efforts to determine 
the true identity of every applicant. Towards this end the MFB 
shall develop effective procedures and methods for obtaining proper 
identification from new customers/borrowers. While granting micro-
finance facilities to Micro-finance Institutions MFB shall ensure 
that the institution is licensed by and registered with the SBP.

It will further ensure that the institution has its own saving and 
lending programme. The MFB will also need to ensure that in case of 
an existing institution the institution has achieved a credit 
volume of Rs 20 million during three preceding years.

The MFB will also be required to ensure that the institution has a 
minimum unimpaired capital of Rs five million at the date of 
finance and its classified portfolio is not more than 10 per cent 
of the total loans or advances.

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20001014 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Date extended for filing returns
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13: The last date for filing of income and wealth 
tax returns has been extended till Oct 31, official source told 
Dawn here on Friday.

The extension would also apply to the taxpayers who owe one per 
cent enlistment tax and two per cent turnover tax on the undeclared 
stocks.

The distribution of new income tax return forms have meanwhile been 
delayed by the Central Board of Revenue. The new forms have been 
finalized and were due to be distributed from Friday.

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20001013
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Tax returns show discrepancies: CBR briefs CE on recovery drive
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf was briefed 
here on Thursday on a plan for the recovery of tax from a large 
number of wealthy people who have under-declared their incomes 
through tax survey forms.

The chairman of Central Board of Revenue and other tax officials 
informed the CE that more than half of the 150,000 high-income 
people, whose forms had so far been analyzed, had declared 
unacceptable low incomes. Action against a large number of them was 
being taken for discrepancies found in the incomes and the 
expenditures they had shown, the officials added.

Holding movable and immovable properties,these people had invited 
scrutiny and action for concealing their assets, the officials told 
the CE. He was also informed that the details gathered by the CBR 
on the actual expenditures incurred by these people confirmed that 
they had concealed their assets to evade payment of tax.

The chief executive was further told that the CBR was planning to 
take all possible steps to recover tax from them.

The CBR officials informed the CE that out of 0.8 million forms 
distributed in the second phase of the survey launched in 13 more 
cities, more than 70 per cent of them had been returned duly filled 
in, and were being analyzed.

The CE was also briefed on revised income tax forms which had been 
finalized here on Thursday and approved.

The Member, Sales Tax, Sarfraz Ahmad Khan, explained the extension 
of VAT mode of GST to new sectors, which included services and 
trade. He gave details on methods of getting these sectors covered 
under the GST Act.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Commerce and Industries Minister 
Razzak Daud, Secretary- General, finance, Moeen Afzal; Secretary, 
finance, Younus Khan, and other officials also attended the 
briefing.

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20001008
-------------------------------------------------------------------
State Bank to intensify monitoring system
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Oct 7: State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Husain says SBP has 
taken note of the fact that some exporters are not bringing in the 
export proceeds to their export accounts: they are rather diverting 
the same to fresh foreign currency accounts.

"We are going to intensify our monitoring system to check such 
practices," he said without elaborating while talking to Dawn on 
Friday.

Bankers say this practice has been going on for long at many 
branches of leading local banks and has resulted in lowering of 
dollars' supply in the inter-bank market-thereby weakening the 
rupee.

The governor said SBP would make sure that the export proceeds were 
brought in into export accounts and sold in the inter-bank market 
on time. He said SBP would penalize the exporters who did not bring 
in their export proceeds into export accounts or found delaying 
their realization on time.

Replying a question, the governor said the SBP was also making 
moves to enhance home remittances-the second biggest source of 
foreign exchange earing after exports. He said the SBP was asking 
major banks to enter into contracts with Saudi banks to attract 
more home remittances from Saudi Arabia which employs hundreds of 
thousand of Pakistanis.

He said the SBP was already providing an incentive to banks in the 
shape of Rs 2 per extra dollar remitted back home by overseas 
Pakistanis through them. When pointed out that the scheme had so 
far not resulted into larger remittances the governor said since 
the scheme was announced in March this year it might take time to 
produce desired results.

Bankers say the new code of conduct being developed for money 
changers would ensure increased transparency in the open market and 
minimize chances of capital flight.

That is more necessary now then ever before because the State Bank 
has emerged as the single largest buyer in the open market. In 
normal circumstances the open market witnesses an estimated inflow 
of $7-10 million per day which is no less than 25 per cent of the 
inflow in the inter-bank market.

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20001011  
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Exemption to three industries may go: New deletion plan soon
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ikram Hoti 

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: Pakistan has accepted the international 
financial institutions' demand to withdraw tax exemptions to its 
automobile, electrical and electronic industries.

Sources in the commerce ministry told Dawn here on Tuesday that a 
new deletion policy was currently being finalized jointly by the 
ministries of commerce, industries and Central Board of Revenue.

The policy "is being structured under an agreement with 
international donors who have asked Pakistan to discontinue the 
concessions to these industries", they said.

Documents made available to this correspondent by the sources 
reveal that the current deletion plan is being abandoned and all 
notifications issued under the plan are being scrapped.

These notifications allow customs duty (tariff) and tax exemptions 
presently enjoyed by these industries. The second part of the 
customs tariff is also being changed for accommodating the new 
deletion plan.

A policy decision in this regard has been prompted by the Asian 
Development Bank's programme for assisting tariff and tax reform 
package (TEPI). The ADB has provided $300 million for this purpose. 
This programme has already activated three major projects that 
ensure "zero level distortion in tax and tariff regimes".

"Both in terms of quantity and quality, the operation of industries 
under deletion programme have failed to prove the import 
substitution can help them stand on their feet any longer," the 
source said.

"But the tariff structure in Pakistan has undergone substantial 
changes during this period, and the maximum tariff rate has been 
brought down from 100 per cent plus to 30 per cent".

"The TEPI-based demand for removal of these exemptions note that 
"the tariff slabs have been slashed from 10 to only four. The level 
of protection and indigenization-promotion has been reduced from 
about 50 per cent to less than 10 per cent. There is no reason why 
such a meagre dole should make the industry sustainable in future 
if it could not be, under the heavy protectionist SROs in the past 
20 years".

Apart from this, the TEPI agreement in this respect envisages that 
the fiscal policy environment, the industrial and technological 
development achieved during the past 20 years, does not allow any 
room for the continuation of an indigenization policy that protects 
vastly outmoded industries.

Under these circumstances, the new deletion policy is being 
structured taking into account the "translucent failures" of the 
deletion programme in view of the "vastly recognized need for 
efficient resource allocation".

To the ministry of industry's objection that the value-adding 
industries would suffer if the exemptions are withdrawn, the TEPI 
plan says: "The Pak rupee's current exchange rate of 60 per dollar, 
against the Rs15 per dollar at the time of launching the deletion 
programme provides sufficient protection for value added industry 
as import of vehicles, electrical and electronic goods has become 
far costlier in terms of opening letters of credit in foreign 
currency."

Sources further said that the government had already accepted the 
TEPI demand in an agreement that was being concluded under the 
Policy Framework Paper prepared by the finance ministry. This PFP 
would provide basis for the package of financial support currently 
being sought from IMF, they added.

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20001013
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Hubco chief protests against govt action
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: The Hub Power Company has protested against the 
decision of the government for filing an application and obtaining 
an ex parte order from the Sindh High Court to stop the company 
from seeking any international arbitration over the issue of 
tariff.

"Notwithstanding the prospects of a potentially satisfactory 
outcome, we are obliged to protest against the action taken, with 
which we are extremely dismayed and disappointed, by the filing of 
an application and obtaining of an ex parte order from the Sindh 
High Court on 5th of October, 2000, especially as such ex parte 
order was obtained by submitting wrong facts," writes Hubco 
Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Alireza to Minister for Finance Shaukat 
Aziz.

In the letter dated Oct 6, a copy of which was obtained by Dawn, he 
regretted that an application had been filed in the Sindh High 
Court on the very day, "we had intended to arrive in Pakistan for 
the settlement formalities, and within less than 24 hours after the 
M/S Entergy of the US had unilaterally withdrawn their application 
for arbitration as sign of goodwill, directly contradicts and 
demeans the accepted principles as the heart of our intended 
package deal and is an action in stark contrast to the good faith 
demonstrated by the chief executive."

"This action has deprived us of our right to international 
arbitration, refuses to recognize the sanctity our contract and 
this prevents us from proceeding with the contract," he said. Even 
more regrettably, he said it revived the allegation of criminality 
and other FIRs. Having gone to blatantly against the three 
fundamental principles underlying our agreement, this action is 
directly affecting the entire process and severely undermining the 
prospect of settlement," Mr Alireza said.

"We are uncertain of the message you are trying to convey at this 
critical juncture," he said, asking the finance minister to offer 
an urgent response especially about confirming the acceptability or 
otherwise of "our offer so that we may proceed at the rapid pace 
desired by the chief executive as conveyed to us in New York."

He also said in his letter that the Capacity Purchase Price(CPP) of 
Hubco offered to Wapda was based on AES CPP tariff and includes an 
element for the partial recovery of company's development costs, 
"in line with your parameters."

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20001009
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Steps taken to stabilize rupee, says Shaukat
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that State 
Bank has taken a number of measures to strengthen rupee against 
dollar.

Talking to newsmen after attending an oil and gas conference here 
on Sunday the minister hoped that the measures taken by the SBP 
would increase the value of the rupee against dollar adding that 
rupee has got strengthened against dollar for the past two days.

Mr Aziz expressed his confidence that the measures taken by the SBP 
governor would further stabilize the value of the rupee in the 
coming days and the situation would improve.

He said that a few elements with ulterior motives caused the 
depreciation of the rupee against dollar by taking the advantage of 
speculations. He said that these elements are fleeing and would run 
out of the market which would further increase the value of the 
rupee against dollar.

He urged the people not to worry about the situation as the rupee 
would soon reach its inter-bank level against dollar.

To another question he said that new amended and simplified survey 
forms had been prepared for the satisfaction of the taxpayers. He 
added that these forms would be distributed within next two days. 
The minister said those taxpayers who had already filled their 
forms not need to submit new forms.

It is the option for a taxpayer whether he wanted to fill and 
submit new or old one.

He said that the people were filing their returns and declarations 
under new tax amnesty schemes. Under the previous scheme over Rs100 
billion were declared.

He said that the country had reached an understanding with IMF on a 
standby arrangement (SBA), which awaited the approval of the Fund 
board.

"This will pave the way for a number of assistance programmes from 
the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Besides, we will now be 
in a position to approach the Paris Club for a further and longer 
rescheduling."

"We are also nearing the solution of the tariff issue with Hubco", 
he added. Furthermore, he said both private sector as well as 
government would now be in a much better position to access the 
international capital market.

"Similarly, we can move with ease and confidence on our 
privatization programme and put up more lucrative deals in the 
block as the way for foreign investors is also cleared.

Earlier addressing the second session of the conference Mr Aziz 
said an investor-friendly environment was fast shaping up in the 
country and hoped that the foreign investors would respond quickly 
to the opportunities being offered to them.

Highlighting the challenges and the specific measures being adopted 
by the government, the minister said that the government had 
inherited difficult economic conditions.

"Our immediate challenge was to arrest the persistently declining 
trends in almost all indicators of economic performance. The 
results achieved in the last fiscal year and the early performance 
of the first quarter, suggest that there has been a visible 
reversal in the declining trends," he added.-APP

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20001011 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Trade deficit at $508m: July-Sept
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: Pakistan suffered a trade deficit of $508.66m in 
the first quarter of 00-01, crossing after a long time the half-
billion dollar barrier and outstripping the already high deficit of 
corresponding period
 of last year by 4.51%.

According to the foreign trade data for the month of September, 
deficit in July-Sept, constituted 22.88% of total exports. This is 
slightly better than during the comparable period of '99, when the 
ratio of deficit to exports was over 25%.

The month of September, registered a startling increase of over 67% 
in trade deficit, as compared to September, '99. Within the month 
of September, the trade deficit stood at $185.83m.

 However, when compared with August, the trade gap narrowed by 
2.38%.

Further analysis of the deficit shows that in each month, the 
country has undergone on average a deficit of about $170m in the 
current year so far.

The data show the exports continued to lag behind the target. In 
the last three months, merchandise exports amounted to $2.22b, 
equivalent to 22.22% of the target of ten billion dollars for the 
whole year.

According to the target, exports should have been at least of 
$2.25bn. The performance of exports in the first quarter means that 
in order to meet the whole-year target, the exports would have to 
be raised to $7.78bn by next June. On the positive side, exports 
had covered only 20.42% of the target ($9.5bn) in the first quarter 
of '99-00.

Another improvement over the previous year is increase in the 
proportion of imports covered by exports in the last three months. 
This year, exports formed 81.38% of imports, as compared to 79.96% 
in the corresponding period of '99.

During September, exports totalled $764.64m- 3.11% less than in 
August. Imports during September stood at $950.47m.

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20001010
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Rescheduling of $2.2bn debt service payments on cards 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jawaid Bokhari

KARACHI, Oct 9: Pakistan's debt service payments worth 2.2 billion 
dollars are expected to be rescheduled under the IMF financial 
package to provide balance of payments support , sources here said.

 It is for the second time that debt service payments would be 
rescheduled. The bilateral donors including Paris Club members 
rescheduled 3. 1 billion dollars payment due from July 1, 1998 to 
31st December 2,000.Islamabad had approached Paris Club in January 
1999.

 Official sources said that the financial package is designed to 
take care of the current account deficit for about a year, though 
bulk of the disbursements would made before end of June 2001. The 
disbursements would include 520 million dollars out of the 800 
million dollar Asian Development Bank, the 350 million dollar World 
Bank Structural Adjustment Loan and major portion of the IMF 
financial assistance of 600-700 million dollars. The financial 
package is estimated at 3.5- 4 billion dollars including 
multilateral assistance of 1.5-1.6 billion dollars.

 An agreement has been reached with the IMF management but the 
exact numbers ( of assistance ) would be known only after the 
approval of the executive board of the Fund, anticipated by 
officials in the second week of November. The first installment 
will be paid immediately after the board approval.

 Islamabad is however pressing IMF to raise the level of funding. 
The level of IMF bail out package has been based on the Fund's own 
assessment of the current account deficit for the tenure of the 
funding facility, a perception and approach not shared by 
Islamabad. Simultaneously , Islamabad is continuing talks on 
conversion of the low volume short-term stand-by credit carrying 
high interest rates into larger level of longer term Poverty 
Reduction Growth Facility(PRGF) extended at concessional rate of 
interest.

 Sources said the IMF has agreed to consider extending PRGF after 
monitoring the track record in the execution of Fund's programme 
for six months ending March 2100. If approved , the PRGF would 
become effective from next fiscal . In return IMF would expect far 
more radical, long term and sweeping reforms including 
restructuring of civil service, making tax machinery more effective 
and cut in tariff rates. The Fund would also monitor the exchange 
rate, budget deficit and economic growth. One vital area of concern 
for multilateral agencies is how effectively the various policies 
and programmes are executed. The issue is related to the poor 
governance.

 As the existing conditions indicate, sweeping reforms with 
overnight delivery is not possible, but what is important that 
changes in the policy directions are sustained with reasonable 
speed.

 Pakistan has responded to IMF pre-conditions. Financial analysts 
says that cheaper money policy to stimulate investment seems to 
have been abandoned at the behest of the donor agencies. The new 
strategy lays stress on interest rates hike, foreign exchange 
liberalization and cut in budget deficit .

 The budget deficit has been revised upwards from original target 
set at 4.6 percent of the GDP to five percent under IMF advice , 
reportedly for shortfall expected in revenue collection estimated 
for the year. Sources said the fiscal deficit has also been revised 
upwards because of the stipulated 12 percent depreciation of the 
rupee against the dollar that will raise the rupee cost of 
servicing of foreign debt and make government imports costlier. 
Interest rate hike will raise the financial charges for the 
government's domestic borrowings. These factors , sources said, 
have been taken into account when setting the new fiscal deficit 
target with IMF approval.

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20001010
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Home remittances double, foreign investment falls
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Oct 9: Home remittances from expatriate Pakistanis are up 
by over 100 per cent, but the inflow of foreign investment have 
shown a steep fall in the first two months of the current fiscal 
year.

Banks reported inward remittances of 242.28 million dollars during 
last July and August, which, when compared to the 121.87 million 
dollars received from expatriate Pakistanis in the first two months 
of 1999, is almost twice the amount.

Foreign investment in these two months - July-August 2000 - is 
however, down to a negative 2.8 million dollars. The main reason 
for this negative investment in the current fiscal year is the 
withdrawal of 15.8 million dollars portfolio investment as against 
a receipt of 13 million dollars direct foreign investment.

Banks reported a net inflow of 52 million dollars foreign 
investment during July and August 1999 when portfolio investment of 
16.6 million dollars was withdrawn while 68.6 million dollars were 
received as the direct foreign investment.

Bankers and market analysts termed both these trends - a surge in 
the remittances and a steep fall in foreign investment - as "highly 
deceptive" which is bound to be reversed in the coming months.

The unusual surge in remittances has been attributed to the release 
of about 21 million dollars from Kuwait as compensation to the 
Pakistani victims of the Iraq-Kuwait (Gulf) war nine years ago.

A steep fall in direct foreign investment is attributed to the 
disinvestment of branches of the Bank of America in Pakistan which 
resulted in outflow of 33.5 million dollars during July and August 
2000.

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20001011 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Farm loans decline by 8%
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: The overall farm credit disbursement in the four 
provinces declined by 7.99 percent during the 1999-2000 financial 
year, sources in the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan 
(ADBP) said on Tuesday.

In its report on "Agricultural Credit 1999-2000", which will be 
submitted before the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) on 
October 12, the ADBP will inform the FCA that disbursement in 
Balochistan declined by 59.7 percent, Northern Areas 24.42 percent, 
AJ&K 16.69 percent, NWFP 6.48 percent, Punjab 6.47 percent and 
Sindh 4.36 percent.

Giving the overall credit disbursement picture for the year, the 
ADB report will say that a total of Rs 40.188 billion was disbursed 
during this period -- Rs 30.920 billion production loan and Rs 
9.268 billion development loan -- which is 8 percent less than the 
preceding year.

Institution-wise disbursement position shows that ADBP disbursed Rs 
24.423 billion as compared to Rs 30.171 billion in the 
corresponding period last year, a decrease of 19.05 percent.

During the same period, production loan disbursement decreased by 
26.93 percent but disbursement of development loans increased by 
2.21 percent when compared with the same period of last year.

Federal Bank for Cooperatives (FBC) disbursed an amount of Rs 5.951 
billion - Rs 5.91 billion as production loan and Rs 0.034 billion 
development loan - showing an increase of 9.3 percent and 20.8 
percent respectively.

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20001011 
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List of GST-free kitchen items released
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By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: The Central Board of Revenue on Tuesday released 
a list of kitchen items which are not subject to general sales tax 
(GST).

It says that only palm (crude) oil and soybean oil are charged 15 
per cent sales tax at the import stage while 15 per cent GST is 
levied on retail (packed) branded curd,salt and chilies (powdered). 
Otherwise these items are also GST-free if sold unpacked, without 
brand (trade mark).

The following are GST-free items: wheat, wheat flour, rice 
Basmati(broken), rice IRRI-6, masoor pulse (washed), moong pulse 
(washed), mash pulse (washed), gram pulse (washed), beef, mutton, 
eggs of hen (farm), bread plain MS, gur, milk fresh, milk powdered 
(Nido), vegetable ghee (tin),vegetable ghee (loose), mustard oil, 
cooking oil, coconut oil, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, bananas, 
garlic, tea (prepared), cooked beef (plate), cooked dal (plate) and 
chicken.

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20001014 
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Rs700 billion investment plan to push growth to 6%
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Oct 13: The government planners have drawn up a three-year 
public investment programme of Rs700 billion to push up the growth 
in the national economy to 6 per cent in 2002-2003 from existing 
4.5 per cent.

Officials say that this investment plan is a component of a broad 
strategy worked out by the government planners to generate revenue, 
mobilize domestic savings, reduce dependence on foreign assistance, 
narrow down the twin deficits-fiscal deficit to Rs132 billion and 
the current account deficit to 316 million dollars-and setting an 
ambitious target of converting existing trade gap into a surplus of 
657 million dollars by the year 2002-2003. By 2002-2003 the exports 
are projected to over 12.21 billion dollars and import bill will be 
contained to about 11.5 billion dollars.

The programme strives to enhance the gross domestic production 
(GDP) to Rs3,771.2 billion by the year 2002-2003 from Rs3,173.7 
billion estimated in 1999-2000.

Under this plan, the government intends to finance Rs437.5 billion 
during the next three years through budgets while Rs263 billion by 
the corporations. Overall, the federal government would supervise 
investment of Rs536 billion-Rs273 billion budgeted programmes and 
Rs263 billion non-budgeted programmes.

All the provinces will be given Rs164 billion. This includes Rs65 
billion for their annual development programmes, Rs60 billion for 
the poverty alleviation and Rs30.50 billion for the social action 
programme.

Energy sector gets the top priority for which the government 
proposes to invest Rs215.80 billion. This includes Rs59.85 billion 
through budgeted programmes and Rs155.95 billion through non-
budgeted programmes. WAPDA will get a investment share of Rs47.71 
billion in the budgets of three years.

Transport and communications is the second important sector with an 
indicated investment of Rs150 billion followed by water which 
claims Rs45 billion. The government plans to invest Rs16.90 billion 
in science and technology and Rs21 billion in the environment.

The government wants industrial growth at 6.2 per cent by the year 
2002-2003 from abysmally low in the last fiscal year. The large 
scale industry is proposed to show growth of 6.7 per cent and small 
scale 5.3 per cent. Construction is another area where the 
government hopes the growth will be 6.5 per cent.

Growth in agriculture is stipulated at 5.5 per cent in which major 
crops will show a growth of 4.9r cent, minor crops 6.1 per cent, 
livestocks 4.5 per cent, fishery 7 per cent and forestry 3.1 per 
cent. 

 Pinning all hopes in the on-going tax survey, the government looks 
confident of collecting a total revenue of Rs741.6 billion in the 
year 2002-2003 that include taxes of Rs594.5 billion. While the 
growth in revenue is expected at

 9.3 per cent, the government estimates growth in expenditure at 
4.7 per cent and projects its current expenditure at Rs 863.6 
billion. Under this plan the defence expenditure is projected to 
remain unchanged at Rs 143 billion while the debt servicing cost 
will be Rs 256.4 billion.

Back to the top
=================================================================== 
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20001008
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The storming of the Supreme Court - II
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

A letter written to Chief Justice of Pakistan Irshad Hassan Khan, 
on Friday, October 6 2000 :

"Dear Chief Justice

"Storming of the Supreme Court - November 28 1997

"Following the normal practice regarding sworn affidavits and other 
papers addressed to the Registry or Judges of the Supreme Court of 
Pakistan at Islamabad, my affidavit sworn on September 27 2000 was 
presented to the Deputy Registrar at the Supreme Court Registry at 
Karachi. The Deputy Registrar refused to accept it, and I was asked 
to send it to the Registrar at Islamabad.

"A special courrier was flown to Islamabad and the sealed enveloped 
containing the affidavit was handed over to the Registrar at 0830 
hours on September 28. The sealed enveloped was bounced from one 
office to another (the courrier's travails have been conveyed to 
you by my letter of September 29 2000) and finally the unopened 
sealed envelope was handed back to the courrier by the Deputy 
Registrar at 1300 hours that same day. On the receipt he wrote : 
'Applications received by mail are not entertained. Hence 
returned.'

"I have been advised that no rule, regulation or law has been 
changed which empowers a deputy registrar of the Supreme Court 
stationed at any registry in the country to refuse to accept any 
communication.

"If this be wrong, may I (and the people) please be informed.

"By your judgment delivered on September 28 2000, 1,034 days after 
the Storming of the Supreme Court, seven 'footstormtroopers' have 
been convicted and the buck was passed on to 'a superintendent of 
police'. In this regard, I send herewith copies of editorials from 
the national press : Dawn, October 1; The Nation, Sept 30, and The 
News, September 30 2000.

"Also sent is a reproduction of excerpts from my column 'Storming 
of the Supreme Court - 2' printed in Dawn on April 5 1998."

The excerpts sent : "The people must not forget that this is the 
first case of its kind in the recorded judicial history of any 
democracy. It is unprecedented that a ruling party, a government of 
the day, has committed contempt 'in the face of the court' by 
perverting the course of justice with a preplanned invasion.

"Morris v Crown Office was the first case in Britain in which the 
Court of Appeal had to consider 'contempt in the face of the 
Court'. The Rt Hon Lord Denning, then the Master of the Rolls, in 
his book 'The Due Process of Law', published in 1980, devotes a 
chapter to the dramatic invasion of the court by a group of Welsh 
students who were upset because programmes to Wales were being 
broadcast in English and not in Welsh. He recounts :

" 'Eleven young students had been sentenced to prison. Each for 
three months. They were all from the University of Aberystwyth. 
They were imbued with Welsh fervour. They had been sentenced on 
Wednesday, 4 February 1970. I always see that urgent cases are 
dealt with expeditiously. We started their appeal on Monday, 9 
February and decided it on Wednesday, 11 February. I also have some 
say in the constitution of the court, so I arranged for one of the 
Welsh Lords Justices to sit. Lord Justice Arthian Davies was well 
qualified. He was not only Welsh. He could speak Welsh. He sat with 
Lord Justice Salmon and me. We heard the argument on Monday and 
Tuesday. We discussed the case on Wednesday morning and delivered 
judgment on the Wednesday afternoon.' He goes on to give extracts 
from this judgement (1970 2 QB 114).

" 'Last Wednesday, just a week ago, Lawton J, a judge of the High 
Court here in London, was sitting to hear a case. It was a libel 
case between a naval officer and some publishers. He was trying it 
with a jury. It was no doubt an important case, but for the 
purposes of today it could have been the least important. It 
matters not. For what happened was serious indeed. A group of 
students, young men and young women, invaded the court. It was 
clearly pre-arranged. They had come all the way from their 
University of Aberystwyth. They strode into the well of the court. 
They flocked into the public gallery. They shouted slogans. They 
sang songs. They broke up the hearing. The judge had to adjourn. 
They were removed. Order was restored.

" 'When the judge returned to the court, three of them were brought 
before him. He sentenced each of them to three months' imprisonment 
for contempt of court. The others were kept in custody until the 
rising of the court. Nineteen were then brought before him. The 
judge asked each of them whether he or she was prepared to 
apologise. Eight of them did so. The judge imposed a fine of fifty 
pounds on each of them and reequired them to enter into 
recognisances to keep the peace. Eleven of them did not apologise. 
They did it, they said, as a matter of principle and so did not 
feel able to apologise. The judge sentenced each of them to 
imprisonment for three months for contempt of court.

" 'In sentencing these young people in this way the judge was 
exercising a jurisdiction which goes back for centuries. It was 
well described over 200 years ago by Wilmot Jr in an opinion which 
he prepared but never delivered. 'It is a necessary incident,' he 
said, 'to every court of justice to fine and imprison for contempt 
of the court acted in the face of it.' That is R v Almon (1765) 
Wilm 243 254. The phrase 'contempt in the face of the court' had a 
quaint old-fashioned ring about it; but the imporatnce of it is 
this; of all the places where law and order must be maintained, it 
is here in these courts. The course of justice must not be 
deflected or interefered with. Those who strike at it, strike at 
the very foundations of our society. To maintain law and order, the 
judges have, and must have, power at once to deal with those who 
offend against it. It is a great power - a power instantly to 
imprison a person without trial - but it is a necessary power. So 
necessary, indeed, that until recently the judges exercised it 
without any appeal. There were previously no safeguards against a 
judge exercising his jurisdiction wrongly or unwisely. This was 
remedied in the year 1960. An appeal now lies to this court; and, 
in a suitable case, from this court to the House of Lords. With 
these safeguards this jurisdiction can and should be maintained.

" 'Eleven of these young people have exercised the right to appeal 
and we are here concerned with their liberty : and our law puts 
liberty of the subject before all else.......

" '(The Advocate conducting the defence] says that the sentences 
were excessive, at the time they were given and in the 
circumstances then existing. Here was a deliberate intereference 
with the course of justice .... It was necessary for the judge to 
show that this kind of thing cannot be tolerated. Let students 
demonstrate .... But they must do it by lawful means and not by 
unlawful. It they strike at the course of justice in this land .... 
they strike at the roots of society itself, and they bring down 
that which protects them. It is only by the maintenance of law and 
order that they are privileged to be students and to study and live 
in peace. So let them support the law, not strike it down.'

"Also on the matter of contempt and on the need for courts to 
maintain their dignity and authority, Lord Denning quotes from his 
judgment in the case of Balogh v St Albans Crown Court (1975 1 QB 
73).

"The judges should not hesistate to exercise the authority they 
inherited frm the past. Insults are to be treated with disdain - 
save where they are gross and scandalous. Refusal to answer with 
admonishment - save where it is vital to know the answer. But 
disruption of the court or threats to witnesses or to jurors should 
be visited with immediate arrest. Then a remand in custody and, if 
it can be arranged, representation by counsel. If it comes to a 
sentence, let it be such as the offence deserves - with the 
comforing reflection that, if it is in error, there is an appeal to 
this court ....".

"In the case of the Welsh students, the Court was invaded on 
February 4, they were sentenced on Februarty 4, the appeal was 
heard on February 9 and decided on February 11. All within the 
space of one week."
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20001013
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The nation and its redeemers
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Ayaz Amir

LONG after General Musharraf departs from the scene of his 
triumphs, and long after the heroes and malcontents of this hour 
have sped on their journey, Pakistan will still be around. The 
waters of the Indus will still keep flowing to the sea.

Why this declaration of faith? Because while giving vent to its 
angst - a pastime at which it excels - the Pakistani political 
class, and its drawing room followers, do not draw a sharp enough 
line between the country and the jokers whom a playful Providence 
places over its destinies. In lambasting Pakistan's rulers and 
calling attention to their follies, which is the correct thing to 
do, unwitting strength is lent to the sentiment that, somehow, the 
country itself is a doomed enterprise: fated to suffer a succession 
of eclipses until, consumed by its own fire, it goes off into the 
great void like a collapsing star.

A free press and military rule, an inflammable combination, have 
given a fillip to doomsday scenarios. To wit, there is a mad rush 
for American visas. Money is being sent abroad in huge quantities. 
The country is being denuded of its best brains. (This last a 
wonderful thought: what have the best brains been up to for these 
past 53 years?)

A foreign writer has only to convey an apocalyptic vision of 
Pakistan - one Robert Kaplan being the latest prophet in this 
series - for serious-minded Pakistanis to quote and circulate his 
darkest thoughts. Any fly-by-night journalist has to visit Dar-ul-
Aloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak (where Maulana Samiul Haq preaches 
the true word) or interview Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of Lashkar-i-
Taiba, who has some strange ideas about jehad, for the cane-chair 
liberati to bemoan Pakistan's negative image in the West and the 
dangers posed by fundamentalism.

Pakistanis have to be among the most impressionable people on the 
planet. And with about the lowest self-esteem. Forget ideas, they 
borrow even their fears and prejudices from abroad. When the demon-
gods of the IMF and the World Bank laid down the advantages of the 
trickle-down theory of wealth, development economists in Pakistan 
became this theory's most ardent advocates. When the winds shifted, 
we shifted with them.

Now that globalization is the rage, the economic and social tribe 
in Pakistan has taken to the newest cliches with a vengeance. A few 
years ago no such animal as 'civil society' existed. Nor such a 
word as 'governance'. Since their discovery at the hands of western 
ideologues, anyone in Pakistan able at a pinch to look solemn and 
knowing is fearless, and indiscriminate, in deploying the same 
concepts. In other countries fast food is just that: junk food. 
With us a visit to McDonald's or that unmentionable Colonel becomes 
high cuisine for the family.

Given our impressionable nature, small wonder if negative 
stereotypes too prove infectious. If fundamentalism is the new 
swear-word and is directed at us, then we surely stand in danger of 
its malign influence. If others say we are on the verge of being a 
failed state, the currency of despair finds ready users, and a 
receptive market, within the country. 	

A nation prey to such despondency, and beset by such fears, is 
already half defeated. In 1940 France surrendered to Germany later. 
The will to fight it lost first. What was Churchill's achievement? 
Even when Britain's back was to the wall and the continent under 
Germany's heel, every word he spoke breathed defiance. Pakistan of 
course is engaged in no mortal combat. Still, when bewailing the 
country's future has become prime national pastime, it pays to 
remember two things: (1) that in a situation such as ours the line 
between intellectualism and defeatism is often a thin one; and (2) 
that defeatism of the spirit saps a nation's morale, robbing it of 
the last vestiges of self-esteem.

What is the principal item of our moaning? That our affairs are in 
a mess, which they have been for a long time, and that once again, 
for our sins, we are having to endure the ravages of military rule. 
Fine. Military rule is no answer to anything. We know this from 
experience. It should therefore be opposed. But who is doing any 
opposing?

The political scene presents the aspect of a graveyard. Activism of 
any kind is a dead thing. Those doing the most criticising will not 
put their Scotch highballs (the most powerful aid to the higher 
criticism) at risk for the sake of their convictions. Which is 
better, activism or drawing room chatter? Activism gives tone and 
strength to the temper of a people. Empty moaning is enervating and 
a form of escapism. It destroys the spirit.

As for the standard-bearers of democracy, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif, 
they have turned in extremis to newspaper writing: Benazir 
regularly and the Wonder of Raiwind for the first time on the 
anniversary of his ouster (in an article titled 'Bear Witness, My 
countrymen'). Whether for his other sins Sharif deserves any 
punishment or not, for the syntax and garbled thought of this 
article (at least in its English translation) he deserves a stint 
in purgatory. Benazir, too, for the self-righteousness with which 
her articles are replete.

But the point to note is that the buffoons and charlatans with 
which the history of Pakistan is littered do not make up the 
totality of Pakistan. Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf are not 
Pakistan. Wondering at the comic turns provided by our various 
leaders should be no excuse to doubt the viability or strength of 
the country.

When the Colonels seized power in Greece (1967) they were opposed, 
often at great risk, by many Greeks but even the fiercest opponents 
of military rule, even as they suffered at the hands of the junta, 
did not despair of Greece. The Pinochet dictatorship in Chile was 
more tyrannical than anything we have known in Pakistan. But even 
at the height of its repression, Chileans opposed to it did not 
give up on their country. And look at Chile today: a country which 
has regained its vibrancy (in part, admittedly, because of the 
harsh economic medicine administered by Pinochet).

So what reason for Pakistan's despair? Is ours such a flimsy 
enterprise that a statement by Altaf Hussain in London (in which he 
questioned the genesis of Pakistan) should send shivers down the 
national spine? We have had nationalist waves in the smaller 
provinces before but with time and economic integration they lost 
their force and were absorbed into the national mainstream. Altaf 
Hussain's is not the cry of a wounded messiah but the bleak 
utterances of a fuehrer who got it wrong and led his community up a 
blind alley. Certainly, what he says should be considered 
carefully. But none of it should be reason to take fright.

Does this amount to taking refuge in complacency? No. It means 
striking a balance between complacency and a morbid preoccupation 
with the darker side of things. The Soviet Union had Stalin, too 
much control, and then it had Gorbachev, too little control. A 
balance between these two extremes it could not strike thus 
ensuring the crackup of a mighty empire. In Pakistan for a long 
time we have been knights of myth and fantasy. Now under military 
rule (a paradox indeed) we are testing the limits of glasnost and, 
in the process, turning the expression of hopelessness and despair 
into an art form.

But no matter. Like so much else before, this too will pass, 
leaving some benefits in its wake. A year ago it was not the 
fashion to criticise the army by name. Or the judiciary for that 
matter. Now both these holy cows stand stripped of their 
invulnerability. Our two new columnists, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif, 
already stand discredited before the bar of public opinion. When 
democracy comes again, as it must sooner or later, there will be 
these many less shibboleths to conquer. So even as we keep up the 
moaning over our Scotch highballs, fairness demands that we also 
count our blessings.
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20001014
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jumping ship
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Irfan Husain

A FEW weeks ago, a small news item caught my eye: a Pakistani had 
stowed away in the compartment housing the wheel of a commercial 
jetliner in Malaysia, and was found frozen to death when the plane 
landed in Frankfurt.

Such tragic deaths have occurred with depressing regularity as 
desperate people from around the world illegally try to cross 
international boundaries to make a better future for themselves and 
their families. Many have been found dead on arrival in containers 
and trucks; others are rotting in jails, awaiting deportation.

Pakistanis have been both more enterprising and more desperate in 
their efforts to find opportunities abroad, making their way to 
countries as distant as Brunei and Belgium. From time to time, 
horrifying stories of their ordeals have appeared in the press, 
attesting to their determination and courage.

Of late, the rush for Western visas, specially to the United 
States, has come to resemble the panicky scramble to flee a 
building in flames. Apparently, the courier service that is 
authorized to accept US visa applications is virtually besieged, 
and the lines at the American Embassy in Islamabad start forming 
before dawn.

According to a recent Washington Post story, in their interviews 
with consular officers, many applicants admit their intention to 
work in America, although they have asked for tourist visas. 
Although their applications are rejected, they vow to try again. 
Talking to the newspaper's correspondent, many of them said they 
were determined to leave as they saw no hope for their families in 
Pakistan.

Such attitudes and perceptions have long fuelled the brawn-and 
brain-drain, especially among the young. But, of late, the well-to-
do, established professionals have joined this lemming-like rush. 
Many of them are close friends who, not very long ago, would never 
have considered uprooting themselves from their comfortable lives 
to start from scratch abroad.

Recently, I ran into somebody who has been at the forefront of our 
civil rights movement, selflessly working to improve the 
functioning of public utility services so that citizens got a 
better deal. I had written about him and his work a few years ago, 
and considered him one of the most committed and dedicated people I 
had ever met. I was, therefore, shocked when he informed me that he 
had decided to sell his house and move to the United States.

He said that, after years of efforts, he could not generate any 
support for his work. Without funding or volunteers, he had become 
so discouraged that he had decided to pack up and push off. 
Basically, he has given up after years of sinking his own time and 
resources into what he now sees as a thankless task.

If gung-ho activists like Mian Sahib can give up on Pakistan, it 
should not surprise us that other, less motivated people should 
leave what they see as a sinking ship. In his recent press 
conference, General Pervez Musharraf asked Pakistanis to show their 
patriotism and spirit of self-sacrifice, and not succumb to the 
lure of a better life in the West. Unfortunately, when it comes to 
career prospects, greater security and a higher quality of life, 
people vote with their feet and go where the jobs are. Also, 
parents want the best for their children in terms of educational 
facilities and a brighter future.

Quite apart from material factors that operate all over the world, 
Pakistanis are suffering from a loss of confidence and morale that 
has more to do with our political and social situation. Poor 
governance, a steady rise in religious fanaticism, and a decline in 
law and order constitute the backdrop to the current scenario that 
is also marked with specific events like the nuclear tests and 
their economic fallout, the disastrous Kargil misadventure and last 
year's army coup.

Years of political instability, corruption in high places, 
bureaucratic inefficiency, institutional breakdown and economic 
stagnation have sapped public confidence in the state of Pakistan. 
Today, very few Pakistanis repose any faith in politicians, 
generals, judges, businessmen or any other public figures. Cynicism 
is rampant: when even cricketing heroes are considered guilty of 
match-fixing, it should come as no surprise when the word of heads 
of state and government are suspect.

The Chief Executive, General Musharraf, considers the press to be 
guilty of spreading despondency and demoralization. But given the 
fact that prices are rising, unemployment is rampant, the rupee has 
been in free fall and the stock market is in the doldrums, 
journalists can hardly be blamed for not having much good news to 
report. Few people have (yet) accused the army junta of causing 
this situation, as we know that there is a huge backlog of 
unresolved economic problems. But then equally few people are 
willing to give the regime any credit for sorting out these issues.

An important factor in the present rush to emigrate is the loss of 
business confidence triggered by the various army monitoring teams 
as well as the single-minded focus on accountability. Construction 
is at a virtual standstill with real estate prices at a record low. 
Thousands of houses, flats and shops are empty. Businessmen fear 
having to answer awkward questions if they buy any property.

The result of this is a deepening of the recession the country has 
been passing through these last few years. The ongoing drive to 
document the economy and bring vast chunks of the business 
community into the tax net, while necessary and praiseworthy, has 
shaken the trading class and brought fresh investments to a virtual 
halt.

All this has hit the urban poor specially hard. Construction 
workers by the thousands have little work to do. Shopkeepers report 
plunging sales. The sense of despair is palpable and contagious. 
Perhaps the worst aspect of this gloomy scenario is that many 
people have lost hope and no longer believe that things are going 
to improve. They thus see no option but to bail out before a 
complete meltdown.

The exodus resulting from this perception of the Pakistani 
condition has been accompanied by a massive flight of capital. 
While this phenomenon is hardly new, of late it has acquired a 
momentum that has put the rupee under tremendous pressure. And as 
the inevitable devaluation has occurred, prices have increased and 
will do so again as power rates are enhanced. In effect the 
plunging rupee has acted as a barometer of our falling confidence.

If this trend is to be halted, drastic action needs to be taken. We 
need to stop going against the flow of international currents by 
reverting to civilian rule, sign the CTBT, find a political 
solution to problems in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and strongly 
discourage fanatical elements in our society. Unfortunately, all 
this is wishful thinking: things will continue to slide and 
Pakistanis in large numbers will continue to jump ship.


===================================================================
SPORTS
20001013
-------------------------------------------------------------------
ICC backs PCB call for World Cup probe
-------------------------------------------------------------------

NAIROBI, Oct 12: The International Cricket Council (ICC) supports 
the call by the Pakistan Cricket Council (PCB) for a judicial 
inquiry into two 1999 World Cup matches, ICC President Malcolm Gray 
said here on Thursday.

"If, from their point of view, this could rid the sport of 
corruption then we welcome it," Gray said on the rest day in the 
ICC Knockout Trophy. "We have asked them to put things in place."

In Karachi earlier on Thursday, PCB Chairman General Tauqir Zia 
said his call to Pakistan of President, Mohammad Rafiq Tarar, to 
order the inquiry did not stem from any outside pressure.

"PCB has requested this new probe for its own satisfaction and to 
clear the players once and for all," Zia said.

"Why would the International Cricket Council, or for that matter 
anyone else, put pressure on us? This is baseless," he said.

"There have been allegations of match-fixing in Pakistan's surprise 
loss at the hands of Bangladesh and then against India, so why not 
clear all this for good?"

A spokesman for Pakistan's president, who is also patron of the 
cricket board, said a decision on the PCB's request was expected 
next week.

Ali Bacher of the United Cricket Board of South Africa has alleged 
Pakistan fixed two matches in last year's World Cup.-AFP

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20001014 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Changes in top order likely: Bari
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Our Sports Reporter

KARACHI, Oct 13: The Pakistan team for the first one-day 
international will be announced on the eve of match (Oct 23) with 
officials hinting at changes in the top order.

The chairman of the selectors Wasim Bari said the team would be 
announced after watching the two warm-up games scheduled for Oct 20 
and 22. He added that his panel would utilize the home advantage 
and name teams accordingly for the Oct 27 and 30 games.

But he didn't mince words in saying that changes in the top five 
were expected. He said: "When the results are not positive, one has 
to look for better changes.

"One thing was very clear in Kenya that we went with just five 
bowlers which left the captain with restricted options. There is a 
possibility that we (selectors) might opt for someone in the top 
five who can also bowl."

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Last update: Friday, 16 October 2009.