------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 5 May 2001 Issue : 07/18 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Musharraf rules out military option + CE in Myanmar, holds talks with Shwe: MoU signed + US likely to lift curbs on Pakistan: Shaukat claims assurances + Hanoi calls for Kashmir talks, Afghan peace + Operation against illegal weapons soon, says Moin + India-Pakistan officials to meet in Colombo + India gave no notice of war-games, says FO + Sanctity of Torkham border restored + High Court puts IRSA, WAPDA on notice: Water shortage in Sindh + ARD men clash with police, court arrests + US flays crackdown on ARD workers + Benazir criticizes use of force + Government asked to solve labourers' problems: May Day observed + Welfare package for workers + Usmani named deputy army chief + Karachi to have 18 towns, 178 Union Councils + CNG conversion reduces petrol consumption by 18% + Pakistan, Iran to sign pact to avoid double taxation --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + IMF sees weak economic prospects + Law to streamline hostile take overs of companies soon + Central Board of Revenue asks cos to pay dividend in 7 months + Shaukat optimistic of World Bank facility: Poverty reduction + Minimum investment condition waived: Corporate farming + Tax relief for banks, cos being worked out: Budget 2001-2002 + Pakistan assured of $700 million World Bank credit + Privatization plan fails to attract investors + Allocation of 5% GDP to farm sector: Conference proposes --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Our politicians Ardeshir Cowasjee + The Burma Road Ayaz Amir + Never a dull moment Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Waqar's men most talented in world, says Pybus + Waqar wants to team up with Wasim + Rawalpindi Express' derails again: Team off to England

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NATIONAL NEWS
20010505
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Musharraf rules out military option
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HANOI, May 4: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, called on 
the Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong on Friday and discussed 
matters of bilateral cooperation, besides regional and 
international issues.

Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq briefed newsmen later that the CE had 
told the Vietnamese president that the situation in South Asia was 
"destabilized due to Kashmir issue".

Gen Musharraf said Kashmiris were engaged in the freedom struggle 
and they would continue it till the achievement of their right to 
self determination. "So far," he stated, "75,000 Kashmiris have 
sacrificed their lives for their just cause."

The CE felt that "a military solution" to the Kashmir issue was not 
possible and Pakistan was keenly interested in a solution through 
dialogue between the three parties - Pakistan, India and Kashmiris.

President Luong said India and Pakistan should find a way to 
promote peace and stability in South Asia, and work for resolution 
of all the issues, including Kashmir.

About Afghanistan, he said he was happy to know that Pakistan 
policy towards Afghanistan was based on moderation and 
responsibility.

Referring to bilateral ties, the Vietnamese president said these 
would be mutually beneficial. He said today's world provided a 
number of opportunities and challenges to developing countries.

He expressed happiness on the trade agreement signed by the two 
countries. There was vast potential of promotion of cooperation 
between Pakistan and Vietnam, he observed.

The CE invited Vietnamese president to visit Pakistan which he 
accepted. The date of the visit would be worked out by the foreign 
ministries of both countries.-PPI

AFP adds: The CE and President Luong held talks here on Friday and 
pledged to boost economic cooperation, officials said.

Gen Musharraf and the president expressed their "common desire" to 
strengthen relations, notably economic and trade links, they said. 

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20010502 
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CE in Myanmar, holds talks with Shwe: MoU signed
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YANGOON, May 1: The Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, and 
the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar, 
Senior General Than Shwe, on Tuesday held wide-ranging talks in 
Yangoon
 on bilateral co-operation, and regional and international issues.

The CE who arrived earlier in the day from Islamabad on a three-day 
official visit, briefed the Myanmar leader about the policies of 
his government, economic revival and return to democracy in 
Pakistan.

General Than Shwe welcoming the chief executive said the visit will 
help promote co-operation between the two countries. He said 
contacts between the two were not frequent and these should be 
geared up with focus on economic co-operation.

About regional issues General Than Shwe said Myanmar is keen to 
promote rapid progress in the region.-PPI

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20010504 
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US likely to lift curbs on Pakistan: Shaukat claims assurances
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Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, May 3: Pakistan has been assured that the Bush 
Administration will soon look into the issue of lifting 
international sanctions against it. "I was assured by US Secretary 
of Treasury Paul O'neil that he would take up the issue of lifting 
sanctions against Pakistan with Secretary of State Colin Powell," 
claimed Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz here on Thursday, adding 
"they have promised to review sanctions against Pakistan."

Speaking at a news conference after a week-long visit to the US 
where he had also met senior officials of the World Bank, IMF and 
IFC, he said he had held wide-ranging discussions with the US 
authorities. But the key meeting, he stated, was with the Secretary 
of Treasury at which they discussed increasing bilateral co-
operation with special reference to removing sanctions against 
Pakistan.

"We informed the US officials that sanctions are counter-productive 
and increasing poverty in Pakistan and due to these sanctions we 
cannot get investment. These sanctions deter normal commercial 
activity". Mr Aziz said he had not discussed political issues 
relating to the lifting of sanctions. "Perhaps there are other 
forums where political conditions could be discussed," he said, 
adding that he had confined himself to informing the US authorities 
that sanctions were harming the common man and increasing poverty.

The minister had met Senator Brownback and other important people 
and received an encouraging response to get the sanctions removed 
against Pakistan. He had also discussed with USAID authorities a 
concessional lending for Pakistan. Mr Aziz said the US government 
had also been urged to help Pakistan in getting support from 
International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

About his meetings with the World Bank and IMF officials, the 
minister said that Bretton Wood institutions were extending all 
possible financial support to Pakistan. Giving details, he said the 
country was likely to get the third tranche of $130 million, out of 
$596 million Standby Arrangement (SBA) within this month.

He was hopeful to have IMF's Poverty Reduction Growth Facility 
which would replace the SBA, expiring in September. The PRGF, he 
added, was a medium-term facility likely to be offered on nominal 
interest rate. "We are hoping to have the PRGF by October." "We 
have been told that the donors will not be tough on fixing higher 
targets relating to growth deficit etc., in the next budget due to 
drought," he said.

Talking about his meeting with WB president Wolfenson, he said that 
Pakistan had been assured to have around $700 million. As a first 
step, he added, $350 million Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC) had 
been agreed which would be approved by the board of the World Bank 
on June 14.

He pointed out that Banking Sector Adjustment Loan amounting to 
$250 million to $300 million was expected to be offered soon. 
Similarly, he said, $50 million had been proposed by the World Bank 
for the health sector and $40 million was being expected for oil 
exploration.

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20010504 
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Hanoi calls for Kashmir talks, Afghan peace
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HANOI, May 3: Pakistan and Vietnam on Thursday called for 
resolution of the Kashmir issue through peaceful means and for 
restoration of peace in Afghanistan. Foreign Secretary Inamul Haque 
stated this after official talks held between Chief Executive Gen 
Pervez Musharraf and Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai.

Talks were held soon after the CE arrived here on the first visit 
to Vietnam by a Pakistani head of government since the two 
countries forged ties nearly three decades ago. Mr Haq said: "The 
chief executive briefed the Vietnamese prime minister on the issues 
of Kashmir and Afghanistan. The chief executive stated that Kashmir 
is the core issue which is threatening peace in South Asia."

Gen Musharraf told the Vietnamese premier that Pakistan wanted to 
resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means and dialogue. The 
CE hoped that India would respond to the offer for talks and that 
the two countries would be able to resolve the lingering issue 
through peaceful negotiations.

"He said that Pakistan was looking for peace with dignity and 
honour, and told the Vietnamese prime minister that there could be 
no military solution to the Kashmir issue," the foreign secretary 
said. The CE also briefed the Vietnamese PM on the Afghanistan 
situation and stated that the international community must 
understand the reality of the situation and should engage the 
Taliban to moderate their views, as sanctions were not likely to 
resolve the problem.

Gen Musharraf underlined the need for peace in Afghanistan. He 
pointed out that Vietnam, which had suffered many years of 
conflict, could very well understand the plight of the Afghan 
people whose country had suffered for more than two decades of 
conflict. The Vietnamese PM agreed that all the disputes must be 
resolved through peaceful negotiations as there could be no 
military solution to these problems. He expressed the hope that 
Pakistan and India would negotiate to resolve the Kashmir problem.

On the Afghan issue, the Vietnamese PM said that peaceful 
environment must be created for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. 
He recalled Vietnam's own experiences. The CE stated that Vietnam 
was an important country of the Asia Pacific, and recognizing its 
importance, Pakistan had opened its mission at Hanoi. He hoped that 
Vietnam would also open its embassy in Pakistan.

It was agreed that both sides should enhance economic and 
commercial co-operation and with that objective in mind, it was 
agreed that a joint ministerial commission would be established 
between the two countries in the next few months. It was also 
agreed that the two sides would co-operate in the areas of science 
and technology, and trade volume would be increased through 
examining ways and means.

The Vietnamese PM suggested that the two countries should co-
operate in the agriculture sector and an MoU would be signed in 
various disciplines, particularly in science and technology. The CE 
extended invitation to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and the 
Vietnamese president to visit Pakistan which the Vietnamese PM 
accepted.

Later, the two sides signed a trade agreement. It was signed by the 
Vietnamese Vice Minister for Trade and Foreign Secretary Inamul 
Haq.-Agencies

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20010504 
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Operation against illegal weapons soon, says Moin
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ISLAMABAD, May 3: Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider on Thursday 
announced that by the end of the month the government would mount 
an operation for recovering illegal weapons and re-validation of 
licences.

Speaking at a seminar on "Pakistan's Policy to Manage Extremism and 
Terrorism" organized by Foreign Service Academy, he said, all 
assault weapons would be banned and the tribal areas had been asked 
to surrender such weapons. People in the Mohmand agency had 
surrendered a large quantity of ammunition voluntarily, said.

He said a new law in this regard was ready for presentation before 
the federal cabinet. The minister said just solution of Kashmir and 
Afghan issues could guarantee elimination of extremism and 
terrorism in the region. If the United Nations resolutions had been 
honoured and the Afghan problem had not been there, the situation 
in the region would have been different, he said.

Moin Haider said "we believe in a moderate way and have not been an 
extremist society except a very few." He said that the recent 
incidents of extremism were due to situation in Afghanistan and 
India.

He said Soviet invasion of Afghanistan gave rise to narcotics and 
weapons in the region while the Jehad started when the US 
intervened to fight out Soviet Union. Before that there was no 
'Madressah' or militancy, he said.-APP

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20010504 
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India-Pakistan officials to meet in Colombo
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NEW DELHI, May 3: The Saarc Secretary-General, Nihal Rodrigo, said 
on Thursday that foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will 
certainly meet on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of the 
association's standing committee at Colombo, commencing from June 8 
next.

Speaking at a luncheon meeting at the Foreign Correspondents' Club 
here, he said that the preparatory meeting of the senior officials 
would be held on June 6 and 7."Foreign secretaries of India and 
Pakistan will certainly meet on the sidelines of the Saarc standing 
committee meeting," he remarked.-APP

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20010503 
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India gave no notice of war-games, says FO
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ISLAMABAD, May 2: Pakistan said on Wednesday that India gave it no 
notice of its plans to hold corps-level exercise and said New 
Delhi's statement on this count was incorrect.

Pakistan has not received any notice from India of the exercise by 
a corps-level force of the Indian Army in early May about which 
India made an announcement on April 30, said a statement by the 
ministry of foreign affairs.

"Under the Pakistan-India agreement on advance notice on military 
exercise, manoeuvres and troop movements of 1991, each side is 
required to give advance notice to the other side of all exercises 
at corps level within a distance of 75km from the international 
boundary, the Line of Control or the working Boundary," it said. 
"Pakistan is therefore watching the situation closely," it said. -
APP

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20010503 
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Sanctity of Torkham border restored
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Muhammad Ali Siddiqi

KARACHI, May 2: The government last month stopped the entry of four 
Afghan ministers into Pakistan because they were crossing the 
border without valid documents, Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider 
disclosed on Wednesday.

Mr Haider divulged this information to substantiate his claim that 
the military government had restored the "sanctity" of the 
Pakistan-Afghanistan border. "Whichever way you go," he said, "you 
have to show valid documents at Torkham."

The four Taliban ministers were coming to Pakistan to attend the 
Deoband conference, which was organized by the Jamiatul Ulema-i-
Islam at Taro Jaba on April 9-11. Mr Haider was informed by a JUI 
leader that the four had started for Pakistan and could not be 
turned back. However, Mr Haider said, he told the JUI leader that 
Pakistan was "a responsible state" and that it had to observe the 
UN sanctions with regard to Afghanistan, including those relating 
to Afghan leaders' movements beyond their borders.

Mr Haider gave several examples to prove that Pakistan was now 
insisting that people crossing the Pakistan-Afghan border must 
carry passports and visas in whichever direction they were heading.

Previously, he said, hardly a dozen people went to the Pakistan 
Embassy in Kabul to obtain a visa; now hundreds were doing that 
daily, he told editors and senior journalists at a luncheon meeting 
at the State Guest House.

The retired general said no Pakistani was now proceeding to 
Afghanistan to take part in the war against the Northern Alliance. 
"As against this, the Northern Alliance is receiving arms and money 
from many sources."

Even though the interior minister's talk began with a "debriefing" 
about the events of May Day and the abortive ARD rally in Karachi, 
Afghanistan occupied a considerable part of Mr Haider's time.

The former Sindh governor said the rush of Afghan refugees into 
Pakistan had been tackled. Previously, 30,000 to 40,000 refugees 
entered Pakistan a month. Now this had been reduced to a trickle.

The interior minister felt sorry that the outside world had failed 
to take notice of positive developments in Pakistan, including the 
successful war on narcotises and poppy cultivation. He had 
witnessed the destruction of tons of heroin, but the foreign media 
had failed to report this. Recently, he said, a foreign dignitary 
concerned with drugs called on him, but he had no knowledge that 
Pakistan had destroyed heroin worth millions of dollars in street 
price.

The retired general also claimed success in the war on illegal arms 
and said it was wrong to say that arms were still being displayed. 
The law against the display of arms was being enforced strictly and 
even-handedly, and he had asked the police to take action no matter 
who flouted the law.

He denied that the government looked the other way while the 
religious activists displayed arms. At the Deoband conference, he 
said, weapons were nowhere to be seen.

Mr Haider denied that Pakistan was supplying arms and money to the 
Taliban government. Islamabad had no money to give to Kabul. As for 
arms and ammunition, the illegal weapons that one found in Pakistan 
had in any case come from Afghanistan. During the fight against the 
Soviet Union, he said, the Americans had supplied the Mujahideen 
with unlimited quantities of arms. Huge quantities of arms were 
still there, he said, and would probably last another ten to 
fifteen years.

The interior minister asserted that the government would not allow 
"agitational politics," though indoor political activity was 
permitted. A political meeting inside a house was permitted, he 
said, but if the same meeting concerned itself with plans for a 
rally in violation of the ban, then the government was justified in 
taking action.

He disagreed with a journalist's suggestion that the government set 
up "a Hyde Park" to let the people ventilate their grievances. The 
press was free, he said, and this enabled the political parties to 
convey their views to the people. A look at the newspapers would 
reveal, he said, that the Chief Executive, the chiefs of the 
National Accountability Bureau and the National Reconstruction 
Bureau, he himself and other top officials were being criticized 
freely. 

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20010503 
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High Court puts IRSA, WAPDA on notice: Water shortage in Sindh
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Shamim-ur-Rahman

KARACHI, May 2: A division bench of the Sindh High Court on 
Wednesday put the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), ministry of 
water and power and others on notice for May 22, in a petition 
directed against the water shortage in Sindh and improper and 
unjust exercise of power by them.

The petition has been filed by Aziz A Shaikh advocate in which 
besides IRSA, ministry of water and power, WAPDA and the provincial 
ministry of irrigation, have been made respondents. His contention 
is that the first three respondents were misusing the power vested 
with them under IRSA Act 1992 read with the Water Accord of 1991.

The petitioner is co-owner of 50 acres farm (on 30 years' lease) 
located in Deh Narather, Gaddap NC-30 District West, Karachi. His 
contention was that until about 10 years the annual flow of River 
Indus was about 209,542,000,000 cubic meters, twice that of Nile 
and three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates combined.

When a member of the bench observed that water situation has 
improved now, the petitioner referred to the immense loss due to 
damage to crops in the province.

Referring to the inflow of water in the Indus last week, which was 
roughly 14,100 cusecs, the petitioner maintained that the reason 
for the alarming shortfall is intentional and self- created by 
WAPDA, with the alleged blessings of respondents No. 1 & 2.

He claimed that the denial of water share has drastically affected 
rights of petitioner and all human beings living within territorial 
jurisdiction of this Court. In this context he referred to the loss 
of Rs33 billion suffered owing to water crisis.

The petitioner also claimed that former minister of the ministry of 
water & power has intentionally violated IRSA Act and introduced 
the so-called "Khar" concept of "Historical use of Indus River 
water". Accordingly, due share per Water Accord 1991 was reduced by 
18% for the province of Sindh which resulted in the destruction of 
irrigation.

The improper, discriminative and unjust denial of water 
apportionment to the province of Sindh has resulted in 80 canals 
and 800 distributaries going virtually dry, and an area of 675,000 
acres in Badin district alone getting destroyed, the petitioner 
submitted.

So far 1,140,556 acres of agriculture land has been inundated by 
sea water in 6 coastal belts in Thatta district, the petitioner 
submitted, citing official survey report which suggest that on an 
average 312 acres were being inundated every day.

His contention was that water share distribution formula, commonly 
known as "AGN Kazi formula" was shelved by respondents 1 & 2 just 
to benefit Punjab, which has almost dried canals in many districts 
of Sindh, including where the petitioner resides.

Un-polluted, pure and contamination-free water's availability has 
become a difficult proposition and being sold at a minimum of Rs350 
per tanker in District West and South, where the petitioner 
resides.

Water crisis has almost finished the crops sowing, harvesting or 
cultivation of land of petitioner and other farmers besides fish, 
cattle and poultry farming in District West, Karachi as underground 
water level has gone below 450 feet (earlier it was between 250 to 
300 feet) for irrigation through tube-wells.

The newly-constructed Gaddap Dam is virtually without water since 
last four months and continued denial of water share by respondents 
has offended Article 9 of the Constitution.

The petitioner submitted that he is now paying over Rs350 per water 
tanker to get the most contaminated and polluted water. This, as a 
result of almost 5000-cusecs of water shortage per day or around 
18% less water than apportioned and guaranteed under Water Accord 
1991 for Sindh.

He submitted that people have started migrating from many districts 
of Sindh including, Mithi, Tharparkar, and Thatta districts due to 
non-availability of water which happened to be sacred and valuable 
right of citizens guaranteed under Art 9 of the Constitution. 
Respondent No. 4 has failed to protect life & liberty within Sindh, 
perhaps made helpless by intentional & deliberate short supply of 
water via River Indus as a consequence of condemned & rejected 
"Khar concept".

The petitioner and other farmers depending upon tube-well 
irrigation are suffering heavy losses due to the decrease in the 
underground water level by the day. The cost of irrigation has gone 
50% higher than it was in early January 2001 due to extra spending 
on further boring of 100 to 150 feet deeper tube-wells.

Respondents are not sharing underground water resources with Sindh. 
On the contrary they were deriving full benefit from natural 
resources including oil and gas from Sindh and Baluchistan. 

The petitioner prayed for declaring that denial of due water share 
by respondents No. 1, 2 & 3 is contrary to Water Accord of March 
1991 read with IRSA Act 1992.

He also prayed for directing the provincial irrigation authorities 
to quantify the losses incurred (in terms of money) by various 
districts within the Sindh province and submit recommendation 
before Nazir of this Court within two weeks.

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20010502 
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ARD men clash with police, court arrests
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Arman Sabir

KARACHI, May 1: Hide-and-seek game continued on Tuesday between the 
police and the political leaders and workers in the city after the 
government prevented the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) 
from holding a rally at Nisther Park.

Although the rally could not take place because of heavy deployment 
of the police and paramilitary forces in and around the proposed 
venue, the ARD leaders and workers appeared in groups at different 
places in the city and presented themselves for arrest.

The most affected area was Bacha Khan Chowk in Orangi Town where 
unruly mob suddenly emerged at Khyber Bridge near Bacha Khan Chowk. 
The people had first gathered at the narrow lanes linking to the 
Chowk and then converged on the road in such an organised manner 
that the police and paramilitary forces were caught off-guard.

The people, wearing red-scarves, carried placards and chanted 
slogans against the present government. The police officials, 
wearing helmets and holding staves and shields in their hands, 
tried to control the mob.

As they attempted to disperse the people, it resulted in a clash 
between them. The enraged people tossed stones at the police which 
in turn baton-charged them. The police also lobbed tear-gas shells 
and resorted to firing in the air. The police claimed arresting at 
least 25 people for being allegedly involved in riots and breach of 
peace.

Even though the people dispersed and moved into narrow lanes 
linking to Bacha Khan Chowk, the hide-and-seek game continued for 
more than an hour as the people kept coming out of the lanes to 
pelt the police with stones. The police lobbed teargas shells to 
disperse them.

Due to heavy shelling, the smoke filled the houses resulting in the 
inmates, including children, getting fainted, the residents said.

The entire market area of the Bacha Khan Chowk was closed and the 
police blocked the road for vehicular movement for hours.

The second incident of violence was witnessed at Lyari near Lea 
Market where the activists of Pakistan People's Party assembled on 
the road and chanted slogans against the government. The police, 
armed with clubs and teargas shells, baton-charged the angry 
protesters and fired shots into the air, actions which sparked 
clashes. The police hurled teargas shells to disperse the mob. The 
people answered with stones.

The police arrested PPP leader Abdul Khaliq Juma, and 30 other 
people on the spot.

The entire area of Lyari, known to be a PPP stronghold, saw a heavy 
deployment of the police and the paramilitary forces. Most of the 
roads and streets of Lyari were sealed for vehicular traffic.

The posh locality across the Clifton Bridge, dubbed by many city 
within a city that kept itself aloof from disturbances, on Tuesday 
broke with the past when a number of political leaders courted 
arrests from the vicinity of Abdullah Shah Ghazi's Mazar.

PPP Sindh leaders and activists, led by Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Taj 
Haider, Munawwar Suhrawardi, who wanted to lead a caravan up to 
Lyari from where they were supposed to offer arrest, were 
intercepted on main Clifton area, near Russian Consulate by the 
police force.

As they came out from their vehicles, the people standing around 
started raising slogans in support of Bhuttos and "Wazeer-i-Azam 
Benazir". Before he and his colleagues were whisked away in 
mobiles, Nisar Ahmad Khuhro waved to the crowd, making a "V" sign 
and had a brief talk with the newsmen.

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20010503 
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US flays crackdown on ARD workers
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WASHINGTON, May 2: The United States on Wednesday criticized a 
crackdown on a May Day pro-democracy rally in Karachi as "without 
appropriate justification." "We are disappointed that the 
government of Pakistan continues to suppress political activity," 
said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker.

"The government's arrest of potential demonstrators without 
appropriate justification ... calls into question the Pakistan 
government's commitment to protect civil liberties, such as the 
freedom of assembly, a key component of good democratic 
governments," he added.

Karachi was put under a security sweep on Tuesday after the 
government of military ruler General Pervez Musharraf refused 
permission for the 18-party Alliance for the Restoration of 
Democracy (ARD) to stage a rally.

Police said about 300 people were arrested on Tuesday. Hundreds 
more were rounded up in the run-up to the stalled protest.-AFP

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20010502 
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Benazir criticizes use of force
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Ahmad Hasan Alvi

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Benazir Bhutto on Tuesday criticized the 
government for what it called high-handedness and use of force for 
stopping the leaders and workers of the PPP and other parties from 
reaching Nishtar Park in Karachi for a rally on the May Day.

"The use of force against peaceful political workers has exposed 
the sandy foundations on which the regime is standing," Ms Benazir 
said in a statement on Tuesday.

She paid tribute to the courage and steadfastness of the political 
workers. 

"Freedom-loving people anywhere salute your courage and heroism," 
she said, adding that "your sacrifice and steadfastness has brought 
democracy many steps closer in the country."

She said the government's overreaction would only provoke the 
political forces and workers into giving one last push to the 
dictators.

The Alliance for Restoration of Democracy had planned the rally to 
express solidarity with the labour, the working class and the 
peasants and to protest against the mass retrenchment of civilian 
employees from various government departments and autonomous 
bodies, she said.

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20010502 
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Government asked to solve labourers' problems: May Day observed
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Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, May 1: Labour organizations and trade unions observed May 
Day here on Tuesday by organizing rallies to pay homage to the 
workers of Chicago who had laid down their lives for upholding the 
dignity of labour.

The All Pakistan Federation of Labour held a rally on Charsadda 
Road. Speakers highlighted the problems faced by the labour 
community and called for greater unity and co-ordination among 
various labour organizations and government employees' unions.

The rally was attended by a large number of labourers, daily- wage 
earners, push-cart owners and rickshaw drivers, besides trade 
unions and workers of the All Government Employees Co-ordination 
Council.

Speakers criticized the local police for its harsh and rude 
attitude towards rickshaw drivers, push-cart owners and hawkers. 
They called upon political parties not to politicize May Day, and 
said workers knew how to resist anti-labour policies. They also 
hailed restoration of May Day holiday.

Later, the rally joined a meeting of the Local Government Employees 
Federation, NWFP, at the municipal corporation offices on GT Road.

On this occasion, labour leaders and workers paid rich tribute to 
the Chicago martyrs for securing the rights of labourers.

The speakers said the attendance of a large number of workers and 
labourers in the May Day meeting confirmed that unrest prevailed in 
the working class.

They criticized the Municipal Corporation Peshawar (MCP) 
administrator for his anti-workers' policies and threatened to 
launch protest if the workers' grievances were not redressed.

In another meeting, arranged by the United Municipal Workers Union 
(CBA), speakers criticized the MCP administrator's statement that 
legal action would be taken against the workers and union leaders 
who would hold any meeting on May 5.

The speakers expressed concern over placing of MCP workers in the 
surplus pool and accommodating 286 employees and officials of the 
Peshawar Development Authority in the corporation.

The Local Government Employees Federation also organized a meeting 
to commemorate May Day. The meeting observed that the policy of 
downsizing in government departments would render majority of 
employees jobless.

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20010502 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Usmani named deputy army chief 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Lieutenant-General Muzaffar Hussain Usmani, 
Commander 5 Corps, has been designated Deputy Chief of the Army 
Staff. He will assume his new appointment on May 17, 2001.
 Lt-Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi, serving as Command and Staff College, 
Quetta, will replace him as Commander, 5 Corps.

According to an ISPR press release issued here on Tuesday night the 
chief of the army staff has also appointed Maj-Gen Malik Arif 
Hayat, as Commandant Command and Staff College, Quetta, and Maj-Gen 
Syed Ali Hamid as Director-General Defence Export Promotion 
Organization (DEPO) at Joint Staff Headquarters, Chaklala, 
Rawalpindi

Lt-Gen Usmani was commissioned in 1966 in an armoured infantry 
battalion. After four years of regimental duties he was posted to 
School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, as instructor.

In 1974, he was posted to Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, as 
Platoon and Company Commander. After promotion to the rank of 
colonel, he commanded two armoured infantry battalions, including a 
battalion in Saudi Arabia. As brigadier, he commanded an infantry 
as well as a mechanized brigade.

On promotion to the rank of Maj-Gen, he commanded as infantry 
division. As Lt-Gen, he commanded two corps, one in Bahawalpur and 
the other in Karachi, from where he has been designated deputy 
chief of the army staff.

In addition to his command experience, he has also served on 
various staff appointments. He has served as director-general 
military training, inspector general training and evaluation, and 
vice-chief of general staff at GHQ, in addition to his appointments 
as directing staff at Command and Staff College and National 
Defence College.

Military experts said as Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, Lt-Gen 
Usmani was likely to take up most of the institutional duties of 
General Pervez Musharraf who they said was expected in the 
immediate future to get more involved in the day-to-day affairs of 
running the country.

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20010501 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Karachi to have 18 towns, 178 Union Councils
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI, April 30: Karachi has been divided into 18 towns and 178 
union councils under the city government's devolution plan. Its 
delimitations were approved by a special cabinet meeting held here 
on Monday. Sindh Governor Mohammedmian Soomro presided over the 
meeting.

After the meeting briefing journalists on the salient features of 
the city government, the Sindh Minister of Labour and Local 
Government, Dewan Muhammad Yusuf, said the draft of the 
delimitations would be made public by the commissioner on 
Wednesday, May 2, to elicit public opinion on it.

Replying to questions, the minister said the entire exercise of 
delimitation took six months as opinions of all the stakeholders 
had to be sought and it was to be ensured that the new 
administrative units should be manageable and be able to deliver 
the goods.

The minister said the city government would be run by a District 
Co-ordination Officer and a Nazim with the house comprising 255 
members 178 Nazims of union councils, 59 women members, nine 
representatives of workers and peasants and five representatives of 
minorities.

All the five districts, the KMC and the DMCs would be merged with 
the city government. However, cantonment boards would continue to 
exist whose future was being discussed at the proper forum.

He said the government had to carry out delimitation exercise in 
Karachi as here the situation was complicated where the existing 
five districts failed to deliver services to the people. Under the 
devolution plan, city governments had been proposed for all the 
metropolitan cities.

In other districts the exercise of delimitation was not needed as 
the boundaries of the districts, union councils and tehsils had 
remained intact without alterations, he said adding that 
delimitation had been carried out on the basis of the population 
according to the 1998 census report.

He said in the delimitation the population of the union councils 
had been kept between 40,000 and 60,000, whereas in the town the 
largest population would be of New Karachi Town with over 684,000 
of 13 union councils, and Gadap Town with over 290,000 population 
of eight union councils would be the lowest population.

In reply to a question, the minister said the budget exercise for 
the year 2001-2002 was being carried out under the devolution plan 
and budget was being earmarked accordingly.

Answering another question, he said major organizations would keep 
on dealing with the entire city, whereas engineering departments of 
the KMC, the KDA, the LDA, the MDA and the DMCs would be merged and 
after meeting the requirements of a master plan the remaining 
engineering staff would be transferred to different towns.

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20010430 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
CNG conversion reduces petrol consumption by 18%
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, April 29: Owing to conversion of a large number of 
vehicles to CNG system, the country is saving 220,000 tons of 
petrol annually, which comes to 18 per cent of the country's annual 
consumption of petrol, official statistics show.

The statistics of the ministry of petroleum and natural resources 
show that currently 160 CNG stations are working throughout the 
country, and the country is saving $50 million foreign exchange 
through reduced consumption of petrol.

The total number of vehicles, which are using CNG fuel around the 
globe, is estimated to be more than one million. However, about 
150,000 vehicles of various types in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, 
Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Attock, Abbottabad, Havelian, 
Gujranwala, Hassanabdal and Jhelum, are running on CNG fuel. This 
figure shows that nearly 15pc of the total vehicles are using CNG.

The statistics of the ministry show that another 150 CNG stations 
are being set up in the country, while currently 55 stations are 
working in Rawalpindi, 25 in Lahore and 10 in Islamabad.

"A motorcar that uses CNG fuel consumes Rs1.25 per kilometre and 
the use of fuel does not affect the engine of the vehicle. However, 
the pick up of the vehicle is slightly affected and that too can be 
controlled through better tuning," a motor mechanic remarked.

According to sources, nearly 500 million tons of diesel oil is 
being consumed in the country, which is polluting the environment. 
The trend of converting vehicles from diesel to CNG is not becoming 
popular because of difference in the prices of the two. 

"The government is pursuing the policy of converting a large number 
of vehicles to CNG fuel but the high prices of CNG kits are also 
proving to be a hurdle.

However, the government has abolished the excise duty on gas kits 
for conversion of vehicles to CNG in large numbers," the sources 
said.-NNI

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20010430 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan, Iran to sign pact to avoid double taxation
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 29: Pakistan and Iran will sign an accord next 
month to avoid double taxation. A committee was constituted last 
week to chalk out ways and means for the prevention of cross-border 
smuggling between the two countries.

The income tax officials of both countries will meet here in 
Islamabad as well as in Tehran next month to finalize the 
agreement. The committee will make a list of the smuggled goods and 
also develop a mechanism how to control it. 

It will also discuss the goods and services to be traded between 
the two countries on which the avoidance of double taxation is to 
be agreed.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20010505 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
IMF sees weak economic prospects 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, May 4: Lower growth and shortfalls in external financing 
have weakened macroeconomic prospects for 2000-01, says the IMF 
Country Report on Pakistan.

It said the real value added in the agricultural sector is 
projected to increase by only 0.3 per cent (compared with the 2.6 
per cent projected in September) as the drought conditions have 
intensified.

Consequently, growth as measured by the real GDP at factor cost is 
now forecast at 3.8 per cent, compared with 4.5 per cent under the 
original programme, the report compiled in late April this year 
said.

Inflation, as measured by the annual average change in the Consumer 
Price Index (CPI), is now expected at five per cent, one per cent 
less than the original projections, even after taking into account 
anticipated pressures on food prices, programmed increase in 
electricity and gas tariff rates, and some additional pass-though 
effects. With the envisaged policy mix, the current account deficit 
for 2000-01 is still estimated at 1.6 per cent of GDP. However, 
with the expected shortfall in external financing, the reserves 
target for end-June was reduced by about $100 million to $1.6 
billion (equivalent to six weeks of imports).

"The fiscal policy stance is remain broadly unchanged, but 
achieving the revised reserves target will require the tightening 
of monetary policy even with further flexibility of the exchange 
rate."

"Risks of instability in key monetary policy parameters remain 
high," the report asserted. It said the authorities recognize that 
in view of the risks of further unexpected shift in the cash to 
deposit ratio, the money multiplier and market sentiments, 
vigilance is needed to ensure that the monetary policy stance 
remains sufficiently right to achieve the reserves target and to 
keep inflation under control. They are also committed to relying on 
indirect instruments of monetary policy to achieve the monetary 
targets and to refrain from using the weekly and daily CRRs as a 
day-to-day instrument to affect monetary conditions.

The authorities agreed that the fiscal policy stance should remain 
essentially unchanged. However, reflecting development in the first 
seven months of 2000-01, some revisions to targets for revenue and 
expenditure levels and composition were undertaken.

The March and June 2001 targets for the SBP Net Domestic Assets 
(NDA) were somewhat eased, because demand for currency is unlikely 
to revert in the near future to the levels that were programmed 
originally. Nevertheless, compared with the underlying monetary 
policy stance during October 2000 to February 2001,monetary policy 
will need to be tightened in the next few months, notably in 
support of the revised foreign exchange reserves targets.

The targeted build up in reserves by end-June reflects largely in 
the expected disbursements from international financial 
institutions (IFIs) in the second half of 2000-01, amounting to 
about $875 million. "Nevertheless, a careful co-ordination of 
foreign exchange interventions with monetary policy would essential 
to prevent unsettled conditions in the foreign exchange market. 
Indeed, with the recent increase in interest rate, official 
reserves were built up to $660 million by mid-March."

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20010504  
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Law to streamline hostile take-overs of companies soon
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, May 3: The government has decided to streamline hostile 
take overs of listed companies and acquisition of their substantial 
shares to provide a level playing field to general investors.

"No person shall, directly or indirectly, acquire (i) voting 
shares, which (taken together with voting shares, if any, held by 
such person) would entitle such person to more than 15 per cent 
voting shares in a listed company, or (ii) control of a listed 
company, unless such person makes a public announcement of offer to 
acquire voting shares or control of such company", says section 5 
of a law that the federal cabinet will approve in its forthcoming 
meeting.

The "Listed Companies (Substantial Acquisition of Voting Shares and 
Takeovers) Ordinance 2001" drastically changes the process of 
acquisition of control and substantial shares of the listed 
companies, official sources told Dawn.

Under section 4 of the ordinance, any acquirer who acquires voting 
shares which would entitle him to more than 10 per cent voting 
shares in a listed company, shall disclose the aggregate of his 
shareholding to that company and the stock exchange. This 
disclosure shall be made within two working days of the receipt of 
intimation of allotment of voting shares of the acquisition of 
voting shares as the case may be.

However, the acquirer may acquire additional voting shares during 
12-month time after acquisition of voting shares without making 
disclosure in case the total acquisition does not exceed an 
aggregate of 15 per cent.

Under section 6 of the law, no acquirer who has acquired more than 
15 per cent but less than 51 per cent of the voting shares or 
control of a listed company shall acquire additional voting shares 
or control unless such acquirer makes a public announcement of 
offer.

Section 7 of the ordinance says that the acquirer shall appoint a 
bank or financial institution or a member of a stock exchange as a 
manager to the offer before the public announcement who would be 
deemed as agent of the acquirer.

Before acquisition of voting shares beyond the specified limit the 
acquirer shall, after giving notice to the Securities and Exchange 
Commission of Pakistan (SECP), make a public announcement of such 
an intention forthwith.

The acquirer shall ensure that offer letter is sent to all the 
shareholders of the target company whose names appear on the 
register of members provided that where the public announcement is 
made pursuant to an agreement to acquire voting shares or control 
of the target company, the offer letter shall be sent to the 
shareholders other than the parties to the agreement.

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20010503 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Central Board of Revenue asks cos to pay dividend in 7 months
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

ISLAMABAD, May 2: The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has asked all 
the public limited companies to distribute cash dividend within 
seven months of the end of the running income tax year.

This directive did not cover scheduled banks and modaraba. "The 
public limited companies have been directed to distribute their 
dividend as provided in Section 12(9-A) of the Income Tax 
Ordinance, 1979, whereby such companies are obliged to distribute 
cash dividend within seven months of the end of the current income 
tax year," said Wakeel Ahmad Khan, Member Tax Policy of the CBR in 
a statement issued on Wednesday.

Khan, who is also the spokesman for the CBR, said the companies 
while distributing such cash dividend should ensure that their 
reserves after distribution of cash dividend did not exceed 50 per 
cent of their paid up capital.

"In case the reserves after distribution of cash dividend exceed 50 
per cent of the paid up capital, the excess reserves would be 
deemed to be in the income of the said companies, during the last 
year and taxed accordingly."

He said the companies offering cash dividend were also required 
under Section 50(6A) read with GG of Part 1 of the first schedule 
to the income tax ordinance 1979, to withhold tax from such 
distributed cash dividend at the rate of 10 per cent. Failure to do 
so will render the said companies liable under Section 52 to 
additional tax, in addition to payment of 10 per cent tax required 
to be withheld, he added.

The spokesman said the CBR had reminded such companies to discharge 
their statutory responsibilities of distribution of cash dividend 
and tax withholding thereon. 

The tax withheld on distribution of such dividend should be paid 
within prescribed time to the deputy commissioner income tax 
concerned to avoid further legal complication, he warned.

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20010502 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shaukat optimistic of World Bank facility: Poverty reduction
-------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON, May 1: An IMF mission will leave for Pakistan on May 9 
to review the performance of the economy in the quarter ended 
March, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told a press conference here 
on Monday.

He said Pakistan had met all IMF criteria except one. Revenue 
collection, projected at Rs36 billion, had managed to reach Rs32.87 
billion.

He was confident that given the achievements made in the areas 
which the International Monetary Fund monitored under the Standby 
Agreement, the mission would take a positive view of the situation.

He said quarter after quarter Pakistan had succeeded in building up 
its credibility and providing evidence of its commitment to 
economic reforms.

The mission will be led by IMF assistant director Klausse Enders.

Mr Aziz said if the review was successful, Pakistan would get the 
next IMF tranche of $128 million. He said it would be the first 
time that three tranches would have been received under one 
programme.

He told newsmen that a $700 million package announced by the World 
Bank president on Saturday would be put up for approval at a 
meeting of the Bank's board on June 14.

The finance minister explained that $350 million was a Structural 
Adjustment Credit which would be front loaded, or given lump sum, 
after the World Bank board approved it, something it was likely to 
do as Pakistan had taken all necessary and required steps to 
qualify for the credit.

The other half of the $700 package was intended for reforms in the 
banking sector. This, too, was expected to sail through the board, 
he said.

Mr Aziz said the Bank was also considering another $250 million for 
drought victims.

He said his meeting with World Bank president James Wolfensohn on 
Saturday had been fruitful with the Bank chief expressing support 
for Pakistan's economic reform agenda. 

He added that the Mr Wolfensohn had assured him that the World Bank 
would help Pakistan correct its economic imbalances.

The finance minister said that he foresaw no major obstacles to 
Pakistan qualifying for the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and 
Growth Facility.

He told newsmen that if Pakistan stuck to its reform agenda, it was 
certain to receive a high degree of support and understanding from 
the twin world financial institutions whose annual spring meetings 
he came here to attend at the head of a delegation.

The finance minister said it was clear that the World Bank's 
attitude towards Pakistan had undergone a positive change from 
Islamabad's point of view.

Mr Aziz observed that there was respect for the seriousness with 
which Pakistan and its financial and economic managers had 
approached the difficult and not always popular task of putting the 
country's economic house in order. He said in the months to come 
intense negotiations with the Bank and the IMF would take place.-
APP

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20010501 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum investment condition waived: Corporate farming
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, April 30: The government has removed the condition of 
compulsory foreign investment of $300,000 for establishing any 
agriculture-related industry in Pakistan.

"The new policy, being announced shortly for corporate farming, 
will allow the foreign investors to invest any amount of money as 
the corporate agricultural farming (CAF) has now been declared an 
industry," said Board of Investment (BoI) chairman Wasim Haqqie.

Talking to Dawn on Monday, he said the condition of compulsory 
$300,000 investment by foreign investors did not contribute in 
attracting new investment in the country.

He pointed out that the cabinet committee on investment would meet 
soon to formally approve various recommendations to promote 
corporate farming.

Under the present investment policy of BoI, he said, there was no 
upper ceiling on land holding for corporate agriculture companies. 
It was recommended, however, that a legal cover should be provided 
to avoid any complications in future. The ministry of food and 
agriculture was of the view that size of the proposed corporate 
farm should be left to be determined by the prospective investor 
and that this should be done by amending Section 7 of MLR 115 and 
Section 8 of the MLR 64.

Some of the issues related to Central Board of Revenue (CBR), State 
Bank fo Pakistan, BoI, finance division and provincial governments 
were still to be resolved due to which policy package for CAF had 
not so far been announced by the government. Nonetheless, he said, 
Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf, in principle, accepted most 
of the recommendations.

He pointed out that a sub-committee headed by secretary general 
finance Moeen Afzal had submitted its report with following 
recommendations: The existing provisions of provincial agricultural 
income tax (AIT) laws, which provide for the proportionate 
liability of corporate shareholders should be maintained; dividends 
from the corporate agricultural farms (for non-industrial 
activities) should not be subjected to tax on such dividends; farm 
income should continue to get more favourable treatment than non-
farm corporate incomes because of the risk/uncertainty associated 
with farming; and the existing definitions of pure farming 
activity, which differentiate it from processing/industrial 
activity, should continue to be maintained.

As in the case of export processing zones, labour laws of the land 
will not be presently applicable to corporate agriculture 
companies. Due to special circumstances of the agriculture sector, 
however, appropriate laws would be developed for this sector within 
five years, he added.

Responding to a question, Haqqie said State Bank of Pakistan would 
fix the target for lending support from the financial institutions 
in order to offer loans for corporate farming. Some proportion 
would be earmarked for corporate agriculture companies from the 
lending programme of all financial institutions. But target would 
be given by the central bank, he said.

To a question, he said Pakistan needed to increase its annual $120 
million exports of fruits and vegetables and about $180 million 
fisheries. "There is an expectation of $1 billion export, once the 
corporate farming starts in Pakistan on scientific lines," the BoI 
chairman said.

Marketing and agricultural produce and insufficient storage 
facilities were causing problems to increase the exports of fruit 
and vegetables, he added.

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20010501 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Tax relief for banks, cos being worked out: Budget 2001-2002
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, April 30: A four-year taxation relief package is being 
worked out for banks and public and private companies to be 
incorporated in the next fiscal year's budget.

Well-placed sources disclose that the next year budget is expected 
to bring down corporate tax rate on banks to 56 per cent from the 
existing 58 per cent. The proposal is to bring down two percentage 
points reduction in tax rate every year, leading down to 54 per 
cent in 2002-2003, 52 per cent in 2003-2004, and finally to 50 per 
cent in 2004-2005.

Also under consideration of the budget makers is a proposal to 
bring down income tax rate on private companies to 43 per cent in 
2001-2002 and after one percentage point reduction every year 
eventually to 40 per cent in 2004-2005.

All public companies listed on stock exchange are expected to be 
taxed at 33 per cent in the next year's budget, which is likely to 
be reduced by one percentage point every year to 30 per cent by 
2004-2005.

At present, the tax rate on banking is 58 per cent on which roughly 
Rs20 billion is being collected every year. The public companies 
are being taxed at 34.65 per cent and contribute about Rs15 billion 
a year, while the private companies pay roughly Rs14 billion at 
effective rate of 45.1 per cent.

For last many years, several trade bodies including the most vocal 
and assertive Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) and the tax 
bar associations had been repeatedly pleading for a drastic cut in 
corporate tax rates on companies and on banks.

Instead of going for a drastic cut in tax rates on the corporate 
taxes, sources said that the government is expected to opt for a 
year-wise phased programme as one source said, "fiscal deficit is 
on top of every priority and this government cannot take chance to 
take any step which may bring down quantum of revenue."

A powerful section of tax collectors in CBR justify the high 
taxation rate on banking. A source close to CBR say that tax 
collector perceive a restricted competition in the banking sector. 
And a major factor is the spread between lending and deposit rates, 
which is so high in Pakistan that it cannot be matched by any banks 
in the neighbouring countries.

Bankers, however, point out that the total effective rate on 
banking in Pakistan is 85 per cent taking into account the 58 per 
cent corporate tax, tax on the unrealised income of bad loans, 
administration of advance tax and double taxation.

"If the current situation continues, private and foreign banks may 
well restrict their activities in Pakistan, while some will pull 
out altogether", a recent document of the Privatization Commission 
says. This document is based on the findings of a World Bank 
mission that visited Pakistan in October last and had detailed 
meetings with the bankers to offer privatization commission 
suggestions for disinvestment of government banks.

The Privatization Commission now wants an up front taxation relief 
policy on the banks before offering public sector for management 
control to the strategic investors.

Mounting taxation liabilities is forcing both the United Bank and 
the Habib Bank to seek government for financial assistance in 
billion of rupees. The Privatization Commission document reveals 
that five largest commercial banks NBP, HBL, UBL, ABL and MCB are 
disputing Rs45.3 billion tax liabilities. Payment of these taxes 
can wipe out the equity leaving no option to the government but to 
inject funds from tax payers money into UBL and HBL.

The CBR also wants to recover a total of Rs16.6 billion that 
include Rs11.8 billion from HBL only, on account of tax on the 
unrealised interest amount of bad loans since 1990-91.

Apparently, the pleading of the trade bodies to have a uniform tax 
rate for all the companies have also not found a favourable 
response from the CBR.

"A distinction in tax rate of private and public companies is also 
necessary as it induces private companies to become broad- based, 
professionally managed and better document entities", is one of the 
convincing arguments being offered to tax public companies at 
relatively less rate.

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20010430 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan assured of $700 million World Bank credit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Tahir Mirza 

WASHINGTON, April 29: Pakistan has won assurance of a $700 million 
credit from the World Bank for the current year that will be 
additional to drought relief pledged by the bank.

This was revealed after a meeting between Federal Finance Minister 
Shaukat Aziz with World Bank President James Wolfensohn on Saturday 
on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank annual spring meetings here 
in Washington.

Mr Aziz told reporters on Saturday evening he had found the World 
Bank chief receptive to the progress made by the military regime 
and said that his meeting had gone "very well". Mr Wolfensohn 
appeared understanding of Pakistan's problems, he added.

The finance minister has held meetings with several World Bank and 
IMF officials, as well as representatives of the Bush 
administration, and seems on the whole well pleased with the 
outcome. He said he had found the IMF chief, Horst Kohler, also to 
be responsive to Pakistan's needs.

On what can be described as the political side, Mr Aziz met Richard 
Haass of the State Department's Policy Planning Bureau and 
discussed South Asian affairs. He had earlier met Treasury 
Secretary Paul O'Neill and the putative assistant secretary of 
state for South Asia, Ms Christina Rocca, who has been named for 
the post by the Bush administration but not yet formally nominated.

PROTESTS: On Sunday, the IMF headquarters in downtown DC where the 
spring meetings are being held was cordoned off by police in view 
of anticipated anti-WTO demonstrations.

There were barricades along all entry points for the IMF building 
and only those with passes were let through. Police cars patrolled 
the area.

However, till 10pm( Pakistan time) no protests had materialized. It 
was believed that environment and globalization protesters had 
exhauted their engeries during the vociferous and sometimes violent 
demonstrations held by them on the occasion of the Summit of the 
Americas in Quebec earlier this month.

At last year's IMF/World Bank gathering, thousands of protesters 
had clogged Washington streets and police had made some 1,300 
arrests.

DEBT: Pakistan's total external debt had risen from $20.66 billion 
in 1990 to $34.42 billion in 1999, according to the World 
Development Indicators issued by the World Bank here on Sunday on 
the occasion of the IMF/WB spring meetings. Defence expenditure as 
a percentage of the Gross National Income (GNI) had come down to 
5.7 per cent in 1997 from 7.4 per cent in 1992 and as a percentage 
of central government expenditure had declined from 27.9 per cent 
to 24.2 per cent during the same period.

But it was still higher than India's, which spent 14.3 per cent of 
its government expenditure on the military in 1997. Efforts have 
been made by Pakistan in the past two years to reduce the defence 
budget along with reductions in overall government expenditure, and 
it is officially claimed that as a percentage of the GDP, it is 
currently at 4.5 per cent (including a large pension component) as 
compared to 7.5 per cent eight years ago.

Public expenditure on health in Pakistan in 1998 was an abysmal 0.9 
per cent of GDP and on education 2.7 per cent of GNI or (GNP).

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20010430 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Privatization plan fails to attract investors
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jawaid Bokhari

KARACHI, April 29: The privatization programme, unveiled in August 
last year, has failed to attract investors and its success has 
remained confined to two small transactions.

And the latest schedule has assigned a ten-month period (September-
June 2002) as the expected peak for major privatization.

Officials hope that the investment environment would improve once 
the IMF approves $2-3 billion Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility 
(PRGF) by September this year. If the facility is approved, it 
would help improve the balance of payments position, ease debt 
burden and improve forex reserves.

The Privatization Commission (PC) anticipated sale of 49 units for 
$4 billion over two years. The short-term plan envisaged 
privatization of nine units by December 2000. Of these, only two 
deals have materialized the sale of LPG unit to Caltex and part of 
the government stakes in MCB to bank employees, indicating that 
business confidence is at low ebb.

Financial analysts at a brokerage house say that "the slow progress 
can be largely attributed to depressed investor sentiment over the 
last few months; given this performance, substantial improvement in 
the next couple of years becomes questionable." 

They add: several state-owned enterprizes may require internal 
restructuring before being offered for sale, which means more delay 
in the final transaction.

For example, PIA is in a mess. The airline may need substantial 
restructuring to make the sell-off feasible.

The sales rescheduled are as follows: For UBL, the date for 
receiving EOIs for 26 per cent government stake has been set for 
June 2001. The federal minister for privatization says the market 
appetite for United Bank has increased and the bank's restructuring 
will be left to the strategic investor.

Industry sources said self-restructuring would suit local buyers 
who are already managing banks in Pakistan. This opinion is shared, 
among others, by Mr Amar Zafar Khan, President UBL. Mansha group is 
interested in UBL.

The market perception is that MCB needs foreign branches for 
expanding its overseas operations. If Mansha gets UBL, the bank may 
be so restructured as to reduce unnecessary and superfluous 
competition in the domestic market between the two banks managed by 
the same group. 

Bank branches could be re-located or closed down under an overall 
strategic plan. It could turn out an ideal deal for the prospective 
buyer. The transaction, officials hope, may be completed by the fag 
end of the current calender year.

Similarly, financial adviser to PSO was appointed in March this 
year, with a deadline to put the transaction in the market in 
December 2001.

Given a quite conducive global environment and the positive 
experience of the multinational oil companies in oil sector in 
Pakistan, financial analysts feel that the PSO could be put on a 
fast-track privatization.

The market may have an appetite for Pakistan State Oil Company. 
Giants like Shell and Caltex are making investments and are 
expanding. Total and Mobiloil which have entered the domestic 
market recently, may make their presence felt soon.

With de-regulation of the oil and gas sector being an on-going 
process enlarging the scope for improving profit margins, 
investment is flowing into oil and gas exploration.

Financial analysts say that PSO needs restructuring to shed some of 
its fat for which there is plenty of room. Inefficiencies have to 
be rooted out. KESC and Wapda owe PSO Rs15 billion. The issue could 
be taken into account and the amount needs to be adjusted. The PSO 
has the loin's share in import and distribution of oil and a large 
network of storage facilities. It's sale should not pose much of a 
difficulty.

In the second half of this month, plans for sell-off of KESC, PTCL 
and 10 per cent government stake in the National Bank of Pakistan 
have been unfolded. Price Water house has been appointed adviser 
for privatization of KESC by June 2002. EOI has been invited for 
strategic sale of 26 per cent stakes in PTCL by June 30. Bidding is 
anticipated by the end of September or October. The management is 
intended to be handed over by June 2002.

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20010429 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Allocation of 5% GDP to farm sector: Conference proposes
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, April 28: The first agri-business conference has called 
for allocation of 5 per cent of GDP in the agriculture sector of 
the country.

The concluding session of the conference presided over by the Chief 
Executive Gen, Pervez Musharraf presented a set of recommendation 
formulated deliberation by 150 participants over the last three 
days.

The recommendation read out by Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood 
asked the government that the major thrust of the next budget 
should be on the agriculture sector.

The conference recommended the introduction of Biodiversity Law and 
Seed Breeders Act, so that Pakistan can take advantage of 
biotechnology advancements in the production of seeds.

Level playing field should be provided to the private sector to 
compete with the public sector in the production of hybrid seed and 
a sustained public awareness campaign should be launched for 
popularizing the use of quality seed, the conference recommended.

On the issue of improving storage facilities in the country, it 
said the existing storage capacity with the government should be 
used for strategic reserves and for additional capacity, policy be 
devised to promote private sector investments.

While the agriculture produce are stored, there should be some 
value addition and this will help in getting right rent for storage 
and thus provide incentives for investment, it added.

The conference further recommended that the wheat subsidies should 
be more transparent and targeted to the low income group and the 
post harvest crop handling and storage facilities should be 
operated by the farmers supported by the government through 
infrastructure development at least at district level

An incentive package for private sector to invest in cold chain 
facilities should be finalized by June 30, 2001, it said.

It suggested that Pakistan Railway should be directed to undertake 
refrigerated transportation for perishables and Private sector may 
be encouraged to establish storage/grading facilities at the 
lifting points of agricultural produce.

The conference stressed that Agricultural Export Processing zones 
should be created where combined grading, packing, quarantine & 
fumigation facilities may be available.

It recommended that there should be national standardization policy 
to improve the quality of the agriculture implements.

The loans given for the purchase of tractors and agricultural 
implements by ADBP should be tied to the sources of procurement, it 
added.

The conference also suggested that a task force under ministry of 
commerce, ministry of agriculture should be established to frame 
policy for leasing/rental business of agricultural 
machinery/implements by June 30, 2001.

It asked to allow imports of tractors of below 30 & above 100 HP, 
which are not manufactured locally at concessionary duty of 10 per 
cent.

Back to the top
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20010429 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Our politicians 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

IF we were to completely disregard, and were able to write off, the 
harm done to this nation by our corrupt, spineless, avaricious 
politicians, devoid of conviction, we could scathingly dismiss them 
as being but clumsy clowns.

On April 22, a frightening-looking lot assembled at a seminar in 
Lahore to thrash out the problem of 'How to protect the ideological 
frontiers of the country'. Amongst the speakers were Evergreen 
Hookah-Master Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Meraj Khalid, Mohammad 
Tariq, Cambridge Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Jamaat-i-Islami Naib Amir 
Liaquat Baloch, Qayyum Nizami, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Engineer 
Sahibzada Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer, son of Allama Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, 
Professor Sajjid Mir, JUI-F leader Maulana Amjad Khan, Dr Miskeen 
Hijazi, 'Faraz Malik of the Cambridge University and Hafiz 
Mohtassim Elahi Zaheer.

Whilst discussing the problematic subject of the country's 
ideological frontiers did they call to mind that the basic 
ideology-sans-frontiers of our country yet remains to be defined?

On that same propitious day, Muslim Leaguers, who refer to 
themselves as 'a like-minded group,' grouped in Islamabad. This is 
an emerging party to be known as PML(L). At a press conference they 
announced the nomination (not election) of a 40-member central 
executive committee of the new-born party. Flip-flop Mian Azhar's 
was appointed president of the party, Gohar Ayub Khan secretary-
general, Colonel Ghulam Sarwar Cheema additional secretary general, 
and my friend Chandi Abida Hussain information secretary, Thirteen 
vice presidents were selected, amongst whom are Ejazul Haq, 
Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, and General Majid Malik, as were 13 joint 
secretaries. Present among the 'group' was Humayun Akhtar, an 
extremely rich son of a rich former general.

This motley group coincidentally agreed with the stray adherents of 
brazen Benazir and certified that General Pervez Musharraf would 
make a good president.

Mian Azhar, flanked by two former speakers of the National 
Assembly, Gohar Ayub Khan and Fakhr Imam, reportedly confessed to 
the pressmen: If the 8th Amendment had not been repealed, we would 
not have been facing the military rule today..... there should be a 
system of check and balance among the state institutions and the 
offices of the president and the prime minister.

This was a grouping of true-blue turncoats, a get-together of those 
who had shot down Constitutional Article 58(2)(b), who had passed 
Nawaz Sharif's 13th Constitutional Amendment. They now are calling 
for 3the restoration of presidential powers to dissolve assemblies 
and the granting of a constitutional role to the army by setting up 
a national security council.

'We have to give a fresh look and bring in a new political 
formulation,' said the normally silenced-by-his-wife's-eloquence 
Fakhr Imam, who wisely now admits that experience has amply 
exhibited that the system (whichever system it be) had not worked 
without checks and balances.

For the new-born it is necessary to elaborate on our mangled 
unintelligible Constitution and its amendments.

The 1973 Constitution was passed by consensus by the many members 
who believed that as it guaranteed fundamental rights it was better 
than no Constitution at all and certainly better than martial law. 
None dissented. The few who were not happy with it abstained.

Before the ink was dry, within four hours of its promulgation, the 
people of Pakistan were deprived of their constitutionally 
guaranteed fundamental rights through a gazette notification issued 
by the maker of the Constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Fundamental 
rights having been rendered non-justiciable, he then had all his 
political opponents arrested. They were held in various jails until 
released by Zia-ul-Haq four years later.

Not satisfied with the notification, Bhutto had his Constitution 
amended seven times between its promulgation on August 14, 1973 and 
July 5, 1977, the date of his fall from grace.

An amendment of a Constitution is an extraordinary measure 
necessitating a great deal of deliberation on the part of the 
ruling party, consultation with the Opposition, and a careful 
objective study of public opinion on the subject. Its passage 
through the legislature must be deliberately regulated to ensure 
full discussion, to provide ample opportunity for criticism.

According to the rules of procedure which govern parliamentary 
procedure under the 1973 Constitution, a bill, other than a finance 
bill, upon its introduction in the House must be referred to the 
relevant standing committee, unless the requirements of the rules 
have been dispensed with by the House through a motion of the 
relevant member. The standing committee is asked to present its 
report within 30 days. When this is received, copies of the bill 
(and any changes recommended by the committee) are to be supplied 
to each member within seven days. Two clear days must then elapse 
before the bill can be sent down for motion.

These rules were suspended by Bhutto for the passage of the Second, 
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendment bills. The First 
Amendment bill was introduced in the House on April 15, 1974. The 
standing committee presented its report the next day and within a 
week it was passed leaving no time for debate. The Third Amendment 
bill was introduced on February 11, 1975, the required report was 
presented and the bill passed the next day.

Then came the Zia-Junejo era. The Eighth Amendment bill was passed 
in 1985. The rules were not suspended. Debates continued for around 
six months before it was passed. The Ninth Amendment bill 
(concerning Islamic injunctions) was introduced but never passed. 
The Tenth Amendment Bill, a bread-and-butter bill (amending 
Articles 54 and 61) was passed after due deliberation.

The Eleventh Amendment bill (women's seats) was introduced in 
Benazir Bhutto's first round and was not passed.

The Twelfth Amendment bill (special courts) was introduced by Nawaz 
Sharif in his first round, the rules were suspended, it was rushed 
through with little discussion and passed.

The Thirteenth Amendment bill was introduced by Nawaz in his second 
round into both Assembly and Senate on the same day, four years 
ago, on April 1 1997, and it was passed that day without any 
discussion, without one member even rising to ask why the rules 
were suspended, or to suggest that there be a discussion. 
Government and opposition unanimously approved its passage. Not a 
dog barked.

The only occasions in the past where there has been complete 
unanimity between the treasury and the opposition have been those 
when bills have been introduced concerning the salaries, perks and 
privileges of the honourable members. The motivation on those 
occasions was pure greed. The motivation in 1997 was also greed - 
greed for unrestrained power.

This is what the Thirteenth Amendment is all about:

Article 58 (2): Notwithstanding anything contained in clause 2 of 
Article 48, the President may also dissolve the National Assembly 
in his discretion where, in his opinion 

(a) a vote of no-confidence having been passed against the prime 
minister, no other member of the National Assembly is likely to 
command the confidence of the majority of the members of the 
National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the 
Constitution, as ascertained in a session of the National Assembly 
summoned for the purpose; or (b) a situation has arisen in which 
the government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance 
with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the 
electorate is necessary.

(b) was deleted by the 13th Amendment

Article 101 (1): There shall be a governor for each province who 
shall be appointed by the president after consultation with the 
prime minister.

After the 13th Amendment this read: There shall be a governor for 
each province who shall be appointed by the president on the advice 
of the prime minister.

Article 112 (2): The governor may also dissolve the provincial 
assembly in his discretion, but subject to the previous approval of 
the president, where in his opinion:

(a) a vote of no-confidence having been passed against the chief 
minister, no other member of the Provincial Assembly is likely to 
command the confidence of the majority of the members of the 
Provincial Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the 
Constitution, as ascertained in a session of the Provincial 
Assembly summoned for the purpose; or

(b) a situation has arisen in which the government of the province 
cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the 
Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary.

(b) was deleted by the 13th amendment

Article 243 (2): The president shall, subject to law, have power

(a) to raise and maintain the military, naval and air forces of 
Pakistan; and the reserves of such forces;

(b) to grant commissions in such forces; and

(c) to appoint in his discretion the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of 
Staff Committee, the Chief of the Army Staff, the Chief of the 
Naval Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff, and determine their 
salaries and allowances.

In (c) the words 'in his discretion' were deleted by the 13th 
amendment.

Now, our suspended parliamentarians are willing to agree to 
anything which will catapult them back into their profession, to 
anything which will restore to them power and pelf. Many would 
conceivably be willing to sell themselves if it would ensure their 
return to power. Are the entire lot not deserving of 
disqualification for life?

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20010504 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The Burma Road
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ayaz Amir

WHAT does a social experimenter seek among other things? A 
confirmation of his theories or prejudices. With another experiment 
underway upon the body politic of Pakistan, what more fitting place 
for General Musharraf to visit than the enigmatic Republic of 
Myanmar? For Myanmar epitomises to perfection the political 
theories being bandied about (albeit with no small amount of 
confusion) in Pakistan today. It is a country cleansed of politics 
and subject to the unchallenged supremacy of the military.

Aung San Suu Kyi may be the darling of the western media, nd an 
icon of sorts to democrats the world over (certainly a towering 
figure compared to the democratic champions produced by us). But 
what does her star billing matter to Myanmar's dour generals as 
long as she remains safely behind lock and key? Dour I say 
advisedly because it would be hard to imagine anything more set and 
impassive than the features of Senior General Than Shwe. Even when 
greeting Musharraf scarcely the ghost of a smile flickered across 
his face.

We want to make a functioning thing of the National Security 
Council. In Myanmar the ruling junta styles itself as the State 
Peace and Development Council. Our constitutional experts in the 
service of the military (did I hear anyone say Mr Sharifuddin 
Pirzada?) could mull over this one. It sounds delicious if also a 
trifle more sinister. For what it truly stands for we could ask Suu 
Kyi.

By now aficionados of the Pakistani scene should have a fair idea 
of General Musharraf's foreign preferences. His liking for Turkey 
is no secret, not so much perhaps for Kemalist secularism as for 
the power exercised by its generals as the final arbiters of 
Turkish democracy.

Since Zia's time this has been the dream of the Pakistan army high 
command: to have its right of political intervention enshrined in 
the constitution. This accounts for Turkey's magnetic attraction. 
Turkish generals ride into the political arena as guardians of 
Ataturk's ideals. Pakistani generals embarking upon a similar 
mission possess no similar high-sounding legitimacy. So they cobble 
together whatever justifications they can--laboured excuses 
supported neither by the country's past nor by the beliefs of its 
founding fathers. This accounts for the deep sense of insecurity of 
Pakistan's periodic saviours.

Another country in danger of becoming a role model for Pakistan is 
Egypt with which, as all the signs suggest, Pakistan's ties have 
become warmer under Musharraf. Does its attraction lie in the 
example provided by Egyptian democracy in which the president 
reigns supreme and elected institutions are little better than 
rubber-stamp bodies? Or in Hosni Mubarak's longevity, he being 
around since Sadat's assassination in 1981?

Now streaking across the popularity charts comes Myanmar whose 
political landscape has its obvious pulls for the visionaries of 
the Musharraf government: a land where politics has been all but 
snuffed out, Suu Kyi's periodic outbursts of defiance 
notwithstanding. Just a day before embarking on his Myanmar trip 
Musharraf had this to say of Pakistan's politicians, "As they say 
in cricket, they have played their innings they have played useless 
innings, getting out at zero. They should stay at home" a sentiment 
with which Senior General Than Shwe would wholeheartedly agree.

But there is one salient difference with the Burmese model over 
which Pakistan's generals could usefully ponder. The Myanmar army 
is not embroiled in any foreign adventures. It has no extra-
territorial ambitions. It is not into the business of exporting its 
ideology. All its energies are concentrated on its first priority, 
keeping an iron grip on the country. This economy of purpose 
accounts for the success of the Burmese model. Myanmar's generals 
are not interested in the IMF. They are not driven by the chimera 
of matching any other country, as we are by the need to counter if 
not match Indian capability in diverse fields. Their dictatorship 
is honed to a single purpose, at which it has proved remarkably 
successful.

I mentioned repression in relation to politics because otherwise, 
in relation to the nitty-gritty of everyday life, I am convinced 
Myanmar is a far more relaxed place than Pakistan. Even the 
sheikhdoms of the Gulf are more relaxed than us. It is just our 
luck to be a nation which is politically ebullient (there shouldn't 
be any doubts on this score) and, at the same time, socially 
retarded, which of course is no fault of the military government's. 
In fact with Musharraf's coming many things have eased up. But this 
is another story. For our present purposes suffice it to say that 
there is not much to choose between political or social repression 
because both can end up stunting a nation's growth.

Anyhow, I digress. I was talking of the Myanmar junta's obsession 
with internal control, the fact that single mindedness of purpose 
makes its grip on power unshakeable. Indeed as a rule wherever 
dictatorships have sacrificed unity of aim to embark upon foreign 
adventures they have come to grief. The Greek invasion of Cyprus in 
the sixties led to the downfall of the Greek colonels. The seizure 
of the Falkland Islands and the resulting war with Britain drove 
the Argentinian generals (the Galtieri regime) from power. Saddam's 
example is the exception which proves the rule. His dictatorship 
was secure and prosperous. He put everything on the line by 
invading Kuwait. To the chagrin of the West he survives but as much 
diminished figure.

Our own history is also instructive in this regard. The death-knell 
of the Ayub regime was sounded by the ill-conceived adventure of 
the 1965 war. From the debilitating effects of that conflict the 
regime could not recover. Yahya was the victim of another war. But 
we refuse to learn from the past and continue to be pulled in 
opposite directions, our energies fixed on no single aim but 
scattered in different directions: sustaining the Taliban, a 
thankless task doing no good to us; fanning the flames of jihad in 
Kashmir, a policy which we have yet to think through clearly, 
balancing nuclear capability with our unbreakable begging-bowl; 
and, simultaneously, trashing one political system and on its 
wreckage trying to raise the ramparts of a new one. For any army 
this would be a crippling diffusion of energy.

We may count our blessings in that Pakistan is not Myanmar. Long 
may it remain this way (although I do pray at the same time that we 
somehow become a less stuck-up country in social terms). But behind 
the smiles and good intentions lurk serious dangers. The body 
language of the Musharraf government suggests long-term plans: the 
invention of a model wherein all the shots are called by the 
president, much as in Egypt, and where the president is the 
consensual choice of the national security establishment, again as 
in Egypt. Elections, assemblies and a noisy press would be the 
window-dressings to this structure.

About the most useless thing in such a situation is verbal protest 
and empty analysis. Words matter when they have some relation to 
action or political activity. In present-day Pakistan there is a 
void where the political arena should be. Words thus have lost 
their meaning. Also much of their sting which is why Musharraf can 
just as easily shake off verbal criticism as he can pour contempt 
upon the political class.

With no meeting point between the army and public opinion the 
outlook is thus dismal. The political parties are ineffectual and 
waiting for handouts from the government. Public opinion is 
listless, neither willing to be swayed by the political parties nor 
putting much faith in the government's revolutionary capabilities. 
The government congratulates itself on minor improvements in the 
law and order situation or minor blips on the economic radar 
screen, forgetting that it is the larger picture it should be 
worried about. The larger picture shows it over-extended 
externally, a victim of too many cross-cutting ambitions, and at 
home embroiled on too many fronts and getting ready to play a long 
innings.

The national security state with its unvarying routine of power may 
be good for Myanmar and Egypt with their unidimensional, or at best 
two-dimensional, characteristics. It is no answer to the diversity 
of the Pakistani scene. Or the colourful turbulence of its people.

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20010505 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Never a dull moment  
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Irfan Husain

THE ancient Chinese, attached as they were to the status quo, had a 
curse unique to their culture: "May you live in exciting times!"

We in Pakistan seem to have called this malediction on our heads 
almost from the inception of our state. Hardly a day passes without 
some fresh turmoil and confusion. Indeed, our leaders seem to 
possess a natural talent to conjure up crises out of thin air. In 
earlier days, brief periods of surface calm prevailed when the army 
was in power. But now, even our current crop of generals have 
succumbed to the national habit of creating a mountain out of a 
molehill.

Take the recent crackdown to prevent the May Day rally planned by 
the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) as an example. 
For a week before the event, the police had been arresting 
opposition leaders and workers by the hundreds, creating an 
impression of a grave national emergency. Foreign media across the 
world have been reporting these arrests, making people abroad think 
we are in the midst of a major political crisis.

At home, the reality is very different: a ragtag opposition is 
trying desperately to breathe some life into their pro-democracy 
campaign, but given a high degree of public apathy, they are having 
little luck. Instead of allowing the ARD to be exposed for a paper 
tiger, the military regime has chosen to go for a policy of 
overkill that has given rise to an impression of a desperate 
government clinging on to power in the face of a strong and 
organised opposition.

Against this backdrop, it becomes easier to understand the reasons 
underlying a fall of 74% in foreign investment reported in this 
newspaper last week. As it is, Pakistan is struggling against the 
negative investment climate created by the presence of a military 
government; the foreign currency accounts freeze imposed by Nawaz 
Sharif; the sanctions slapped on Pakistan following the nuclear 
tests three years ago; the war like sounds emanating from Kashmir; 
and our support for the Taliban.

Instead of trying to soothe international public opinion, the 
government has chosen to arrest hundreds of political activists to 
prevent a peaceful rally from taking place. On the other hand, the 
Deoband group was permitted to hold a huge religious gathering 
recently while the breakaway wing of the Muslim League was free to 
hold a public meeting in Islamabad. Unfortunately, bureaucrats and 
generals are unaware of the impact of these policies and actions 
abroad. 

According to their narrow thinking, they can insulate their ham-
handed treatment of the opposition here from Pakistan's image 
abroad. Welcome to the real world: a single small headline about 
mass arrests in London's daily Telegraph or the New York Times, or 
images of the crackdown in the BBC or CNN can cost millions of 
dollars in lost investments and cancelled reservations by such 
overseas visitors who are brave enough to venture to our shores.

Our rulers have not come to terms with a vastly smaller world as a 
result of instant communications via radio, satellite television 
and the Internet. For them, the well-worn and shop-soiled mantra of 
"our internal affair" is enough to ward off international criticism 
and its fallout.

In today's global economic climate, bilateral aid and soft loans 
are rapidly dwindling. Multilateral agencies like the IMF and the 
World Bank have stringent conditionalities, and private banks 
charge a high interest rate for loans. The only realistic route to 
development for poor countries is to attract foreign direct 
investment in industry as well as the social and physical 
infrastructure.

But before investing, foreigners want a secure return on their 
capital as well as security for their staff. In Pakistan, we can 
guarantee neither: the long drawn-out face-off between Hubco, the 
giant power project set up by a consortium of Saudi, British and 
Japanese investors and the Pakistan government has ensured that 
very few foreigners will risk their money in a country where courts 
generally rule in favour of the government.

And the murder of four Texas Union employees in broad daylight in 
Karachi four years ago has given us the reputation of being a 
pretty lawless country. The repeated threats against western 
citizens and interests by religious fanatics has not helped repair 
this damage.

Apart from security, all investors whether local or foreign need 
continuity of policies, even if they are bad policies. In Japan, 
there have been eleven prime ministers in the last twelve years. 
This change of faces has not altered the broad parameters of 
economic and fiscal policies, and the Japanese economy has been 
chugging along, albeit in low gear currently owing to a prolonged 
recession and factors other than change of leadership.

In Pakistan, a change in government causes not just the removal of 
a few top politicians and bureaucrats but the wholesale scrapping 
of policies. This has a profoundly unsettling effect on the 
investment climate as one group of businessmen is identified with a 
political rival and is therefore harried, and policies changed to 
damage their interests. The Wapda chairman may take pride in having 
forced Hubco to reduce their tariff by a cent or so, thereby saving 
his organization several crores. 

However, he has inflicted damage worth hundreds of millions of 
dollars in lost investments to the national economy. Unfortunately, 
being a serving general, he does not have to listen to advice from 
civilian cabinet ministers. But the damage has been done, and it 
will be a very brave or foolish investor who puts together a 
consortium like Hubco again.

The inherent lack of stability that we suffer from has therefore 
little to do with the form of government, and more to do with the 
maturity of our leaders whether they are in or out of uniform. 
Unfortunately, most of our leadership is out of sync with how the 
world works. For instance, the Islamic Ideology Council probably 
has no clue about the havoc it has caused by declaring interest 
unIslamic.

The government, by dithering and appointing committees and task 
forces instead of vigorously opposing this bizarre and unworkable 
decree, has caused more confusion here and abroad. Whenever our 
officials go abroad seeking fresh investments, they are immediately 
asked to clarify the government's position on this needlessly 
contentious issue. And so it goes...

In brief, Pakistan has enough problems to contend with as it is. 
Must our leaders create even more crises for themselves and the 
rest of us?



SPORTS
20010505 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Waqar's men most talented in world, says Pybus
-------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTTINGHAM (England), May 4: Pakistan launched their cricket tour 
of England by proclaiming themselves to be arguably the most 
talented side in the world. Newly-appointed English-born coach 
Richard Pybus said on Thursday the team would face a tough battle 
to win the two-Test series starting later this month. But he made 
it clear who he expected to win.

"It's arguably the most talented side in the world," he said of his 
new charges. "And it's my job to channel it." The 37-year-old 
coach, in his second tenure in the role, added: "We can't come over 
here and expect to push England around. We're going to have to work 
bloody hard." Pybus, who was recruited by Pakistan on Tuesday, just 
hours before the squad flew to England, said his first priority was 
to take stock of both his players and his new situation. "I want to 
get to know the players, get a feel of where they're going," said 
Pybus.

"I want to get a feel of what's happening in Pakistan cricket. I 
want to know the right people are on board to make Pakistan a real 
force in the world."
England beat Pakistan in their last meeting, winning a three-match 
away series 1-0 at the end of last year. Nasser Hussain's side has 
won their last four Test series. Pakistan, however, despite a 
mediocre 2000-01 season, have come out on top in each of their last 
three tours to England.

Captain Waqar Younis, who has been in his job only a few more weeks 
than Pybus, was equally confident. "We have come with a positive 
frame of mind," the fast bowler said. Last year's defeat had hurt. 
"Hands up, we lost and England played really well." But he added: 
"We want to prove we are the best side... We want to prove we can 
beat any side in the world." Pybus, who made his name in charge of 
South African side Border, only lasted three months before being 
sacked as Pakistan coach in 1999. This time he has been given a 
short-term contract, to be reviewed at the end of the current tour.
"I was bitterly disappointed," he said of his sacking, which 
followed a shake-up in the Pakistan Cricket Board in the wake of a 
military coup. "You don't turn a side around in one month. "The 
problem wasn't with the players. The players were as shocked as I 
was. It was the decision of one man and one man alone (the then-
chairman of the board). "It's strange how the wheel spins full 
circle."-Reuters

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20010504 
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Waqar wants to team up with Wasim
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NOTTINGHAM (England), May 3: Pakistan captain Waqar Younis made an 
apparent U-turn Thursday by saying he wanted to team up with fellow 
pace bowler Wasim Akram for the Test series against England.

The newly appointed Waqar, who had suggested just before the tour 
that Wasim could struggle to make the starting eleven, said: 
"Hopefully I'll open (the bowling) in the Test match with Wasim 
Akram. "Of course, I want Wasim in the side. He's a key man."

Waqar, who is part of the Pakistan selection panel, added he had 
made his peace with his rival after a feud two years ago, when he 
had accused former team captain Wasim of wrecking his career by 
plotting to keep him out of the side.
"We are friends, it's fine what we had, we've put in the past. Now 
we want to prove we are the best side, that we can beat any side in 
the world."

Pakistan, who arrived in England on Wednesday, begin their tour on 
Friday with a three-day game against a British Universities team. 
The side will play two Tests and take part in a triangular one-day 
series also involving Australia.

Before arriving in England, Waqar had said that Wasim, the only 
bowler in cricket history to take more than 400 wickets in both 
Test and one-day cricket, could be overlooked in favour of young 
quick bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami.

Akhtar, however, is still in Pakistan after failing a pre-tour 
medical, although he is expected to join his team mates at the 
weekend. Medical checks aside, new team coach Richard Pybus made it 
clear Thursday that all was well within the Pakistan squad. "Team 
spirit is a key ingredient. Waqar has the respect of all the guys. 
Everybody gets on well," he said.

The squad practised for one-and-a-half hours at Trent Bridge on 
Thursday before rain ended the session. The first Test starts on 
May 17.

Team manager Saeed Yawar, in an apparent reference to the match-
fixing allegations, the reports of team rows and previous ill-
tempered series between the sides, said: "I would be very grateful 
if you could judge us from today onwards history we would like to 
forget. "We will play in the best traditions and you will see 
cricket at its best."-Reuters

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20010503 
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'Rawalpindi Express' derails again: Team off to England
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, May 2: Shoaib Akhtar failed in the first hurdle on his 
comeback bid when he did not board the flight with the rest of the 
Pakistan team members for London on a demanding 54-day England 
tour.

Dubbed as the "Rawalpindi Express", the 25-year-old showed 
immediate signs that his controversial and perennial injury-prone 
career was heading for troubled waters as he stayed back because of 
stomach upset which caused dehydration.

Although the excuse looks flimsy, far from any logic and sense, at 
least that's what the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

In all probability, the 15-Test high-profile player but so far an 
under achiever will miss the three-day tour-opener against the 
British Universities at Nottingham starting Friday. The first Test 
at Lord's is scheduled from May 17.

The PCB officials didn't confirm when the injury-prone bowler would 
join the team, but admitted that he would undergo a series of 
tests.

"They are routine medical tests. We are sure that there is nothing 
series, but it's just a precautionary measure," an official of the 
PCB said.

The PCB official hand-out later said Shoaib would also be required 
to undergo fitness tests.

"He underwent fitness test on May 1. He could  not appear earlier 
on account of stomach ailment from which he has not recovered 
fully.

"He will join the team, after getting fully fit," the statement 
said, without elaborating what would happen if he failed fitness 
and medical tests.

The PCB official said Shoaib was down with stomach disorder ever 
since he returned from Australia last month.

The enigmatic Shoaib has not appeared in a competitive match since 
the Dunedin one-dayer against New Zealand where he hobbled off the 
ground with a hamstring injury.

The 'Rawalpindi Express' had also failed to complete last year's 
tour to the West Indies while his last first-class match was 15 
months ago when he played for Pakistan in the third and final 
cricket Test against Sri Lanka at Karachi.

Shoaib, whose 45 wickets have cost over 35 runs each, has been the 
blued-eyed boy ever since the present establishment took control of 
cricket affairs in November 1999.

The present establishment have not only done extra favours, they 
are also accused of discrimination when taking care of another 
"ordinary' all rounder Azhar Mahmood.

While Shoaib was treated in Australia and England, Azhar remained 
under the consultation of local specialists. The PCB provided 
Shoaib accommodation in a five-star hotel in Lahore while Azhar was 
lodged in a two-star facility.

So much so, when the PCB received a telephone bill of Rs 500,000 
incurred by Shoaib Akhtar, no eye-brows were raised and the dues 
were cleared immediately. Ironically, most of the current and 
former cricketers are still awaiting clearance of their dues.

Needless to say the PCB has spent something around rupees five 
million on Shoaib and even hired exclusively a bowling consultant 
to defend his bowling action.

Squad:Waqar Younis (captain), Inzamam-ul-Haq (vice-captain), Saeed 
Anwar, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Wasim, Salim Elahi, Yousuf Youhana, 
Younis Khan, Faisal Iqbal, Rashid Latif (wicketkeeper), Abdur 
Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Wasim Akram, Mohammad Sami, Saqlain Mushtaq 
and Mushtaq Ahmad.

Manager: Yawar Saeed

Assistant manager: Ahmad Khan

Doctor: Riaz

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