------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 23 Feb 2002 Issue : 08/08 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + US intervention can ease tension, says Musharraf + Pakistan disbanding ISI's units: NYT + New Delhi has started arms race, says FO + Troops not to be withdrawn soon, says Fernandes + Gillani threatens to sue minister + India already rejected cooperation offer: FO + Police on trail of Jawwad in Pearl case + Suspects escaped before raids: Pearl kidnapping + Pearl case: FBI team arrives in Lahore + Punjab police pick up 34 in Pearl case + Balance of power to be ensured: Musharraf + NA seats further increased to 357 + UAE lifts visa ban on Pakistanis + Benazir to return, contest polls: Zia + SC turns down Asif's Eid plea + Zardari's remand extended in BMW reference + Treason case against PPP leaders adjourned + Four rockets found near airport --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Pakistan to get $60m monthly for logistics: Shaukat + Al Qaeda used hawala system to send money to Gulf, says US paper --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Kashmir Ardeshir Cowasjee + Can Musharraf be a 'legitimate' president? Ashraf Mumtaz + The spirit of Hamas Ayaz Amir + What goes around, comes around Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Hooper gains consolation victory for West Indies + New Zealand manager to revisit Pakistan + Shoaib not reported in Sharjah: ICC + Shahbaz brings special flavour to World Cup

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NATIONAL NEWS
20020220
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US intervention can ease tension, says Musharraf
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LAHORE, Feb 19: President Gen Pervez Musharraf said that the United 
States help could quickly reduce tensions between Pakistan and 
India. "With the help of US facilitation, the de-escalation in 
tension between India and Pakistan may take place in May-June," Gen 
Musharraf told a gathering of journalists, writers and 
intellectuals at the Governor's House. However, he added: "We have 
no problem in maintaining our heavy deterrence on our international 
borders with India."

The country, Gen Musharraf said, was moving in the right direction 
according to the program chalked out by his government. He said the 
government had worked out a strategy to bring Madaris in the 
mainstream of the education system so that they could play due role 
in the nation-building process. The president said that the whole 
scheme had been formulated to promote sectarian harmony and 
tolerance besides providing option to the Madressah students to 
join profession of their choice. -AFP/APP

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20020221
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Pakistan disbanding ISI's units: NYT
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By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, Feb 20: Pakistan has begun to disband two major units of 
its powerful intelligence service that had close links to Islamic 
militants in Afghanistan and Kashmir, the New York Times said 
quoting senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials. The 
paper said that the change has not been publicly announced. But the 
officials described it as one of the most significant shifts 
emerging from Pakistan's decision to align itself with the West 
during the crisis in Afghanistan and to reduce ties with Islamic 
groups there and in Kashmir.

The officials told the Times that the move would result in the 
transfer of perhaps 40 per cent of forces assigned to the secretive 
organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which draws 
its manpower from the military.

The agency's size is an official secret, but some officials said 
the cut could amount to at least 4,000 people, from a force of 
perhaps 10,000. Last month, President Pervez Musharraf pledged in a 
speech that his country would fight terrorism in all its forms. 
Since then, his government has banned several Islamic groups and 
has announced the arrests of about 2,000 activists.

The changes described within the intelligence service would be an 
even more tangible sign of his resolve. The changes were described 
by the officials as highly sensitive. The organization, whose 
headquarters here is surrounded by brick walls and guard towers, is 
one of the country's most powerful forces, and quests by the 
American government and forces within Pakistan for its reform have 
until now been rebuffed.

The senior officers of Afghanistan and Kashmir units have already 
been transferred, and the others are being ordered to return to 
other military units, officials told the paper. None have been 
disciplined, but the United States has requested permission to 
interview several dozens of them to learn more about their ties to 
the militants. That request is still being weighed by the Pakistani 
authorities, several officials said.

Working closely with the American Central Intelligence Agency, 
Pakistan's intelligence agency established close ties with Islamic 
groups in Afghanistan during the 1980s, at the time of the 
American-backed effort to support the Mujahideen forces working to 
oust the Soviet occupation force. While the Afghanistan department 
appears to have been shut down entirely, the officials indicated 
that it is proving more difficult to cut off what has been a steady 
flow of covert intelligence and other support for Mujahideen in 
Kashmir. Closing down the Afghan unit is a signal that Pakistan 
intends to support the new government in Afghanistan and serves Gen 
Musharraf's purpose of curtailing support for the Islamic militant 
movements in Pakistan that provided strong support for the Taliban, 
the paper said.

As early as 1988, under the government of Benazir Bhutto, a 
commission led by the Air Force chief, Marshal Zuilfikar Ali Khan, 
warned that the intelligence organization had the makings of a de 
facto government. Over the last decade, it has been credited with 
making and breaking of political careers and with causing civilian 
governments to fall. Gen Musharraf, who took power in 1999, has 
long had close relations with many officers within the agency. But 
in October, at the time he agreed to break relations with the 
Taliban, he also dismissed the agency's chief and later sidelined 
several others, in a first attempt to sever connections with 
Islamic groups in Afghanistan and Kashmir the paper said.

Our reporter from Islamabad adds: The Foreign Office has strongly 
refuted a report carried by the New York Times claiming that two 
sections of Interservice Intelligence Agency concerning Kashmir and 
Afghanistan has been wound up. 

Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Khan, when contacted termed these 
reports "totally rubbish" and baseless that Kashmir and Afghanistan 
sections of ISI had been closed down. The report carried by the US 
paper had claimed 4,000 defence personnel attached with these two 
sections had been sent back to their respective units. The report 
was based on unnamed high officials.

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20020219
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New Delhi has started arms race, says FO
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By Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, Feb 18: Pakistan expressed alarm at the "relentless 
pursuit to acquisition" of foreign defence equipment by India far 
beyond its genuine needs, causing an arms race in South Asia and 
raising military tensions in the already volatile region.

The foreign office spokesman stated this in reply to a question 
about India's efforts for acquiring more sophisticated weaponry 
from the United Sates and the current visit to New Delhi of the 
head of US armed forces, Gen Richard Myers. On his arrival, Mr 
Myers, had spoken of warming military ties between the two 
countries in fight against global terrorism.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes, who is slated to meet the 
American general, said last week: "We are looking at acquiring more 
sophisticated weaponry from the US which other nations are not in a 
position to produce and deliver at short notice". Spokesman Aziz 
Ahmad Khan said that President Gen Pervez Musharraf had raised the 
security issues concerning South Asia with the US leadership during 
his last week's talks in Washington.

He said India had started unnecessarily an arms race and tension in 
the region, particularly at a time when both countries should be 
putting all their resources for alleviation of poverty and 
improving the condition of health and education, and for 
development projects rather than in arms race.

As regards the outcome of the president's recent Washington visit, 
the spokesman recalled that Gen Musharraf had himself indicated its 
success. He said Washington and Islamabad had agreed to revive the 
joint consultative group where Pakistan's defence requirements 
would be considered.

Answering another question, the spokesman said that unfortunately 
there was no reduction in tension on borders, and added that only 
when the Indian government agreed to a phased withdrawal of forces 
from the border and Pakistan followed likewise, one could expect 
lowering of tension. He pointed out that Pakistan had to deploy its 
forces only in response to India's massive deployment of its 
troops.

He regretted that India had not positively responded to Pakistan's 
repeated calls for the troop withdrawal and resumption of dialogue 
to resolve the contentious issues. He, however, hoped that New 
Delhi would agree to resume negotiations.

APP Adds: He described as fictitious news reports carried by Indian 
newspapers about Omar Shaikh's involvement in acts of terrorism in 
India, including attack on parliament and shooting in Kolkata.

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20020220
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Troops not to be withdrawn soon, says Fernandes
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By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, Feb 19: India said it did not plan to pull back its 
troops from the Pakistan border until Islamabad complied with key 
conditions set by New Delhi. 

India has asked Pakistan to repatriate more than a dozen alleged 
criminals and terrorists it says are sheltered by Islamabad, and 
has set other conditions too to resume normal ties, that include a 
complete cessation of cross-border raids by militants in Kashmir.

In an indication of the continuing approach towards its neighbour, 
New Delhi mounted more pressure on Islamabad when the foreign 
ministry summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Jaleel Abbas 
Jilani, seeking details of the reported confessions by Sheikh Omar 
Saeed in which he has claimed a role in the Dec 13 attack on the 
Parliament House and in the subsequent attack on the American 
Center in Kolkata.

Ruling out any immediate pullback of troops from the border till 
Islamabad fulfilled New Delhi's conditions, Fernandes sought to 
dispel fears that prolonged forward deployment was leading to 
fatigue setting in among the forces. "The forces have been moved to 
the border in a certain situation when India had set some 
conditions, which have not yet been fulfilled. The troops will 
remain there till these are fulfilled and a final decision is 
reached," Fernandes told reporters.

Ruling out early talks with Pakistan, the Prime Minister said India 
was not against dialogue but "if talks are going to end in an 
attack, then what is the use of such an exercise". 

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20020221
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India already rejected cooperation offer: FO
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ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: A Foreign Office spokesman said India had 
already rejected Islamabad's offer for cooperation regarding Dec 13 
terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. He was responding to 
queries about the Indian request for sharing of information 
revealed by Ahmed Omar Sheikh to Pakistani authorities.

The spokesman recalled that immediately after the Dec 13 terrorist 
attack, Pakistan had offered cooperation to India, including a 
joint inquiry into the incident. "India not only rejected this 
offer but also refused to share any evidence relating to the attack 
with Pakistan," he added.

The spokesman pointed out that the investigation regarding the 
kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl was in progress. "Mr 
Sheikh was in custody and was being questioned in that connection," 
he added. However, the spokesman said, the Sindh police had already 
denied the speculative reports appearing in a section of the 
Pakistan press regarding the so-called "revelations". -APP

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20020223
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Gillani threatens to sue minister
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By Arshad Sharif 

ISLAMABAD, Feb 22: Shaikh Mubarik Shah Gillani, the man Daniel 
Pearl had sought to meet before being kidnapped and who was 
released on the intervention of the High Court, is now under 
investigation for his alleged links to Al Qaeda and for money 
laundering from the US into Pakistan and vice versa.

Dawn learnt from senior interior ministry sources that Gillani, who 
remained elusive in the Daniel Pearl case and was a prime suspect 
before the confessional statement of British national Sheikh Omar 
in the case, is under "discreet" investigation.

Gillani, talking to Dawn, termed the kidnapping episode a Zionist 
plot to get his organization and educational institute declared as 
terrorist outfits and a conspiracy against the ISI. He denied any 
association with Al Fuqra and said he did not favour jihad against 
the US.

"What they are trying to prove is that Richard Reid is Al Qaeda 
man. If they prove that he is my mureed (follower), then they would 
have an excuse to proceed against all the 10,000-15,000 people who 
are my followers in America. So, this is the main conspiracy," he 
said.

"Daniel is a secret service agent," Gillani had alleged a day 
before the confirmation of the death of the Wall Street Journal 
reporter. The US intelligence agencies have, however, denied the 
allegations of the kidnappers that Daniel was an undercover agent.

Gillani said he would be suing Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar for 
saying that he (Gillani) had links with India.

Gillani, contrary to the claims of IG Police Syed Kamal Shah, said 
he had presented himself before the Rawalpindi police after his 
name was linked to the kidnapping. He said his contributions to the 
Kashmir cause since 1947 and then to the Afghan Jihad were on 
record.

Questioning the foreign minister's statement which, according to Mr 
Sattar, was made on the basis of information obtained by the police 
from the itemized bill of the mobile telephones, the former ISI 
operative and close friend of Gillani, Khalid Khawaja, said: "How 
could they release Shah Sahib if he was in touch with Indian 
ministers and all that?"

According to the sources, the US, after the Sept 11 terrorist 
attacks, is also investigating the association of Al Fuqra with 
Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

According to US diplomatic sources, the investigative mechanism 
would look into all possibilities without ruling out any, however 
remote it may seem. "Besides the initial focus on the International 
Islamic Front for Jihad against the US and Israel, led by Osama bin 
Laden, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which is a member of Osama's front 
and which was declared by the US as an international terrorist 
organization in October, 1997, the Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, another 
Pakistan-based organization with known presence in the US, but with 
no previously known links with Osama, are also under probe," US 
diplomatic sources said.

The US authorities are now focussing on the alleged money 
laundering network of Al Fuqra in collaboration with Pakistani 
officials, the sources said. During joint investigation by the FBI 
and the Karachi police officials, Gillani was asked if he knew one 
of his followers had tried to blow up the American airliner.

Denying that Richard Reid was one of his followers, Gillani told 
Dawn: "They wanted to move against Muslims in all the 22 states of 
America but they wanted an excuse, a legal one, so they sent 
Richard Reid to Afghanistan. He went there, met a few people and 
went back. Then they found 10 grams of explosives in his shoes 
which can't even blow up the seat of an aeroplane. Then he is 
keeping silent. What the foreign journalists are doing is taking 
his pictures from city to city and saying that this person is a 
mureed of Gillani. I don't have mureeds (followers)."

Joining in the conversation, the former ISI operative said: "For 
us, Daniel is small part of the conspiracy who just came in 
between. The real conspiracy started much before that because the 
American agencies wanted to get to Shah Sahib because he was 
spreading Islam in the US and that is their main problem."

Gillani, whose disciples live in 22 different states of America, in 
response to a question as to how he was being implicated in the 
conspiracy, said: "Try to understand the conspiracy. I have given a 
book to my lawyer, Target Islam, which says the documents prove 
that the aim of the Zionists is to divide Pakistan into four 
republics. And this project is very well-known to the people here 
as well. Last year (2001) I told my students to hold a rally in 
America. Then the US embassy in Islamabad called someone (name not 
disclosed) to the embassy and tried to bribe him to sign a 
statement that Sheikh Mubarik is a terrorist and he could have the 
whole briefcase."

The former operative, interjecting in the conversation, alleged 
that during 2001 the CIA and FBI operatives in the US embassy in 
Islamabad had wanted one of Gillani's followers to sign a statement 
against Gillani. "First, they threatened him, gave him a lie-
detector test and them tried to bribe him by showing him a 
briefcase full of hundred-dollar notes. They wanted him to sign the 
statement that Mubarik Shah Gillani's followers would do something 
in America."

Disassociating himself from Daniel Pearl's kidnapping, Gillani 
questioned: "Why did Daniel Pearl go to Bahawalpur to the house of 
Masood Azhar? Answering the question himself, he said: "He went 
there so that he is seen there, so that somebody sees him, follows 
him and might abduct him. And then he wrote my name in the diary 
that he would be seeing me like this and then leave the diary at 
home and then he is abducted."

Gillani said that from Jan 18 till 26 he had been in Garhi 
Habibullah, supervising the establishment of a school. When he read 
in the newspapers that his name was being associated with the 
kidnapping, he had called up his son who conveyed him the message 
of a colonel and a few other people that it would be better that he 
(Gillani) turned himself over to the police.

"On 26th, I called my son and he told me that a colonel had come 
and he and other people recommended that I go and talk to the 
police and tell them I know nothing about Daniel Pearl. I didn't 
know who Daniel was," he said. According to Gillani, the Rawalpindi 
police agreed that he was not involved in the kidnapping but 
requested him to proceed to Karachi as there was pressure from the 
US authorities.

The sources said that during interrogation Gillani asked the 
officials to contact senior officials in the government to know 
about his services for the country but the investigators did not 
think it appropriate to get in touch with the "government contacts" 
as information was not related to the investigation in the 
kidnapping case.

Defending the allegations against him, Gillani told Dawn: "Muslims 
are being projected as terrorists whereas they are not. They think 
the increasing population of Muslims is becoming a threat to 
America."

Recounting his services for the national cause, Gillani said: "When 
the Afghan Jihad came, I was encouraged by Gen Zia-ul-Haq and at 
that time the Americans accepted the fact that I hold jihad 
conferences in America and in other countries. So I participated. 
In that process, the Jewish Defence League was able to do many 
things and frame us wrongfully."

Gillani claimed that both the governments of Pakistan and Azad 
Kashmir had requested him to mobilize his university students to 
project the cause of Kashmir in America through media by holding 
rallies and informing the public. So Kashmir-American Friendship 
Society was formed nine years ago but its activities were not liked 
by the American government."

Recalling his association with the Kashmir cause, Gillani said: "I 
planted the flag of Pakistan in Srinagar on 15th August 1947. My 
back still caries the signs of the lashes I received from the state 
police for that act. My family (the Gillanis) have a lot of 
followers in Kashmir." Gillani claimed that in 1947 Nawab Mamdot 
had made him commander of the junior national guard and in 1948, 
when Kashmir was attacked, he was Air Raid Commander.

Later, Gillani said, he met Lt-Gen Bakhtiar Rana and also president 
Ayub. President Ayub, he said, had patronized him in establishing 
the Climbers Club of Pakistan.

"For fifty years, students from all the colleges of this country, 
including cadets from the PMA and cadets from military college, 
Jehlum, were trained by me and some of them became Special Services 
Group Commandos," he claimed.

Gillani, dispelling the impression that his students were involved 
in anti-state activities in the US, as claimed by the US State 
Department, said the US authorities had tried to involve his 
university in every incident which had happened on the US soil. For 
instance, he said, a very famous scholar of Islam, Ismail Farooqi, 
had been shot dead in 1984 in Pennsylvania and they blamed us, 
alleging we did not like him. But when the murderer was caught, he 
said, it was revealed that the assassin was hired by JDL, the 
Jewish Defence League.

Dispelling the impression that he left the US shortly after the 
first attack on the World Trade Center during 1993, Gillani said 
that after 1990 he had never gone to the US.

Criticizing the incumbent military regime for becoming a tool in 
the hands of the US administration, Gillani said: "For the enemies 
of Islam, the holy Quran is a book of terrorist. Islam is a 
religion of terrorism. Muslims are terrorists. It is a Zionist 
conspiracy and for that they want computerized ID cards so that 
they have data on each and every person."

The former ISI operative, who is said to be instrumental in 
convincing Mubarik Shah Gillani to present himself before the 
authorities and who was also considered a suspect in the case, told 
Dawn that the conspirators had planned that Shah Sahib would not 
come out and like in the case of Osama they would create such a 
scare that nobody would speak on his behalf and they could fulfil 
their aims.

In response to a question, the former ISI operative said: "Many 
people think that the ISI has planted me into it to do something 
and I am its agent. It's a great conspiracy and it is the duty of 
the media to find out those Pakistani officials and semi-official 
sources who are feeding wrong stories to the foreign media. This 
way we will be doing a service to our nation and our clergy because 
it is a conspiracy against the ISI and Shah Sahib."

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20020221
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Police on trail of Jawwad in Pearl case
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Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Feb 20: The police investigations into the disappearance 
of US journalist Daniel Pearl could not make any breakthrough, but 
the provincial administration insisted they were making progress. 

A spokesman for the Sindh Home Department said they had found clues 
to tracing the locations of individuals believed to have 
information about Mr Pearl's whereabouts. Punjab Police are also 
working to arrest Amjad Farooqui and Hashim alias Arif, he added.

Sources said the police had started looking for another suspect, 
identified as Jawwad Shaikh, who was believed to be one of the 
captors. The police had checked the record of flights abroad with 
the help of national and foreign airlines and found that Jawwad 
Shaikh and Dr Javed Iqbal were booked on Feb 9, 2001, for Riyadh by 
Saudi Airline (SV-737).

The sources said Dr Javed Iqbal flew to Saudi Arabia but Jawwad 
Shaikh missed the flight. The police believed he was present in the 
country. The sources declined to divulge more details, saying the 
police had started a hunt for Jawwad, whose arrest could be the key 
to recovering Mr Pearl. 

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20020218
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Suspects escaped before raids: Pearl kidnapping
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By Nadeem Saeed

MULTAN, Feb 17: Some of the 'most wanted sectarian terrorists' of a 
banned militant outfit escaped a couple of days ahead of police 
raids on their hideouts in Vehari, sources told Dawn. 

The Vehari police conducted three raids on different places 
simultaneously. It forced entry into a cyber cafe - Al-Ilm academy 
and internet club - in the city and took into custody its owner, 
Qari Rana Zulfiqar, his brother Ateequr Rehman, Naeem, Mushtaq, 
Tahir and others.

Similarly, the police raided the house of Ijaz alias Jajji Tarar, a 
wanted militant who died some time ago, and picked his father Anwar 
Tarar. The police also went to the house of wanted alleged 
terrorist Sheraz and in his absence took his father Ata Muhammad 
alias Fauji into custody. As the Vehari arrests coincided with the 
arrests of alleged terrorists in other parts of the province in 
connection with the Daniel Pearl kidnapping, it seemed that the 
Punjab police had launched a crackdown to find a clue to the 
captors of the American journalist.

Multan range police DIG Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhry, however, refuted 
that the arrests in Vehari had any link with the Pearl case. "We 
raided the places to arrest some wanted men," he added, saying, 
"Karachi police had not sought any help from Multan police."

A senior police source in Vehari told Dawn that the police had 
conducted some raids in search of Fayyaz Tarar alias Fayyazy, 
younger brother of Jaji Tarar carrying headmoney of Rs1 million, 
and Sheraz, who was also wanted in a number of high-profile cases 
of sectarian killings in the area.

He said the Al-Ilm Internet club had been under scrutiny for the 
last two months, even before the pearl episode. "In fact we had 
information that the internet club was a place where activists of a 
militant organization were used to meet, communicate and plan their 
strategy," he said. He said a gang of terrorists, affiliated to the 
banned militant outfit of Riaz Basra, comprising Shakeel Anwar, 
Fayyazy Tarar, Sheraz, Saleem, Abdullah, Javed Commando and Javed 
was reportedly involve in recent spree of terrorist acts in 
Bahawalpur, Lodhran and Vehari.

"According to our investigation, the gang is involved in Saddiq 
Kanju murder case and the massacre of over a dozen worshippers in a 
Bahawalpur church," he asserted, emphasizing the "arrests of 
Fayyazy Tarar and Sheraz would be a needed breakthrough to break 
the network of terrorists in this part of the country."

He said though Karachi police had not asked them for any specific 
assistance in the Pearl case, they (local police) would surely 
interrogate the arrested on this aspect as well to find any clue in 
the light of intelligence reports that the Shakeel Anwar gang had 
been to Karachi for a while and indulged there in criminal and 
terrorist activities.

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20020218
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Pearl case: FBI team arrives in Lahore
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Staff Reporter

LAHORE, Feb 17: A three-member team of the US Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI) is in the city for the last two days to follow 
up the kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl, it is 
reliably learnt. 

The sources identified the FBI team members as Mr Thomas Anderson, 
Mr John Marthred and Mr Aedigare. Lahore range DIG Javed Noor said: 
"None of them has so far contacted us." He even claimed that their 
presence was also not in his knowledge. About Daniel Pearl 
kidnapping case, the DIG said that everything related to the case 
was being done by Karachi police. No fresh raid has so far been 
conducted in Lahore at least, he added.

The sources said that the three FBI officials were also the part of 
nine-member team that visited the city on the arrest of Omar 
Sheikh, the prime suspect in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal 
reporter. "The team questioned Omar soon after his surrender." They 
said that some members of the nine-man team escorted Omar to 
Karachi and rest of them flew back to Islamabad. 

The three FBI officials staying currently in Lahore are among those 
who had escorted Omar to Karachi, the sources said and believed 
that they had returned from Karachi with some leads they had found 
from the interrogation of Omar.

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20020217
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Punjab police pick up 34 in Pearl case
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By Tariq Saeed and Gulzar Baig

TOBA TEK SINGH, Feb 16: The Punjab police picked up 34 people from 
Toba Tek Singh and Vehari in a bid to trace Amjad Hussain Farooqui, 
whom Sheikh Omar, prime suspect in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, 
described as 'go-between.' A resident of Toba Tek Singh district, 
Farooqui had reportedly taken away Pearl. 

Being interrogated at some unknown place, the arrested include 
Farooqui's brothers Mohammad Javed and Mohammad Amer, and village 
prayer leaders Ghulam Akbar and Qari Mohammad Ramzan. They are said 
to have apprised the investigation officers that last time Amjad 
was seen in the village in 1988 when he was an activist of a 
religious organisation and was given the job of collecting 
donations.

A source told Dawn that after the police operation most of his 
relatives had left the village. However, five more police teams are 
conducting raids in various parts of the district in search of 
Farooqui. Another source said nine of the arrested had been 
released after preliminary investigation.

District police chief Amer Zulfiqar Khan was, however, tight-
lipped, and said: "Whenever there is any news in this regard, local 
newsmen will be informed." Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider, 
meanwhile, told newsmen in Lahore that two more suspects had been 
arrested from Toba Tek Singh. "They are being questioned by the 
relevant authorities that would give further lead to the 
investigators, assisted by two members of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI)," the minister added.

VEHARI: Sources identified some of the arrested as Qazi Rana 
Zulfiqar, Ateequr Rehman, Tasleem, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammad Tahir, 
Mohammad Anwer Tarar, Sheraz, Fiaz Ahmed and Mohammad Munir. 
Sources said almost all the arrested belonged to the outlawed 
Jaish-i-Mohammad and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. They were reportedly 
driven to an unknown place for investigation. When Dawn contacted 
the police officials, they did not disclose the number and names of 
the arrested.

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20020222
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Balance of power to be ensured: Musharraf
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Feb 21: President Gen Pervez Musharraf said that check 
and balance "on all power brokers" of the country would be ensured 
to have genuine democracy after the October election. 
"Unfortunately the president, the prime minister and the chief of 
the army staff had been misusing their powers in the past, (but) 
this will not happen any more," the president asserted.

"I will make sure that national interest will remain supreme as 
against personal or party interest," he told reporters. In reply to 
a question, the president said he had never stated that he was in 
favour of increasing the powers of the president or curtailing the 
powers of the prime minister. "All I want is the balance in the 
powers of all the power brokers".

He also said that the government was considering removing the 
condition of graduation set for those aspiring to contest the 
election for the National Assembly. Personally, the president 
maintained, he was in favour of retaining the condition as it was 
necessary to strengthen political and democratic institutions.

Asked that since the majority of people were illiterate and did not 
have the knowledge of computers the condition of graduation should 
be dropped, the president replied: "I have no knowledge of 
computers, but I believe that the condition of B.A is necessary."

The president pointed out that people of Balochistan were in favour 
of the graduation condition as it would ensure replacement of the 
tribal system and bring new educated blood to politics. "Yet we are 
considering doing away with the condition because people are 
demanding it."

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20020221
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NA seats further increased to 357
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The government has decided to further increase 
the number of seats for the National Assembly from 350 to 357, 
allocating three more seats to the NWFP, and one each to Punjab, 
Sindh, Balochistan and Islamabad.

Official sources said the decision was made at a meeting presided 
over by President Pervez Musharraf. The meeting was convened to 
resolve the dispute that had arisen after the Election Commission 
had rejected the Jan 16 allocation of seats by the National 
Reconstruction Bureau, increasing the number of seats from 237 to 
350.

It was decided that Islamabad, which had been allocated one seat 
even though its population had increased manifold, would now have 
two NA seats. Similarly, Punjab will now have 148 NA seats, Sindh 
60, NWFP 35, and Balochistan 15. Reserved seats for women and 
technocrats will also be re-adjusted. The seats for the Federally 
Administered Tribal Areas would remain 12.

The government will soon promulgate a provisional constitutional 
order to give legal cover to the electoral reforms, that is the 
joint electorate system and abolition of special seats for 
minorities. 

The meeting also considered the issue of Anti-Terrorism Courts and 
decided that the federal government would move the Supreme Court 
for vacation of the interim injunctions passed by the Lahore High 
Court last week. The LHC had stayed the setting up of the ATCs that 
had proposed army officers on the bench.

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20020219
-------------------------------------------------------------------
UAE lifts visa ban on Pakistanis
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Syed Rashid Husain

RIYADH, Feb 18: The ban on issuance of new visas to Pakistani 
nationals in the UAE, imposed after Sept 11 events, has been 
lifted. All types of UAE visa - visit, employment, transit or 
residence - are now being issued to Pakistani nationals, the local 
press here reported quoting Col Saeed Mattar bin Bleila, director 
of the Dubai Naturalization and Residence Department.

Col. Saeed told newsmen that his department was accepting visa 
applications from Pakistani nationals, adding that at present there 
were no official restrictions on issuing any visa to citizens of 
any country with whom the UAE had diplomatic and friendly ties. The 
UAE had stopped issuing new entry visas to Pakistani and Afghan 
nationals after the Sept 11 events. The national security 
authorities were reported to have issued a circular to all the 
concerned departments and officials last week, lifting the 
restrictions.

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20020222
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Benazir to return, contest polls: Zia
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, Feb 21: Pakistan People's Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto 
would return to Pakistan before the elections and take part in the 
polls scheduled for October, PPP's Punjab president Qasim Zia said.

Speaking at a news conference at the office of provincial 
information secretary, Naveed Chaudhry, he said so far there was no 
law barring Ms Bhutto from contesting the elections.

He said the PPP chairperson was not afraid of being arrested or 
imprisoned. She would return at an appropriate time before the 
elections, he said, adding that no date had been set for the 
purpose. The PPP, he said, was preparing itself for the elections 
and its mass mobilization campaign was going on.

"It is the exclusive prerogative of the electorate to bring someone 
to power or reject him in polls. It is beyond the competence of any 
government to keep any leader out of the electoral process," the 
PPP leader argued when a reporter invited his attention to an 
official spokesman's statement that Ms Bhutto stood no chance of 
assuming power in the future.

He said the PPP, like other parties in the Alliance for Restoration 
of Democracy, was demanding arrangements for free and fair general 
elections. He said the PPP had already expressed reservations about 
the local elections held under the military government.

He vehemently denied press reports that the PPP chairperson had 
held a meeting with President Musharraf during the latter's visit 
to the United States.

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20020221
-------------------------------------------------------------------
SC turns down Asif's Eid plea 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter 

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The Supreme Court turned down the request of 
Asif Zardari that he should be allowed to celebrate Eid with his 
parents in Karachi. 

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, and Justice 
Qazi Mohammad Farooq, dismissed the application, saying that it 
would set a bad precedent in which every accused would ask that he 
should be allowed to celebrate Eid with his family.

Asif Zardari, in his application, through Farooq H. Naek, held that 
his parents were residing permanently in Karachi, who are old, and 
suffering from various ailments. He said that his mother was 
bedridden and unable to travel and his father was under house 
arrest. Asif Zardari desired to celebrate Eid with his parents. 
"This desire is based on the fact that life and death is ordained 
by Almighty Allah and one is unaware as to what future holds for 
him," he contended.

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20020221
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Zardari's remand extended in BMW reference
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The Accountability Court No: III extended the 
remand of Asif Ali Zardari for another eight days and directed the 
prosecution to produce the accused on March 1 in the BMW case. 
Farooq Naek, advocate, who appeared on behalf of the accused, 
requested the accountability court to direct the prosecution to 
submit the reference against Asif Zardari, in the BMW case so that 
the defence could know about the nature of the allegations.

Similarly, the Accountability Court No: II also adjourned the 
hearing in the ARY Gold case for March 1. The case pertains to a 
contract to the ARY Gold Traders for the import of gold and silver 
in Pakistan, which allegedly resulted in the loss of Rs1.82 billion 
to the government kitty during the period from March 1995 to 
September 1997.

In the BMW case, the prosecution accused Asif Ali Zardari of 
impersonating himself as student by importing a 1993 model armoured 
luxury vehicle in the name of a student with intent to evade 
duties. With the import of the vehicle, the national exchequer was 
incurred a loss Rs10 million during the second tenure Benazir 
government.

APP ADDS: An accountability court has adjourned the hearing of 
Steel Mills corruption reference against Asif Zardari. The 
accountability court had adjourned because the accused had moved 
the Lahore High Court (LHC) alleging that the certain amendments 
had been made in the original reference.

The Lahore High Court has appointed a person to verify whether the 
changes were made in the original reference and further proceedings 
in the case would start on the receipt of the said report. Farooq 
Naek is the defence counsel in the said case.

This reference was filed against the accused by the Ehtesaab 
Bureau, set up by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government in 
the Ehtsaab Bench of the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench. The 
reference was transferred to the accountability court following the 
dismissal of the PML (N) government in October 1999.

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20020219
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Treason case against PPP leaders adjourned
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Feb 18: Special Judge Syed Kauser Ali Shah Bukhari of 
Suppression of Terrorist Activities (STA) Court, East, adjourned 
the hearing of a treason case against former PPP leader Masroor 
Ahsan and others after recording the statement of a prosecution 
witnesses.

The case against Mr Ahsan and 22 other PPP workers, including Mir 
Shahnawaz Bhutto and Mir Murtaza Bhutto, was registered in 1981 by 
the Ferozabad police for allegedly conspiring and attempting to 
wage war against Pakistan and collecting weapons under section 121, 
121-A and 122 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It was alleged that the accused persons in active connivance of one 
another had entered into a conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan 
"by means of criminal force or show of criminal force to the 
Federal Government".

The judge fixed March 9 for the next hearing after the statement of 
Sub-inspector Muhammed Mubeen, who submitted before the court that 
the four out of 133 prosecution witnesses, cited in the final 
charge sheet, were untraceable. With the deposition of the police 
official, the prosecution has so far examined seven witnesses in 
the court during the past 19 years.

During these years nine accused persons - Mir Shahnawaz Bhutto and 
Mir Murtaza Bhutto, sons of the late prime minister Zulfikar Ali 
Bhutto, Islamuddin Changa, Salamullah Tipu, Rehmatullah Anjum, 
Ghulam Mustafa Baloch, Ilyas Siddiqui, Agha Ashfaq and Manzar Alam 
- died.

Ten other accused persons - Sohail Sethi, Najme Alam, Ikram 
Qaimkhani, Nisar Qureshi, Saifullah Khalid, Nasir Jamal, Arshad Ali 
Khan, Maulana Javed Naumani and Qadir Bux Jatoi - are absconding 
and they have been declared proclaimed offender in the case.

Only four accused - Masroor Ahsan, Masood Hasan, Aftab Ahmed Memon 
and Hanif Ahmed Patel - are on bail and facing the trial. They all 
appeared in the court. Earlier, the court had dismissed an 
application filed for the acquittal of Masroor Ahsan.

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20020219
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Four rockets found near airport
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Feb 18: Police said they found four live rockets planted 
on a wooden frame with timing devices and aimed at the airport. A 
police spokesman said that during investigation into an explosion 
caused by a rocket at a Shah Faisal Colony house, information about 
the four rockets lying in an open plot in the proximity of the 
airport was received.

The police rushed to the spot with the ASFs Bomb Disposal Squad and 
defused the 197mm rockets. An improvised timing device was 
connected to each of the rockets, he said. The police had started 
questioning of the people living in the adjoining localities for a 
clue to suspects.

The police sources said that one of the five rockets had been 
launched that had hit the house of Imtiaz in Shah Faisal Colony and 
left one man injured and the house and some vehicles damaged. They 
said that the rest of the rockets could not be launched as their 
detonator did not work due to low battery.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20020217
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Pakistan to get $60m monthly for logistics: Shaukat 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16: Pakistan will be charging monthly bills of 
roughly $60 million for whatever logistic support it extends to the 
United States as long as its forces stay here. "We will bill them 
monthly for certain things under the ACSA (acquisition and cross 
services agreement)," Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told a news 
conference.

"The total amount due from them (USA) is around $300 million," said 
the minister, stressing that this should not be mixed up with $1 
billion debt waiver.

He parried questions about specifics of the charges and facilities, 
including air bases, saying the defence ministry calculated the 
amount through a formula under the ACSA. Finance Secretary Younas 
Khan explained that this included all - fuel, water, etc., that 
varied from month to month and the bill was forwarded to relevant 
agency of the US.

"We are following it up," said the minister when asked about the 
recovery of this amount, and added that finance ministry's role was 
that of a collecting agency only. He also parried questions that 
country's deficit had gone up to around Rs25 billion in the post-
Sept 11 era because of the increase in defence budget and revenue 
shortfall and there was still a gap of Rs10 billion. He went on 
repeating that "we are not imposing war tax and would bridge the 
deficit within budgetary limits."

Shaukat said the IMF (international monetary fund) had agreed to 
revise the budget deficit target from 5.3 per cent to 5.7 per cent 
of the GDP (gross domestic product). The US debt of $2.8 billion to 
Pakistan, he said, would come down to $1.8 billion as $1 billion 
stood written off. The US government would waive $200 million from 
their budget under their present value accounting system but this 
would take $1 billion off the table from Pakistan's debt, subject 
to approval from the US congress, he elaborated. "We are not 
concerned with their budget procedures that will cost them $200 
million but this will waive our $1 billion debt," the minister 
said.

To a question whether this waiver related to official development 
assistance (ODA) or non-ODA, he said it was not yet clear but most 
probably it would be from the ODA which constituted about 80 per 
cent of the total debt to Pakistan. He explained that certain 
allocations in the US budget 2003, including $200 million aid-in-
grant for Pakistan's education sector, was other than $1 billion 
debt write-off.

Shaukat said Pakistan's reserves stood at $5.0019 billion as of 
Friday night - net cash with the SBP at $3.2787 billion and 
deposits of $1.7332 billion. Pakistan, he said, had "very smooth 
review" with the IMF mission that would now submit its report to 
the board and hopefully the whole process would be completed by the 
end of March.

A revenue target of Rs414 billion, he added, had been agreed to, 
including direct taxes of Rs146.5 billion, up from Rs142.4 billion 
under the earlier target of Rs429.9 billion. The direct tax target 
included Rs47.1 billion for excise duty, Rs50.5 billion under 
customs and Rs170 billion under sales tax.

Shaukat said all requirements under the PRGF (poverty reduction and 
growth facility) except revenue target have been met, and added, 
though sales tax target was up from Rs152 billion last year to 
Rs170 million this year, major delta in this sector was because of 
reduction in the sale of oil products.

Referring to President Gen Musharraf's meetings with US authorities 
and donors in Washington, the minister said everybody praised 
Pakistan for its economic policies and agreed that all the 
requirements had been met except for factors that were out of its 
control.

The president of the World Bank who expressed strong support for 
Pakistan's economic policies would be visiting Pakistan in May this 
year as a guest of President Musharraf, he observed. Pakistan, 
Shaukat said, was in discussions with the WB over a number of 
programs but structural adjustment program- II (SAP-II) and central 
board of revenue (CBR) reforms program were in the advanced stages.

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20020218
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Al Qaeda used hawala system to send money to Gulf, says US paper
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Feb 17: The Pakistani link with Taliban\Al Qaeda 
operations continues to be highlighted in one form or another in 
the American media.

The Washington Post carried a report claiming how, just as the 
United States and its allies swept toward Afghanistan's main cities 
last autumn, the Taliban and Al Qaeda network "sent waves of 
couriers with bars of gold and bundles of dollars across the porous 
border into Pakistan," with their transactions centred in Dubai, 
the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates.

In small shops and businesses along the border, the money and gold, 
taken from Afghanistan's banks and national coffers, were collected 
and moved by trusted Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives to Karachi, 
according to the paper. Then, using couriers and the virtually 
untraceable "hawala" money transfer system, they transferred 
millions of dollars to Dubai, where the assets were converted into 
gold bullion. "The riches of the Taliban and Al Qaeda were 
subsequently scattered around the world - including some that went 
to the United States - through a financial structure that has been 
little affected by the international efforts to seize suspected 
terrorist assets," the paper asserted.

Al Qaeda also used diamonds purchased in Sierra Leone and the 
Democratic Republic of Congo, tanzanite from Tanzania and other 
commodities to make money and hide assets. But gold played a 
uniquely important role in the group's financial structure, 
investigators and intelligence sources quoted by the Post said, 
because it is a global currency.

Pakistan financial authorities, the paper claims, say $2 million to 
$3 million a day is usually hand-carried by couriers from Karachi 
to Dubai, mostly to buy gold. Late last year that amount increased 
significantly as money was moved out of Afghanistan, they said. 
Pakistan and US officials estimate that about $10 million from 
Afghanistan was taken out by courier over three weeks in late 
November and early December. The Taliban fled Kabul late on Nov. 12 
and abandoned Kandahar on Dec. 7.

One of the couriers of cash and gold to Dubai was the Taliban 
Consul-general in Karachi, Kaka Zada, who took at least one 
shipment of $600,000 to Dubai in the last week of November, 
according to two Pakistani sources who witnessed him carrying the 
money.

The WP report says US investigators, led by the Customs Service, 
have begun poring over transactions of some of Dubai's largest and 
most prestigious gold brokerages for possible links to the movement 
of Al Qaeda or Taliban money, and have found unusual gold shipments 
into the United States after September 11.

The Pakistan-owned ARY Gold also figured in the Post story, which 
says: "A Customs official said that as part of efforts to 
'investigate terrorist financing,' the agency was 'scrutinizing 
movements of gold by several companies, including ARY Gold,' one of 
Dubai's largest and most prestigious gold bullion and jewellery 
dealers.

"ARY's cramped headquarters is located in the heart of Dubai's gold 
market - an area several blocks square, filled with stores that 
sell little else. Abdul Razzak, the Pakistan owner of ARY Gold, 
strongly denied knowingly doing business with the Taliban or Al 
Qaeda.

"I am a God-fearing person, but all my life I have been afraid of 
religious people like the Taliban," said Razzak. "I wouldn't like 
to deal with Taliban people, and we don't like Taliban people. If 
you say you want 100 kilos [220 pounds] of gold, I can give you 
that wherever you want in 12 hours. What you do with it is your 
business," he said.

The Post recalls that in 1998, Pakistani investigators looking into 
government corruption found two cheques, each for $5 million, 
allegedly paid by ARY Gold in 1994 to Asif Ali Zardari, the husband 
of then-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, to secure a two-year 
monopoly on gold imports to Pakistan. While acknowledging he held 
the monopoly and shipped $500 million in gold to Pakistan from 1994 
to 1996, Razzak said that he had paid no bribes and that "enemies" 
had falsified the bank documents. Razzak was cleared of criminal 
charges in Dubai but still faces charges in Pakistan from that 
case, Pakistan authorities said.

The "financial architecture" built by Al Qaeda was modelled, 
according to French, Pakistani and American investigators, on the 
collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). "The 
BCCI was founded by Pakistanis and bankrolled largely by leaders of 
the UAE. In the 1980s it was used to launder drug money, harbour 
terrorist funds and buy illegal weapons. 

Its collapse in 1991 was a major global financial scandal... The 
CIA used BCCI to funnel millions of dollars to the fighters 
battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Osama had accounts 
in the bank. The bank also specialized in dealing in commodities 
such as diamonds and gold," the paper said.

The Post cites a 70-page French intelligence report, outlining some 
details of the network. "The financial network of bin Laden, as 
well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put 
in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often 
with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and 
its affiliates, arms merchants oil merchants, Saudi investors). 
"The dominant trait of bin Laden's operations is that of a 
terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure."

The paper goes on to say US agencies are looking into these ties 
because "they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI 
ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist 
financing operations." The report identifies dozens of companies 
and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be 
dealing with Osama bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on 
to work in banks and charities identified by the United States and 
others as supporting Al Qaeda.

Back to the top
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20020217
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Kashmir
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Ardeshir Cowasjee

How many times do we all find ourselves at a gathering addressed by 
a retired or serving member of our armed forces who boasts that one 
Pakistani soldier can take on four Indian soldiers only to be 
interrupted by a hawk in the audience with a correction - no, one 
of ours can take on not four, but five of theirs?

How many times do the history textbooks used in our schools 
reiterate that Pakistan has fought gloriously and won two wars 
against India? Our schoolchildren are never taught that we have 
fought only to suffer.

Today, could the Pakistan army march into Kashmir and conquer the 
disputed territory which most Pakistanis claim to be theirs and 
impose our will? The answer, of course, is no. Could we name any 
world power which would support us in a war against India? The 
answer, once again, is no. Can we hope that the moral, diplomatic 
and political support (which we are told is the sole aid we afford 
to the people of Indian occupied Kashmir) will help them in any way 
to gain their freedom? No. We have been on the same tack for half a 
century, getting nowhere, so surely the time has come to change 
course. Kashmir is in the blood of every Pakistani, we are told. 
But should it be Kashmir in our blood or Pakistan in our blood?

Now, in the world of today Kashmir is not the only conflict area. 
Let us take one area of conflict in the Far East, the 'Northern 
Territories' of the Pacific, consisting principally of four of the 
Kurile islands located off the north-east coast of the Nemuro 
Penninsula of Hokkaido, Japan - Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and 
Etorofu. Russia occupies them, Japan claims them.

The Kuriles have been the subject of claims and counter-claims, 
conflict and treaties since the mid-19th century. Japan and Russia 
first established diplomatic relations in 1855 and national 
boundaries between the two were drawn. According to the Shimoda 
Treaty, the Kurile Islands were to belong to Russia and the island 
of Sakhalin was to be a mixed settlement divided between the two 
countries.

Niggling problems arose as regards Sakhalin and it was decided to 
make a clear cut division, Russia calling for a division at the 
48th parallel and Japan at the 50th parallel, but neither side 
could come to terms. In 1875 another treaty was concluded by which 
Russia agreed that Japan would hand over title to the Sakhalin 
island to Russia and in return Russia would hand over to Japan the 
Kurile islands.

In 1904, Japan and Russia went to war over Manchuria and other 
regional interests. Contrary to world expectations, Japan was able 
to wage active and persistent operations, as a result of which 
Russian troops sustained a humiliating defeat. The Japanese 
government, realizing that the continuation of the war with Russia 
would be beyond their military and financial potentialities, 
secretly but officially asked the US to take the initiative for the 
reconciliation of the two sides.

Fearful of further Japanese expansion, US President Theodore 
Roosevelt at once agreed to be a mediator. He considered that the 
best solution for the United States would be a condition of mutual 
balance between Japanese and Russian forces and not for one side to 
win. So, in 1905 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a peace treaty was 
signed, according to which all previous agreements and treaties 
were to be annulled and the southern half of Sakhalin island was 
ceded by Russia to Japan. Thanks to his contribution as a mediator 
during the conclusion of the peace agreement, Roosevelt was awarded 
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.

>From the mid-1920s, southern Sakhalin and the Kuriles assumed 
extreme strategic importance for Japan. They built numerous 
military bases on the islands, and on November 26, 1941, it was 
from Kasatka Bay on Iturup island from where an aircraft carrier 
formation set sail to attack Pearl Harbour.

At the Yalta conference of 1945, Josef Stalin asked that at the end 
of the war the Kuriles and southern Sakhalin be returned to Russia. 
US President Franklin Roosevelt felt there would be no difficulty 
in this happening provided the USSR entered the war against Japan. 
This it did. Three days after the Japanese surrendered, the Soviets 
landed on the Kuriles, occupied them and by 1946 they were declared 
the property of the Soviet state. Japan was not a participant at 
Yalta - it was still waging war - and it attaches no relevance to 
the agreement made there. Russia holds that the agreement reached 
at Yalta is legally binding.

In the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over two of the 
islands to Japan, an agreement on which it reneged later when Japan 
signed a mutual cooperation and security agreement with the United 
States giving them the right to use their forces in any region of 
the Far East from Japanese territory. In the 1960s Japan started 
persistently demanding not only two islands but four. No final 
decision between the two countries was arrived at and the question 
remained unresolved with the Soviets still in possession of the 
islands. However, in 1969, all school maps in Japan mark the Kurils 
as Japanese territory, and since 1971 each February 7 is celebrated 
in Japan as the 'Day of the Northern Territories'.

The situation always has been and remains highly complicated. Each 
side and its supporters air their own diverse views. But since 
1945, Japan and Russia, though not having officially signed a peace 
treaty, have not gone to war, or threatened war. Today's position, 
as described by the Japanese government, is that the two countries 
are talking.

In October 1993, President Boris Yeltsin visited Japan, drank saki, 
his hosts drank vodka, and they talked. At the end of 1994 the 
first deputy prime minister of Russia went to Japan and the two 
sides talked again. In April 1996, on the occasion of the Moscow 
Nuclear Safety Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto 
and Yeltsin again talked.

In 1997, a Japan-Russia summit was held on the occasion of the 
Denver Summit and the Russians and Japanese talked, and agreed to 
continue talking, which they consistently have done. In March 2001, 
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori visited Irkutsk and he and 
Russian President Vladimir Putin talked and agreed that a peace 
treaty should be concluded to resolve the issue of the four 
islands. Based on results so far achieved, the two countries 
continue to engage in vigorous negotiations to find a solution 
acceptable to both.

Are we, Pakistan, now finally on the right tack? On the second day 
of his visit to Washington last week, President General Pervez 
Musharraf reiterated his determination to turn Pakistan into a 
"dynamic, liberal, progressive, peaceful and genuinely democratic 
Muslim country." Well done ! If we do manage to be 'turned', this 
should solve all our problems, including one main irritant - the 
issue of Kashmir.

As for democracy, in 1997 the then democratic prime minister of 
Pakistan, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, took it upon himself to order 
that the Supreme Court be stormed by his democratic militants. The 
laws of this land and its courts were unable to convict him for his 
act. 

Yesterday morning we read how Chaudhry Shujaat, erstwhile 
democratic stalwart of Nawaz Sharif and his interior minister, 
stormed the parliament building and disrupted the working of the 
Public Accounts Committee - and this is the democrat who, it is 
said, is one of the main contenders to be selected as prime 
minister after the elections of October, 2002. Does he not warrant 
disqualification from even standing in the coming elections? To 
have democracy, the people of this country, all of them, must have 
respect for law and order and law and order will have to be 
imposed.

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20020220
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Can Musharraf be a 'legitimate' president?
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By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Feb 19: Gen Pervez Musharraf has various options to become 
president for the next five years, the simplest and easiest of them 
being an amendment to the constitution providing that he will be 
the first head of state after the ensuing elections, former Supreme 
Court Bar Association president Abid Hasan Minto said.

However, Advocate Akram Sheikh, another former president of the 
SCBA, is of the view that no constitutional method is available to 
Gen Musharraf to become a legitimate president. 

Mr Minto told Dawn the constitutional method of electing a 
president was through parliament and the provincial assemblies, 
which formed the Electoral College. But, he said, the forum was 
available only to the candidates meeting the qualifications and 
incurring no disqualifications laid down in the constitution. Gen 
Musharraf, he said, did not fall in this category of candidates as 
being a serving general he could not take part in any election.

To gain eligibility to become a candidate, Mr Minto said, he would 
have to amend the constitution, but such a course might kick off a 
new controversy whether a constitutional amendment to pave the way 
for Gen Musharraf's candidacy was within the parameters laid down 
by the Supreme Court judgement to bring any change to the basic 
law.

Another method available to Gen Musharraf, he said, was that of a 
referendum, as resorted to by the late Gen Ziaul Haq. An 
overwhelming majority of people had not taken part in the December 
1984 referendum, though the general still became the president, Mr 
Minto said. Gen Musharraf, he believed, had a different political 
and social attitude and was, therefore, unlikely to take such a 
"blatant" step.

Instead, he said, a straight amendment could be made to the 
constitution laying down that Gen Musharraf would be the first 
president after the elections. In such an eventuality, he said, 
there would be no need for election to the top office. To 
'democratize' the decision, he said, Gen Musharraf could obtain an 
approval from parliament. Election though local councils, Mr Minto 
said, was yet another passability. Such a course, though in 
conflict with the parliamentary system, he said, would amount 
almost to a direct election.

The former Supreme Court Bar chief said since Gen Musharraf talked 
of striking a balance in the powers of the president and the Prime 
Minister, he could choose this route, since it offered a broader 
electoral college. Asked whether Gen Musharraf would be justified 
in seeking his election as president in the light of the parameters 
laid down by the Supreme Court in its May 2000 judgement validating 
the military take-over, Mr Minto said the general could argue that 
it would not be possible for him to implement his agenda unless he 
was in the saddle.

In such situations, he said, reaction of the people and the 
attitude of political parties mattered most. In his opinion there 
was very little chance of significant resistance since all 
political parties were seeking adjustments. There was also no 
possibility of public agitation as people were more interested in 
the solution of their problems than the modalities used by somebody 
to have himself elected as president.

He did not think that political parties would be able to oppose Gen 
Musharraf in their election campaign. Doing so would amount to 
contradicting the basis of their own participation in the elections 
under the "amended laws."

Mr Akram Sheikh said that the Supreme Court had not allowed Gen 
Musharraf to make any amendment to the constitution, which changed 
its basis structure. Change of the electoral college for the 
president would be a fundamental change, not permissible under the 
apex court's judgment in the Syed Zafar Ali Shah case. This, he 
said, meant that Gen Musharraf could not have himself elected 
through a referendum either.

Asked why Gen Musharraf could not opt for a referendum if it was a 
legitimate route for Gen Ziaul Haq, Mr Sheikh said not everything 
resorted to by the late Gen Zia had been fair and proper. He 
contended that a person elected president through a referendum 
could not be a symbol of the federation. Such a mode, he said, 
would also be questionable in the light of the Supreme Court 
verdict which had validated the military intervention.

The local councils could also not be used as the electoral college 
for the president as the apex court had disallowed such a change in 
the constitution. Gen Musharraf, he said, could not seek election 
through parliament, as he was not qualified for the candidature. 
"All constitutional doors are closed for Gen Musharraf to have 
himself elected as president. As for the extra-constitutional 
avenues, they'll have to be validated by the parliament."

Some political leaders say that in view of the tough positions 
taken by political parties against Gen Musharraf's status as 
president, it would not be easy to get enlist their support. Those 
extending support to the general at a later stage will be negating 
the position they have so far adhered to.

All major parties taking part in the Dec 27 all party conference 
and the parties in the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy are 
opposed to the extra-constitutional steps taken so far by the 
military government. They demand that Gen Musharraf should step 
down as president and wind up the National Security Council. They 
also insist that the general has no right to amend the 
constitution, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's judgement to the 
contrary.

Some people say that the candidates taking part in the October 
elections may be asked to file a declaration along with their 
nomination papers that in case they are elected, they'll not oppose 
Gen Musharraf as president. The idea is, however, still at the 
embryonic stage.

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20020222
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The spirit of Hamas
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By Ayaz Amir

While the United States under the bizarre leadership of George Bush 
reads a lesson in misguided arrogance to the rest of the world, the 
Palestinian resistance, so long ineffectual, is demonstrating 
another lesson: that no matter what the odds, the spirit of 
resistance, once alive, is not easily crushed by bullets and tanks.

Israel was the land of David. Under the weight of its armour - 
provided and held in place by its great provider, the United States 
- it has become the land of Goliath while the Palestinians find 
themselves in the role of David.

On the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and indeed within Israel proper 
received wisdom is being defied. Taking advantage of September 11, 
Sharon was hoping to crush the Palestinians once and for all. Had 
it only been up to the discredited Arafat, Sharon might well have 
succeeded. But the torch of resistance has passed to a newer 
generation - led by the likes of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa 
Brigade, the PFLP. The more force Israel uses, the stiffer becomes 
Palestinian resistance. When set against the deep silence emanating 
from the rest of the Muslim world, this struggle looks all the more 
striking.

Tactics developed by Hezbollah in South Lebanon are now being tried 
on the Palestinian territories. Instead of targeting civilians, 
military targets are being hit. Just as David was not expected to 
hit Goliath on the forehead, the Palestinians were not supposed to 
hit anything as strong as an Israeli tank. But they have. They have 
also hit soldiers. Within Israel more and more voices are 
questioning the wisdom of a policy which, instead of destroying 
Palestinian resolve, is breeding more violence.

But Israel is yet to get the measure of what it is up against. The 
ultimate affliction is death. If a people, reduced to despair, 
overcome the fear of death, as so many Palestinians have, it is 
they who become invincible, not the tanks of their oppressors.

Haven't we seen the same thing happening before? In Algeria, 
Vietnam and a hundred other battlefields resolve (and better 
tactics, let us not forget) triumphed over brute force and mere 
firepower. Just because America possesses unparalleled 
technological superiority, it does not mean that the rules of human 
conduct stand altogether altered. What should one do in the face of 
oppression and injustice? Stand up to it or meekly accept it?

What drove the Palestinians to violence? The futility of trying to 
talk peace with the Israelis. At Oslo the Palestinians got a 
truncated peace. Israel has been reluctant to give them even that. 
By any yardstick of international law, Israeli settlements on the 
West Bank are illegal. Yet successive Israeli governments, ever 
keen to create new facts on the ground, have protected them. What 
should the Palestinians do?

What drove the Kashmiris to take up the gun? Not the ISI, as 
popular legend in India would have everyone believe, but the 
futility of expecting justice from India. For the Palestinians as 
much as for the Kashmiris, the gun was the tactic of last resort, 
taken up when everything else had failed.

Both Israel and India have sought to exploit September 11, the one 
by trying to crush the Palestinians, the other by driving Pakistan 
into a corner over militancy in Kashmir. The Israelis have clearly 
failed in their aim, the Indians have partially succeeded because a 
weak Pakistan, afraid of losing American favour, for all practical 
purposes has ditched the Kashmiri resistance.

In this turnaround, Pakistan is thrice at fault. First it tried to 
take over the Kashmiri jihad which it shouldn't have. Then it was 
guilty of mismanagement, especially in the last two years, by 
making a public spectacle of jihad. Iran and Syria support the 
Palestinian resistance. But they don't proclaim their support from 
the housetops. Discretion of this sort has never come easily to us. 
Just as we made a spectacle of our nuclear programme, proclaiming 
its prowess before all and sundry, we did the same with Kashmir, 
thus blowing our cover and exposing our involvement.

We also lacked the courage of our convictions. When the US turned 
the screws on us, and India started a military build-up on our 
borders, we panicked and cracked down on the very forces we had 
till then encouraged.

Caving in to American pressure was nothing new for us. We have done 
it all the time. Succumbing to Indian pressure in this manner was a 
novel experience.

Why did we do this? To what purpose or gain? The US has praised 
General Musharraf to the skies, as well it might because he 
unquestioningly accepted every demand put to him. Since American 
support matters in a country where begging and looking up to 
foreigners are the leading national pastimes, Gen Musharraf no 
doubt has emerged a stronger figure from these events. But what, 
apart from crumbs, has the country gained from this show of 
unblinking loyalty?

Money can compensate for a loss of dignity, at least to some 
extent. This is the bargain every man strikes when he enters into 
the service of another. But great services rendered, as done by 
Pakistan, in return for very little reflects smartly neither on the 
country nor its rulers.

Of course there is no shortage of people in Pakistan who say we had 
no choice but to submit because refusal would have meant diverting 
American wrath in our direction. For foolish fears not even Hakim 
Luqman had a remedy. But for argument's sake even if we accept that 
this threat was real, we should have looked it in the eye.

Our main problem has never been Kashmir, Afghanistan, too much 
religion or even a lack of money. It has been a want of spirit and 
national dignity. We only talk big. We have never learnt to act 
big. Suffering is often a great catharsis. Such is the history of 
the human race that only through wars and revolutions has the steel 
of a nation been tempered. Western civilization is as much a story 
of science and inventiveness as of wars of greed and conquest. The 
making of America, the birth of the first nation-states in Europe, 
the making of Germany, the rise of Japan, all took place to the 
steady beat of martial drums. We are a flabby nation which has 
never been through much (defeat in East Pakistan having taken place 
at a distance). Defying America, or at least not succumbing to its 
threats and blackmail so readily, would have done us good.

But this is water under the bridge. Let us retrieve what we still 
can from our headlong retreat. Even as we adjust to the new 
circumstances let us honour and not revile those who were true to 
their beliefs and put their lives at stake for the freedom of 
Kashmir. They did not invent violence there. They reacted to Indian 
oppression. What would we have had them do? It is easy saying 
Kashmir runs in our blood, as most of us are wont to do. It is 
harder laying our lives on the line.

We are the victims of a foolish logic in Pakistan. We think that 
the resources spent in defence of the Kashmir cause are resources 
taken away from economic development. We can be at total peace with 
India today and yet, such has become the state of our nation, 
national resources will still be diverted to preserving the 
privileges and lifestyles of the richer classes.

Is it because of Kashmir that there is one education system for the 
rich and another for the poor? Is it because of Kashmir that 
nothing gets taught in our colleges and universities and no 
research is done? In Europe imperialism and the industrial 
revolution marched hand-in-hand. While being at war nations have 
not forgotten how to be inventive and resourceful at the same time. 
Thus has the human race advanced.

Is it because of Kashmir that the rich in Pakistan live one way and 
the poor another? Is our corruption and maladministration because 
of Kashmir? And now that we have turned the word 'jihadi' almost 
into a term of abuse, does it mean that all our problems will 
disappear and we will soon enter a brave new world?

Only a nation whose soul is tempered can reach out for the stars. 
Nations bent to the habits of servitude can amount to nothing even 
if all the world's oil wells are placed at their disposal. 

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20020223
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What goes around, comes around
-------------------------------------------------------------------
By Irfan Husain

Sympathy, like a welcome, wears thin with abuse. While much of the 
world shared America's grief after the horror of September 11 and 
was largely supportive of its campaign against the Taliban and Al 
Qaeda, very few people are cheering President Bush on as he 
prepares to battle his "axis of evil."

The truth is that the first phase of America's "war against 
terrorism" was not seriously opposed because of the odious nature 
of its enemies. Neither Mulla Omar's Taliban nor Osama bin Laden's 
Al Qaeda had succeeded in winning hearts and minds as the former 
oppressed their fellow Afghans and the latter spread death and 
distress in many countries. Given the ugly nature of both 
organizations as well as the symbiotic relationship between them, 
not many tears were shed as they were bombed into oblivion.

Even when evidence of significant casualties among innocent Afghans 
started piling up, many of us considered this a sad but necessary 
price for getting rid of this malign cancer that had begun 
infecting the body politic of Pakistan. Even though we all knew the 
so-called coalition was in reality a fig-leaf for the mighty 
American forces that pounded the Taliban into submission and 
dispersed and destroyed Al Qaeda, we played along with the innocent 
deception as we thought that in this case, the Americans had a 
moral justification for the use of overwhelming force.

But now that the Afghan campaign is virtually over, we find 
ourselves on the verge of a series of American-initiated wars 
without end. Although the United States is militarily more than 
capable of waging them without allies, it will nevertheless seek 
international support despite the feeble protests over Bush's "axis 
of evil" speech. Currently, even Tony Blair, that most allied of 
allies, is distancing himself from the extreme American position. 
Nevertheless, once the shooting stats, there is no doubt that the 
mantra of "If you aren't with us, you are against us" will be 
invoked and many reluctant countries will fall in line.

It is an indisputable fact that the American preponderance over the 
rest of the world has reached a point where it can afford to act 
unilaterally anywhere. The United States today spends 40% of the 
entire world's defence expenditure on its armed forces; and this 
will go up if Bush's request for an increase of $43 billion for the 
defence budget is approved by Congress. Any one of its several 
naval battle groups can devastate entire continents; and there are 
currently three of them near our shores. In terms of sheer 
firepower as well as military technology, the Americans now outgun 
the rest of the world put together.

Does this mean that everybody else has been reduced to the status 
of targets, neutral spectators or fawning assistants? It is clear 
that the stunning success of its campaign in Afghanistan has bred a 
kind of hubris in Washington. The right-wing cabal surrounding Bush 
and dominating the defence department has seen that they have 
succeeded in meeting most of their war aims without any losses to 
speak of. Equally importantly, the feared explosion of anger in the 
streets of Muslim countries turned out to be a damp squib.

Now, by drawing a bead on Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the Bush 
administration is seeking to complete its global dominance. The 
thing these countries have in common is not terrorism but a track 
record of defiance of the American diktat. And here lies the major 
difference between Afghanistan and the "axis of evil": while much 
of the world was convinced of Al Qaeda's hand in the September 11 
attacks, nobody really believes that Tehran, Baghdad or Pyongyang 
was involved.

It would appear that Iraq is first on the list for its alleged 
attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Considering that 
Saddam Hussein was supplied with all kinds of western arms and 
technology in his decade-long war against Iran, and nobody in 
Washington or London turned a hair when he used poison gas against 
Iranians and his own Kurds, it seems a bit hypocritical to use this 
as a pretext. In any case, UN inspectors have spent nearly a decade 
trying to locate any weapons not destroyed in the Gulf War; if such 
weapons are still concealed, these inspectors should be sacked for 
incompetence.

If and when a campaign against Iraq is launched, it will be far 
longer and bloodier than the one against the Taliban rabble, 
specially as its stated aim is 'regime change'. As the collateral 
damage rises, so will the temperature in Arab streets. This anger 
is likely to turn against the corrupt leaders in much of the Arab 
world who rely on American support to stay in power. But so 
confident are Bush and his advisers that they and their creatures 
in the Middle East will ride out the storm that they are seemingly 
going ahead with planning the Iraqi campaign. And given the general 
apathy in the face of the Israeli excesses being committed against 
Palestinians, the Americans might well be right in their 
calculation.

But as the Israelis are learning to their cost, overwhelming 
military superiority is not always enough to win a war, specially 
when the victims are close enough to retaliate. Both the Gulf War 
and the Afghan campaign were waged far from American shores, giving 
the losers little opportunity to strike back. This is particularly 
true in the new strategy of using precision-guided munitions 
launched from a distance. However, most military planners have 
absorbed the lessons from these campaigns and will be thinking of 
dispersing and concealing potential targets.

The most crucial lesson strategists will have learned is that a 
conventional set-piece battle against American forces is tantamount 
to suicide. Without the counterweight of a competing superpower 
like the ex-Soviet Union, the Americans are indeed masters of all 
they survey, having attained "full-spectrum dominance" over the 
rest of the world. The question before those wishing to challenge 
this hegemony is how to strike at America without becoming sitting 
ducks themselves. They will no doubt conclude that a kind of global 
guerrilla warfare against "soft" American targets of the kind waged 
by Al Qaeda is the only option.

It will be ironic if the "war against terrorism" and the threatened 
campaign against the "axis of evil" give rise to a greater wave of 
terrorist attacks against American targets.


SPORTS
20020218
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Hooper gains consolation victory for West Indies
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SHARJAH, Feb 17: Carl Hooper played a captain's knock of 112 not 
out as the West Indies gained a consolation 110-run victory over 
Pakistan in the third and final one-dayer. 

Hooper's seventh one-day century helped the West Indies pile up 
260-5, before Pakistan were shot out for 150 in 40.2 overs in the 
inconsequential last match.

Hooper smashed eight boundaries and four sixes, sharing a 154-run 
stand for the fifth wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (67), after 
the West Indies were reduced to 61-4. Pakistani captain Waqar 
Younis claimed two wickets, including the one of Darren Ganga off 
the third ball of the match.

Faced with a target of 5.22 runs an over under lights, Pakistan 
never recovered after the early loss of openers Shahid Afridi and 
Naved Latif. Afridi was caught at square-leg off Pedro Collins in 
the second over and Naved Latif fell in the third, trapped leg-
before by Mervyn Dillon.

Half the Pakistani side was back in the pavilion by the 23rd over 
with only 86 on the board. Shoaib Malik, who hit an unbeaten 
century Friday, made 37 when he was sixth out, bowled by Hooper, to 
make it 91-6. Inzamam-ul-Haq, dropped to number seven due to his 
poor form, appeared to be settling in when he was bowled for 21, 
trying to play a reverse sweep off part-time spinner Chris Gayle.

Gayle also took the last three wickets, including Rashid Latif for 
37, to finish with a career-best 4-19. Pakistan return home Tuesday 
to prepare for the final of the Asian Test Championship against Sri 
Lanka, scheduled to start in Lahore March 6. The West Indies next 
host India for five Tests and as many internationals from April 11. 
-AFP/Reuters

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20020219
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New Zealand manager to revisit Pakistan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sports Reporter

KARACHI, Feb 18: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it has decided to 
send Black Caps managers Jeff Crowe to assess the situation in 
Pakistan before deciding on rescheduling the cancelled tour. 
According to a media statement, Crowe will arrive in Pakistan 
immediately after the one-day series against England and will 
return prior to the first Test.

The five-match one-day series concludes on Feb 26 at Dunedin. The 
first Test begins March 13 at Christchurch. NZC said the offer to 
send a envoy to Pakistan was made by the Pakistan Cricket Board 
(PCB). "The Board has decided to accept an invitation from the 
Pakistan Cricket Board provided concerns about player safety can be 
satisfied."

NZC said Crowe would investigate any issues that might hinder the 
tour of Pakistan between April 20 and May 18. The proposed tour 
would encompass two or three Tests and three one-day 
internationals.

Martin Snedden, the NZC chief executive, said: "New Zealand Cricket 
has received assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board and 
directly from the Pakistan Government that player safety will not 
be compromised while the team is in Pakistan. "We believe it would 
also be sensible to send our own envoy to Pakistan to discuss 
security arrangements.

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20020220
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Shoaib not reported in Sharjah: ICC 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sports Reporter

KARACHI, Feb 19: The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed 
that the officials of the Sharjah Test series have not expressed 
any concerns on the bowling action of Shoaib Akhtar. "So far, there 
has been no report from Sharjah about Shoaib Akhtar's action," the 
ICC said in a statement to Dawn.

There were serious doubts about the future of Shoaib, particularly 
after Darrell Hair was appointed ICC umpire for the second Test. 
Hair blew the whistle on Shoaib when he reported him for a suspect 
bowling action during the Perth Test in 1999. Since then, Shoaib 
has been reported twice - both last year - and faces the 
possibility of being banned from international cricket for a year. 
However, team sources did confirm that an ICC umpire and match 
referee did see Shoaib's action in slow motions. Nevertheless, not 
reporting his action to the ICC leads to the conclusion that two 
ICC umpires and Mike Denness have officially given clean sheet to 
the controversial fast bowler who did bowl pretty well in the 
desert city.

The PCB chairman Lt Gen Tauqir Zia last week had expressed fears 
that Shoaib would be reported again, particularly after he started 
taking wickets and the World Cup just round the corner.

Tauqir had further threatened that if Shoaib was reported or 
called, the team would be withdrawn from the field and the tour 
would be aborted immediately. However, aborting tour seems highly 
unlikely as Pakistan's next off-shore assignment is in September in 
Sri Lanka (ICC KnockOut tournament) and the crucial African safari 
that leads up to next February's World Cup.

Former Test umpire Mahboob Shah who is also the chairman of the 
National Umpiring Council, however, said both the umpires were 
entitled to call or report any bowler for suspect bowling action.

"Although the square-leg umpire is in better position to judge the 
bowling action, either umpire can report the matter to the match 
referee," he said. He was commenting on the basis that from April, 
both third country umpires would officiate Test matches. In 
Sharjah, Shoaib bowled from Hair's end.

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20020223
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shahbaz brings special flavour to World Cup:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22: Veteran Shahbaz Ahmed hopes to turn the clock 
back by eight years as he comes out of retirement to lead 
Pakistan's campaign in field hockey's World Cup.

The mercurial 36-year-old makes a comeback to the international 
arena at an age when others would be happy to bask in past glory 
and leave the stage to younger, fitter players. But Shahbaz is not 
taking his return lightly. He wants to spearhead Pakistan's fifth 
World Cup title, just as he had done in Sydney way back in 1994.

Then, he was the star striker who ran circles around the rival 
defence. Now older and wiser, Shahbaz prefers to marshall his 
players from the midfield, creating moves and making spaces for the 
juniors.

"I know there are many who feel I am too old to play the World Cup, 
but I am serious about this one," said the oldest player in the 16-
nation tournament. "Frankly, I have nothing to prove to anyone. But 
there is the itch to go out there and help Pakistan win the World 
Cup again."

If Pakistani manager Khalid Khokhar is to be believed, Shahbaz 
could emerge as the star of the tournament. "Don't write the man 
off," Khokhar warned.

I compare him to salt which gives good taste and flavour to food. 
Shahbaz adds flavour to the Pakistan team. "We would be bland 
without him. His presence alone is enough to inspire team-mates to 
give their best."

Not only did Shahbaz put aside the rustiness of a two-year 
retirement, he also took up the mantle of coach alongside former 
international Hanif Khan. Khokhar said having Shahbaz as a player-
coach had it's advantages.

"We do not have to shout from the sidelines now," the manager said. 
"Shahbaz is there to take charge. He is the commander of the team."

Pakistan, who also won the World Cup in 1971, 1978 and 1982, 
finished fifth in the last edition in the Netherlands in 1998.

Pakistan came fourth in the Sydney Olympics, but showed they would 
be a force to reckon with in the World Cup by winning a six-nation 
tournament here last month.

"The important thing is to finish among the top two in the league 
group and make the semi-finals," Shahbaz said. "Then anything can 
happen."

Pakistan are drawn in Pool 'A' - widely regarded as the group of 
death due the calibre of competition - alongside defending 
champions Holland, strong challengers Germany and Argentina, Spain, 
South Africa, Belgium and New Zealand.

The relatively easier Pool 'B' has Pakistan's arch-rivals India, 
Australia, South Korea, Japan, England, Poland, Cuba and hosts 
Malaysia.

"It does not matter which pool you are in, the competition will be 
very tough for all," Shahbaz said. "This tournament could spring 
many surprises."

Pakistan take on South Africa in their first match Sunday.-AFP

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