------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 29 June, 1995 Issue : 01/25 -------------------------------------------------------------------
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---------------------------- MQM ..........MQM activist's teenaged sister 'gang-raped' ..........Inquiry ordered into rape incident ..........MQM calls for 3-day mourning ..........MQM to observe protest on Fridays, Saturdays ..........MQM activist 'unveils' party's plans ..........Extradition of Altaf sought, says Babar Karachi ..........24 shot dead in city as violence escalates ..........Violence claims 20 lives in city ..........32 killed as violence spreads in city ..........23 shot dead in city violence ..........14 killed in city violence ..........Violence in city claims 11 lives Mohal warns CM against joining hands with PML Incitement to insurgency : Altaf issue may be taken up with UK: PM Maulana Tariq surrenders Experts being invited to help fight terrorism Govt changes media managers 3 German engineers kidnapped Extortion rampant, HRCP told --------------------------------------


-------------------------------------- Budget targets termed over-optimistic Low cotton stocks hit textile industry NBP to float Modaraba : 6 modarbas allowed to diversify Govt to hold talks with IMF on adjustments Index falls further as stocks maintain bearish outlook The Business & Financial Week ----------------------------------------


---------------------------------------- The general's generals By Ardeshir Cowasjee A volatile week Karachi events confuse visiting Senators From Shaheen Sehbai Of Mice and Men : Seeking forgiveness By Hafiz-Ur-Rehman MQM & Karachi crisis By Dr Mohammad Waseem The circus in the Punjab By Tahir Mirza Dateline Washington : The considered State Dept view Shaheen Sehbai *From the Press Gallery ..........A polite gesture lost By Nasir Malick ..........Karachi overshadows budget By Nasir Malick ..........Playing with the sentiments' By Nasir Malick ------------


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=================================================================== 950623 ------------------------------------------------------------------- MQM activist's teenaged sister 'gang-raped' ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June, 22: Mother of an underground Mohajir Qaumi Movement worker claimed that her 16-year-old college-going daughter was gang- raped allegedly by the activists of Peoples Party and MQM Haqiqi during an attack on her Gharibabad residence on late Tuesday night. Shortly after party's women wing chief Shamim Khalil read out a written statement at a Press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday night, 50-year-old Rashida Begum gave details of the attack which, she said, occurred on the night of June 20. She claimed that over a dozen armed men raided her house, raped her daughter and took away cash and gold ornaments worth hundreds of thousands of rupees. The alleged victim was also produced before the journalists. She was constantly sobbing, crying and being consoled by other women. Meanwhile, MQM workers kept a mobile phone line open for an unidentified person, believed to be a top MQM leader, who listened to the entire Press conference. The entire proceedings were videotaped by MQM men. "We were asleep when they sneaked into our house. Four of them took position atop the roof. Three others were outside. They asked us about the whereabouts of Shahid Feroze. They started manhandling me, my two sons, a daughter-in-law and my daughter, when we were unable to give them any information," she said. "First they threatened to kill my two infant grand-children. Then they threatened to dishonour my daughter, Farzana. They took her into another room and did what they had threatened to do. We pleaded them not to do this but they did not listen to us," she said. "They came at midnight and left the house at 3 am. In the morning we took Farzana to a private hospital in New Karachi for treatment. I did not go to the police station because I feared the Haqiqi and Peoples Party men would kill all my family members," she said. "At the time of the attack, my husband was in an adjacent house. When some neighbours tried to intervene, the armed men stationed on rooftop and outside the main entrance, turned them away," she said. "They blind-folded one of my married sons and ordered him to keep lying on the floor. His 15 year-old brother was asked to do likewise," she said. According to the affected family, the victim has identified some of the accused who, she says, live in the same neighbourhood. MQM women's wing chief Shamim Khalil blamed Peoples Party councillor Naeem Qureshi, a member of KMC advisory council, his son, two nephews and some Haqiqi workers for the rape. "They came in three government vehicles and fled the house while shouting Jiye Bhutto slogans. They left the house like conquerors," she said. She said the family kept quiet for a day and discussed the incident with family elders whether to make it public. "As it was a very sensitive issue and the honour of other Mohajir women too could be at stake, the family decided to come out in the public," she added. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950624 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Inquiry ordered into rape incident ------------------------------------------------------------------- KARACHI, June 23: The provincial government has ordered an inquiry into the alleged rape of Farzana Feroz, sister of an Altaf group activist, Shahid Feroz. The inquiry will be conducted by a Judge of Sindh High Court. Meanwhile, MQM MPA Shoaib Bokhari, along with the victim of the alleged incident, lodged an FIR with the police here on Friday evening. Mr Shoaib M Bokhari, lodged the FIR with the Sharifabad police on Friday evening under Hudood Ordinance. The complainant, lodged Farzana, has named eight persons as culprits. They include Ayub, son of Naeem Qureshi; Bhura, son of Naeem Qureshi; Munna Dacoit, son of Naeem Qureshi; Sudhir alias Bholoo, Naeem, Ghias, Iqbal and an unknown son of Naeem Qureshi. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950624 ------------------------------------------------------------------- MQM calls for 3-day mourning ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June 23: The Mohajir Qaumi Movement Coordination Committee appealed to the people on Friday to observe peaceful mourning on Saturday, Sunday and Monday over the gang rape incident of Tuesday last. In a statement, the committee asked the people to wear black armbands, close business, refrain from brining transport on roads and express solidarity with Farzana Sultan, the victim of sexual barbarism. The committee said the government had not yet arrested the alleged culprits, Naeem Qureshi, his sons Bhoora and Muna Dakait, and his two nephews Nadim Ghias Sudhir alias Bholoo and Iqbal, involved in the incident. The committee alleged that the main culprit was hiding in Islamabad. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- MQM to observe protest on Fridays, Saturdays ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June 26: The Mohajir Qaumi Movement coordination committee' which gave a 48-hour ultimatum on Saturday evening in support of its six-point demands on Monday, announced observance of a two-day weekly closure till the acceptance of its demands. According to a statement released by the committee, the first protest closure will be observed on Friday (June 30) and Saturday (July 1). The committee said the new line of action had been adopted after a thorough discussion and mutual consultations by the MQM legislators and the coordination committee members. "The MQM has not opted for an indefinite closure, firstly, because it wants to give more time to the government to reconsider its demands and show a positive attitude, and secondly, it wants to make it clear to democratic countries and human rights organisations that the MQM does not believe in rigidity," the committee said. It said despite the "objectionable remarks by the prime minister against the Mohajirs, the MQM had suspended its protest drive for an indefinite period as a gesture of goodwill. "This proves that the MQM believes in democratic norms and a process of mutual understanding for getting issues resolved," the committee added. It said despite the continuing genocide and rape incidents, the MQM had decided to confine its protest to two days a week. The committee demanded of the government to stop genocide of the Mohajirs, accept MQM's genuine demands and solve the problems through a peaceful process of dialogues rather than using brute state force against the party. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- MQM activist 'unveils' party's plans ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bureau Report ISLAMABAD, June 27: Hashimuz Zafar for whose release MQM had given a 48- hour ultimatum to the government at a press conference, held at the PID press centre on Tuesday, claimed that the MQM wanted to create a general desperation where the people of Karachi would be left with no other option but to support the demand of a separate province. "The present spate of terrorism will continue till March 1996 when the MQM has planned to put forth the demand of holding a referendum on the issue of a separate province," he alleges. "If the government does not accept the demand for a referendum, the MQM would raise the issue at the international level and project it as a denial of the right of self-determination for creating a parity- between Karachi and Kashmir," he said. Hashimuz Zafar in this regard referred to an open letter of Altaf Hussain of 1994 in which he had reportedly hinted that "agencies" wanted to create Sindhu Desh and greater Punjab and make Karachi a satellite state of a greater Punjab. Obviously such a situation would not be acceptable to the people of Karachi and they would prefer independence rather than becoming a satellite state of a greater Punjab, he said. Given the geographic importance of Karachi, Western and regional powers would willingly throw their weight behind the demand and force a solution of both the Kashmir and Karachi issues, he added. Zafar accused a former minister and brother of a serving general Chaudhry Nisar Ali, for leaking details of the army operation in Sindh to Altaf Hussain. He also alleged that leaders of the ANP in Karachi had been supplying arms to the MQM. He also named some PML MNAs from Karachi as the financiers of the MQM. Zafar seemed well prepared for the press conference. He had notes with him and in a very systematic way he not only gave details of his crimes but also briefed a hostile press about the MQM's operational mechanism, its alleged Indian connections, strategy and ultimate goals. He was very confident and conducted the press conference like a seasoned media manager. He also gave full details about eight terrorist groups and their area of operation at present active in Karachi. Hashimuz Zafar, 25, and resident of house No C-17 Sir Syed Town, North Karachi, said he had joined the All Pakistan Muhajir Students Organisation at the age of 17 when he was studying in Government College of Technology. He confessed to involvement in numerous crimes, including the murder of MQM Chairman Azim Ahmed Tariq. The organisational set-up of the MQM, which comprised units, sectors, zones and main centre at Nine-Zero, he said, was disbanded before the military operation. Now an underground information centre was maintaining a link with 22 different sectors. Some time Altaf Hussain, through Nadeem Nusrat, issues orders to the sectors-in-charge for carrying out different operations on mobile phones. Pagers were also being used to maintain a link and convey messages, he said. "The sector in charge of Landhi, Amir Siddique, and the sector in charge of Malir, Qamar Ghalib, are currently manning the information centre," he claimed. Giving details of various groups active at the sector level, he said the Khalid Taqi Butt group was active in the old city area, Liaquatabad, Lines Area, Society, Clifton, Defence and PIB Colony. The Farooq Dad group was operating in Pak Colony, Baldia Town, Nazimabad, and Gulbahar. The Faheem Commando group is active in Federal B. Area, North Karachi and Nazimabad. Tahir Rafi, Arif Qureshi, Khuram and 10 other boys were the members of the Mubeen Thunta group controlling the Malir and Model Town areas. Then there were other groups, like those headed by Javed Khan, Javed Michael, Asfar, Khaliq Anjum, Kamal Ansari alias Par, and Muhammad Shahid. The MQM, he said, was regularly maintaining a hit list which was update >from time to time. Names of the members of MQM Haqiqi political rivals, defectors and known police officers were on this list. Altaf Hussain, he said, personally checked this but list and gave approval. However, a source disclosed that the programme of press conferences would continue for quite some time as a number of MQM "activists" had been arrested in Islamabad during the last one month. One by one all of these would be presented before the press and electronic media. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950629 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Extradition of Altaf sought, says Babar ------------------------------------------------------------------- By A Correspondent KARACHI, June 28: The government formally confirmed here on Wednesday that it had issued "red warrant" through Interpol to seek arrest and return of Altaf Hussain to Pakistan from the United Kingdom for "involvement" in acts of terrorism in the city. Talking to newsman at the State Guest House, Federal Interior minister Naseerullah Babar told newsmen that the step had been taken in the light evidence and because Pakistan not have extradition treaty with the United Kingdom. "It is incumbent upon police forces of various countries who are members of Interpol to arrest him (Altaf) and return him to the place of crime," Babar said, adding that "the Foreign Office would take parallel measures with the British government in this regard." The decision to seek Interpol's assistance was taken late Tuesday at a time when Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto announced setting up of a committee for opening a dialogue with MQM leaders who were not involved in terrorism. The offer was rejected by the Rabita Committee of the MQM. Babar said the MQM leader, who went into self-exile just before the army operation in 1992, was a "proclaimed offender" and the government's decision to seek Interpol's assistance was a "normal process". He said Altaf Hussain's reported statement that he could go beyond the demand of a separate province for Mohajirs if the MQM demands were not met was an indication as to what he had up his sleeves. The government was interpreting the reported statement as an indication of separatist designs but the MQM supporters did not consider it to be against the integrity of Pakistan. The MQM founding leader is alleged to be involved in about 100 cases, including murders and inciting violence. He has already been sentenced to 27 years imprisonment in absentia in two cases of kidnapping and torture of an army official. Keeping the opinion of dialogue open, Babar said, "if Altaf Hussain strikes withdraws call for renounce violence, ask his activists to surrender arms and stop violence, then some one will be sent for talks with him!" He emphasised that Mr Hussain should return to Pakistan and face charges against him in the courts as was done by Mir Murtaza Bhutto the estranged brother of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He said the government would not withdraw cases registered against anyone and would take action against activists of Al-Zulfikar, MQM or Jeay Sindh movement, if they violated law and were found involved in criminal acts. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950624 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 24 shot dead in city as violence escalates ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ghulam Hasnain KARACHI, June 23: Twenty-four people were killed and several others wounded in targeted attacks, sniping and gunbattles between rangers, police and armed youths on Friday, raising the month's death toll to 204. Among the dead were a central leader of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, S. M. Tariq, who was gunned down near his Federal B. Area residence, and an unidentified woman. Ten people were killed in Korangi alone, where hundreds of rangers and police fought pitched battles with armed youths for several hours. But most of the dead were innocent people caught in the cross fire. Eleven people including an MQM leader, were killed in District Central! S. M. Tariq, 36, the party's former central finance secretary and brother of an ex-MNA, S.M. Aslam, was gunned down near his Federal B. Area house in the late afternoon. As soon as the MQM leader came out of his residence in a car, he was intercepted by armed men, riding a car, who sprayed him with bullets. He received over a dozen wounds and died instantly. Javed, a pedestrian, who was wounded in the attack, died in the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital a couple of hours later. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Violence claims 20 lives in city ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ghulam Hasnain KARACHI, June 24: Twenty people were killed and many others wounded as widespread violence paralysed the city on Saturday amid chaos and confusion in the ranks of police and rangers. Two policemen, two MQM workers, two truck drivers, a PPP activist, and a police informer were among those who fell victim to the shooting spree. The day-long violence, on the first day of the three-day mourning being observed by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement over the alleged gang rape of a college student, forced the cancellation of examinations, closure of shops, markets, business and commercial centres. The absence of public transport and shortage of staff hampered industrial activities reduced port operations and affected PIA's domestic flights. Unidentified men attacked a newspaper office with a rocket propelled grenade, set on fire a passenger train, ransacked and destroyed over a dozen public and private vehicles, set ablaze two bank branches, a Pakistan Telecommunication's customer service centre, a petrol pump, and some shops. Several parts of the city were under the control of armed youths as police and rangers were not deployed early in the morning. The newly-appointed chief of the city police, Dr Shoaib Suddle, was not available for comment on why effective security steps were not taken. A 20-year-old MQM activist was killed and another wounded in a shootout with police in Ferozabad. Police claimed that the victim was trying to set on fire a private car when he was challenged by the police. Another MQM worker was kidnapped and killed in Orangi Town. The MQM claimed that Mohammad Mateen, 28, a vegetable vendor, was allegedly kidnapped by PPP activists from his house and later his body, with bullet wounds and signs of torture, was thrown in a nearby area. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950626 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 32 killed as violence spreads in city ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ghulam Hasnain KARACHI, June 25: At least 32 people lost their lives and many others were wounded as the city witnessed one of the worst days of violence on Sunday, marked by several rocket and grenade attacks. A C-130 of Pakistan Air Force was sprayed with bullets while landing at the Shahra-e- Faisal base on Saturday. PAF officials detected at least seven bullet marks on the tail of the transport plane on Sunday. A PAF spokesman, talking to Dawn by telephone from Islamabad on Sunday, however said that the aircraft was not targeted but was hit by bullets owing to indiscriminate shooting in the area near the base. All the shops and markets, commercial and business centres remained closed on the second day of the three-day mourning being observed by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement over alleged gang-rape of a college student and assassination of the party's leader. Unidentified men carried out rocket attacks against police and rangers, fired rockets at police stations, engaged members of the law enforcement agencies in gunbattles in various parts of the city and destroyed public and private property. The two explosions, followed by heavy shooting, created a scare in the entire area and the neighbours claimed that the rocket explosion r at t led the windowpanes in the radius of one kilometre. A new dimension was added to the ongoing kidnapping and killings of political opponents when police found at least nine bullet-riddled bodies with hands and legs tied, on major city roads and in streets. Some of the residents of the areas where these bodies were found, accused police and rangers of dumping them there while officials said it was a result of infighting between the rival groups of Mohajir Qaumi Movement. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 23 shot dead in city violence ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ghulam Hasnain KARACHI, June 26: On Monday, the third and last day of mourning observed by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, 23 people were killed and many others wounded in the city which remained in the grip of armed youths. An unprecedented wave of fear swept the city following anonymous calls to offices, banks and other establishments, telling them to shot down all businesses by 4 pm on Monday. Long before the deadline, thousands of panicky employees, including those of multinationals, hurried back home. The uncertainty was over when the MQM announced an end to its mourning but decided that two days a week (Fridays and Saturdays) would be observed as protest days until the government accepted its six-point demand. Violence dealt a severe blow to industrial production, commercial and business activities and kept the Karachi Stock Exchange closed for the second consecutive day. The four days of continuous violence which claimed over 100 lives and huge losses to public and private property created acute shortages of edibles, consumer goods not only in localities where complete closure was observed but in other areas of the metropolis as well. Arsonists set on fire at least six houses owned by their rivals in Orangi, two KMC offices, a councillor's office, a bank branch, a utility store, and a showroom, and attacked the offices of Board of Secondary Education in Nazimabad and set ablaze five staff vehicles parked there. Rangers and police exchanged fire with the youths in parts of the city but were unable to maintain law and order there as the heavily armed youths kept them out of the troubled localities. The mysterious killing and kidnapping of Balochis and Sindhis and Pukhtoons in district West sparked off ethnic tension followed by heavy shooting. Police found the bodies of five young unidentified labourers, who were kidnapped, tortured and later their bodies were abandoned in Saeedabad. All the bodies were stuffed in sacks. Police said they seemed to be labourers. Their legs and hands were also tied. Till the filing of this report only three of them were identified as Asif, Aijaz and Haq Nawaz. Two of them were brothers. They were residents of Mansehra Colony of Saeedabad. Two Baloch youths were kidnapped in Orangi Town and their bodies were dumped in Orangi Extension. The incident sparked off ethnic violence in the area. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 14 killed in city violence ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June 27: Fourteen people were killed on Tuesday as the city tried to limp back to normality after three days of "mourning" observed by the MQM. Clashes during the last few days allegedly between the supporters of Mohajir Qaumi Movement and the People's Party took an ethnic turn in parts of the city due to the mysterious killings of members of Pakhtoon, Punjabi and Baloch communities. Rival ethnic groups drug trenches and in the heavy gunbattle took place two MQM workers were killed. The MQM claimed that two of its workers, Faqir Mohammad, 30, and Mohammad Tahir, 20, were gunned down by the ruling party activists. Violence erupted in Orangi Town in the morning when some People's Party activists of Baloch Goth forced some Urdu-speaking shopkeepers to pull down their shutters in protest against the kidnapping and killing of two Baloch youths-Nawab, 20, and Ghafoor, 25,-on Monday. Soon after, members of both the communities took positions atop the roofs of their houses and exchanged heavy gunfire. Baloch Goth residents claimed that the rangers, who came following their appeal for help, mysteriously left the area a few minutes later. "We contacted the government advisers. Nobody is coming to our rescue. They incited the Baloch youths against the Mohajirs but now, when our localities are being attacked, we are not being provided any help by the government," a resident said. The kidnapping and killing of five Pakhtoon and Hindko speaking youths in Saeedabad on Monday triggered ethnic tension there on Tuesday. According to police reports, the Mohajirs and Hindko-speaking people >from Hazara, exchanged fire. "The rangers have been rushed to contain the violence. But intermittent firing is still going on," said a police officer of the troubled area. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950629 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Violence in city claims 11 lives ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June 28: Eleven more people, including an eight-year-old girl and a woman, were killed in the city on Wednesday, raising the month's death toll to record 303. On account of ethnic tension in Orangi Town, Baloch families started leaving for safer places on Wednesday while various Baloch nationalist organization observed a one-day strike in the industrial town of Hub to protest against attacks on the members of Baloch community in Karachi. Baloch youths beat up Urdu speaking factory workers on the; main Hub River Road, pelted vehicles with stones, lit bon fires and turned back all the vehicles bringing workers from Karachi. The protesters also blocked the main Hub River Road and damaged several vehicles. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Mohal warns CM against joining hands with PML ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bureau Report LAHORE, June 24: Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker and PML(J) leader Manzoor Mohal warned on Saturday that in case Chief Minister Manzoor Wattoo tried to join hands with the PML(N) he with 16 PML(J) MPAs and some independents would revolt and start supporting the PPP. "We are opposed to the PML(N) They are a rival faction. We cannot tolerate PML(J) cooperating with them", he said at a news conference at the Punjab Assembly chambers. However, he did not say what would be his line of action in case the PPP dislodged Mr Wattoo with its own efforts. Chief Minister Wattoo was quoted as saying on Saturday that contacts between the PML(J) and the PML(N) would have a positive impact on national politics. Political circles here interpreted this as a distinct hint by the chief minister that a reunion of the two PML factions which had separated in April 1993 was a possibility. Mr Mohal, who is the MPA for Bahawalnagar, said he wanted to see the PDF work smoothly and complete its five-year term. He rejected as baseless the opposition's allegation that he was a political turncoat. He claimed that he had always stood by his principles. He admitted that he had joined the PPP and then left it, but clarified that he had not done this out of any consideration for material or any other gain. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Incitement to insurgency : Altaf issue may be taken up with UK: PM ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bureau Report ISLAMABAD, June 24: Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said on Saturday: "We will talk to the British government as to how Altaf Hussain is using their territory for inciting an armed insurgency in Karachi. "She was commenting on a reported interview-of the MQM leader with Voice of Germany. She told newsmen: "I have not seen any such interview but if these reports are true then we will talk to the British government". She immediately directed her Press assistant to get a transcript of that interview. However, Ms Bhutto said :" We will continue to seek a political solution to Karachi's problems but the Altaf group will have to lay down arms first, surrender all proclaimed offenders and condemn terrorism. "MQM must realise that they could not get their demands fulfilled through bloodshed", she added. She condemned the murder of S.M. Tariq. "He was a brave so of Karachi who renounced fascism and refused to go along with Altaf Hussain," she said. Ms Bhutto linked the gang- rape of Farzana Feroze to the factional fighting between the Altaf group and the Haqiqi group. The government, she added, had already ordered a judicial inquiry to bring facts before the nation. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950626 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Maulana Tariq surrenders ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From A Correspondent PESHAWAR, June 25: Maulana Azam Tariq, central leader of Sipah-i-Sihaba Pakistan (SSP) and leader of the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz's parliamentary party in the National Assembly, surrendered to the NWFP authorities here on Sunday. Earlier, addressing a Press conference at the Peshawar Press Club Maulana Tariq gave his reasons for going into hiding for the last few months. The MNA from Jhang revealed that he had gone underground on February 22 before police raided his residence in the wake of the government's action against religious educational institutions. He said that he had avoided arrest because it might have aggravated the law and order in the country and hurt the religious sentiments of the people. Rejecting the allegation of SSP's involvement in terrorist activities, the Maulana said his opponents had launched a smear campaign against him and his party to hinder their just struggle to protect Islam. He claimed that his party did not believe in armed struggle and it preferred to settle issues through dialogue. Maulana Tariq expressed full confidence in the judiciary and said he was ready to face all cases registered against him. However, he termed the cases baseless and mala fide, adding that, in a couple of cases, even the main accused had been released after undergoing six months imprisonment but he was still wanted by police, although his name had been mentioned in the FIRs as a coaccused. Replying to a question, he expressed ignorance about the number of cases registered against him. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Experts being invited to help fight terrorism ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bureau Report ISLAMABAD, June 26: Experts on urban terrorism from France and Turkey are being in which by the government to combat MQM insurgency in Karachi, Interior Minister Gen.(Retd) Naseerullah Babar told National Assembly on Monday. Babar who was replying to questions on the Karachi situation said that Turkey had vast experience in fighting urban terrorism and therefore the government has decided to acquire experts from there. The interior minister in his answer conceded that the situation in Karachi was very serious but denied that the government was going to call out army. "We have no intentions to call out army", he said while adding that it was the objective of "our" enemies to bog down Pakistan Army in Karachi. They want to divert Pakistan Army from their prime task of defending the geographical frontiers of the country, he said. Babar while opposing the idea of sending troops in Karachi said that even the army had not achieved very tangible results in controlling the situation during the two and half years long operation. He blamed the opposition for encouraging Altaf Hussain and his terrorism. He said the opposition's plan to convene an All Parties Conference on Karachi issue was giving moral support to Altaf Hussain. He called upon the opposition to condemn violence and terrorism and completely isolate Altaf Hussain. Regarding the alleged gang-rape of Farzana Feroze he said, it was a base less and concocted case. He said the main objective of the whole case was to malign and defame the government. He called upon the members to do some soul-searching and realise whether a 68 year old man could resort to such kind of action. He also disagreed with the idea that more forces should be deployed or curfew should be imposed in the city for curbing the surging wave of terrorism. He pointed out that the total strength of Karachi police was only 20,000 which he said was inadequate to control the situation. He said the PPP when came into power in 1988 had increased the strength of Karachi Police from l2,000 to 20,000. The situation in Karachi, he added was a cause of concern. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Govt changes media managers ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Nasir Malick ISLAMABAD, June 26: In a major reshuffle of the information ministry, the government brought back some of the media managers who had successfully run the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif government's information policy, an official source told Dawn. Controversial information secretary, Hussain Haqqani, had been replaced by Haji Muhammad Akram, the architect of Mr Sharif's media campaign, and he was expected to take charge in the next few days, the source said. Mr Haqqani had been made the chairman of House Building Finance Corporation. The managing director of Pakistan Television Corporation, Farhad Zaidi, has also been removed and his predecessor, Shahid Rafi, has been brought back. Mr Rafi had earned fame for launching and successfully running Mr Sharif's image-building flood and rape victim campaigns. (In a later development Rana Shaikh wife of the Foreign Secretary Najmuddin Shaikh was nominated instead of Shahid Rafi.) Ishfaq Gondal, the Principal information secretary (PIO), who was considered to be close with Mr Haqqani, has also been removed and replaced by Anwar Mahmood who was holding the same post during the Sharif government. The portfolio of handling the internal publicity has been given to Ismail Patel, the former Press assistant to ex-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who was presently working as secretary of Environment Protection Council held by Asif Ali Zardari. A PPP official, when contacted by Dawn to seek his comments on the sudden changes in the ministry, said the Prime Minister was not happy with her media team which, he added, had failed to deliver the goods. He said it was for this reason that the government had recently asked a newly formed advertising agency to work for its image building. "The information secretary had become too big for his boots," he added. A week earlier, the government had replaced the managing director of state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) by bringing Azhar Sohail in place of Aslam Sheikh. "The new team is experienced and we hope that things will improve." DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 German engineers kidnapped ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Ahmad Hassan PESHAWAR, June 27: Three German engineers, kidnapped by unknown gunmen late on Monday evening, have been taken to a remote tribal area most probably Orakzai or Khyber Agency. The German nationals, it may be mentioned, were kidnapped in their own vehicle while they were returning >from their work site at a WAPDA grid station on the outskirts of Peshawar. Acting Inspector General of Police Sikandar Mohamandzai told newsmen on Tuesday that the police had found some clue to the kidnappers and recovered the vehicle on borders of Khyber and Orakzai agencies. But, he added, the identity of the kidnappers could not be disclosed at the stage. The IGP said Inayatullah, the driver of the vehicle in which the Germans had been kidnapped, was one of the culprits. The IGP was of the view that the cause of the kidnapping could not be established for the time being. Some disgruntled workers at the grid station might have been involved in the incident, he said. But, he added, no ransom had so far been demanded by the kidnappers. However, he was confident that the Germans would be recovered soon. The Germans, Gunder Mayor, Kohler and Amon Horst, were working at the grid station extension project at a village, Sheikh Mohammadi, along with other foreign engineers and experts. Peshawar police have sought the help of political administration of Khyber and Orakzai agencies for the recovery of the Germans. LATEST POSITION: Latest reports say that the kidnappers, including the driver, belong to the gang which was involved in a fierce shootout with police in Badaber on March 20 last in which four of their men had been killed. The Germans, the reports say, have been taken to a remote village Hasankhel in the Khyber Agency with the authorities have located but are tight-lipped about it. NWFP Chief Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao who is concerned over the incident, which can jeopardise foreign investment, has held discussions with the DIG, headquarters, Sikandar Mohmandzai, and the DIG, Range, Fayyaz Khan. Another report, which could not be confirmed, said that the kidnappers had demanded Rs 100 million for the release of the Germans. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Extortion rampant, HRCP told ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bureau Report LAHORE, June 27: Extortion of money by politically sponsored armed youth in collusion with police and other law enforcement agencies was an allegation levelled by almost all those the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) interviewed for a report on the causes of the current situation in Karachi. The report, released to the Press here on Monday (and covered in yesterday's issue), is based on a study by a five-member fact-finding mission of the HRCP whose members interviewed a cross section of the people. The HRCP was told that Karachi was a hostage mainly to the two MQM factions. The MQM (Altaf) held large parts of the city in its control while the MQM (Haqiqi) dominated Korangi and the adjoining areas. They were not only fighting for domination but also came into conflict over extortion of money. A group of industrialists and businessmen claimed that about Rs8 million was being collected by extortionists every day. Half of the money was going to one political faction and the rest was being shared by other political groups and the police. "Bhatta" was also being extracted from labourers, as claimed by a group of trade union leaders. They said marriage ceremonies were being "taxed" by militants. In one area of Karachi, the "tax" was Rs 10,000 for a boy's wedding and Rs 5,000 for a girl's marriage. Doctors told the HRCP mission that in-door clinics were forced to pay "protection money" in some parts of the city. They conceded that hospitals were under instructions of the Sindh home department not to admit a sick or injured detainee without permission. Similarly, issuance of false medical reports on sick detainees was admitted. "We are violating the UN Declaration on the Duties of Physicians to Persons in Detention by yielding to the government instructions", the doctors said. An office-bearer of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association alleged that an ethnic group had raised an armed militia of young people who were given a monthly salary of about Rs6,000 with a motorcycle and a kalashnikov. Members of this force were largely responsible for collection of "bhatta" which was not only going to the organisation but also being shared with police. Another matter raised pertained to local elections on which opinion was divided. Some supported immediate local elections to take care of the deteriorating civic conditions in Karachi. But another opinion was that local elections should be held after a census in the city. But both sections of opinion feared that the existing conditions were not conducive to an electoral exercise. Similarly, they feared, the MQM (A) might not behave differently from what it did when it was in control of the main city institutions like the KMC, KDA, KESC and the Steel Mills during the tenure of the late Jam Sadiq Ali as chief minister. "Karachi does not deserve a repetition of what the MQM has done in the past", a former president of the Karachi High Court Bar Association said. Sindh Minister for Planning Nisar Khuhro said factional fighting was taking a heavy toll. The factions were also extorting money and some were issuing receipts for "donations". He said Karachi needed a negotiated settlement, but expressed his opinion that the MQM was not trustworthy as it had changed its negotiating team every time talks seemed to be making some progress. Prof Ghafoor Ahmad of the Jamaat-i-Islami alleged that all kinds of crime like drug trafficking, gun-running, gambling and prostitution were on the increase and the government was fully aware of the elements behind the criminal acts. He said people were being harassed and detainees set at liberty after paying bribes to police and the rangers. PPP (SB) chairman Mir Murtaza Bhutto told the HRCP mission that the law enforcement agencies were patronising gunrunners and drug barons. He denied involvement of Al-Zulfiqar in the violence in Karachi. He supported talks between the government and political groups, but said he was opposed to the MQM demand of a separate province. MQM (A) leader MPA Shoaib Bokhari and advocate Khalid Qazi said the government's victimisation of people for not voting for the PPP in the 1993 elections and oppression by the administration and law enforcement agencies were the reasons mainly responsible for the violence in Karachi. "People have been driven to take up arms against these excesses" Shoaib Bokhrai said. He said the police were picking up relatives of "wanted" people and were taking them to places other than police stations where they were tortured. Such cases ran into their hundreds, he alleged. The MQM representatives denied the charges of raising an armed militia and paying its members salaries. They also denied that the MQM wanted Karachi to be a separate province (Mr Altaf Husain on Monday said this was what the Mohajirs of Karachi wished). MQM (H) leader Afaq Ahmad charged the MQM (A) with acquiring, "with foreign help," strength to paralyse the city. He also alleged that the MQM (A) had raised an armed militia comprising youth trained in the use of arms. IGP Afzal Shigri admitted that violators of law were paying protection money to "patharidars" who in most cases were in league with policemen. He said Karachi was facing a situation of mini insurgency where a weak police force of 27,000 was working against heavy odds. In his view a strength of 70,000 was required to combat violence in Karachi. The IG gave figures of people killed or injured during the period when the army was operating in Sindh (Oct 1993 to Nov 1994) and after it was widbdrawn. According to the data, 353 people were killed, including 103 of MQM (A) and 74 of MQM (H), during the army operation. Ten policemen were also killed during the period. The number of those injured during the period was 649. After withdrawal of the army, according to the data, the number of those killed rose to 781 and those injured to 1,056. Of them 73 belonged to the MQM (A) and 78 to the MQM (H). The number of policemen killed during the period was 82 and the number of dead among the rangers and the payment was 18. The number of injured policemen was 112, the IG said. ===================================================================


=================================================================== 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Budget targets termed over-optimistic ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Staff Reporter KARACHI, June 24: Former minister in the caretaker government of Moin Qureshi and Director of Institute of Business Administration, Dr Hafiz Pasha on Friday termed the budgetary projections of 1995-96 as over- optimistic and felt that the credibility of government budgeting was very low. Speaking at a seminar titled 'Effects of the Federal Budget on National Economy' he said: "The budget starts with a wrong benchmark" adding that the revenue estimate was on a very high side and "there was an over- optimistic projection." The seminar was held under the auspices of Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences. "We start with a handicap of Rs 16 billion and the salaries hike recently announced by the government will add another Rs 5 billion to it," he observed. He expressed apprehension that the high rate of taxation would divert investment from tariff to non-tariff areas thus bringing about distortions in the economy hurting indigenous industry in the process. Dr Shahida Wizarat of the Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC) of the Karachi University, on the other hand, put forth a very positive view of the budget saying that the happiest portent of it all was the regaining of lost sovereignty-to some extent-in that many of the conditionalities laid down by the Bretton Woods Institutions had not been adhered to purely in the national interest. It may be recalled here that the IMF had called for cutting the budget deficit to 4 percent of the GDP and bringing the maximum tariff rate to 45 percent, but the budget proposed cutting down the deficit to 5 percent and trimming tariffs to only 65 percent. She said, the IMF had to be convinced that deviating from targets did not imply abandoning objectives. Sajjad Akhtar, also from the AERC, was of the view that the Withholding Tax on bearer certificates proposed in the budget would discourage savings and divert them from productive channels. Economic columnist Mr Sultan Ahmed, was of the opinion that it was a "note printing budget" which would inevitably lead to inflation. He apprehended that the figure of note printing could touch Rs 30 billion. He felt this was inevitable as the government had to spend 60 percent of its tax revenues on debt servicing alone. Dr Mehnaz Fatima of the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi University, stressed the need for enhancing the spending on education and social welfare, which, she said, were the chief barometers of economic development. She was of the opinion that the present allocation of 2.8 percent of the GDP was insignificant given the needs of the country. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950626 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Low cotton stocks hit textile industry ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana KARACHI, June 25: With cotton stocks in the country near depletion, on an average, two textile spinning mills are being closed down in a week due to want of raw material. According to textile industry sources, presently the country is carrying total raw cotton stocks of around 0.9 million bales. These stocks include 0.7 million bales held by the textile spinning industry, and about 0.2 million bales held by ginners and Cotton Export Corporation (CEC). Against these stocks, the industry sources asserted that on an average the monthly consumption of the installed and working capacity of the spinning mills is above 0.7 million bales of raw cotton. "If no immediate and corrective measures are taken to replenish the cotton stocks available to the country's largest industrial sector, about 40 to 60 percent of the industry would collapse by end August for want of raw material," exhorted a leading textile spinner. The Cotton Export Corporation is holding around 0.1 million bales out of the imported raw cotton from Central Asian States (CAS) and is awaiting the distribution policy expected to be announced by the government in the near future. The CEC had contracted 31,000 tonnes (0.175m bales) of raw cotton from Central Asian States late last year, and after receiving around 0.1 million bales the fate of the balance, which comes to around 75,000 bales, could not be known. Similarly, the private sector that had also entered into purchase contracts for about 50,000 bales at the official level with these states and for around 0.1 million bales at private level, but they did not receive any quantity due to redtapism in these states, the textile industry sources lamented. Out of the total of 0.4 million bales purchased from United States, so far around 0.2 million bales have reached Pakistan, while around 0.1 million bales are in the pipeline. "It is true that about 0.1 million bales purchased by Pakistani spinners from the US, at a very lucrative price ranging between 70 to 90 cents per lb, were sold back by them in the intentional market when the raw cotton prices rose above 100 cents in the New York market," confessed Anwar Ahmed Tata Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA). With no hopes of arrival of raw cotton from abroad, the spinners now feel that the next 3 months would be most crucial for the industry which may starve for want of raw cotton. Mr Tata said that out of 450 textile units installed in the country, about 300 spinning units are presently working but if raw cotton is not made available, he apprehended that about 40 percent of them would also cease production by August this year. He said that due to the high rate of closures in the textile industry, banks' outstanding dues have already shot up from Rs 80 billion to Rs 90 billion in 1994-95 and in case no corrective measures are taken, the bank defaults would rise to Rs 100 billion by next year. The APTMA chairman claimed that an average spinning unit having 15,000 spindles is presently suffering a daily loss of around Rs 0.3 million per day. He said that yarn prices are persistently falling in the domestic as well as international markets but the spinning industry at large continues to bear the high cost of production which is the highest in the region. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950626 ------------------------------------------------------------------- NBP to float Modaraba : 6 modarbas allowed to diversify ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Mohiuddin Aazim KARACHI, June 25: The government-run National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has received the clearance of the Religious Board to float a modaraba while six existing modarabas have been allowed to diversify themselves into the multipurpose modarabas. Sources close to the Board told Dawn from Islamabad on Sunday that the stage is set for the launching of First National Bank Modaraba with a paid-up capital of Rs 500 million adding that the sponsors were busy seeking an authorisation certificate from Registrar of Modarabas for the said purpose. The Board gives its clearance after ensuring that the businesses which the proposed modaraba intends to undertake are covered under Islamic laws while the Registrar issues an authorisation certificate after submission of a final prospectus by the modaraba. Sources said the sponsors of the First NBP Modaraba were expected to submit their final prospectus within a few weeks and get the approval of the Registrar to float the modaraba. They said the proposed Modarba be would be multipurpose in its nature and carry out such businesses as finance and leverage finance, equity market operations, project financing, venture capital and leverage leasing, besides dealing in Islamic finance instruments like musharaka and morabaha etc. Presently 52 out of total 68 registered modarabas are operational and First NBP Modaraba would increase the list to 53. The proposed modaraba would be the third one launched by a government-run bank. Allied Bank Ltd and Habib Bank Ltd are already in the business. Sources close to Religious Board said the Board had approved conversion of six specific-purpose modarabas into multi-purpose modarabas. The list includes (i) First Ibrahim Modaraba (ii) First Al-Noor Modaraba (iii) First Dadabhoy Modaraba (iv) Guardian Leasing Modaraba (v) First Sitara Modaraba and (vi.) Unity Modaraba. Specific modarabas are the modarabas authorised to undertake only one kind of business while multi-purpose modarabas can involve themselves in a variety of businesses. Sources said the above-listed modarabas were expected to submit their amended prospectus to the Registrar of Modarabas and get his formal approval before announcing their conversion from specific purpose modarabas into multi- purpose modarabas. Sources said with the conversion of the above-mentioned modarabas would trim the list of the specific modarabas from seven to only one. The lone specific-purpose modaraba is Equity International Modaraba which operates in the area of venture capital. The modaraba is jointly sponsored by BRR Group and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Recently the Religious Board approved the pattern of Income Notes Certificate-a debt instrument to be used by the IFC for financing Pakistani modarabas on profit and loss sharing basis instead of fixed interest. The move would help the liquidity-starved modaraba sector to benefit *from the IFC to the tune of $100 million to $150 million. Besides about a dozen modarabas have already been allowed to raise funds *from the public through Certificates of Musharaka also an Islamic debt instrument designed on the basis of profit and loss sharing instead of fixed interest which Islam prohibits. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Govt to hold talks with IMF on adjustments ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From M. Ziauddin ISLAMABAD, June 26: The government will have a detailed discussion with the IMF in the near future on the adjustments made in the ongoing programme of the Fund to accommodate the economic and political objectives of next year's budget, the prime minister's special assistant told Dawn here on Monday. He said, due to some critical economic and political developments taking place since the prime minister's visit to the USA when a number of proposals were discussed with the IMF regarding the third year of the programme and a tentative understanding reached in April 1995,"certain adjustments in the programme were made by the government and these adjustments will be the focus of government's discussions with the Fund in the near future." According to Mr Khan, a programme of economic reforms and adjustments was not a one-time affair. "It is a continuous process spread over several years which is periodically reviewed and updated as experience is gained during the implementation." He said the government was committed to pursuing the programme, "not because of any external influence, but because we feel that it is the only way to revive the sagging economy and bring about discipline in the country's economic management." DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950629 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Index falls further as stocks maintain bearish outlook ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Our Commerce Reporter KARACHI, June 28: Stocks maintained a bearish outlook on Thursday as leading investors were not inclined to take new positions apparently awaiting a breather in the City violence. Trading volume was, however, extremely low, reflecting the absence of leading sellers and it could well prove a good omen for the general health of an uncertain stock trading. Instances of strong speculative buying were, however, not lacking as a section of investors moved from the high risk areas to the relatively safer-havens in a bid to avert any undue losses. Floor brokers said, as there is no indications of an improvement in the City law and order situation in the near future, dealers and investors are moving cautiously and are not inclined to tread on risky path. "The presence of strong institutional support though on selected countries is chief reason behind the current calm market stance," they added. Analysts said, the market might have collapsed in similar conditions as the prevailing one. Being essentially sensitive to negative external news it always emits distress signals. But it went to the credit of financial support, though on selected counters, which did not allow the total bear-run, they added. However, there appeared to be no possibility of an immediate turnaround as much will depend on the City situation and when sanity returns to stem the polarisation. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- +++The Business & Financial Week ------------------------------------------------------------------- +++THE Pakistan Banking Council has recommended to the Ministry of Finance to allow out-of court settlement in decreed cases adjudged against sick units. +++PAKISTAN'S federal budget 1995-96 is not in line with the accord reached earlier with the IMF, an IMF official said recently. +++THE 1995-96 federal budget has proposed a reduction in the duty-free allowance of incoming passengers to accord protection to the domestic electronics and electrical appliances industries. +++WAPDA has met 7661 MW consumers' power demand without resorting to load shedding by June 10, according to WAPDA officials. +++AN amount of Rs 14.39 billion has been earmarked for the Sindh Annual Development Programme for 1995-96. +++THE Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation will be receiving foreign loans totalling around Rs. 1277.949 million as non-plan resources for the execution of programmes aimed at further updating the latest technology for the benefit of its customers. +++THE Export Processing Zones Authority is to launch feasibility studies for setting up EPZs at Lahore and Peshawar at a cost of around Rs 400 million each. +++The Allied Bank Ltd, is planning to launch its own insurance and leasing companies shortly. +++PUNJAB Senior Minister Makhdoom Altaf Ahmad, justifying the levy of new taxes to the tune of Rs 700 million, has said that the provincial government, according to the NFC Award, was bound to levy an additional eight per cent taxes every year. +++Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Anwer Saifullah Khan inaugurated a Liquefied Petroleum Gas bottling plant as the Dhodak oil fields at cost of Rs 35 million recently. +++THE International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICETU) is likely to ask the European Union to terminate preferential trade benefits to Pakistan because of alleged widespread use of forced labour and child labour. +++TWO major motorbike manufacturers have sizeable orders from Iran, Bangladesh, and some African and Latin American countries. +++THE World Bank foresees private sector investment in Pakistan at $4.9 billion a year, over the next two years of which, imported machinery/equipment would comprise $3 billion. ------------------------------------------------------------------- SUBSCRIBE TO HERALD TODAY ! ------------------------------------------------------------------- Every month the Herald captures the issues, the pace and the action, shaping events across Pakistan's lively, fast-moving current affairs spectrum. Subscribe to Herald and get the whole story. Annual Subscription Rates : Latin America & Caribbean US$ 93 Rs. 2,700 North America & Australasia US$ 93 Rs. 2,700 Africa, East Asia Europe & UK US$ 63 Rs. 1,824 Middle East, Indian Sub-Continent & CAS US$ 63 Rs. 1,824 Please send the following information : Payments (payable to Herald) can be by crossed cheque (for Pakistani Rupees), or by demand draft drawn on a bank in New York, NY (for US Dollars). Name, Postal Address, Telephone, Fax, e-mail address, old subscription number (where applicable). Send payments and subscriber information to : G.M Circulation, The Herald P.O.Box 3740, Karachi, Pakistan We also accept payments through American Express Visa or Master. Allow 45 days for first issue. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS ===================================================================


=================================================================== 950623 ------------------------------------------------------------------- The general's generals ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ardeshir Cowasjee GENERAL Khalid Mahmud Arif has written well. His book (third impression being printed, fourth planned) is informative. For his opening chapter he has borrowed a title from that master of English prose, Winston Spencer Churchill, without giving credit where credit is due. Volume 1 of WSC's monumental work, The Second World War, was entitled 'The Gathering Storm', the title General Arif chose for his first chapter. With Arif's Working with Zia, it is hard to determine a moral. To be able to do so, we will have to wait for him to publish his second volume in which he should reveal, for the benefit of history and for the people of his country, all that he knows and which he has accepted his share of the blame and has not disassociated himself from the doings of the man with whom he worked so closely for ten long years. Zia got to be the Chief of Army Staff through the old art of sycophancy, practised successfully through the ages by so many men intent on getting to so many high places. He bowed and scraped and ingratiated himself, and it worked. According to General Faiz Ali Chishti, in his hook, Betrayals of another Kind, Zia "had to be the best sycophant to win over Mr Bhutto". Chishti relates the method of sycophancy adopted by Zia in 1975, when he was Corps Commander in Multan, in order firstly to get close to the PPP leaders of the area and then to the Great Leader, ZAB himself. He made frequent visits to the houses of Sahibzada Faruq, Hamid Raza Gilani, Sadiq Hussain Qureshi and others who were high in the party hierarchy. "He literally used to beg for invitations", Chishti recounts. Whilst in Multan, Zia apparently wrote a letter to General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, then our ambassador in Washington, asking him to help install ZAB as Colonel in-Chief of the Armoured Corps. It was unheard of for a politician to be granted such an honour. But this disgraceful anomaly was finally achieved through the good offices of the then COAS, General Tikka Khan, a solid PPP supporter. One story has it that Zia had a special uniform laid out for ZAB for wearing at his investiture, but at the last minute ZAB got cold feet and decided not to change out of his civvies. When the time came, in 1975, for ZAB to replace Tikka who was due to retire in March 1976, the Lieutenant-Generals in order of seniority were, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Akbar Khan, Aftab Ahmed Khan, Azamat Baksh Awan, Agha Ali Ibrahim Akram, Malik Abdul Majeed, Ghulam Jilani Khan, and Muhammad Ziaul-Haq. Arif tells how the sycophants once more came into play. ZAB having already made up his mind that Zia was his man, discussed the appointment of the new COAS with such underlings as Akram Shaikh (Director, Intelligence Bureau), Said Ahmed Khan (his Chief Security Officer), Masood Mahmood, (Director of the gestapolike FSF), Lt General Ghulam Jilani Khan (DG, ISI), Brigadier Muzaffar Khan Malik (of the National Security Council), Major General Imtiaz (his Military Secretary), Maulana Kausar Niazi, and the smooth sycophant, "the Bhutto Boy" of the Intelligence Bureau, Lt Colonel Mukhtar Ahmed who had been specially inducted to keep a watch on the army. We can be sure that not one of these smart intelligence chiefs dared voice one word against ZAB's proposed appointment. Yesmen to the last, they must have praised him for his wise and brilliant choice. So much for our so-called intelligence agencies who continue to spend enormous amounts of the people's money without any accountability at all. According to General Arif, not one of the superseded generals opposed the appointment to ZAB's face, though God knows what their inner thoughts were. The general, in his book, betrays no signs of sycophancy, so let us give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that Zia chose well when he appointed him his COS, to cover his rear. Zia perhaps followed General George Smith Patton's maxim that a loyal officer is preferred to a brilliant one. It cannot be denied that Arif remained loyal to his chief, and remains so to this day. Working With Zia naturally covers the break-up of the country, and tells us how Pakistan was broken in folly. Arif tells us what many of us know, that the principal architect of 'East Pakistan Amputated' (as he heads the relevant chapter) was ZAB, who deceived the incompetent President, General Yahya Khan bringing down both him and the country. Yahya, says Arif, was "a shrewd and intelligent person. He possessed a discerning mind which quickly grasped the essentials of martial law, worked hard and took timely decisions which met with public approval. Thereafter he became over-confident and complacent. He started relying heavily on the coloured advice of a handful of advisers who put a ring of isolation around him... As the pressure of work increased so did his urge for hard drinks". Arif recounts how towards the end of his rule, the Rangila Raja, drank excessively and indulged in activities unworthy of his high office... Yahya enjoyed ephemeral pleasures". After the dismemberment of the country the Hamoodur Rahman Commission was appointed to inquire into its circumstances. ZAB apparently destroyed all copies of the HRC report except one which he kept carefully under lock and key in his Secretariat. Following his arrest, when his documents were collected, one volume of the sole existing copy of the Report was found to be missing. ZAB's house was searched, and the volume was found hidden in a wall safe. The HRC, for reasons we all more or less know, has never been made public. Arif, who as virtual chief of the army at the time, must be very familiar with the contents of the Report and could well have confirmed to us just why it was and still is thought to be not fit for the eyes of the country's citizens. He could also have revealed exactly what was in the volume so carefully hidden by ZAB. After the passage of more than 20 years, surely we can now be told. They know all about it over the border. Scouring through the Indian Press, >from time to time we come upon references to and quotes from the mysterious Hamoodur Rahman Report. Back to the present, and we leave Arif and his book for another day. it is time once again for the selection of a COAS to succeed General Waheed who retires this coming January. In the most august and honourable National Assembly on June 18, Chaudhry Nisar, of military background and connections, observed that "the army is never loyal to a particular government. If you think you can do anything by bringing in a general of your own choice after Waheed, you are mistaken. If you bother to find out what is being said and discussed in army quarters, messes and on the parade grounds, you will know the truth". Come what may, following the thinking of her father, Benazir will disregard merit. She will seek out a subservient man, who will please her with his consummate sycophancy, and do her bidding. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- A volatile week ------------------------------------------------------------------- STOCKS turned in a volatile performance during the preceding week as investors were not inclined to take new positions and played on both sides of the fence owing mainly to city violence. After an early steep rise, what the dealers called, post-budget reaction to some of the positive fiscal incentives to the corporate sector in the new federal budget, the market fell later. However, as there were not many sustaining factors, investors took profits at the early inflated level, pushing the market into the downward territory. The Karachi Stock Exchange index of share prices, which at one stage, appeared to have consolidated itself well above the psychological level of 1,600 points, was finally quoted at 1,611.26 as against last week's 1,590,27, reflecting the weakness of the base shares. The market capitalisation which had risen to Rs.319-billion after having fallen from the peak of Rs. 442 billion last week owing to pre-budget strong speculative buying fell to Rs.314 billion. The stocks remained hostage to the city killings as attempted rallies on selected counters failed to generate sympathetic buying on other sectors. Investors were worried over the increasing incidents of violence and stayed away. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Karachi events confuse visiting Senators ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's surprise offensive against Altaf Hussain's MQM, which has now been officially declared as a terrorist organisation, has landed five "poor" senators from Pakistan into an unwanted soup- their Kashmir junket has turned into a Karachi nightmare. The five Pakistani senators, carefully selected to represent the four provinces and Karachi, now in Washington to lobby for the Kashmir cause, are the most distressed lot in town because events in Karachi have overtaken their Kashmir agenda and everyone they meet is interested only in finding out what is happening to Pakistan's commercial capital. Led by former law minister Iqbal Haider, the Senators were hardly aware that in their first two days in Washington, they would have to answer all the questions about Karachi's worsening situation and hardly any on Kashmir. The rest of their official engagements are going to be different in no way. The Senators, including Hamid Raza Gilani, Masood Kausar, Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch and Hussain Shah Rashdi, are not the only ones who are facing this cross examination. After headlines screamed in Washington media about the killings in Karachi, everyone connected to the sub-continent is asked the same question and no one, including the Senators, has any answer. The Senators were grilled for almost four hours by Pakistan community intellectuals on Sunday morning and later for another two hours by Pakistani newsmen at Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi's residence. They were confused, mostly eventhey unable to speak out their mind lest Benazir Bhutto may get annoyed and at times appeared disgusted with their leadership. The one question which none of them could answer was: "Why has Benazir Bhutto decided to launch an offensive against the Mohajirs in a manner that would leave them with no option but to think about separation from Pakistan ?" This question seemed to be crudely phrased but in the background of what has happened in Pakistan in the last few days, it was the sharpest media trick to get to the bottom of the situation. These recent developments included the federal government's case on MQM, submitted to the Supreme Court. After reading that version, it is hard to believe that the government could ever again have political negotiations with the MQM. MQM has been officially labelled as terrorists, foreign agents, separatists, saboteurs, anti-state and what not. And that is the position of the federation of Pakistan. The prime minister has come out in even stronger words against Altaf Hussain and his band. "Altaf Group" is now the official name for terrorists. And these strong words are being used when police and the para- military forces are totally paralysed and over-powered in Karachi. Violence has escalated to the level that rockets are now the norm, rather than exception and roads are ruled by gangs. Business and even stock exchange had to close down. With administration in a state of total breakdown the army seemed to be watching the situation from the sidelines after having burnt its fingers in Karachi for almost 30 months. They are, in a way, enjoying to see the politicians stew in their own juices. In such a situation, why has Benazir Bhutto taken the offensive and what are her means to deliver on the strong words she is using so often, the visiting Senators were repeatedly asked. They were clueless. At the Ambassador's dinner for the Senators and a few Pakistani newsmen, the Senators were asked by me to give a "one liner" reply to the question of what would happen to Karachi. Their response was interesting: Iqbal Haider: Karachi would return to normal after the present phase and terrorists would be eliminated. (He had much more to say off the record). Rashdi: There would be a civil war and whoever wins would rule Karachi. Masood Kausar: We (people of NWFP) are confused and don't know what is happening. Dr Hayee Baloch: I hope things would improve but I don't know. Hamid Raza Gilani: It is a larger conspiracy and things have gone out of the hands of Altaf Hussain as well. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Nation's Khalid Hasan, APP's Afzal Khan, columnist Dr Manzur Ejaz and Dr Hassan Shahzeb, a Pakistani doctor who presented a solution to the Karachi problem at a George Washington University Forum earlier in the week, looked at the senators, in awe and almost stupefied. Dr Hassan's solution included 10-points, starting from division of Karachi into 10 units, holding of local bodies polls under army supervision after judicial scrutiny of candidates to eliminate persons with criminal record, disbanding the present police force and forming municipal police under elected representatives, designation of MNAs from Karachi to make room for genuine representatives, Islamabad should prepare to live with lesser revenues from Karachi, a rapprochement with India should be attempted and Establishment should stop patronising the militant clergy. No one discussed these solutions in detail but everyone was feeling the urgency for a solution to the Karachi issue lest things get out of hands of the politicians. In undertones there was the fear that Benazir Bhutto was being led up the war path by some misguided individuals in her Administration. Knowing Benazir Bhutto's style of government when, at times, she accedes to even the wildest of ideas if they are coming from someone she thinks is a welwisher, she could well have been misinformed. But what almost everyone was unable to comprehend was why Benazir was acting as an authoritarian military ruler, when her forte should have been political dialogue and consensus on such tricky and sensitive issues as the peace of Karachi, the lifeline of the country's economy. Dr Hassan has also noted the same in his paper to the George Washington University: "They (Benazir & Co) are forgetting the basic lessons of history. They are relying too much on their new found love with the Establishment. They should remember that Nawaz Sharif was once a blue- eyed boy of the same Establishment. In a nutshell they have failed to govern in a mature way. Some utterances on the part of the Prime Minister are simply irresponsible and even juvenile." No body said it but it could be felt that everybody was now looking upto President Farooq Leghari as the only ray of hope for any political solution to this murky situation. Leghari's views have been much more moderate and sensible and there have also been mutterings of differences between Benazir Bhutto and the President. What would happen if the President and the Prime Minister were to develop real differences on the issue is a million dollar question. But the saying "history repeats itself", was meant for all ages and times. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Of Mice and Men : Seeking forgiveness ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Hafiz-Ur-Rehman IF I had anything to do with the destiny of this country I would spend a lot of my time, energy and persuasive powers in trying to convince my people that we owe a national apology to the people of Bangladesh. After I have brought them round to my way of thinking, I would take a large representative delegation (including top brass from the defence services) to Dhaka, and there, in an address at Paltan Maidan, formally and in a spirit of genuine contrition, seek the Bengalis' pardon for thrusting our imperialism on them which led to their breaking away from us in 1971. If Japan can do this and seek the forgiveness of the Chinese, an alien people, for the barbarities and inhuman treatment they infected on them in the Sino-Japanese War, why can't we adopt a similar gesture towards a people we still claim are a part and parcel of our psyche and our so- called Islamic spirit? In Bangladesh, they say to visiting (West) Pakistanis: "We still love you, but we couldn't live with you in a master-servant relationship. You do not realise it but you started the alienation process right in 1948. We would have laid down our lives for Pakistan, but not for our masters in West Pakistan." Incidentally, they also say, "And we are told you have found a scapegoat in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. How is it possible for one man to break up a country by just saying, Idhar ham udhar tum? Believe us when we say that even if he had not uttered these words, even if you had agreed to make Mujibur Rahman prime minister or president, we couldn't have stayed together. You people are incapable of change or getting rid of your superiority complex". I have been going through a paper on the Bengali Language Movement written by Dr Tariq Rahman for a learned journal. It has revived old memories and old perceptions dimmed by time. It also took me back to those early days of Pakistan when the people of East Bengal and of West Pakistan had common aspirations and the new state was an exciting adventure for both. There must have been something wrong with me as a Punjabi that I looked at Bengalis as equal partners in that adventure. Much as I respected, admired and even loved the Quaid-i-Azam, I was taken aback by his firm declaration in Dhaka that Bengalis were welcome to use their language in their provincial affairs but the national language of Pakistan would be Urdu and Urdu alone. The best of leaders are sometimes mistaken, or misled. I'm not trying to explain away the Quaid's unequivocal stand on the issue, but I have a feeling that, being a non-Urdu speaking person himself, he was led into believing that all Pakistanis were united on the national language. That those who differed were only mischief-makers. I am no historian, just a student and observer of events and personalities. My reading of the Pakistan story tells me that all the political personalities really close to the Quaid were from West Pakistan who could not conceive of any other language sharing the limelight with Urdu. Those from East Bengal who were also close to him, like, for instance, Khwaja Nazimuddin, themselves spoke Urdu and did not represent the true feelings of the Bengalis. Anyway, the fact remains that the fight for Bengali became, over the years, a fight for Bengal, a fight for a greater share in the governance of the country. It also became a demand for a more decent and sensitive attitude from the Western brothers who were incorrigible in thinking of themselves superior to Bengalis in everything-in looks, in brains the way they spoke English, and the stylish way in which they lived. They viewed the Bengalis with contempt. (Don't let anyone try to tell me they didn't.) The simple life-style of those people, their strong emotional reactions, their stress on their own brand of nationalism, were all hateful to West Pakistanis, and these Brown Sahibs made no secret of their feelings. It was imperialism all the way, and worse than the imperialism the Bengalis had seen in Englishmen, since it came from one's own people. How many times did I not hear the words, "These fellows only understand the danda, the stick. That's the only way to keep them in order." The West Pakistanis- actually civil and military Punjabis and the elite among the Urdu-speaking officers-had discovered a colony and were enjoying every minute of ruling over it. My wife says I have "a black tongue" of the Urdu idiom which predicts only dark happenings, a sort of Pakistani Cassandra, because I had told her in the early sixties, "If we carry on like this, the Bengalis will go their own way in ten years." I don't claim any prescience, it was plain common sense, and any idiot who kept his antennae in working order could have seen it the way I did. It only needed putting aside one's pet notions. This subject is fit for a book, and books have been written on it. I wonder if those of us who were responsible for alienating the Bengalis ever got to reading them. I don't think so. Most of us still hold on to our colonial ideas, and make them evident in our dealings with the other peoples also who happen to inhabit Pakistan. We have learned no lesson. History cannot be overturned. What has happened cannot be undone. The hatred of years inspired by our treatment of the Bengalis and our snooty attitude towards them cannot be transformed into love now. And even if it could, what can it give us now and what purpose will it serve when we stand separated? And don't forget that apart from our complexes about ourselves and about the Bengalis they are better off as a nation, for they are more united than we are. Maybe this is our punishment. The first thing friends and relations ask when you return from a visit to Dhaka is: "Are the Bengalis sorry now for breaking away?" These people think that our "benevolent rule" over East Pakistan was a blessing from God which the Bengalis failed to appreciate at that time so they must be regretting their behaviour now. What a pity that a little love and understanding could have averted that great calamity of separation. Whatever you may think about it, I honestly feel that a conscious, calculated move to beg the Bengalis' forgiveness is called for. It will do what no amount of diplomatic, trade, social and cultural relations can ever achieve. We talk incessantly of Islam. Let us do at least one of the many good things that Islam advises us to do: promote affection and harmony between two constituents of the ummah. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950628 ------------------------------------------------------------------- MQM & Karachi crisis ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Dr Mohammad Waseem AT the heart of the current MQM agitation lies Altaf Hussain. While he has been in direct or indirect control of this party for a decade or so, his role has been analysed essentially as a charismatic leader capable of and insisting on making decisions on his own. In reality, he has all along operated in a complex network of relations with his partymen, which provides the proper context for explaining the current wave of political violence and future prospects of peace in Karachi. A major concern of Altaf Hussain is to survive as a political leader of the MQM and its constituency the Mohajir community. Gone are the days when he was a confident, assertive, pragmatic and realistic leader of a political party which was struggling for safeguarding the interests of its constituency through electoral politics. Unfortunately, he has to his credit a relatively long career of blundering his way through bizarre coalitions and violent agitations. From an alleged creation of the intelligence wing of the armed services, he has led his community to a headon collision with the army and various state agencies. From a partner in coalition with the PPP, he has led his followers to an extremely adversarial relations with that party, with no chances of an early rapprochement with it. From joining the IJI-PML alliance and subsequently getting alienated from it to relying on it once again in utter desperation, he has made a series of overtures to a party of no consequence in Sindh. Not surprisingly, Altaf Hussain is struggling for his political survival. He is a leader who got maximum support from his community but gave it frustration and desperation in return. The struggle for his survival has led Altaf Hussain to place himself at the centre of the MQM's demand structure. Withdrawal of criminal cases against him and grant of permission to him to operate freely in the political field are demands which have held the whole political process hostage in Sindh. This is a credit to the ingenuity of Altaf Hussain that he has intertwined his fate with the fate of a whole community. In this way, he has halted the process of political bargaining between the two political parties, the PPP and the MQM, representing Sindhis and Mohajirs respectively. A part of Altaf Hussain's strategy to pursue his battle for survival is to disallow the emergence of a pattern of leadership which might have- the potential of eventually displacing him from his role on top of the MQM. One after another, he has changed the composition of the MQM's negotiating team so as not to allow any MQM leader to remain in the public eye for too long. What he fears most is the gradual building of public trust in any one of his lieutenants ranging from Ishtiaq Azhar to Farooq Sattar and others. Similarly, when he sees the growth of operational power on the ground in the hands of one or the other MQM Senator or MPA, he finds it necessary to cut him or her down to size. It is a demagogue's strategy for survival par excellence. On their part, the cadres and workers of the MQM use Altaf Hussain for their own purposes. They extensively rely on him as a symbol of the Mohajir ethnonationalist movement. They do this for gaining legitimacy in the eyes of their peers in the party or in the locality. They try to outdo each other in showing loyalty to Altaf Hussain, referring every decision to him in London and quoting him in and out of context. Altaf is thus used and abused for legitimacy purposes. His name is a political resource in the pool of symbols for the Mohajir movement which every political careerist finds it necessary to appropriate. Being within the hearing of Altaf Hussain is not only a feather in the cap of all MQM stalwarts. In fact, his name is also attached to parallel or even contradictory decisions for what is usually described as the cause of unity in the Mohajir ranks. In other words, the MQM leaders and workers have increasingly turned Altaf Hussain into an extremely useful symbol of political power and influence at home. As time passes, he is losing real operational power and is being elevated to a high symbolic position which is in turn tapped by dominant factions within the party As an exile, Altaf is acutely dependent on his channels of communication at home in order to arrive at decisions in urgent or not so-urgent matters. Therefore, the local leaders have taken the initiative essentially in terms of choosing the type of message to be communicated to the party chief, its wording, its timing as well as a suggested line of action in response to the message itself. In this way, Altaf Hussain's decisions from a distance of five thousand miles tend to be manipulatet by his lieutenant. Not surprisingly the fateful decision of Altaf Hussain to boycott elections for the National Assembly in 1993 cost the MQM extremely heavily because it destroyed the party's bargaining capacity at the federal level. Altaf's leadership through remote control was based at that time, and continues to be based at present, on a myopic vision, which is for all practical purposes is a faxed vision. It is possible that the relatively assertive section of the local MQM leadership would have shown their disagreement with their leader's unwise decision. However, the immediate reversal of the boycott strategy for elections of the Sindh Assembly at least partially compensated for the ineptness of the previous decision. The abdication of decision-making authority in favour of Altaf Hussain by the local MQM leadership has robbed the party of pragmatic and flexible response to political developments at home. This two-step decision-making process has cost the MQM in terms of its negotiating pull with the concerned authorities, be it the army leadership, the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi or the present government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It is obvious that no negotiations will be allowed to go very far if they do not reinstate Altaf Hussain in the politics of Pakistan. It has been argued by the MQM that the solution of the current crisis lies only through Altaf Hussain. But, as a convict and in exile, Altaf's interests are limited and his logic is involute. No wonder, the PPP-MQM negotiations have run aground. Altaf Hussain and the MQM leadership have produced what can be described as a Mohajir mindset. This mindset is imbued with a litany of sacrifices, persecution syndrome as well as endemic separatism reflected through various models ranging >from Hong Kong Singapore-Jinnahpur model to a model based on some kind of separation from Sindh. A large part of this mindset can be attributed to the efforts of Altaf Hussain and his colleagues during the last decade. Even those Mohajirs who oppose the MQM politics have selectively embraced the MQM idiom about sacrifices and persecution. Such is the power of ethnicity even while the immediate casualty is truth. On the other hand, a strong criticism of Altaf Hussain has set in even within the traditional MQM constituency. People tend to criticise him on various grounds, especially on aspects of his political discourse. However, there is no immediate challenge to his leadership from within the ranks of the MQM. This is in sharp contrast to the patterns of other ethnic movements such as the Baloch or Sindhi nationalism. The latter fell a prey to factional splits and fractionalisation because the older ties of tribal or village community continued to operate as sub- identities. As opposed to this, the Mohajir community of urban Sindh is essentially an atomised society, comprising elements from different tribal, caste, ethnic, sectoral and sectarian backgrounds. There are no rival identities operating against the dominant Mohajir identity in urban Sindh. Altaf Hussain was the direct beneficiary of this state of affairs in the last decade. On the other hand, when the cracks appear within his organisation, the absence of a cushion against imminent splattering in the form of tribal or village-based identities will lead to political disaster. Altaf Hussain seems to have already played his historical role in creating and consolidating the Mohajir identity in the past. The future holds no prospects for him given his conviction and exile. Meanwhile, the present is both unpleasant and insecure for him, as he is deprived of the status as a free citizen of Pakistan despite his following spread over millions. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950629 ------------------------------------------------------------------- The circus in the Punjab ------------------------------------------------------------------- By Tahir Mirza LAHORE: Every morning here in Lahore we are regaled by statements from the chief minister, the senior minister, various other ministers and advisers as well as assorted functionaries of the PPP and the PML(J) about the health of the coalition government in the province. When Chaudhary Altaf was alive, we used to have a statement or two from him also, God bless his soul, but the new governor has got into the act quickly enough. As he is entertained nightly by one minister or the other, he too obliges reporters in attendance with comments on differences within the PDF. Following these official pronouncements and reading the reports in the newspapers the next day, it appears that there is no issue before the provincial cabinet and the provincial organisations of the PPP and the PDF bigger than what one side is saying about the other. The people and their problems can go hang. Let-us look at the headlines from various newspapers for just one day, Wednesday, with, as the reader will notice, Mr Manzoor Wattoo waxing almost typically "There have been misunderstandings between the coalition parties before and there will be misunderstandings in the future. We bend where we have to bend, where we have to advance, we advance, where we have to beat a retreat, we retreat." "The provincial assembly will not be dissolved! Governor Saroop. "Ups and downs constitute the beauty of politics! "Mr Wattoo. "Efforts should be made to reform the chief minister, otherwise the alliance will not work." Afzal Chan (PPP member). "The affairs of Punjab will be decided within Punjab. If a problem is not solved, then we can go to the president or the prime minister."-Governor Saroop. "There is no question of the assembly being dissolved. Misunderstandings will end." Mr Wattoo "I have understood the governor's statement. A branch which is flexible is in less danger of being broken." Mr Wattoo "One should not pay any attention to rumours." Governor Saroop. The more they talk, the worse everything looks. The impression of a severe crisis becomes stronger. There is a crisis in Punjab. It is a crisis of confidence and trust between the PML(J) and the PPP. It has been there almost since the coalition government was formed. The differences between the coalition partners are not about policy or ideology, when they would have enjoyed at least some distinction; in any case, ideologically, there is nothing to choose between the two parties. The differences or "misunderstandings" are about privileges and distribution of development funds. The problem was inherent in the coalition. Mr Wattoo has 18 members of his own in the 248-seat assembly plus about the same number of independents who support him. The PPP has 100 members and is the larger party. But it cannot form a government of its own without the PML(J)'s support, and that is why Mr Wattoo is chief minister. If the arithmetic had not been like this and the PPP had won more seats, Mr Wattoo would not be at the helm of affairs in Punjab. Since he is, the PPP members should be told by the leadership that they'd better, in words now made famous by Mr John Major, "put up or shut up." At the moment there seems to be no alternative to Mr Wattoo. The PPP hotheads have to ask themselves only this one question! if the coalition is disbanded today, who or what will replace it tomorrow? If the PPP tries to destabilise Mr Wattoo, it will hurt its credibility among its remaining allies, with many of its partners in the struggle for democracy already disillusioned with its performance. But Mr Wattoo too has to stop using his office to so blatantly favour his own people and present himself as being more powerful than he actually is. The allegations made about the distribution of funds and recruitments in government should be seriously answered. Many of us who have not entirely lost faith in our democracy repeatedly point to the extent of accountability now in evidence, as reflected daily in newspaper stories about the high and the mighty. But what is the point in such accountability if those named do not still feel accountable? Our leaders simply do not seem bothered to reply to the charges published about them or to issue any clarifications. Silence on such matters can be seen only as acceptance of guilt. Mr Wattoo too has yet to convince the people of the province that he is providing them with a clean and honest administration; in fact because of his running feud with his coalition partners, there is no doubt that development work is suffering, with only the bureaucrats happy, playing off one side against the other. Perhaps the new governor will better spend his time in taking notice of public complaints about everyday problems and the law-and order situation rather than in making trite remarks about the coalition. He at least would do well to keep himself away from the daily circus. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950629 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Dateline Washington : The considered State Dept view ------------------------------------------------------------------- Shaheen Sehbai THE LATEST State Department assessment of Pakistan's recent political history states that the Benazir Bhutto government in 1990 was ineffective and corrupt, Nawaz Sharif's economic reforms greatly improved Pakistan's economic performance and business climate and Ghulam Ishaq Khan subverted the Nawaz Sharif government in May 1993. "It is an assessment which places Benazir Bhutto in a very negative frame while promoting Nawaz Sharif and his achievements,?' according to an analyst who does not belong to Pakistan. The State Department views are contained in the official country profile documented as "Background Notes" on Pakistan, published by the Department's Bureau of Public Affairs in April and now available for everyone, with no restriction on reprinting its contents. The profile gives, in a concise form, all basic data and information on Pakistan to a visitor like geography, population, growth rates of economy, per capita income, trade figures, exchange rates, a brief history, foreign relations with US and other countries, business and travel information and names of important officials in the respective embassies in both countries. It is the section on history and particularly under the sub-heading "The return of Democracy" that gives the authentic State Department view on what happened in the crucial period between 1990 and 1993 when Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were dismissed, elections were held twice and palace intrigues and behind- the-scene manipulations determined the political future of Pakistan. The important points and observations given below need to be highlighted: - It gives no opinion on Gen Zia's 1984 referendum and only mentions that against Zia's claims of 90 per cent success, "many observers questioned these figures." - It says the 1985 non-party elections were legitimate because of 53 per cent voter turnout and absence of fraud. - It says "The (1990) October elections, observed by several international organisations, confirmed the political ascendancy of IJI", thus implicitly dismissing Benazir Bhutto's allegations that these elections were rigged. - Giving reasons for dismissal of the Benazir Bhutto government, the profile says: "A fragmentation in the governing coalition and the military's reluctance to support an ineffectual and corrupt government were accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order." The point to be noted here is that none of these words has been either attributed to someone or put under quotes. In comparison when reasons for dismissal of Nawaz Sharif in 1993 are discussed, all the reasons- administration, corruption and nepotism-are in quotes. - It says president Ghulam Ishaq Khan continued his efforts to subvert the Nawaz Sharif government by engineering dissolution of the Punjab and the NWFP Assemblies, and the charge is direct, not attributed to anyone. - The Mazari government, it notes experienced a problem of credibility because of allegations of corruption against its members. The Moeen Qureshi government, it says adopted political, social and economic reforms that generated considerable domestic supported foreign admiration. - The profile lists Mohajirs as the fifth ethnic group in Pakistan after Punjabis, Sindhis, Pathans and Balochs. The portion dealing with "The Return of Democracy" is reproduced here, in full: "On December 30,1985, President Zia removed martial law and restored constitutional rights safeguarded under the Constitution. He also lifted the Bhutto government's declaration of emergency powers. The first months of 1986 witnessed a rebirth of political activity throughput Pakistan. All parties-including those continuing to deny the legitimacy of the Zia/Junejo government-were permitted to organise and hold rallies. In April 1986, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, returned to Pakistan from exile in Europe. " Following the lifting of martial law, prime minister Junejo attempted to make his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) a political party capable of competing with the PPP and its MRD allies on a national level. His increasing political independence and differences with Zia over Afghan policy resulted in tensions between them. Zia was a firm advocate of the Afghan resistance, which had been fighting Soviet forces since they invaded Afghanistan in 1979; Junejo repeatedly expressed his concern over the effect the conflict and the presence of some 3 million Afghan refugees had on Pakistan's internal security. "On May 29,1988, President Zia dismissed the Junejo government and called for November elections. In June Zia proclaimed the supremacy in Pakistan of Shari'a (Islamic law)? by which all civil law had to conform to traditional Muslim edicts. " OD August 17, a plane carrying President Zia, American Ambassador Arnold Raphel, US Brig-Gen. Herbert Wassom, and 28 Pakistani military officers crashed on a return flight from a military equipment trial near Bahawalpur, killing all of its occupants. In accordance with the Constitution, chairman of the Senate Ghulam Ishaq Khan became acting President. " Ghulam Ishaq Khan announced that the elections, scheduled for November, would take place. After winning 93 of the 205 National Assembly seats contested, the PPP, under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, formed a coalition government with several smaller parties, including the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). The Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI), a multiparty coalition led by the PML and including religious right parties such as the Jamaati- Islami (JI), won 55 National Assembly seats. "Differing interpretations of constitutional authority, debates over the powers of the central government relative to those of the provinces, and the antagonistic relationship between the Bhutto administration and opposition governments in Punjab and Balochistan seriously impeded social and economic reform programmes. Ethnic conflict, primarily in Sindh province, exacerbated these problems. A fragmentation in the governing coalition and the military's reluctance to support an apparently ineffectual and corrupt government were accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order. "In August 1990, President Khan, citing his powers under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, dismissed the Bhutto government, dissolved the national and provincial assemblies, and announced new elections to be held in October. He appointed opposition leader Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi as caretaker prime minister and appointed caretaker governments in each of the four provinces. "The October elections, observed by several international organization confirmed the political ascendancy of the IJI. In addition to a two- thirds majority in the National Assembly the alliance acquired control of all four provincial parliaments and enjoyed the support of the military and of President Khan. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, as leader of the PML, the most prominent party in the IJI, was elected prime minister by the National Assembly. "Sharif emerged as the most secure and powerful Pakistani prime minister since the mid1970s. Under his rule, the IJI achieved several important political victories. The implementation of Sharif's economic reform programme, involving privatisation, deregulation, and encouragement of private sector economic growth, greatly improved Pakistan's economic performance and business climate. The passage into law in May 1991 of a Shariat bill, providing for widespread Islamisation, legitimised the IJI government among much of Pakistani society. The military's participation in the allied forces during the Gulf War improved Pakistan's relations within the world community. "However, Nawaz Sharif was not able to reconcile the different objectives of the IJI's constituent parties. The largest fundamentalist party, Jamaati Islami (JI), abandoned the alliance because of its perception of PML hegemony. The regime was weakened further by the military's suppression of the MQM, which had entered into a coalition with the IJI to contain PPP influence, and allegations of corruption directed at Nawaz Sharif. " Prime minister Nawaz Sharif wanted to place his own candidate in the vacant chief of army staff position, against the wishes of both the army and the president. Considering Sharif's intentions a direct threat to his political authority, president Khan used his constitutional privilege as commander-in chief effectively to place his candidate, Gen Waheed, in the position. " Despite this setback, Nawaz Sharif intensified his political confrontation with Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The prime minister appealed for the renunciation of the Eighth constitutional Amendment (created under Zia in 1985), which conferred upon the president the power to dismiss the government. Khan, hopeful for a second five-year term, argued that the Eighth Amendment was an important barrier to the ambitions of the prime minister. " After PML chairman Junejo's death in March 1993, Sharif loyalists unilaterally nominated him as the next party leader. Consequently, the PML divided into the PML Nawaz (PML/N) group, loyal to the prime minister, and the PML Junejo group (PML/J), supportive of the president. "In April 1993, president Khan, citing 'maladministration, corruption, and nepotism' and espousal of political violence, dismissed the Sharif government. The consequent interim government led by Balakh Sher Mazari experienced a problem of credibility because of allegations of corruption against its members. "The Supreme Court reinstated the Sharif regime in May l993. However, president Khan continued his efforts to subvert the government of prime minister Sharif by engineering the dissolution of the Punjab and NWFP assemblies. The continued confrontation between Sharif and Khan polarised Pakistani politics and threatened to undermine government institutions. Finally, under a compromise brokered by the military, both president Khan and prime minister Sharif resigned in July 1993. Wasim Sajjad, who was serving as Senate chairman, was appointed interim president. "An interim government, headed by Moeen Qureshi, a former World Bank vice president, took office with a mandate to hold national and provincial parliamentary elections in October. Despite its brief term, the Qureshi government adopted political, economic, and social reforms that generated considerable domestic support and foreign admiration. "In the October 1993 elections, the PPP won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly, and Benazir Bhutto was asked to form a government. However, because it did not acquire a majority in the National Assembly, the PPP's control of the government depended upon the continued support of numerous independent parties, particularly the PML/J. The unfavourable circumstances surrounding PPP rule-the imperative of preserving a coalition government, the formidable opposition of Nawaz Sharif's (PML/N) movement, and the insecure provincial administrations - presented significant difficulties for the government of Prime Minister Bhutto. On the other hand, the election of Prime Minister Bhutto's close associate, Farooq Leghari, as president in November 1993 gave her a stronger Dower base. " During the past 15 months in office, Prime Minister Bhutto's government has set out clear policies to deal with key Pakistani priorities, such as the economy, narcotics, and human rights. The government's economic plan received strong support from the international community in the form of an extended fund facility from the IMF in 1994. Pakistan promulgated comprehensive counter narcotics legislation in early 1995 and stepped up efforts to eradicate poppy production in the NWFP. In an effort to improve respect for human rights, the government created a human rights cell in the ministry of interior." DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950623 ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Press Gallery : A polite gesture lost ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nasir Malick WHEN the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif finally found some time from his hectic political schedule to speak on the budget, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was present in the House to lend him an ear. When he stood up to deliver his speech, Benazir and some of her ministers even thumped the desks, a gesture rarely shown in our parliament. And when the prime minister had to leave the hall midway through his she, again in a rare show of civility, wrote him a chit, seeking to be excused for her absence. However, this whole exercise in politeness had little effect on Nawaz Sharif whose response was less than generous. And the response of his otherwise well-mannered and soft-spoken information secretary, Mushahid Hussain, was even less so. Ms Bhutto had come to the House thrice to listen to Mr Sharif's speech who, for reasons best known to him, did not open the general debate on the budget, as is customary. He chose last day of the general debate to make his speech and the prime minister specially came to the House to hear him. Before taking her seat, she tried to exchange pleasantries with the opposition leader who pretended to be busy, ostensibly in reading some papers. The prime minister had to settle for an exchange of pleasantries with Gohar Ayub and Asfandyar Wali, who reciprocated. Nawaz Sharif, who read out a 10 page prepared speech, attacked the fiscal policies of the government, though at times he would add a few remarks off the cuff before quickly reverting to the written text, obviously fearing he might loose his concentration. He did not succeed much, however, for, to the utter surprise of all of us in the Press Gallery, he read the entire page five of the speech twice. The reporters thought he would soon realise his mistake and go on to the next page but that did not happen. The embarrassment of his party men only too obvious, as their leader galloped through the pages with amazing self-confidence. "You never believed us that he (Sharif) cannot concentrate on an issue for more than five minutes, what do you say now after today's show?" was the caustic comment of one ruling party member. When Mian Sahib was halfway through, the prime minister apparently remembered some engagement. But before leaving she left a chit at the desk of the opposition leader, who did not even as much as glance it, and said his speech was more important than the chit. "I will not read this chit," he declared. Gohar Ayub, however, picked up the chit and read it. When Sharif was finished, he handed the piece of paper to him which he read. As Benazir left the hall, a number of journalists left the gallery to talk to her but she refused to say anything. "She is missing out on a golden opportunity. She could have engaged us in a conversation and made it to the front pages tomorrow, overshadowing Nawaz Sharif," was how a senior colleague felt. After Mr Sharif's speech, some journalists rushed to the opposition leader's chamber to know what the prime minister had scribbled on that piece of paper. Mushahid Hussain was there to make a fun of the gesture. "She has written, Mian Sahib I love you," he quipped. He also uttered some unprintables about why Gohar Ayub had picked up the chit. However, finally it came to be known that Ms Bhutto had written: "Came here to listen to your speech. Leaving for certain pre-engagement. Hope to see you again." Meanwhile, the general debate on budget which ended today, had been tough for the ruling party members and the reporters alike. The PPP members were prohibited by the prime minister to visit the cafeteria while their absence was killing for the columnists who pick up a lot of information and gossip, both printable and otherwise, from them over a cup of tea. During their absence it was journalists versus journalists, debating issues and getting nowhere. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950625 ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Press Gallery : Karachi overshadows budget ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nasir Malick ISLAMABAD: The budget lost its relevance as Karachi overshadowed the proceedings when the National Assembly met on Saturday after a day's recess. The killing of 35 people in Karachi at the hands of "terrorists", till the afternoon, had shaken up the treasury and opposition members alike. Political expediencies were overcome by national interest, and members realised that any further delay in controlling the situation could take matters to a point-of-no- return. The horrifying experience of 1971 in East Pakistan has not been washed from the memories and every member was speaking from his heart to save Pakistan, the approach though was different. The government's concern was reflected in the Prime Minister's talk with the reporters whom she had herself invited to her chamber where she only talked about Karachi. When a journalist asked her about her uneasy relationship with Punjab Chief Minister Manzooor Wattoo, she was undoubtedly irritated as Karachi is her first priority, though she still is not ready to give in to the demands of MQM, which she terms " a terrorist organisation." A ruling party member said when the Punjab issue was raised by some party MNAs during their meeting with the Prime Minister, she told them that she was too occupied with Karachi, her first and last priority for the present. But Ms Bhutto's tone towards Altaf Hussain remained unchanged as were her conditions for dialogue. "Lay arms, surrender the wanted people and come for a dialogue," she repeated. But what she did not tell the reporters were the government plans to hold an in camera session of the National Assembly where it would take the members into confidence about the" involvement of MQM and other terrorist groups in Karachi killings." This piece of information was perhaps held up for being announced inside the House by Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar. What Ms Bhutto said for the first time was that if it was true that Altaf Hussain had talked about an armed struggle in Pakistan she would take up the issue with the British government. There was no indication that she is ready to talk with Altaf Hussain without pre-conditions, not realising that many of her party members are in favour of a dialogue but cannot dare annoy her. "We respect her political acumen but she has to realise the ground situation," an MNA from Punjab said after the parliamentary meeting of the PDF alliance which was presided at by the Prime Minister and where she took the same stand. "Think of the miseries of the people living in Karachi, how long they can bear this situation." The fear that the situation in Karachi can spill over to other provinces where the bodies of police and paramilitary people killed by " terrorists" in Karachi have started arriving, has gripped the MNAs from Punjab and NWFP particularly. These killings can create hatred against a particular community, which has no role in terrorism, and thus achieve the nefarious objectives of the "terrorists." Deputy Opposition Leader Gohar Ayub mentioned at least two people in his area whose bodies arrived recently from Karachi. A consensus was found in the House during debate on Karachi that something urgent should be done while rising above party politics. The debate, allowed on points of orders and in which more than 50 members *from the two sides took part, was serious and unlike the past the members acted responsibly. Even Federal Minister for Law N.D.Khan, who is good at provoking the opposition, spoke maturely. While the opposition remained adamant that the government should contact Altaf Hussain for dialogue and withdraw cases against MQM workers, it simultaneously condemned "terrorism" in Karachi. For the first time Achakzai found himself in a difficult position where he could neither support the MQM nor the government. On one hand, he said Altaf Hussain was not as big a leader as he claims, yet he also advised the government to initiate dialogue with him. He said that at least half of Karachi's population was neither Mohajir nor Sindhi and any solution ignoring them would not work. "Altaf's extremism is that he considers himself the king of entire Karachi, (which he is not)," Achakzai said but in the same breath he said that there was no way to overcome the problem other than by initiating a dialogue as he represents a big community. "I personally don't consider him a very big personality." He also criticised the government for " crushing violence through state terrorism." What perhaps he wanted to say and did not was that the city should be redemarcated so that various communities living in Karachi get a proportional representation in the city. Ijazul Haq, the son of former dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haque, perhaps still relished the memory of good old days when his father ruled this country against the wishes of the people. "If parliament does not take this issue seriously, the undemocratic forces, which are (always) ready to take democratic decisions, will be ready once again to act," he warned. The scion of a martial law dictator, Ijaz was perhaps trying to justify the undemocratic decision of his father, who is considered to be the mentor of the MQM. But Gohar Ayub was justified in agitating against the government's failure to name its party members on the National Assembly Committee on Karachi. The committee was formed through a joint resolution but the government has not yet named its people, thus deliberately delaying its formation. What the government wants to achieve by delaying the formation of the committee is unclear. The committee, having equal representation from the government and the opposition side, would have shown its sincerity in solving the aggravating situation. Better late than never. The government should announce the names of its members on the committee so that at least its sincerity is not questioned by the opposition as well as the public. Regarding the in-camera session, it has yet to be seen whether the government will be able to convince the opposition about the involvement of the MQM in the incidents of Karachi. DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS 950627 ------------------------------------------------------------------- *From Press Gallery : Playing with the sentiments' ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nasir Malick ISLAMABAD: The opposition was callous in its bid to score political points over Karachi issue. It wasted almost the entire day demanding suspension of rules to discuss Karachi situation and did not agree to the government's suggestion that it withdraw its cut motions, pass the budget and discuss Karachi for the remaining three days. Karachi was discussed in the House just two days back when more than 50 members spoke on the subject. Since then the killings have only increased or one could assume that the assembly had to make any worthwhile contribution to improving the situation. Mahmood Achakzai, who is self-styled champion of rule of law, was playing a front man's role for the opposition, advocating the bypassing of the rules and procedures which clearly say that no business can be taken up during the budget session. Even the debate allowed by the speaker the other day on points of order was contrary to the rules. Deputy opposition leader and former speaker Gohar Ayub even tried to mislead the House by claiming that he had suspended the rules during the budget session in 1992 when a similar situation had arisen in Karachi. But Raza Rabbani called the bluff and when the record was brought to the House on his insistence, it was revealed that the rules were never suspended and the debate was included on the agenda of the day in violation of procedure. Everybody on the opposition seemed to forget that it was during its tenure in the government that the army was sent to Karachi. Similarly, most of the cases against MQM workers and leaders were registered during its tenure. And when Chaudhry Nisar declared that the cases had been registered on the orders of the former army chief Asif Nawaz, wasn't he admitting that Nawaz Sharif was only a pawn in the hands of those who were actually running the affairs of the country. Chaudhry Nisar also informed the House that at one stage the MQM had agreed to hand over at least six "terrorists" from its ranks to the government. One failed to understand whether Nisar was favouring the MQM or confirming its involvement in acts of terrorism, which it denies even today. The opposition members kept on proclaiming that the budget was of little consequence compared to the Karachi situation, but were not willing to withdraw the cut motions. Their main demand was to hold an immediate debate followed by a joint session of parliament after the budget to discuss the Karachi situation. The government and the speaker were ready to agree to a debate provided the opposition withdrew their cut motions. However, on the issue of a joint session, it was not ready to make a commitment. The open offer of the ministers to the opposition for initiating a serious dialogue and its request for cooperation on Karachi was not reciprocated. Speaker Yousaf Raza Gilani was in the most difficult situation trying to balance himself on a tight rope. He was not willing to violate the rules and simultaneously trying to appease the opposition. When Gohar Ayub misquoted the precedence, he at once announced that if there was a precedence he would allow the opposition to move its resolution seeking suspension of the rules. Deputy Law Minister Raza Rabbani, could hardly veil his annoyance with Gilani. "There is also a precedence of passing a constitutional amendment in 12 minutes when Gohar Ayub was the speaker, will you follow that, too? " he shouted. "It was an irregularity committed by the then government which was acceded to by the then speaker," Rabbani said referring to the Karachi debate which was held in 1992 during the budget session. But the speaker had already made up his mind not to take the blame of disallowing a debate on Karachi and easily shifted it to the treasury benches by allowing Achakzai to move the resolution for suspending the business. Achakzai, instead of reading a simple resolution calling for the suspension of the rules to discuss the Karachi situation, tried to play with words to give an impression as if the resolution was meant to call for a joint sitting of parliament, but his move was pre-empted by the speaker who did not allow him to go any further. Though the move was rejected by the majority vote in the first place but the opposition called for a division during which the resolution was defeated by 106 to 57 votes. The opposition staged a token walk out as a protest. Interestingly opposition leader Nawaz Sharif who attended both the morning and afternoon sessions, did not utter a word on Karachi. Some parliamentary observers felt that the PML's insistence on convening a joint session of parliament betrayed a lingering fear its much- trumpeted conference on Karachi might not create the impact it desires in the absence of the PPP and veteran leaders like Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Maulana Fazalur Rehman. A joint session could also provide an opportunity to the MQM which is not represented in the National Assembly but has a few senators, to present its side of the story, which the opposition hoped would embarrass the government. But Sharif is faced with a dilemma. He had assured Altaf Hussain that he would get the Karachi seats vacated by his partymen to pave the way for holding fresh elections but he has not been able to convince his MNAs to resign. And there is every fear that this issue would crop up at the Karachi conference and the PML might find itself in quite a spot. =================================================================== S P O R T S ===================================================================

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