Week Ending : 02 August 1997 Issue : 03/31
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Waiting for quick remedies at Sharifs' doorsteps
Accountability only touching the tip of the iceberg
Torrential rain kills 21 in AJK, Punjab
Pakistan takes stand on SC expansion
Ehtesab law termed un-Islamic
Air fare up by 10pc: applications from Aug 17
MoUs on defence, investment signed
Power projects involving kickbacks may be scrapped
Will cheap money have a real impact on the economy?
Economy fast becoming 'dollarized'
DFIs reluctant to cut lending rates
SBP asserts authority over banks
Privatization thru stock exchanges
Strategy at parleys with IMF pays off
Bears make heavy profit-selling, index falls by 56 points
An exemplary judgment Ardeshir Cowasjee
The cultural context Mazdak
Unsolved murders Omar Kureishi
Killing by any other name Aziz Siddiqui
Pakistan's disappointing show in Asia Cup
The elements let us down: Zaheer Abbas
Malaysia, Bangladesh to play in One-day Cup
Bangladesh to host Asia Cup in 1999
Afridi was warned and fined in Sri Lanka
Waiting for quick remedies at Sharifs' doorsteps
LAHORE, July 27: The park outside the Model Town residence of Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Sundays resembles the Passport Office, the
Registration Office or the GPO.
People from various parts of the Punjab, most of them women, at times even
from other provinces, come here to seek redressal of their grievances.
This park, during the first stint of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, had
been fenced as a result of which it looked like becoming a part of his
residence. Motor-operated gate had been set up at the entrance because of
which a common man could not use the road in front of his residence.
The fence had, however, been removed when Manzoor Wattoo became the chief
This time when the two brothers are working as prime minister and chief
minister, the road has not been blocked nor has the park been fenced.
Instead, huts have been set up in the park, which are used by the
'applicants' every Sunday. They come with their grievances and submit their
applications to those nominated by the Sharifs. Those without written
applications may have them scribbled on the spot. Almost a dozen
application writers are available there who offer their services to such
An application writer charges from Rs 5 to 15 per application, depending on
the length of the subject and pocket of the 'aggrieved'. "We accept with
pleasure whatever is paid by a petitioner. However, normally, we charge
from Rs 5 to 15," an application writer said on Sunday.
Applications concerning the provincial departments are received at the
huts. Generally, it is MPA Khwaja Riaz Mahmood who receives applications.
The MPA examines and processes the applications.
Petitions pertaining to the federal departments are submitted in a room
near the main gate of the Sharifs' residence.
Police personnel are also present on the spot to deal with any untoward
A third category of 'applicants' is the one which hands over applications
at a meeting with the prime minister or the chief minister. These people
are asked to sit in the drawing room.
When Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were opposition leaders in the
National and Punjab assemblies, respectively, the applicants who came to
them to seek their help for various matters were served with soft drinks.
That tradition seems to have ended. Now plain water is available to the
Crowds seen at the Model Town residence of the Sharifs on Sunday gave an
impression that the federal and the provincial departments are not doing
enough to solve the public problems. This also established that
instructions given by the Punjab chief minister to heads of all the
departments that they should personally listen to public complaints on
telephone everyday are not being followed.
Similarly, it also became evident that it was a wrong decision on the part
of the prime minister and the chief minister to stop listening to people's
problems on telephone. Had the practice not been discontinued, the people
would not have thronged the Model Town in such large numbers every Sunday.
The attitude of the Sharifs is still more regrettable. During his election
campaign and even after being elected as prime minister for the second
time, Nawaz Sharif had said time and again that he would not stay in
Islamabad. "Instead, you will see me in the streets of villages in
far-flung areas. I will reach wherever wrongs are committed."
But now the situation has changed. Despite his presence in the city, Mr
Sharif rarely meets the people coming to his residence.
The Sunday crowds outside Mr Shahbaz Sharif's residence show that the
people failing to have their grievances redressed through normal official
channels have still high hopes to seek direct remedies from the chief
minister. How long they can sustain their hopes is anybody's guess.
Accountability only touching the tip of the iceberg
NEVER BEFORE in this country has the phenomenon of corruption and its
accountability evoked emotional responses as strong as at present.
In the recent past, accountability took a flying start with the caretaker
government appointing a retired judge of a superior court as an
accountability commissioner to prepare references for superior courts and
to serve as a prosecutor in such cases. With an elected government in
office, the whole process took a completely new turn.
The enabling law and the period it covered were so drafted that the party
in power escaped the net and the party in opposition found the net closing
Super-imposed on the judicial agency of accountability commissioner was the
political and administrative authority of the Accountability Cell headed by
a committed party legislator, and located in the Prime Minister's
Secretariat. A judicial outfit was thus turned into a political one.
Corruption is not specific to Pakistan. Its a universal malady. What is
important is that authoritative rating agencies have identified Pakistan as
the second most corrupt country in the world.
Within Pakistan, side by side with poverty and unemployment, corruption is
counted as the most pernicious evil. The people are indignant at this
cancerous spread and would like to fight it tooth and nail if they only
knew how. Some are deeply frustrated and cynical and conclude that society
as a whole is corrupt and beyond redemption.
Corruption that involves the public sector attracts much greater attention
because proper functioning of the state is critical to the welfare of its
citizens. The public depends upon the state for essential services.
Corruption in the government evokes considerable interest among the people
and the media also because the abuses entail large sums of money and
It adds to the cost of doing business, tends to reduce the levels of
investment, in particular foreign investment. In the public sector, it may
be defined as the misuse of public power for private gain. Here it refers
not only to bribery, but also to other forms of misconduct that go beyond
An Italian philosopher once said that just as it is impossible to know when
a fish moving in water is drinking it, so it is impossible to find out when
government servants in-charge of undertakings, misappropriate money.
Observers have documented corrupt practices during the colonial regimes as
also after the country attained independence.
Controls are responsible for much of the corruption that is rampant. The
magnitude and severity of corruption seem to have assumed alarming
proportions. Scandals and scams involving high offices, political leaders
and senior officials have shaken the public's confidence in the way the
There is growing frustration among citizens as they helplessly watch the
inability of public institutions to control corruption and punish the guilty.
Many question the credibility and legitimacy of the leaders in powerful
positions. They are alarmed that corrupt practices abound in most of the
public agencies they deal with and whenever they try to access public
This is a feature that distinguishes Pakistan and other developing
countries from the economically more developed nations.
As citizens, we encounter corrupt practices frequently as we interface with
government agencies or seek services from them. In the more developed
countries ordinary people do not experience such corruption or extortion to
the same degree in their daily lives.
They may read about corruption in high places, or come across other abuses
of power. But, for the most part they can access public services and
benefits without having to bribe or being harassed.
Corrupt practices exist in some form or the other in all societies. There
is perhaps no society that can claim to have stamped out corruption
completely. But when corruption is widespread and is severe in its
dysfunctional consequences in a society, one has to admit that there are
some fundamental flaws in the leadership and in the values and traditions
of the people in that society.
When people collude in different ways, rationalise corrupt practices and
tolerate corruption on a large scale it must be concluded that there is no
strong and determined resistance to this phenomenon.
While this can make tackling corruption an uphill task, we should recognise
that other factors also may have contributed to the situation and
reinforced a culture of corruption.
The first point to note is that governments act as monopolies in many
respects. Many things that a government does cannot be subjected to
competition and comparison.
This means that political and administrative processes in government can
control and engage in many activities, allocations and choices that those
outside government cannot fully comprehend or challenge.
This is particularly true of the governments' regulatory functions and the
delivery of most services. Absence of competition tends to create
opportunities for corruption by restricting supply deliberately or through
When people have no other option, they are more vulnerable to the pressure
of monopolistic regulators and service providers. Monopoly is natural in
some sectors for reasons such as economies of scale (e.g. water supply).
The monopolistic nature of functions create a fertile environment for
arbitrary decisions and corrupt practices that an individual citizen cannot
easily monitor or fight.
A second contributory factor is the discretion that the government and its
monopolistic public agencies enjoy in their decision-making and allocative
If the rules and criteria are simple and unambiguous, the validity of their
decisions and action could easily be checked by citizens.
When multiple criteria are involved and all cases are not alike, use of
judgment becomes necessary. But this situation also creates opportunities
and incentives for those involved to engage in corrupt practices.
Here again, the remedy may not lie in the elimination of discretion, but
rather in clarifying and demystifying the decision-making process,
disseminating information on rules, specification of criteria and providing
for greater transparency and the right of appeal.
Another factor is the relative lack of effective accountability in
government except in the nominal sense of presenting annual audited
accounts and reports to parliament or answering questions in parliament,
holding periodic elections, etc.
When those who are expected to supervise their subordinates are themselves
party to collusion with the latter, the enforcement of accountability
becomes extremely difficult.
The problem is exacerbated by the difficulties in measuring the performance
of the staff and the outcome of their decisions.
The lack of proper reporting systems and supervisory controls add to the
severity of the problem. Furthermore, accountability is viewed as
hierarchical, with little attention paid to the need for accountability
towards the customers.
Information barriers are also a contributory factor since corruption
involves both givers and takers. The givers are mostly citizens or other
users of services who have limited information. Existing legislation
contributes to this phenomenon as public agencies are not required to
divulge information concerning specific decisions or actions to the public.
Our citizens, having been brought up in this tradition and are not used to
demanding information. They are often unaware of their rights vis-a-viz
public agencies and of the remedies available if justice is denied to them.
That the right to information is a fundamental right of citizens and
consumers whether it be in relation to the attributes of the goods they buy
or to the benefit schemes provided by the state, is not a notion fully
accepted by our leaders and representatives.
Under these conditions, information barriers tend to create a setting in
which the incentives and opportunities for corruption gain strength. The
exposure of the average citizen to corruption tends to be episodic.
Everyone does not experience corruption on a daily basis.
If a person does not encounter the problem frequently, it is unlikely that
he will invest his time and resources in system reform. This indeed is a
major reason why it is difficult to organise effective collective action
The various factors discussed here when taken together, do explain a
substantial part of the phenomenon of corruption.
They no doubt interact with the tolerance to corruption in our society.
They also tend to make it more difficult for those who wish to resist
corruption to push forward.
Much of the reporting on corruption in the media refers to what might be
called 'grand corruption'. The pride of place here, of course goes to
political corruption and scams involving large contracts and patronage. But
there is also the phenomenon of 'retail corruption' that is less glamorous,
but that affects the lives of common people all over the country and from
day to day.
The reference here is to the widespread corrupt practices that citizens
encounter when the try to access many essential services provided by the
It is difficult to assess the real magnitude and spread of both grand and
retail corruption. They are often inter-linked and tend to reinforce each
other. What is being reported in the media or debated in parliament is
perhaps like the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Torrential rain kills 21 in AJK, Punjab
MUZAFFARABAD, July 29: Twenty-one people were killed in rain-related
tragedies in Azad Kashmir and Punjab on Tuesday.
Sixteen people were killed in flash floods, hill torrents and lightning,
triggered by continued heavy rain which hit two villages in the north of
Muzaffarabad district. The victims were from two families, in Panjor Bandi
and Sarli Sacha villages.
The SSP Muzaffarabad, Tahir Mahmood, told Dawn that a flooded nullah swept
the house of one Faqeer Hussain Shah in Panjor Bandi village.As a result,
Faqeer Hussain,his wife, four sons and two daughters were killed. So far
only the body of a three-year-old son of Faqeer Hussain was recovered. The
names of other victims could not be ascertained.
In Sarli Sacha village, about 45 kms from here,lightning struck two
adjacent houses due to which eight members of the family of one Ameerullah
perished while three others suffered injuries.
Local met office said that 50 to 60 mm rain was recorded in these areas on
Monday midnight. Heavy rains have also resulted in landslides on various
roads on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad.
PUNJAB: At least five people were killed and 11 others injured due to
rain-related incients in southern Punjab. Thirty-five houses were damaged
in Multan, Muzaffargarh, Kot Addu and Mailsi.
According to the National Flood Forecasting Bureau (NFFB), heavy rain in
the upper and lower catchments of river Chenab caused high flood at Marala
and its two nullahs, Palku and Aik.
Ravi nullahs - Basantar, Kather, Bein, Ujh, Deg, and Hasri - were all
flooded in the evening, the NFFB reported.
In many cities rain started after 1am on Tuesday. But in the upper and
lower catchments of the Chenab it started on Monday evening, the NFFB said.
In Lahore, even 90mm of rain flooded almost the entire main city. About
72mm rain was recorded at the Lahore airport. It started at 2am and
continued till 2pm intermittently.
The local met office reported that the rain in Lahore and elsewhere was
caused by the inter-action between a westerly wave and the monsoon current
penetrating deep into the country.
However, NFFB Director Mohammad Munir Sheikh said there was no westerly
wave or any other special system which caused the rain. It rained due to
the interaction between isolated cells developed over many parts of the
country, night cooling and the topographical factor.
That was why, he said, heavy rain, the hallmark of special weather systems,
remained confined to only a few places and was not widespread.
Mr. Sheikh predicted thunderstorm/rain with isolated heavy rainfall in many
parts of Punjab and in the upper catchments of rivers Chenab, Ravi and
Sutlej during the next 24 hours.
He said Chenab would be in high floods at Marala, Khanki and Qadirabad
during the next 24 hours.
Our Multan correspondent adds: Irshad Bibi died of lightning in Village
Ghulam Qasim and Muhammad Sarwar died in Kot Addu when a wall fell on them.
Three other members of his family sustained injuries in the same incident.
In Thal-Bohar, Mailsi, a woman and her minor daughter were killed when
their house collapsed. Three other people of their family were injured.
Our Islamabad Bureau adds: Heavy rains lashed northern Punjab on Tuesday
with Jhelum receiving the highest amount of rainfall - 104.6mm -in the last
The twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad were hit by heavy rain which
started early in the morning and continued intermittently throughout the
day. According to Met office, Rawalpindi recorded 37mm of rain while
Islamabad had 41mm rainfall during the day. In Rawalpindi and Islamabad it
rained intermittently throughout the day.
The Leh Nullah was in moderate flood. The low-lying localities in and
around the city and saddar areas of Rawalpindi were inundated by the
overflowing nullahs and drains. Water entered some of the low-lying
Moderate to heavy rainfall has been forecast in scattered places in the
Punjab, Kashmir and at isolated places in Sindh and NWFP in the next 36 hours.
Meanwhile, the district administration in Rawalpindi has made arrangements
for the protection of citizens against floods in Leh Nullah.
A flood control room has been set up in the office of the deputy
commissioner, Rawalpindi. Special mobile teams have been set up to
implement flood control plan. Flood relief camps have been set up in the
city to look after the affectees in case of emergency.
Pakistan takes stand on SC expansion
ISLAMABAD July 31. The foreign office in a statement here on Thursday
stated that it favoured "expansion of the non-permanent elected component
of the Security Council only", clearly indicating that it rules out
addition of any new permanent members to original five permanent members,
The United States, China, France, Britain and the Russian Federation.
The statement on behalf of the Foreign Ministry given by the spokesman at
Thursday news briefing stated: "Pakistan has consistently maintained the
position that the (proposed) reform of the Security Council has to reflect
not only the absence of consensus in 1945 about permanent membership and
the veto, but also the changes in realities over the past 50 years.
"The most significant of these is the growth in the membership of the
United Nations as a result of decolonization", the statement said and added
"this and the universal move towards democratization, require an expansion
of the non-permanent elected component of the Security Council only".
It stressed that "the actual performance of different member states of the
United Nations in fulfilling the obligations resulting from the Charter and
the resolutions of the United Nations, and their respectively acceptability
within their own regions are also fundamental considerations".
The statement averred "there can be no possible acquiescence by Pakistan to
any arrangement which departs from these principles". The Foreign Ministry
and Pakistan's Permanent Mission in New York, it stated, would continue to
monitor all developments in this regard to ensure that Pakistan's interests
remained fully safeguarded.
Apart from Japan and Germany, India is reported to be strongly lobbying for
its still unannounced bid to seek "permanent membership" because of its
preeminence as the largest democracy and its political stature in world
Ehtesab law termed un-Islamic
LAHORE, July 31: The Lahore High Court proceedings took a dramatic turn on
Thursday when, just after the petitioners' arguments against the validity
of the Ehtesab Act had concluded on Thursday, and the attorney-general had
partly argued the government's case, a prominent lawyer termed the law as
"un-Islamic" and ultra-vires of the constitution.
Attorney-general Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq had partly argued the
government's case against the maintainability of the writ petitions when a
journalist, Jalilur Rahman, filed his petition. Advocate Rafiq Ahmad Bajwa,
representing the journalist, submitted that the accountability law was
invalid for it was passed by a national assembly which was not legally
constituted.He said that elections to the national assembly were held under
the People's Representation Act, 1976, which was ultra-vires of the
constitution. The election system under the law contemplated that people
sought the national assembly membership. Islam did not permit people to
aspire for offices, the counsel stated. Pointing out deficiencies in the
law, Rafiq Bajwa said the provision about reward to the informers amounted
to corrupting the people. The amount taken as bribe by the accused under
the Ehtesab act would be taken by the government instead of being returned
to the person who paid it. "What good could be expected of the government
which depended on the bribe money," the counsel argued. The law, he added,
punished for keeping the money and not for corruption. The court asked the
counsel as to which provisions of the constitution were violated by the
issues raised by him. He said that the deficiencies pointed by him were
against the spirit of Islam. Corruption could only be weeded out by bona
fide acts, he said, and referred to the step taken by the LHC chief justice
which successfully controlled corruption in the high court offices. Rafiq
Bajwa said that the act was un-Islamic because it prescribed imprisonment
as a punishment. Islam allowed punishment of Had and Taazir only. There was
not a single example that a person was imprisoned during the times of the
Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him).
The court asked if this could not have been introduced by way of Ijtihad.
The counsel replied that the principles laid down in the Quran and Sunnah
could not be changed by Ijtihad. He said the effects were not restricted to
the offender but his family and society also suffered. Islam only allowed
for detention and not imprisonment. The counsel challenged the act for
being applicable retrospectively. He reiterated that the act was passed to
serve the interests of its architects and not for eradicating corruption
from the society.
The petitioners' arguments against the validity of the Ehtesab Act
concluded on Thursday, after which the five-member Lahore High Court bench
adjourned the proceedings for Aug 18 when the attorney-general will start
The constitutional petitions challenging the act were filed by the former
Punjab chief ministers, Mian Manzoor Wattoo and Sardar Arif Nakai; former
federal petroleum minister Anwar Saifullah; PPP leader Haji Nawaz Khokhar;
Wukala Mahaz for Safeguarding the Constitution and a journalist, Jalilur
Rahman. A reference was also made by the Ehtesab bench, comprising Justice
Mian Allah Nawaz and Justice Mohammad Islam Bhatti, for determining whether
the act was discriminatory in nature and whether it protected the
proceedings initiated under the Ehtesab Ordinance, 1996. Earlier, the
petitioners had raised objections about the powers given to the Ehtesab
cell. No guidelines were laid down about the working of the cell.
Air fare up by 10pc: applications from Aug 17
ISLAMABAD, July 31: In the Haj policy for the year 1418 Hijri, announced
here on Thursday, the government has increased the amount to be charged
towards the Haj expenses with a 10 per cent rise in air fare and fixed Aug
17 as the date to begin collecting applications for Haj under the regular
as well as sponsorship schemes.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Raja Zafarul Haq announced an
increase of 10 per cent in Haj air fares. He explained that the Haj
expenditure had gone up this year because of the devaluation of the
Pakistan rupee against the US dollar. He informed that the rate of US
dollar for the purpose of providing foreign exchange quota to each pilgrim
had been fixed at Rs44.02.
A pilgrim travelling from Karachi will have to pay Rs70,449 while one
travelling from other stations-Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Quetta, Sukkur
and Peshawar-will pay Rs73,249 each.
The Haj expenses for the pilgrims under the regular and the sponsorship
scheme will, however, be the same.
Though he did not mention the number of pilgrims who would be allowed to
perform Haj next year, Raja Zafarul Haq admitted that the government was
considering reducing the number of pilgrims because of the problems faced
in the past.
"The number will be announced later after the finalization of arrangement
for the pilgrims," he said, assuring that Pakistan would utilize its full
quota of pilgrims allotted by the Saudi government. In a bid to minimize
the financial burden on the pilgrims, the minister said, the government was
requesting PIA to reduce the stay of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia from 41 days
to 30 or 35 days.
The Haj applications under the regular scheme will be received by the banks
from Aug 17 to Sept 5, and from Aug 17 to Sept 20 for the sponsorship
scheme, it was announced.
As in the past, those who have already performed Haj, or are below the age
of 18 will be barred from performing Haj. However, the group leaders and
the mehram accompanying the women belonging to the Sunni sect will be
allowed to apply. The intending pilgrims have been asked to apply in groups
of 5, 10, 20 and 50. The government will arrange for the pilgrims'
accommodations in Makkah and Madina but those who opt for their private
accommodation will be required to furnish its details to the authorities.
The minister said the bus journey from Makkah to Madina and back has been
made optional and SR150 will not be deducted from those pilgrims who would
want to travel on their own.
In a question-answer session, the minister categorically said the
restrictions on the special Haj quota will be retained and no one would be
allowed to perform Haj on government expenses. However, the special quota
for the industrial labour, benevolent fund and the defence personnel, he
clarified, would remain intact.
He said that the government would impart proper training to the intending
pilgrims this year.
UMRA POLICY: While announcing the Haj policy for the next year, Federal
Minister of Religious Affairs Raja Zafarul Haq said the secretary of his
ministry, Lutfullah Mufti would be holding talks with the Saudi charge
d'affairs to formulate a comprehensive Umra policy, APP reports.
According to the agency, he said the proposal of the Saudi government to
send pilgrims for performing Umra with a contractor who would also be
responsible to get the pilgrims back was not practicable.
MoUs on defence, investment signed
Hasan Iqbal Jafri
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1: Pakistan and Malaysia signed two memorandums of
understanding on defence and investment here onFriday after formal meetings
between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Malaysian counterpart, Dr
"The talks covered an entire spectrum of Pakistan-Malaysia relations with
special emphasis on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation," Foreign
Secretary Shamshad Ahmed briefed reporters after the two-hour meeting
between the two chief executives.
In a significant measures to enhance bilateral relations, the first MoU
deals with defence cooperation between the two countries aimed at promoting
training, joint military exercises and exchange of officers for staff
college training, officials said.
The other pertained to a joint venture between the government of Punjab,
the Punjab Industrial Development Board and a Malaysian company,
Inno-Enhance, to build an export-processing zone near Raiwand. The 500-acre
zone is estimated to cost about Rs1.6 billion, including Rs75 million for
land acquisition and the rest for developing the project.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi said the two countries would
like to build upon their relationship by expanding trade and investment ties.
"The relations between the two countries are at a very good level," he told
Dawn. "What we need to do is to expand these bilateral relations."
He said Malaysia would share its experience of privatizing state-run
companies in addition to improving relations in science and technology,
education and defence.
Power projects involving kickbacks may be scrapped
ISLAMABAD, July 26: The Cabinet committee on Energy is meeting on Monday to
discuss the report of Nizam Shah committee that is said to have recommended
the scraping of those power plants which were set up without following
certain criteria, and involved kickbacks.
Talking to Dawn Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural
Resources, pointed out that the committee has suggested ways and means for
bringing down the cost of the private power. 'But the private power
projects which were set up fairly without any under hand deal of kickbacks
should have no fears or doubts, he added. 'We intend to honour every such
project and agreement,' he assured. Only those project, he pointed out,
should fear any problem which have been set up without following certain
procedure. 'This report of the committee is now with the government and a
special committee of the cabinet comprising the ministers of Finance and
Water and Power will give its report to the prime minister for final
decision after Monday's meeting,'
Answering a question, he said, Pakistan is hoping to have $ 100 million
foreign investment during next 18 months period as a result of a broad
understanding reached with a number of foreign companies.
'More than 23 new concession agreements with foreign oil companies will be
in place soon to get $ 100 million investment in a period of one year to 18
months period,' said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
Also he said that bids will be invited shortly from oil exploration
companies to offer them concessions for finding out oil in different parts
of the country.
In the refining sector, he pointed out, Pakistan is going to have a new
refinery in Multan after 30 years with the capacity of 100,000 barrels of
products per day. 'Bids have already been invited for the new refinery and
after the evaluation, work will be awarded to one of the bidding companies
to be responsible for shaping a consortium for the project,' Nisar Ali Khan
Responding to a question he said that the refinery project is a joint
venture between Par Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) and Abu Duhabi.
He said the Government has managed to increase the capacity of National
Refinery Ltd. (NRL) and Pak Refinery Ltd. (PRL). 'And new Attock Refinery
is complete and its inauguration will be done by me next month,' he added.
On the marketing side, he said, due to his personal efforts, the Government
managed to get Shell Oil company in 1992, which is one of the biggest
companies. 'Shell has gone into oil market of Pakistan in a very aggressive
manner and it has set a standard and new trends which the marketing
companies must try to match,' Nisar Ali Khan asserted. Further, he pointed
out, the Government plans to de-regulate the petroleum sector for the
benefit of both- the local and foreign companies. 'Then we would soon be
de-regulating the import of oil and subsequently it will be given to the
He said an agreement has just been signed between Pakistan and
Turkiministan for laying a gas pipeline at a cost of 2 billion dollars. For
the first time, he claimed, a time schedule of year 2001 has been fixed for
the completion of the project. 'I am sure gas will be flowing into Pakistan
from Turkiministan in the year 2001,' he added. To a question, he said: of
course, it will greatly help the project if the situation in Afghanistan is
stabilised. 'However one thing is good that the entire route of the gas
pipeline is under the very much control of Taliban government.'
To another question Nisar said he still believed that there is scope for
another gas pipeline from Iran. 'This project is important as Pakistan can
offer this gas to a third country including India,' he added. He pointed
out that negotiations with Iran are still in the progress and, 'if the
project is feasible and pricing is right, we do not rule out the
possibility of a second gas pipeline.'
About the third pipeline from Qatar, the minister said he does see much
chances for it. 'Personally I do not see the project being practical in the
short run,' he stated.
To another question he said the withdrawal of orders related to tax
exemptions by the PML government will attract both local and foreign
companies to take part in the exploration activities. He regretted that the
PPP government had withdrawn reduction in the custom duties and other
incentives that stopped the foreign investment in the field of oil and gas.
'However things are now moving in the right direction and I am sure we will
have more and more foreign investment in the oil and gas sector,' he
Will cheap money have a real impact on the economy?
The banking sector reforms have started showing results and three out of
five big banks have reduced their lending rates while the other two are set
to follow suit shortly.
Muslim Commercial Bank and Habib Bank have lowered their maximum mark-up
rates by 1.09 and 1.83 per cent while National Bank of Pakistan has cut its
mark-up on four broad categories of lending by 1-5.84 per cent.
The bank borrowers have already got the facility of withdrawal of 1 per
cent excise duty on the banking loans. Combined together the cut in
mark-ups and the withdrawal of the CED have provided a really big relief.
The biggest relief has come for the exporters. The National Bank has not
only cut its lending rate on export bills by a huge 5.84 per cent to 16.06
per cent it has also reduced by 1 per cent to 12 per cent the concessionary
mark-up under the export refinance scheme. Under this scheme the State Bank
provides funds to the banks at 10 per cent which the bankers lend to
eligible exporters at 13 per cent.
Besides the bank has cut its mark-up on working capital finance and fixed
investment by 5.11 per cent to 16.79 per cent and by 1.83 per cent to 20.07
per cent respectively that would definitely help industrialists
particularly the exporters to boost production.
The revision in the NBP mark-ups has been well received by the trade and
industry as it seems to be the only genuine move made so far to offer cheap
credit to the private sector. The 1.09 per cent cut in the lending rates of
MCB is restricted to those borrowers who borrow at more than 17 per cent
thereby depriving the exporters of any relief who avail of the export
refinance scheme. Similarly 1.83 per cent reduction in the lending rates of
HBL is applicable only on the maximum mark-up charged by the bank that has
fallen from 21.90 to 20.07 per cent per annum.
Senior bankers say the United Bank and the Allied Bank may also announce a
downward revision in their lending rates shortly. They say that Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to Karachi on July 23 asked the
banks that are yet to announce a cut in their lending rates to do it as
quickly as possible. That is why the UBL and ABL are rather hastily
finalising theirnew mark-up slabs. Bankers are sure that the two banks may
come out with at least 1-3 per cent cut in their lending rates.
It is against this backdrop that the local private banks have also started
pruning their mark-ups though they are not coming out with public
announcement on it merely because their lending rates are still high. On
the other hand the foreign banks are keenly watching the situation and are
weighing the pros and cons of a possible reduction in their mark-ups.
Senior executives of foreign banks say the average lending rates of foreign
banks have already been much lower than those of the nationalised
commercial banks or private banks. Hence they can afford to delay a
downward revision in their rates. The average lending rates of big foreign
banks currently range between 15-17 per cent-close to the new mark-up rates
announced by the NBP. Executives of foreign banks are confident to compete
with the NCBs-their arch rivals-at these rates for some time. But they know
that they will have to lower their mark-ups sooner or later-in response to
the banking sector reforms that have created extra liquidity in the market
enabling the banks to provide cheaper credit to their clients.
They also know that the government and the State Bank would not allow them
to keep their present lending rates intact for long. So a nominal cut in
the lending rates of the foreign banks is also on the cards. This being the
present banking scenario one should hope that the supply-side economics
being prescribed for the revival of the economy will work.
It was under the supply-side economics that the government and the State
Bank offered a number of incentives aimed at creating surplus funds in the
market and enabling the banks to make cheap credit available to the private
These incentives have a price-tag for the economy both in terms of revenue
shortfall-in case of withdrawal of excise duty for example-and risk
running-as in the case of a 5 per cent cut in the statutory liquidity ratio.
The banks have been allowed to maintain only 20 per cent of their time and
demand liabilities as SLR instead of 25 per cent-one big incentive that has
saved some major banks from being penalised by the State Bank and created
surplus funds for others. But the reduced level of SLR obviously means
availability of lesser money of a bank with the SBP that can be refunded to
the depositors in case of a run on the bank. High risk indeed! Particularly
in a country like Pakistan...
That is why both the government and the State Bank would make it sure that
the benefit of every fiscal or monetary measure is passed on to the bank
borrowers and the depositors that in turn would boost industrial production
and increase saving rates. The latest development in the macro-economic
management is the commitment Pakistan has won from a visiting delegation of
the World Bank and IMF for a $1.6 billion loan under Enhanced Structural
Adjustment Facility-ESAF and Extended Fund Facility -EFF. The two sides
have agreed on the terms and conditions for ESAF and EFF and the first
tranche of the loan is expected to come in by October.
This will surely send a positive signal in the world market and enable
Pakistan to attract more direct foreign investment and help it bring in
additional foreign currency funds through the banks.
Besides the successful conclusion of talks on ESAF and EFF would also help
both the government and the private sector to raise more funds from other
multilateral lending agencies such as Asian Development Bank.
So the possibility is that the country would not only meet its immediate
debt servicing requirement it would also be able to inject further
liquidity in the economy.
But the 60 million-dollar question is whether the availability of cheap
money would really increase our production base as projected by the
economic managers. Many ifs need to be taken care of first if the answer is
to be Yes.
The government is trying to make the supply side economics work by offering
generous incentives to the banks and the bank loan defaulters but whether
these high-cost incentives would achieve the ultimate goal of lowering the
double-digit inflation and improving the quality of life of the common man
needs proper evaluation.
The coming down of banks lending rates is not an objective itself -rather
it is a means to achieve the ultimate goal of making goods and services
cheaper for the people through a complex series of trickle down effects.
That could only be achieved when the monetary and fiscal measures go hand
in hand supported by a very strong political will to ensure an efficient
macro-economic management and the just distribution of wealth.
Lately some laws have been made to give greater autonomy to the State Bank
thereby keeping the monetary policies independent of political influences
yet the right kind of correlation between fiscal and monetary policies are
yet to be seen.
For example the government has so far failed to tap the potential of
agriculture tax and extend the scope of the general sales tax on to the
retail stage. These two things should have been done much earlierto support
the new relatively more market-related monetary policy and to ensure
achievement of the objectives of the supply side economics.
If the agricultural tax continues to be a slogan rather than a reality and
if the industrial and services sector are squeezed to yield more to the
public exchequer-the ultimate target of lowering inflation and improving
the quality of life would not be achieved. Similarly if income and income
alone is taxed-and not consumption-the creation of surplus funds would do
little to increase the saving rates. It would rather serve to encourage
wasteful consumption-more so because of existence of a big parallel economy.
Besides the lack of the political will to ensure efficient management of
the economy and just distribution of wealth gives a crude reality check to
those who believe that the availability of cheap money would bring bonanza
for the businesses and cut the back-breaking inflation to an extent where
the common man would take a sigh of relief.
The intensity of this lacking manifests in many ways-in growing lawlessness
and increasing socio-sectarian conflicts to name a few that can always take
a heavy toll on the economic performance of the country.
Economy fast becoming 'dollarized'
AT WHAT point will the dollarization of our savings, which is a recent
phenomenon, be cut off or officially discouraged or be made less rewarding?
If only these deposits which have risen to $8.5 billion by now, inclusive
of resident and non-resident deposits, represented genuine savings that
might have been welcome. In fact the deposits represent a large part of the
capital and working capital diverted from industries and business houses
into foreign and Pakistani banks as dollar deposits.
At Rs 360 billion today, they are larger than the revenues of the country
for a whole year and that is a matter of considerable concern for all
interested in the well-being and economic progress of the country.
So much money sitting in banks as foreign exchange while 4,000 industrial
units are sick and clamouring for funds to be used as working capital is a
This money ought to be normally employed for productive purpose but is not.
Instead, the government has used up all that for meeting its own foreign
exchange needs in view of the large trade and balance of payments deficit,
which for the last two years together was $8.5 billion.
On the other side, there is the argument that if the facility for
depositing such savings and idle capital in foreign exchange accounts in
local banks was not there, it might have gone abroad to add to the $30 to
50 billion already there, while some estimate the amount far higher.
The State Bank of Pakistan says that deposits of overseas Pakistanis in
foreign exchange accounts are falling while those of Pakistanis are rising.
It could well be that much of the deposits of Pakistanis were in fact
deposits of resident Pakistanis who now feel secure enough under the Nawaz
Sharif government to declare them as their own funds.
An added advantage is that those with foreign exchange deposits in Pakistan
banks can get up 70 per cent or more in rupee loans which carry an interest
of 17 to 18 per cent which is much cheaper than having to raise loans at 22
per cent or more. And one gets rupee loans on dollar deposits instantly.
In fact because of this advantage, the government is convinced there will
be no run on the dollar deposits. Mr V.A. Jafarey, adviser to Ms Bhutto on
Finance, used to argue this is purely a swap arrangement as the depositors
get cheap rupee loans on their deposits plus interest in dollars.
But only about 60 per cent or more of the large depositors are reported to
have obtained rupee loans. The dollar depositors also real terms but also a
part of the capital.
But while what is happening is good for both the government and the
depositors in such inflationary conditions, much of that money should
normally be employed in industry.
And how much of this money represents defaulted loans of Rs 130 billion
which is equal to half the rupee value of the foreign exchange deposits is
not known. Surely a sizable part of the deposits should be the outcome of
the defaulted loans and the fuel which should be running the 4,000 sick
It is time the government gave serious attention to these deposits not so
as to hurt the depositors but to explore what part of that could be used
for revival of the industry.
That could be through the reduction of interest rates on such savings, but
the fact is that raising the interest rate for two years deposits under the
National Debt Reduction of the Prime Minister to 7.5 per cent for two years
to 9 per cent for 5 years has not resulted in larger deposits on this account.
The response including through transferring old deposits to new accounts
has not been encouraging at all.
The basic solution to the problem is reducing inflation not statistically
but actually, beginning with sustained reduction of the budget deficit and
steadily lowering of government borrowing.
When inflation comes down, devaluation would also drop and the people will
not rush to seek sanctuary in dollar deposits. Equally important, is for
the return on the rupee deposits to be enhanced, at least five per cent
above the real inflation level.
DFIs reluctant to cut lending rates
KARACHI, July 31: While major commercial banks have cut their lending rates
in response to the incentives offered by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)
the development financial institutions are yet to follow suit.
Senior executives of DFIs say they are examining the possibility of
slashing the mark-ups but are reluctant to set a deadline for it. 'We are
looking into the possibility...but it would be premature to say as to when
we will lower our lending rates,' said the chief executive of a major DFI.
He said unlike the banks the DFIs are supposed to offer long term loans the
mark-ups on which cannot be revised all at once. 'We have to see whether
and how long we can sustain a slash in our lending rates.'
Four out of five major commercial banks namely (i) National Bank (ii) Habib
Bank (iii) Muslim Commercial Bank and (iv) Allied Bank have lowered their
mark-ups by about 1-6 per cent this month in response to a set of
incentives announced by the SBP.
Executives of DFIs say many of the SBP incentives accorded to the
commercial banks do not apply on the DFIs in the first place adding that
the ones that do apply would take time in helping the DFIs out of their
'We can cut our lending rates only when our own cost of fund declines to a
level where a downward revision of the rates is sustainable,' said the head
of a state-run DFI. He said the cost of funds the DFIs raise from the local
market oscillates between 18-20 per cent depending upon the maturity of the
fund adding that the cost of foreign currency funds is lower by only 2-3
per cent if generated without having a forward cover by the SBP. 'The cost
of foreign currency funds comes to as low as 12 per cent but that relates
to the indirect funds raised by the depositors and not the DFIs themselves.'
But the situation is bound to change. The cut in lending rates by major
banks supported by a more frequent inflow of foreign currency swap funds is
going to make cheap money available for the DFIs. 'That is what we are
expecting...but that has to happen yet...only then we would be able to cut
our mark-ups,' said a senior executive of a leading DFI.
Unlike fund managers at the commercial banks the executives of DFIs are
also not much optimistic about inflow of foreign funds in the wake of an
understanding reached between Pakistan and the Briton Wood institutions for
a $1.6 billion loan. The first tranche of the loan is expected to come by
the end of October.
They say they do not believe that the said understanding would help the
DFIs attract much of the foreign funds from multilateral lending agencies
and fund managers. 'Multilateral agencies and international fund managers
would not start pouring in money particularly long term funds in Pakistan
only because of our initial agreement with the IMF and the World Bank,' an
executive said. He said the inflow of long term foreign funds is always
subject to a deep scrutiny of the financial health of the borrower besides
the credit worthiness of the country as such. 'Since our financial sector
is undergoing structural reforms we should not expect that foreigners would
find it commercially viable to lend long term funds.'
Vested with greater autonomy in January this year the State Bank has rather
refrained the commercial banks from making project lending that is supposed
to be the exclusive responsibility of the DFIs. On the other hand it has
intensified its vigil on the DFIs to ensure that they do not lend short
term funds that is supposed to be done by the banks. This clear demarcation
of operational borders for the banks and DFIs is aimed at enabling the two
sets of financial institutions to enhance their performance. But naturally
it is giving tough time to the banks and DFIs. This is one of the several
reasons why all the banks have not been able to reduce their lending rates
and why the DFIs are taking too much time to do it.
But senior executives of DFIs say they are monitoring the changing trends
in the money market minutely adding if the trends show a consistent sign of
declining cost of funds and increasing liquidity they would quickly lower
their mark-up rates. Money market analysts foresee a 1-3 per cent cut in
the lending rates of the DFIs in the near future. 'The DFIs will have to
cut their mark-ups by at least 1-3 per cent,' says the president of a big
bank. 'The SBP has taken note of the delay on the part of the DFIs in
lowering their lending rates. It would not allow them to remain oblivious
of the most fundamental changes taking place in the financial sector.'
What the banker refers to is the supply side measures taken by both the SBP
and the government to reduce the cost of funds enabling the banks and DFIs
to cut mark-ups and help boost industrial production and exports. If the
DFIs do not respond to the new situation in the manner they should it would
frustrate the plans of reviving the economy-which the economic manager of
the country would not allow at any cost. That explains why the money market
analysts are sure that the DFIs too would have to cut their mark-ups.
SBP asserts authority over banks
KARACHI, July 31: The State Bank of Pakistan has reminded all the banks
that they are not supposed to follow any directive that is inconsistent
with the SBP policies or regulations.
A SBP circular issued on Thursday refers to a new section added to the SBP
Act on this subject and advises all the banks to ensure that they do not
take any action that is inconsistent with the policies, regulations and
directives issued by the SBP.
The relevant section of the SBP Act that the SBP circular has reproduced
for information and record is this:
"46B. Inconsistent directives not be issued:
No governmental or quasi governmental body or agency shall issue any
directive, directly or indirectly, to any banking company or any other
financial institution regulated by the Bank which is inconsistent with the
policies, regulations and directives issued by the Bank pursuant to this
Act, the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 (LVII of 1962) or any other law
Section 46B is one of the most crucial additions introduced to the SBP Act
in January this year to ensure that the banking system works sans political
influence and pressure.
Privatization thru stock exchanges
ISLAMABAD, Aug 1: Privatization Commission has decided to privatize
substantial chunk of the state-owned corporations through stock markets to
get better prices.
Informed sources told Dawn here on Friday that the Privatization
Commission, on the advice of the federal government, has asked many public
sector enterprizes to get themselves listed on the stock exchanges.
Sources said that the Allied Bank Limited has been asked to urgently get
itself listed so that its remaining 49 per cent shares could be disinvested.
"We will try all available options but primarily we want shares of state
enterprises to be floated on the stock exchanges for getting better deals,"
an official of the Privatization Commission said.
He said that the Corporate Law Authority (CLA) has started vetting
proposals to be offered for public subscription.
Sources said that while the government plans to disinvest a substantial
chunk of shares of the state-owned corporations through stock market, it
would also privatize them through strategic sale. "It depends as wherever
we will get good price we will exercise that option," an official said.
The decision to float shares of a number of state-owned units with the
stock exchanges was taken after witnessing buoyancy in the capital market.
The rise in market price of the PTCL shares to about Rs 45 per unit from Rs
28 (which remained stagnant for few years) has sent signals that the market
is congenial for floatations by public corporations.
Strategy at parleys with IMF pays off
THE LIGHT at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible, thanks largely to a
fine blend of bold decisions and copybook policies.
It was, indeed, a bold decision on the part of the government to cut loose
the shackles of the IMF by unilaterally abandoning the augmented Standby
arrangement so painstakingly arranged by Shahid Javed Burki, the caretaker
If we had continued with the augmented standby, the government would have
had to fix the budgetary deficit target for 1997-98 Budget at the
impossible level of 4 per cent of the GDP when 1996-97 was coming to an end
with the budgetary deficit shooting well past 6 per cent.
So, finance minister Sartaj Aziz was allowed room of at least one per cent
of the GDP, that is as much as Rs 30 billion as he made a tight budget for
the current year fixing an attainable budgetary deficit target at 5 per
cent of GDP.
It was, indeed, a politically bold decision on the part of the government
to put a hold on the defence budget as well as to take in hand a gradual
but firm programme of downsizing of ministries, departments and
corporations. It is also a very wise step on the part of the government to
go ahead with the programme without making an official announcement about it.
The biggest gamble which the government took was on the issue of tariff
reductions. Customs being the one sure source of revenue income,
governments normally tend to adjust the tariff rates upward rather than
bring them down, especially governments in those countries where dependence
on imports is more than overwhelming as is the case with Pakistan.
In the IMF's prescription, the decline in the income from customs due to
reduction in the tariffs is made up through the imposition of the general
sales tax (GST) and withdrawal of various duty exemptions allowed for
various non-economic reasons.
Since both these measures would have immediately impacted on the business
community on whom the government is depending to make a success of its
economic policies, they were both very wisely postponed to some more
opportune point of time in the immediate future, perhaps to the next
financial year when the government would be in a politically as well as
economically better position to neutralise the blackmailing clout of the
Instead, the government has tried to make good the immediate expected
declines in the income from customs side by proposing an improved
collection of State Bank profits as well as by keeping a tight rein on
non-development and development expenditures.
Here too, the government was helped by the fact that it was not cramped by
an on going IMF arrangement. Indeed, if we had continued with the IMF 's
standby arrangement, the government would not have been able to postpone
these measures and as a result the business community would have withdrawn
its cooperation and the whole edifice of restructuring would have simply
Here it would not be out of place to recall that a special private sector
negotiating session was held at the aid-to-Pakistan consortium
meeting of April 1995 in Paris to get the then government to agree to give
back all the concessions it had withdrawn from the business community in
the 1994 budget in order to be able to reform the economy in accordance
with the IMF prescription. So, when you are with the IMF, they want you to
eat the cake and have it too.
Alongwith these reforms, the government has also started taking steps to
bring down the cost of money which has had an even more beneficial effect
on the overall cost of production.
Also, by giving full autonomy to the State Bank, it has also taken care of
the ever-escalating borrowing from the banks to bridge the budgetary gap.
This way, it has made it possible for more financial resources to be
diverted towards the private sector.
As a result of all these steps and also due to the fact that the government
has allowed the five most popular scrips to have more the 50 per cent
weightage in the Karachi Stock Exchange index, lively activity is being
witnessed on the country's capital markets. Matters have been helped
immensely as well by the flow of western and East Asian hot money in the
direction of our capital markets.
Meanwhile, both the Americans and the IMF have sent highly positive
signals, the one with the promise to do away with the Symington amendment
and the other with the pledge to extend an Extended Structural Adjustment
Facility (ESAF) amounting to $1.6 billion over the next three years by
If this materialises, Pakistan's risk rating would improve immensely and
the country would be able to mobilise loans at much favourable terms with
which it can get rid of the $2 billion worth of short-term loans mobilised
in panic at highly unfavourable terms by the former interim finance
minister Shahid Javed Burki to show that he could manage the economy much
better than any local Pakistani.
Also, an ESAF which endorses the figures and numbers envisaged in the
current budget (a budgetary deficit of 5 per cent of the GDP, no
consumption tax, no withdrawal of duty exemptions, no real agricultural
income tax and a very low allocation for annual development plans including
the SAP and no promise of increases in utility charges or devaluation) is
expected to help us attract genuine buyers to our privatisation market
where almost all utilities are up for sale.
In fact, the IMF is said to have proposed that it would extend soft loans
outside the budget (which would not upset the 5 per cent GDP figure of
deficit) for restructuring the non-profitable public sector units and
organisations before they are put on sale in order to ensure a good price
for each of them.
So far so good. The flicker of light which is visible at the end of the
tunnel is due mainly to the steps taken by the government in the last six
months as well as the other developments that have taken place here since.
These steps also include the 13th and 14th amendments and promise to hold
the census in October to be followed by local bodies elections. However,
the government has yet to take care of the law and order situation which is
deteriorating by the day in Karachi and major towns of the Punjab.
Also, so far the private sector has not responded to the governmental
measures with the enthusiasm with which it was expected to welcome them.
But then, we can still give them another three months before hitting the
Another issue which needs to be monitored closely is that of the crop
situation. If the agricultural sector grows at its normal rate, everything
would suddenly get brightened up on the economic front. Our exports would
pick up even if the business community continued to drag its feet. But in
case of even a slight reversal in the agricultural sector, all the
hardships that the current restructuring is likely to throw up in the
coming months would assume a very harsh form nullifying all the good work
of the government.
The second issue that needs to be kept in mind is the effect of the hidden
clauses of the WTO on our exports. These hidden clauses refer to the
definition of anti-dumping law, the ISO related quality barriers, and the
anti-child labour, environmental and corruption related impediments against
And above all, only sustained efforts over the next 24 months on the fronts
of the economy, governance and tax collection without any regard to the
immediate political prices would yield the desired results and take the
country out of the dark tunnel it has been creeping through since decades.
Bears make heavy profit-selling, index falls by 56 points
By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI, Aug 1: The KSE 100-share index got a fresh hammering on Friday as
bears indulged in heavy profit-selling at the higher levels, pulling it
further down by 56 points at 1,933.26.
In the morning session, the index, after falling as low as 57 points,
managed to finish partly recovered around 1,948.96, showing a decline of
48.55 points. However, in the evening session, it lost seven points to
finally close the weekend session at 1,933.26.
Many analysts fear it could breach the barrier of 1,900 points before
recovering but is expected to stabilize around 1,850 points.
"A decline of 90 points or about 5% in two sessions is colossal and
reflects that the recent run-up was largely inspired rather than a genuine
one," said a leading analyst.
The market appears to have decided to beat a hasty retreat as the exponents
of the bull-run were not inclined to go further with those who could take
risks too, he added.
It was satisfying to note that genuine investors did not ride the bandwagon
and are bit happy as they probably could not have digested the big retreat
Some floor brokers said the correction was overdue in the wake of last four
weeks sustained run-up and there is nothing to worry as the market is
expected to resume its upward drive when the trading resumes next week.
Analysts were, however, not inclined to take a bearish view of the last two
days sell-off, pulling the index down by about 80 points, and termed it
"the market's technical demand and correction long overdue."
"The IMF-led buying euphoria is fading out by each session as some of the
bargain-hunters are leaving the market with the same speed as they did
enter some four weeks ago, of course after taking home a hefty purse," said
a leading analyst.
The KSE 100-share index was quoted 45.26 points lower in the morning
session at 1,944.25 as compared to 1,989.51 a day earlier and in the
evening session it suffered fresh setback of 11 points. It was down about
60 points after the trading resumed in the morning.
Unlike Thursday's session, when the broader market performed well despite a
big decline in the index, the situation in the short Friday session was not
that happy as the decline was widespread, indicating hasty liquidation on
some of the leading shares.
The bulk of selling was confined to the leading index shares, notably those
which hold about 60% weightage in the index and pull it down or bring it up
as they like just in one go.
PTCL, which holds a weightage of about 32%, finished with an extended loss
of Rs 1.05 and so did Hub-Power, falling by 90 paisa, and ICI Pakistan, Rs
The disturbing feature was that the sell-off covered the entire list,
partly because of weekend considerations, but there are reasons to believe
that further selling might be around.
The losing shares dominated the list under the lead of blue chips such as
PSO, Shell Pakistan, Bank Al-Habib, KESC, Engro Chemicals, Indus Motors,
Philips and BOC Pakistan, falling by Rs 2 to Rs 5.
Some of the ICP Mutual Funds, notably 4th, 6th, 8th and 13th, managed to
recover one rupee each but Shafiq Textiles, Packages and Lever Brothers
came in for renewed support and finished higher by one rupee to Rs 10.
Other losers were led by ICP SEMF, Bankers Equity, Crescent Bank, PIC, New
Jubilee Insurance, Maple Leaf Cement, Sui Southern, Honda Atlas and Nishat
Mills, falling by Rs 1.40 to Rs 2.25.
Trading volume fell to 71 million shares, partly because of a short Friday
session, from the previous 84 million shares, as losers maintained a strong
lead over the gainers at 150 to 345 with 48 shares holding on to the last
Hub-Power topped the list of most actives, off Rs 1.20 on 16 million
shares, followed by PTCL, lower Rs 1.25 on 16 million shares, ICI Pakistan,
down Rs 1.55 on 16.205 million shares, Japan Power, easy 40 paisa on 4
million shares, Dewan Salman, lower five paisa on 2 million shares, and
FFC-Jordan Fertilizer, off 80 paisa on 7 million shares.
The other actively traded shares were led by MCB, lower 75 paisa on 0.551
million shares, Bank of Punjab, easy 35 paisa on 0.182 million shares,
Faysal Bank, off one rupee on 0.103 million shares, and Schon Bank, lower
45 paisa on 0.101 million shares.
DIVIDEND: Souvenir Tobacco, cash 7.5% for the year ended June 30, 1997.
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Back to the top.
An exemplary judgment
IN August 1996, in the centre of Karachi, a lake and its peripheral park,
together admeasuring 246 acres and notified as a public amenity area, was
surreptitiously and illegally commercialized, and an agreement was signed
to lease it out to a developer for him to thereupon build commercial
property for pecuniary gain.
Is there anyone in this land of ours who is prepared to believe that this
could have been done without the tacit approval or active connivance of
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, her chairman of the Environment Protection
Agency doubling as her minister of investment Asif Zardari, her now
absconding chief minister in Sindh, Abdullah Shah, his now absent adviser,
'Tony Casino', and all their concerned ministers and official abettors?
And, is there anyone who could believe that such an agreement could have
been made without a lot of money changing hands, under the table?
We go back twentyfive years. Under instructions from President Zulfikar Ali
bhutto, his faithful minister for housing, town planning and local
government in Sindh, Jam Sadiq Ali, had a scheme prepared for the
development of the Clifton area of Karachi, and this then well planned area
notified as Kahkashan, KDA Scheme 5, Clifton, was born. On December 6,
1972, the president approved the plan for implementation, whereafter, from
'day one', all those empowered with 'discretion' to amend or change or
relax rules and regulations, have so done, with impunity and regularity,
for their own nefarious gain.
Amenity Block No. 6, admeasuring 246 acres of the notified Scheme 5,
comprises a seawater lake of 192 acres and a peripheral park area of 54
acres. This tidal lake, a portion of the eastern backwater of the port,
within the jurisdiction of the Karachi Port Trust, is also known as 'The
Boating Basin.' A stone embankment was constructed to contain the water,
and the fenced-in area was handed over by the lessors, the KDA, to the KMC
Come the third PPP government, and in August 1994 it was decided to develop
ponds for performing dolphins and seals and to build and operate an
amusement park on 10 acres of the 246-acre area. International offers were
invited. The only offer received was from the firm of Marine Animal
Productions (MAP) in Gulfport, Mississippi, USA. The firm's professionals
came to Karachi, discussed the project, and on March 28, 1995, a letter of
intent was issued by the KMC informing MAP that they had been selected and
that the KMC would negotiate with them exclusively. 'Terms of reference and
guidelines' were formulated by the Parks Department and approved by the
Legal Department of the KMC, envisaging the licensing of 5 acres of land
and 5 acres of water to the licensees.
Then came the marauders. The MAP was sidelined without assigning any
reason, the terms of reference were shelved. In June 1995, the project was
taken over by the KMC engineering department and the chief engineer
advertised in Dawn on the 25th of that month announcing that: "In
compliance with Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's Karachi
Socio-Economic Package" public offers were invited to build, own and
operate "A dolphin park and sea-sports complex at Boating Basin, Clifton -
the Diamond District of Karachi."
Six local builders, developers, entrepreneurs submitted offers and the KMC
selected developers Dolmen (Pvt) Ltd. After negotiations, KMC Administrator
Anzar signed an agreement on August 19, 1996, with Dolmen's managing
director Nadeem Riaz. The agreement, inter alia, envisages the leasing out
to Dolmen all of the 246 acres for a period of 30 years and enables the KMC
to "consider to extend the lease for such period and on such reasonable
terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed" between the two parties. It
also permits Dolmen to construct on 34 per cent of the total land and water
area "buildings and structures of all kinds relating to the components
defined in Clause 1 of the Agreement." The "components" include
administration/office blocks, amphitheatres, exhibition centres (shops?),
food outlets (shops?), merchandising outlets (shops), games and other
outlets, bowling alleys, billiard rooms, etc. It also envisages that "the
components shall, where appropriate, be updated and improved from time to
time under intimation to KMC." Of note are the words "shall" and
"intimation." No prior approval of the KMC is necessary.
Thus, Dolmen is virtually entitled to build and lease out a string of
commercial complexes over an area of 84 acres (406,560 sq. yds) of real
estate now conservatively estimated to be worth some Rs 25 billion.
In return, Dolmen is expected to provide recreational facilities and will
be responsible for "the diversion of sewerage from Nahr-i-Khayyam and the
inlets from Chinna Creek." It will pay to the KMC, by way of royalty, five
per cent of the fees charged for entrance to the amusement park, with a
minimum of Rs 5 per person. The lease rental for the total area has been
fixed at 50 paisa per square foot per annum (which with 'exemptions',
totals Rs 1,176,120 for the first year), compoundingly increasing by 15 per
cent per annum.
Come this government, come Federal Nawaz and Provincial Liaquat Jatoi, and
instead of cancelling and nullifying the disastrous agreement, they
authorized the execution of a lease deed which was executed on February 23,
1997, by the Land Department of the KMC. However, the Diamond District can
still be saved. Neither has the 'The Master Plan' submitted by Dolmen on
May 22, 1997, been approved by the KMC, nor has physical possession of the
area been handed over to Dolmen.
Block 6 is not the only block in the Diamond District that is being
savagely desecrated. For reasons that no one can satisfactorily explain,
the planning and building control jurisdiction of Blocks 8 and 9 have been
handed over to the Clifton Cantonment Board. KDA, the lessor of these
areas, maintains that plots 5 and 6 (between 'Yusuf Grand Square' and the
PBS petrol pump) in Block 8, on the main Clifton Road, have not been
legally and properly converted from residential to commercial plots, but
complains that the CCB has approved plans for commercial highrises now
being constructed thereon. Booking offices have opened - in Yousuf Grand
Square for plot 5, and in the 'CTC Continental Trade Centre' for plot 6.
Similarly, residential plot G-7, in Block No. 9 (on the corner of the main
Clifton Road at the very busy road junction next to the Do Talwar
roundabout) has not been legally commercialized but the CCB has allowed
thereon the construction of 'The Plaza', a complex of 150 shops and 130
To the culpable - the developers, manipulators, connivers, abusers of
public office, the men of the secretariats, authorities, corporations and
trusts - I recommend a reading, particularly of the paragraphs hereunder
reproduced, of the judgment delivered by Senior Puisne Judge of the High
Court of Sindh Wajihuddin Ahmad in Ehtesab Reference 3/97, The state versus
the accused chief minister of Sindh, Abdullah Shah, the accused conniver,
Ghulam Mustafa Bozdar, and accused developer, Mohammad Shabir:
"Coming now to Point No. 4, having found the guilt of accused Ghulam
Mustafa Bozdar not proved beyond all reasonable doubt, he qualifies for
acquittal and is accordingly acquitted. Co-accused M. Shabbir has been
found to trifle with law at every stage. He seems to have manipulated the
KBCA record. He, in addition, ex facie, took recourse to legal proceedings
and obtained orders therein, which may not be supportable on general
principles applicable to such like matters. To top everything, he made an
application (seeing no need to cite his own address) to absconding accused,
Syed Abdullah Shah, the then Chief Minister, Sindh, without fully,
explicitly or accurately stating the facts. Upon obtaining orders he
allegedly, in league with co-accused Syed Abdullah Shah, sought a pecuniary
benefit or favour which does not appear to have been permissible under the
existing ban. In the process, the disputed structure, which had almost
tripled in its dimension, was regularized. It is immaterial whether a
formal order of regularization was issued or was not issued. Such order at
the highest level was ex facie passed on the record and the ball was set
rolling for formalities to follow. As already said, under Section 3(1) (d)
of the Ehtesab Ordinance 1996, mere seeking of a pecuniary 'advantage' or
'undue favour' through 'improper means' for self or another is enough to
condemn a holder of public office and so also an abettor or beneficiary.
He, therefore, committed the offence of abetment in terms of Section 3(1)
(d) read with section 4(2) of the Ehtesab Ordinance 1966 and Sections 107
and 108 PPC and must be found guilty. Having been so found, he shall suffer
imprisonment for a period of 3 years and pay fine to the tune of Rs 10
million, the default carrying a further term of imprisonment of one year.
"As regards accused, Syed Abdullah Shah, the matter, for the present, shall
be consigned to record to be re-activated in course of time."
The cultural context
WHEN Versace, the internationally renowned designer, was gunned down in
Miami, he was mourned by millions. At his funeral, the beautiful people of
the world gathered to show their affection and admiration for an innovative
and controversial designer who had been at the cutting edge of the fashion
world for decades.
Similarly, when Marcello Mastrioni, the smooth, perennial Italian ladies'
man of the silver screen, died a few months ago, thousands of fans filed
past his body before his burial to pay their respects and to thank him for
the pleasure he had given them for all the years he had graced cinema
screens around the world. These are only two recent examples of artistes
who made such a strong impression by their talent that they will be
remembered long after their passing.
In a sense, the level of civilization a society has attained can best be
judged by how it treats its artistes, musicians, chefs, writers and actors.
By this criterion, we fall far short of any claim to civilization. In his
book "The Lotus and the Robot", Arthur Koestler expressed his amazement and
disgust over the shabby way an Indian sitar player was treated: throughout
his performance at a rich Indian's home, the audience chatted among
themselves, paying scarce attention to the performance. The attitude
towards even famous musicians is far worse in Pakistan: when a renowned
ghazal singer gently admonished the guests for their constant babble while
she sang at a wedding, the nouveau riche host publicly reminded her that he
was paying her to sing and not to lecture his guests. I am pleased to
inform readers that the lout has recently confessed to sundry scams and has
coughed up some of his ill-gotten gains.
In societies where creativity is respected, it is the talented who are
celebrities, while the bureaucrats, politicians and generals are boring but
necessary drones. Occasionally, political leaders attain star status
because of their personal charisma and style; businessmen, too, sometimes
become celebrities, but usually by surrounding themselves by intellectuals
and artists, or by sponsoring the arts. In civilised societies, money and
power are usually kept in the background, and it is generally considered
ill-bred to flaunt either in polite circles.
Here, the tendency is to show off wealth and clout in the most vulgar and
ostentatious way possible. Thus, "White Houses" and Pajeros proliferate,
many of them acquired either through scams or bank loans that disappear
into the black hole of the trough our movers and shakers feed out of.
According to a story that did the rounds in Lahore years ago, when Dr Abdus
Salam was being praised at a dinner party shortly after he had received the
Nobel prize for physics, a civil servant's wife snootily asked: "If he's so
bright, why couldn't he make it into the civil service?" Indeed, the late
lamented physicist's life and death make a powerful metaphor for the level
our society has sunk to. Here was one of the foremost minds of our times
who was desperate to promote scientific research in his country, but time
and again he was snubbed and rejected by the establishment just because he
was an Ahmadi. When he died recently, scarcely any well-known public figure
attended his funeral.
Given the lack of respect and reward we accord creativity, it is no wonder
that Pakistan has failed to produce writers, poets, artists and musicians
of an international level in the post-independence era. Our "midnight's
children" have been a generally intellectually barren generation; the
relatively few to shine have done so abroad. It would seem that the very
air in Pakistan discourages creativity. In such a stifling environment, is
it any surprise that the brightest and the best seek their fortune in
Quite apart from the numbing effect of excessive religiosity, the
questioning mind has to contend with an all-pervasive bureaucracy that has
turned Pakistan into a Kafkaesque nightmare. The endless red tape and
sleaze an ordinary citizen has to contend with simply to survive sap him of
all energy and drive. Anybody who is different, or tries to create
something new, is under threat either from the state or one of the many
armed gangs running around under one political banner or another. We have
reached a stage in our slide backward where conformity and mediocrity are
rewarded, and creativity and talent crushed.
Against this bleak backdrop - and without even going into the depressing
statistics that underline our socio-economic backwardness - it is
legitimate to ask whether Pakistan is indeed a failed state. Fifty years
after the state's creation, what are the achievements we can boast of?
Excellence in a few sports perhaps, but what else? Men like Faiz and Abdus
Salam belong to the pre-partition generation, so we can hardly take credit
for their lofty attainments. Leaving the higher aspects of civilisation
aside, we cannot even provide security to our citizens, education to most
of our children, or equality to our women and minorities.
Readers may well think that given our huge backlog of unmet needs, my
carping about the poverty of the intellect is misplaced. But this is not an
either-or situation: societies can strive for both simultaneously. Next
door in India, music, dance, drama, literature and cinema are all thriving.
OK, so most of the movies are lousy, but it is still a flourishing art
form. Here, cinema is virtually moribund as are most of the other arts. And
it is not that the economy is doing all that brilliantly either: day after
day, newspapers inform us of the precariousness of our existence.
Ultimately, successful societies come to terms with historical and
geo-political realities, and make the best of their physical and cultural
resources. Unfortunately, Pakistan's unending crisis of leadership has made
it impossible for us to come to resolve our identity crisis. Weak, insecure
leaders have found it politically expedient to cling on to slogans rather
than face reality. And the reality is that we are a South Asian nation with
a strong affinity to the Indian subcontinent; indeed, Muslims have enriched
its culture for a thousand years. We also have strong cultural ties with
Iran and Central Asia, apart from drawing upon the Anglo-Saxon tradition
through our colonial past.
There is an urgent need, especially as we draw close to our fiftieth
anniversary as a free nation, to accept and internalize these rich and
varied influences, rather than blindly reject them and try and assume a
fake Middle Eastern identity.
These views may not be popular, but will have to stand as my statement for
Pakistan's Golden Jubilee as I depart for a short vacation.
THE gunning down of Gianni Versace, the fashion designer on the steps of
his opulent Miami Beach palazzo is one more high-profile murder in the
United States. And as with all such slayings, it has sent shock waves
throughout the world of jet-set celebrities. But even before the police and
the FBI can get into the act, the media has pitched its camp and all but
There is saturation coverage and a likely suspect has already been chosen
and Andrew Cunanan, a gay party boy, who has been described as a male
prostitute was the candidate most likely to have committed the murder. But
worse, Cunanan was said to be a serial killer or a spree killer and was
suspected of having carried out several other grisly killings.
Whether the police and the FBI concur, the media had convicted Cunanan. Now
all that was needed was to find him. Has there been a rush to judgment?
There is a less sensationalised view that Versace killing may have been a
mafia hit. He was shot twice in the head at point-blank range and a dead
songbird was left by his side, the calling card of the mafia.
But Cunanan had the last say. He shot himself and brought about his own
The murder has also brought into focus the gay community in the United
States and unwanted attention to a fraternity of rich gay men who are not
out of the closet. The murder, in other words, has all the elements of a
suspense-thriller and I have not the slightest doubt that movie studios are
vying already to get a script together and have the cameras rolling. And I
have no doubt that book publishers already had their cheque books out to
sign on Andrew Cunanan as soon as he was caught. Celebrity-murder is big
business and if Andrew Cuananan had gone to the chair, he would have done
so as a rich man. Now others will write books and make money.
This is one side, the flip side if you like, of a high-profile murder. The
other side is the serious police work that goes into following leads,
interviewing witnesses, friends of Versace and Andrew Cunanan, the
gathering of forensic evidence, the ballistics tests. In other words,
substantial resources were being invested in trying to find the killer.
While the media is contributing its customary hysterics, there is also a
lot of in-depth investigation by serious television channels and
newspapers. And this will make certain that the murder will not be
forgotten once the public has got over the shock.
The point I am trying to make is that the murders are not solved by
rhetoric and tiresome platitudes about iron-hands and investigations on a
war-footing. Murders are solved by hard police work provided there is a
will to solve them. I mention this because the track-record of nabbing
killers of the murders that occur in this country with alarming frequency
is not encouraging at all. Is it entirely due to police incompetence or is
there some other reason?
We had recently the shocking and gruesome murder of Shahid Hamid. It would
be interesting to be told what sort of progress has been made in finding
not only those who pulled the trigger but also those who may have ordered
the killing. The public would like to know and would find it reassuring
that the authorities are hard at work, following up every conceivable clue
and that progress is being made. The public would like to be given some
credible proof of this progress.
That is the difference between the Versace killing and the murders that
take place in our country. The public in the United States is kept
informed, if not by the police, then by the media.
The public takes on a watchdog role. The Versace murder took place about
two weeks ago and Larry King has already had three programmes on it.
Both Time and Newsweek have done cover stories. The same applied to O.J.
Simpson and to the Oklahoma City bombing of a government building. Neither
the investigative agencies nor the media let go. They kept at it.
We have in Karachi daily killings and I wrote in a recent column that they
were covered like listings of stocks and shares. These are not high-profile
murders but they are murders all the same. We have never been told about
the progress that has been made in finding the killers. It could well be
that no progress has been made. Is it because these anonymous murders (not
being high-profile) are not being investigated? That being considered the
outcome of political infighting, there seems no need to waste valuable
police time on them?
One appreciates that the problems of Karachi are complex but surely if the
murders are treated as murders and not as part of the complex Karachi
problem, the random killings may be reduced.
The Versace murder was also a complicated one and involved glitter and
glamour and rich playboys and beautiful people but it was being treated as
a murder pure and simple. Everything else was peripheral. This is what our
police should be doing.
They should focus on the murder and who the likely killer or killers could
be. If there are political complications, it should be none of their
business. Good police work means a lot of slogging, of leg-work, of
tracking down information and acting on it. In other words, solid detective
work. It would be interesting to know how many unsolved murders are on the
files and how many have been solved and the criminals suitably prosecuted.
What would the ledger show?
No one doubted that killer of Versace would be found. It may have taken
days or months or years. But the killer would have been found. I wish I
could say the same for our daily murders.
Killing by any other name
AT A time when life never seemed so cheap, when even fun consists in a
bunch of senior air force recruits ragging a number of freshmen to the
point of their certain extinguishment - at such a time it will sound odd to
ask that the government for its own part opt out of blood sport. The point,
however, has to continue to be made. The state should not kill - even on
occasions when it does it legally.
The plea finds graphic endorsement in a case that came to a head last week.
One Maqsud Ahmad had been arrested in mid-1989 on a murder charge and was
eventually sentenced to death. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme
Court; so was his mercy petition by the president. While he was awaiting
his turn on the gallows it was found that the murder he was going to hang
for was included in a confession of crimes made by two other persons, Munna
and Pappi, who had been arrested about that time in some other case.
The SP concerned informed the court about this and soon a writ petition was
also filed. But nothing came out of these. The date of Maqsud's execution
was fixed for last July 23, the black warrant was issued, the relatives
were given time for their last meeting and then for their receiving the
dead body. A couple of Lahore newspapers meanwhile splashed the imminence
of the execution and also the possibility that the convict was innocent.
The relative then sent out a last minute appeal to the chief justice of the
Supreme Court, who then, just 24 hours ahead of Maqsud's mounting the
board, stayed the event and set up a review bench.
In another incident, Shamim Masih and Javed Masih of Hyderabad too were due
to hang about the same time. But hours before the zero point the word came
that they had been given a month's reprieve. It seems that a remark they
had made, that it was ironical that they were being put to death when the
country was preparing to celebrate its golden jubilee, has touched a
responsive chord in the president. But is another month of life beset with
death-angst any cause for rejoicing? Reverting to Maqsud Ahmad, if it
transpires that there had indeed been miscarriage of justice in his case
this would not be peculiar to Pakistan. It is known to happen now and then
in all criminal investigation and legal systems around the world, even
those that are far thorougher and more meticulous and incorruptible. The
episodes of the so-called Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six of Britain
are of recent memory. In Japan when the Supreme Court relaxed the
conditions for retrial of convicts in 1975 there were soon a number of
cases in which persons sentenced to death were judged not to have been
guilty at all.
The peculiarity in our conditions is that while people with resources are
able to play around with the loopholes in the system and then get away even
with murder, others like Maqsud who cannot afford even a lawyer of their
own are unable to put up a proper defence. The police, being what it is, is
prone to mislead the courts when that suits its purpose and it even
sometimes succeeds in its object.
It was only by a combination of accidents that Maqsud got his respite and
will, if he is after all judged to be innocent, get a second life. If S.P.
Mubashar had not kept publicly reiterating the testimony given to him by
Munna and Pappi, if a policeman had not felt persuaded late in the day to
endorse Maqsud's plea that the latter was indeed in his custody in Masti
thana on the day the murder had occurred, and if certain papers had not
seen in all this sufficient potential for public interest and for their
being able to claim some credit afterwards, Maqsud would long have been
gathered to the dust without having been heard of outside of the circle of
his family. This could well have happened. If it doesn't touch them, people
do not exert themselves against the current even if they know better.
Who knows then how many others who went down protesting their innocence
were really untruthful? Which judge when he sends a person to the gallows
can put hand on heart and say he is absolutely,infallibly certain of the
man's guilt? If the requirement of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' still leaves
a wee room for uncertainty - as it always must - why go for the ultimate,
the irreversible ending?
There are other arguments too. If humans do not have the power to give life
how can they assume the prerogative of taking it? If a criminal is
condemned for doing that how can the public executioner be applauded for
it? Regardless of who kills and who is killed, the fact of fundamental
importance is the same in both cases: the taking of a human life. And if
the law permits this to itself, how can it in conscience teach respect for
human life to the people? It is argued that violence among the public
compels violence by the state. The experience in fact is that the converse
is often more true: the more permissible violence is at the state level the
more it breeds that among the common populace.
It is recognised for instance that armed violence got an extraordinary
impetus during and following Ziaul Haq's years. This happened not just
because of the great facilitation of the availability of weapons. Much more
than that, the air was so full during all those years with authorised, even
glorified, mayhem that it gave common currency, a sort of routineness, a
more or less general acceptability to violence. People, or substantial
sections of them, were in short brutalised without knowing it.
There is no denying the revulsion one feels against the perpetrators of
heinous crimes - against the sectarian mosque and street killers of Punjab,
the corpse-baggers and mafia hounds of Karachi, and the rapists, kidnappers
and drug-peddlers up and down the country. The desire to have them hunted
down and then torn apart is altogether natural. But this is an expression
of boundless anger, of an overpowering impulse for revenge - which although
all too human are nevertheless not the most positive of human instincts.
What does that response avail? It does not undo the damage. On all evidence
it does nothing even to deter such damage in future.
Careful comparisons have been made of countries which have abolished the
death penalty (58 of them have so far done it totally and 42 others
virtually) and those who have not; comparisons also of the situations
within the same country before and after it did away with capital
punishment. These studies have nearly demolished the myth of deterrence.
Killing criminals did not diminish crime nor killing increased it. In our
own case, Karachi counted more than 700 killed during 1995 and upwards of
300 in 1996, both high enough figures, and the drop between one year and
the next as everyone knows was due to other reasons than any impact the
death penalty might all of a sudden have created. If Karachi's case was
peculiar, take Lahore. As many as 459 persons were killed here in 1995.
Worse still, the murder rate here has risen faster than the rate of the
city's population growth. What price deterrence than?
Those committing serious crime, or determined by law to be so doing, should
of course be put in a position not to be able to repeat their act and also,
if possible, to learn to become better human beings. Doing anything worse
is likely to do more damage than good all round.
One damage it does is to salve the social conscience: a crime is committed,
the criminal is liquidated and the law is vindicated, end of story. The
story in fact does not end there. The crime itself lives on. The society
meanwhile saves itself from facing up to its own guilt, its contribution to
the making of the criminal. It dodges sufficient recognition of the factors
that give birth to crime and cause it to thrive - factors such as
unemployment and social inequality; lack of education and poor housing;
sense of political wrongs and weakening of formal and informal means of
social control; involvement of powerful interests in drugs and arms trade,
and crime at the common level being in some part only a trickle-down effect
of concentration of criminality higher up.
Dostoevsky, who was himself once condemned to death and was saved at the
last moment by an amnesty that commuted his sentence, reflected deeply on
crime and punishment. The death penalty, he wrote profoundly, insults the
soul. True, it does coarser things too, as cases like Maqsud's, Shamim and
Javed Masih's among others' show. It cheats society. And it soaks in effect
to rival divinity.
Pakistan's disappointing show in Asia Cup
A disappointed Pakistan cricket team has flown back home from Colombo with
another vain attempt at success in the Asia Cup. Sadly the conglomerate,
sans some leading bowlers busy in fulfilling their commitments at the
English counties, could not break the jinx of a purely regional competition.
Pakistan has not been able to clinch the honours of a tournament launched
on the initiative of former cricket supremo of the country, Air Marshal
(Retd) Nur Khan, way back in April 1984. The cup was approved and donated
by the Air Marshal as was the Champions Trophy of hockey, a contest limited
to the elitist group of the game. The cricket tournament was to assess the
strength and weaknesses of the South Asian nations. In no time the Air
Marshal got the endorsement of the three South Asian nations, the original
participants. Sharjah was the agreed neutral venue for the inaugural
competition. The matches were enjoyed by the fervour of the Sharjah Stadium
as cricket has always given delight to the crowds in the sheikhdom. The
gruelling first tournament ended with the cup in the lap of India and
Gavaskar returned triumphant, enjoying luck at a place where India's record
is far from impressive. Pakistan, led by Zaheer Abbas, was beaten both by
Sri Lanka and India.
The Indians have been the champions four times with a hat-trick of success
Pakistan had a golden chance of lifting the cup in 1986, when India had
refused to play in Sri Lanka with relations between the two countries
having gone from bad to worse. Pakistan started quite strongly with a
smashing victory in the league round over Sri Lanka. However, with Imran
Khan unable to bowl the Lankans turned the tables on Pakistan in the final
and cruised home rather comfortably with a five-wicket victory.
Even in the fifth edition of the tournament at Sharjah, Pakistan's entry in
the final was blocked by Sri Lanka who beat them by five wickets in a
low-scoring match. The cup was bagged by India who were the winners for the
third time in a row.
The followers of the game have the right to ask when Pakistan will be able
to come out winners in a contest, competed by four South Asian
cricket-playing nations, one of which qualified for the tournament via the
ACC Trophy and at the annual meeting of ICC at Lord's got permission to
participate in international one-dayers. Colombo organised the sixth
edition of the Asia Cup in which Pakistan's overall record is
disappointing, even at their happy hunting ground of Sharjah. Certainly the
officials, who went with the squad as guide, and those present at the
cricket headquarters in the country, would blame the weather for their
stumble in Colombo. But was not the rain and poor ground conditions a
handicap for all the combatants in the tournaments? Did not the rain come
to the rescue of Pakistan in the key match against arch-rivals, India. The
Indian seamers, Kuruvilla and Prasad, especially the latter, exploited the
breeze with splendid work; vicious swinging pace humbled Pakistan with a
score of 30 for 5. Could Pakistan have saved themselves from the ignominy
of defeat? Thunderstorm forced the fixture to be abandoned and shifted to
the next day. A waterlogged outfield did not allow the match to be
replayed. The elements came in the way of the team's effort; it was
no-result. The supporters of Pakistan heaved a sigh of relief.
Did the batting in the competition click, ask the fans? No is the reply.
Only 239 were required against Sri Lanka. It was attainable. But apart from
Salim Malik who hit a well-planned 57 and Inzamamul Haq's brisk 48,
Jayasuriya's spin harassed the other batsmen, though generally it was a
team effort by the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Aamir Sohail was sadly out of touch and out of form. A batsman, who was
kept out of competitive cricket for six months, appeared to be shaky
instead of being a powerful hitter of the ball as before. An early
breakthrough, especially the fall of Sohail, heartened the rival team. But,
why the captain, Ramiz Raja, himself an opener, did not play his
specialised role? His supporters may point out the captain's slogging
against a weak Bangladesh attack. He should have exhibited gutsy strokes
against Sri Lanka, when, quick runs were required.
Did Ramiz Raja lead the team well? Were his field placing and bowling
changes error-free? Can his batting in a one-dayer be passed by the keen
observers of the game? These are the questions to be answered by the
cricket officials, the selectors, the coach and the manager.
Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup in an authoritative way. Their confidence has
gone sky-high after the island's success in the World Cup, an accolade
sought after by all cricket- playing nations. India was almost crushed. The
Sri Lankans, starting their batting in an unruffled way, put to sword the
Indian bowling- Prasad or no Prasad. The run-rate was never below seven. It
later crossed nine as they reached 100 without loss in just 11 overs. Their
openers cracked the ball with blinding pace. Later the Lankans slightly
slowed but romped home with the loss of only two wickets.
However, Sri Lanka's victory over India in the league match was quite
laudable. They had lost the key wickets of Jayasuriya and De Silva and yet
they recorded victory. Captain Ranatunga led from the front to hit what was
a well-planned century. He steered his side to a six-wicket triumph. They
had an unblemished record in the competition and once again exhibited their
advance in international cricket.
In the final it was Ranatunga again who demonstrated forcing shots to hit
an unbeaten 62. He deservingly got man of the series award.
The Indians, though lost, must be happy that Azharuddin has run into form.
In the Asia Cup matches he displayed enchanting shots with stylish touch.
The elements let us down: Zaheer Abbas
KARACHI, July 28: The Pakistan cricket team returned home in the wee hours
of Monday morning from Sri Lanka after their ill-fated campaign in the
fifth Asia Cup Cricket Tournament which concluded at Colombo on Saturday.
Host Sri Lanka won the cup after devastating the defending champions India.
Pakistan finished third in the four-team tournament with minnows Bangladesh
anchored at the rock bottom.
A clutch of 12 players along with Team Manager Zaheer Abbas and Coach
Haroon Rashid arrived in the city. Soon after, the outstation players
caught connecting flights for their respective hometowns. But both Saqlain
Mushtaq and Hassan Raza, who are currently engaged as professionals in
England, did not accompany the Pakistan squad as they left for London
directly from Colombo.
Team Manager Zaheer Abbas, one of the most stylish batsmen the game has
produced, told `Dawn' here today: "We all are extremely disappointed that
we were eliminated from the final without being able to lay our hands on
bat or ball."
With our fate hanging in the balance on the last round robin match between
India and Sri Lanka, all we were left to do was to watch that crucial game
on television in our rooms with a calculator in hand. But in the end it
proved to be futile," added the great former Pakistan captain.
"But by far,we had a superior run-rate than India after we had played both
Sri Lanka in the opener and then Bangladesh. So India had to score over 300
runs against Bangladesh if they batted first in a complete 50-over game,"
added Zaheer Abbas, the man who in his prime was nicknamed the Asian Bradman.
"The margin for defeat for India was 120 runs in an innings that consumed
the full quota of overs. Although, Bangladesh batted well against India,
they could not score enough runs and when the rain intervened, India were
left to get that modest score in only 20 overs. By every reckoning, that
kissed our chances goodbye," explained the one time destroyer of India's
famed spinning quartet.
"But then you see, the final turned out to be a hopelessly lopsided
contest. People at the ground came up to me and said it would have been a
much better final had Pakistan been playing," said Zaheer Abbas.
"You see, we did not do all that badly against Sri Lanka in the very first
match which we lost by only 15 runs. Still, I felt we should have won that
match had our set batsmen stayed a while longer. If that had happened it
would have been a completely different ball game," opined the dashing
former Pakistan number three batsman.
"On the first day against India we played on a two-bounce wicket which was
also wet and grassy. As such, we lost half our side for 30-odd runs. But
come to think of it, had we got about 90 runs in the match and had it not
been rained off, we could had won it," explained the Team manager.
"It was a peculiar wicket at the SSG which was not at all fit for a one-day
match. Besides being double-bounced, the wicket's characteristics were
really abnormal. The ball seamed in a quaint fashion. At times, it kept
stopping and dropping. Then at times it would simply keep flying from the
good length spot," stated Zaheer Abbas. "And when the match was washed out
again on the second day, we all felt that the elements had let us down,
which we had no control on,' said the former Pakistan Captain.
"I would like to extend my wholehearted congratulations to all the players.
They were a highly disciplined lot and I had no cause for complain," added
the Team manager.
"When we used to dine together at eight in the evening on the eve of the
matches. That session use to double up as a team meeting where everyone was
allowed to chip in with his lot," concluded the Team Manager.
Malaysia, Bangladesh to play in One-day Cup
KARACHI, Aug 1: In a surprise move, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has
included International Cricket Council (ICC) champions Bangladesh and
Malaysia in the National One-day Championship to be played between March 20
and April 12 next year.
Malaysia will be making its first-ever visit to Pakistan and it is believed
that Sadiq Mohammad, who is the coach of the team, has played a leading
role in arranging the trip.
On the contrary, Bangladesh appeared in the National One-day Cup last
season and despite failing to win a match here, went on to beat Kenya in
the ICC Trophy final at Kuala Lumpur to qualify for the 1999 World Cup.
In the 1995-96 season, United Arab Emirates had taken part in the most
prestigious event of the domestic circuit. UAE, who came here with an
objective to prepare for the sixth World Cup, however, failed a win match
in both the tournaments.
Majid Khan, the PCB boss, said Malaysia wanted to train for the Common
Wealth Games which it will be hosting next year. "They made a formal
request and we accepted.
"As far as Bangladesh is concerned, they also wanted to play in the
National One-day Cup and their request was also accepted."
Unlike the previous two events when UAE and Bangladesh were included in the
second round, Malaysia and Bangladesh, this time, have been drawn in the
Bangladesh to host Asia Cup in 1999
KARACHI, Aug 1: Bangladesh will host the seventh edition of the Asia Cup in
1999, Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Majid Khan, said
The PCB supremo stated that Bangladesh has been awarded the tournament on
the basis of rotation. "Pakistan will stage the event when it will be its
According to rota-basis, Pakistan's turn will now come in 2003 as 2001 is
the turn of India.
Pakistan, one of the founder members of the ACC, was to host the event in
1993 but the tournament was cancelled because the then authorities feared
huge revenue losses after India had withdrawn in protest after Pakistan had
called off its two previous visits across the border.
Bangladesh staged the event in 1988 which was won by India.
Majid Khan stated that various things were to be finalised including the
number of competing teams as well as the itinerary. "Those will be decided
in the annual ACC meeting."
Afridi was warned and fined in Sri Lanka
KARACHI, Aug 1: Shahid Khan Afridi was warned and fined by the Pakistan
cricket team's tour disciplinary committee during last month's visit to Sri
Lanka for the Asia Cup for breaching the Code of Conduct on two different
The 16-year-old sensation was first warned for missing a training session
and then was later fined US $ 200 (Rs 8,274) for changing rooms.
The disciplinary committee comprised Salim Malik (chairman), Saeed Anwar
and Moin Khan (members). The tour disciplinary committee has submitted its
report to the management which is expected to forward it to the PCB along
with its own report.
Shahid Afridi is presently the centre of attraction on the off-the-field
activities, including allegedly playing mischief with three girls on the
Air Lanka flight from Colombo to Karachi last Monday morning.
According to information gathered by this correspondent, the tour
disciplinary committee took serious note of Afridi's decision to skip the
training session before the match against Sri Lanka and that too without
informing the team management.
As far as the incident on the flight is concerned, sources say six
cricketers viz Kabir Khan, Arshad Khan, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Husain, Aqib
Javed and Shahid Afridi, were seated in the back of the plane and close to
each other. Afridi reportedly taunted the three girls seated ahead of them.
The brother of those girls retaliated and challenged Afridi before the two
were separated by Salim Malik and a couple of junior cricketers including
Kabir Khan and Shahid Nazir.
The cricket manager of the national team, Haroon Rasheed, stated that he
didn't observe anything unusual during the flight and only came to know
that something did happen during the arrival lounge at the Quaid-i-Azam
"It was a packed flight with tight security because former Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto was also in it. During the three-hours flight, refreshments
and dinner were served and I don't think there was enough time left for the
alleged mischief as being reported in the national dailies."
Haroon's point was that if anything unfortunate had happened, the cabin
crew would have reported the matter to him or Zaheer Abbas or the officials
of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sitting in the club class.
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