Week Ending : 16 August 1997 Issue : 03/33
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Golden jubilee of freedom today
Parliament gives LEAs shoot-to-kill power
Former air chiefs urge end to kickbacks
SSP, TJP leaders list causes for sectarian violence
Nawaz asks US to stop pressing on N-issue
Bill to turn Pakistan into police state: lawyers
Economic reforms fail to attract DFI
Is the boom in stock prices justified?
Normalisation of trade with India being scuttled?
KMTP and Karachi's transport problem
Trade policy moves from regulation to motivation
Fresh package of incentives for EPZs likely
PTCL finalizes $250m securitization deal
Govt decides to carry on with Keti Bunder plan
Investors react positively to passage of anti-terrorism bill
The great betrayal Ardeshir Cowasjee
Can child labour be defended? Shahid Kardar
It's the chair that matters Hafizur Rahman
Can we stop whining for a day? Ayaz Amir
Cricket Board's worry
100 greatest cricketers; some omissions
Golden Jubilee year marked by absence of sports policy
Abbasi wants sport to go into private sector
12 Pakistanis to compete in Singapore squash
Jansher off to Finland for World Games
Golden jubilee of freedom today
ISLAMABAD, Aug 13: The nation celebrates the golden jubilee of Pakistan's
independence on Thursday (Aug 14) with exuberance, enthusiasm and fervour,
renewing the pledge to make the country self-reliant and bring an end to
The golden jubilee year will dawn with a 31-gun salute in the federal
capital and 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals.
This will be immediately followed by a change of guard ceremony at 7:20 am
at the Quaid's Mazar in Karachi.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will hoist the national flag at a special
ceremony at 7:30am in front of the parliament building. Later, he will
address the nation from the spot live over radio and TV.
The prime minister will then fly to Lahore where he will pay homage to the
man who conceived the idea of Pakistan and offer fateha at the Mazar of
Allama Iqbal at 11:30am.
President Farooq Leghari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will pay homage to
the Quaid-i-Azam and offer fateha at his mazar at 5pm in Karachi.
At midnight, 50 years to minute since the birth of Pakistan, Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif welcomed the golden jubilee year with an address to the nation
direct from the National Assembly which met here on the special occasion.
Parliament gives LEAs shoot-to-kill power
ISLAMABAD, Aug 13: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed Anti-terrorism
Bill, 1997, giving sweeping powers to law enforcement agencies, including
the power to shoot to kill and arrest without warrants, to curb terrorism
and sectarian violence in the country.
The bill envisages constitution of special courts for expeditious disposal
of cases of terrorism and sectarian violence. It also contains a provision
for deployment of armed forces by the federal government at the request of
provincial governments in any area threatened by sectarian violence.
The National Assembly adopted the bill by voice vote in the absence of the
opposition who walked out of the house in protest, terming the bill a
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the proceedings to emphasise the
government's firm resolve to curb the growing incidence of sectarian
violence and terrorism in the country. Conspicuous by their absence were
the members of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) , including their
representative in the federal cabinet, Khalid Maqbool Siddique. None of its
members was present in the house, giving rise to the speculation that there
were serious differences between the ruling coalition on the new bill.
The powers assumed by the government under the bill will be evoked through
a notification in a certain area where the commission of terrorism or the
offences enlisted in the bill will become commonplace.
"If at any time in the opinion of the federal government the commission of
terrorist acts and scheduled offences have become commonplace in Pakistan,
it may, by notification in the official gazette, declare that it is
expedient for purpose of the prevention and punishment thereof to have
resort to the provision of this act and thereupon the powers conferred
hereunder shall be available for use in accordance herewith," the bill said.
The bill also gives powers to officers of law enforcement agencies to open
fire on people resorting to terrorism or sectarian violence or are likely
to commit the offence.
"After giving prior warning, use of such force as may be deemed necessary
or appropriate, bearing in mind all the facts and circumstances of the
situation, against any person who is committing or in all probability is
likely to commit a terrorist act or a scheduled offence, and it shall be
lawful for any such officer, or any superior officer, to fire, or order the
firing upon any person or persons against whom he is authorised to use
force in terms hereof," it says.
The law enforcement agencies will have the powers to arrest without warrant
any person on suspicion that he might commit an act of terrorism.
They will also have the powers to enter any premises to make any arrest or
to take possession of any property, firearms, weapon or article used or
likely to be used in the commission of any terrorist act.
The bill caused alarm among the journalists as it enlists the display,
publication and distribution of any written material which is deemed
threatening, abusive or insulting. However, it does not elaborate the terms
" threatening, abusive and insulting."
The offence under a provision of prohibition of acts intended or likely to
stir up sectarian hatred is punishable for a term of seven years.
The opposition members, during the first and second hearing of the bill,
expressed serious apprehensions about the possible misuse of the powers
being given to the executive. They called for improving the efficiency of
the police and law enforcement agencies rather than giving them more
powers. They also underlined the need for ensuring strict implementation of
the existing laws.
They feared that the bill would be used to victimise opposition parties.
Mr Sharif, during the debate, allayed the apprehensions of the opposition,
saying that the sole objective of the government was to curb sectarian
violence. "It is not against any political party," he said.
Former air chiefs urge end to kickbacks
ISLAMABAD, Aug 9: In an initiative unprecedented in Pakistan three former
air chiefs have "strongly urged" Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to enact a law
to eliminate the menace of kickbacks and commissions from defence purchases.
In a signed letter sent to the prime minister on Saturday, Air Marshal
Asghar Khan, Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan and Air Chief Marshal
Jamal A. Khan, have asked the prime minister to "carry out legislative
surgery to remove the cancer" of corruption from "the nation's body
To close the doors on lucrative "kickbacks" in defence-related purchases,
they have submitted to the prime minister a 12-page draft entitled The
Defence Agents Prohibition Act, 1997.
The proposed draft law sets down the procurement procedure, defines
offences and suggests penalties for these offences. Penalties include
cancellation of the contract, blacklisting of the firm and imprisonment of
the commission agent and fine. It also suggests provisions for appeal and
If the agent is an employee of the government, under the suggested law he
is liable to be dismissed without benefits from the service, and will
additionally undergo imprisonment with a fine equivalent to 10,000 dollars.
The commission of abetment under this act is punishable with dismissal of
the individual without benefits from the service and imprisonment and fine
of 10,000 dollars.
Even the act of passing on information from government files or
computer-based records to the suppliers has been made liable to punishment.
The suggested law also defines the terms 'commission', 'contracting
agency', 'corrupt influence', 'defence establishment of Pakistan',
'evaluation stage', 'government official', 'high government authority',
'non-agent certification and commitment', 'notification of interest',
'principal', 'principal staff officer', 'procurement agency officer' and
'armed services headquarters'.
"The kickback takers rob the armed forces of the most advantageous
purchasing terms in their weapons acquisition," write the former air chiefs
who command legendary reputations in the PAF. In an obvious reference to
the fact that the corruption is not confined to the "commission agents"
alone but reaches out broadly into the higher echelons of officialdom, both
civil and military, they state that "kickback takers...act as front men for
those who siphon off millions of dollars from the nation's scarce defence
resources. They also bring the armed forces into disrepute... and lower the
services' morale and fighting spirit."
"The amount of kickbacks had by the 1970s invisibly grown to several
million dollars in each large contract..," the letter adds.
SSP, TJP leaders list causes for sectarian violence
LAHORE, Aug 11: Leaders of different religious groups on Monday presented
their proposals for ending sectarian violence and factors responsible for
its rise to Supreme Court Chief Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah.
Appearing before the chief justice in connection with the suo motu
proceedings on sectarian violence, the leaders appreciated the initiative
taken by Justice Shah and expressed the hope that it would bear positive
Representatives of the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, the Idara-i-Minhajul Husain
and the Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen were heard by the chief justice for about
eight hours in his chamber in Lahore in the presence of attorney-general,
the Punjab advocate-general, the home secretary and the inspector-general
Foreign interference and the failure of authorities concerned in getting
the terrorists convicted were the reasons hinted at by the religious groups
before the chief justice.
Talking to reporters after recording their statements, the religious
leaders said youngsters could be prevented from joining militant
organizations by timely conviction of terrorists.
The SSP was represented by its patron-in-chief Maulana Ali Sher Haidri,
president Sheikh Hakim Ali, general secretary Allama Shoaib Nadeem and
Punjab president Maulana Muhammad Ludhianvi. The SSP leaders told newsmen
that they had submitted in the court the cassettes and literature which
carried derogatory remarks against the caliphs. They alleged that a
neighbouring country was behind the mischief being carried out by the other
group. They promised to cooperate with the government to restore peace if
it withdrew about 150 'false cases' against the SSP workers, prosecuted
those responsible for the death of the party's 500 workers and banned all
literature imported from the neighbouring country.
The SSP leaders said they had signed a pact with the TJP which was
sponsored by the chief minister with an open mind. However, the TJP leaders
backed out of the agreement, they maintained. They said any person who did
not respect the companions of Prophet (PBUH) was a infidel. However, they
denied having given a fatwa for killing Shias.
Allama Muhammad Husain Akbar of the Idara-i-Minhajul Husain said he had
informed the CJ that harmony between the two groups was disturbed in 1985
when the Shias were termed as infidel (kafir). It would be very difficult
to resolve the sectarian issue unless the SSP stopped calling them infidel.
He stated that Shias had no problem with other Sunni groups. He pointed out
that the TJP leaders and ulema from other sects had been sitting together
outside the chief justice chamber. Allama Akbar blamed a Middle East
country for fomenting sectarian strife and named five books which, he said,
were printed there and carried objectionable material. He submitted before
the court a list of about 20 Pakistani books carrying 'objectionable
He termed the chief minister's effort to manage an agreement between the
two groups positive. However, he said, the SSP leaders did not shake hands
with the Shia leaders at the meeting.
The members of the Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen said they pointed out six
causes behind the sectarianism and suggested solution to the chief justice.
They stated that extremist elements in the intelligence agencies, foreign
agencies, partial investigating officers and foreign aid to religious
institutions was a cause of the present violent trends in the country. The
government should courage to raid the stores containing illegal arms.
The Ittehad was represented by Jammat Ahle Sunnat's Allama Hamid Ali
Kasuri, Jamaat-i-Islami's Maulana Abdul Malik and Maulana Fateh Muhammad
and Allama Sarfraz Ahmad Naeemi of Jamia Naeemia. They submitted before the
court a seven-page document containing their suggestions.
It is stressed in the document that Islam did not allow revenge on personal
level. The courts only had the right to convict a person. A government that
could not guarantee protection of life and liberty to its citizen had no
right to remain in power, mentioned the document which was signed by the
TJP leaders also.
The joint communique stated that sectarian difference should not lead to
the killings of members of the opponent groups.
Justice Shah had wanted to record the statement of the Sipah-i-Muhammad
Pakistan (SMP) representatives but he was informed that their leaders were
After the proceedings the chief justice issued notices for August 18 to
Sipah-i-Muhammad's Salar-i-Aala Allama Ghulam Raza Naqvi and Maj (retd)
Syed Ashraf Ali Shah, who is head of a group of SMP, TJP leaders Allama
Iftikhar Husain Naqvi and Allama Hamid Ali Moosvi. The next proceedings
would be held in Islamabad.
Punjab advocate-general Khwaja Muhammad Sharif submitted the list of
lawyers who fell victim to the current wave of sectarian violence.
Home secretary produced a copy of the agreement reached between the
sectarian groups recently in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz
Nawaz asks US to stop pressing on N-issue
NEW YORK, Aug 15: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked Washington to stop
pressurising Pakistan on the nuclear issue saying: "We consider the issue
behind us, and the Pakistani nation does not want to discuss it".
In an interview with the New York Times on the eve of golden jubilee
celeberations of the country's independence, Mr Sharif said: "I don't think
there is any point in exploring the past any more. It's time to discuss the
The Times said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was forthcoming about Pakistan's
relationship with India and spoke warmly of Indian Prime Minister I.K.
Gujral, but asserted that unless the "outstanding issues" between the two
countries were settled no progress could be made in improving relations.
He said: "in 50 years we've had our ups and downs like any other nation in
the world, nevetheless Pakistan is not a failed state. It is much better
than it was 20, 30, or 40 years ago." "Pakistan has done better than its
detractors allow, in some respects better than India", he added.
Commenting on the political scene in Pakistan Mr Sharif told the Times that
former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was a spent force, "even her
supporters believe that" he added.
The Times said " Sharif, 47, is a politician of a special kind in Pakistan.
He served one of the military governments that have ruled here for nearly
half country's existence, then outlasted the military ruler who sponsored
his entry into politics, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, winning two of the four
elections since the general's death in 1988. After his landslide win
earlier this year, he is considered the most powerful civilian prime
minister Pakistan has had."
The Times said on nuclear weapons, Mr Sharif was equally firm. For years,
American negotiators have pressed Pakistan to eliminate, or at least to
freeze, its nuclear weapons programme. Pakistan has generally been evasive,
saying that it will only agree if India takes similar measures with its own
nuclear weapons programme, something India has refused. Last year, this
standoff led India to refuse to sign an international treaty banning all
nuclear tests, a stand that effectively killed the treaty.
Bill to turn Pakistan into police state: lawyers
Shujaat Ali Khan
LAHORE, Aug 15: The new special law has all the potential to convert
Pakistan into a police state, according to leading members of the Bar, who
are to meet here on August 18 to consider launching a protest campaign for
Several key provisions of the law, besides being contrary to the known
position of the superior judiciary as articulated by the Pakistan Law
Commission and the Chief Justices Committee, are in direct conflict with
the articles of the Constitution and elemental norms of natural justice.
They are likely to be struck down as ultra vires if challenged in the
superior courts as contemplated by certain parties and individuals. The
proposed August 18 meeting of the members of the Pakistan Bar Council, the
Supreme Court Bar Association, the Punjab Bar Council, the Lahore High
Court Bar Association and the Lahore Bar Association will chart out the
legal fraternity's course of action in this regard.
The lawyers particularly cite Section 26 of the August 13 Act, which makes
an accused's confession before police admissible in evidence, repugnant to
the Criminal Procedure Code, the Qanun-i- Shahadat Order and Articles 13
and 14 of the Constitution. Article 13 (B), which prohibits
self-incrimination, declares that no person shall, when accused of an
offence, be compelled to be a witness against himself. Article 14 (2) says
that no person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting
The law of evidence, originally and after its revision in accordance with
the injunctions of Islam and promulgation as the Qanun-i-Shahadat Order in
1984, specifically denudes any statement or confession made by an accused
before a police official, howsoever high, of any evidentiary value.
Similarly, the Criminal Procedure Code bars the prosecution from taking an
accused to the witness box. Section 340 (2) of the Cr.P.C. creates an
exception to this rule but that, too, only to enable the accused to make a
statement on oath in his defence. Even when appearing as a witness in
exercise of the right conferred by Section 340 (2), the accused may confine
his testimony to his defence and refuse to answer any question on oath.
With this cast-iron immunity available to an accused at a judicial forum,
he should enjoy greater protection against self- incrimination while in the
custody of police. It was to prevent police coercion and torture that
custodial confessions were outlawed as evidence. In fact, 'confession' and
'custody' are mutually exclusive. Confession means a voluntary admission of
guilt which can only be made by a free man and not by a prisoner of the
prosecution. Made validly before a judicial authority, it facilitates the
Another obnoxious provision of the Act is its Section 5 that empowers
police and other agencies to shoot a person 'likely' to commit a terrorist
act. The police force is already notorious for extra-judicial killings and
with this new licence, they will prefer to kill rather than embark on the
arduous process of investigation and prosecution and expose their lack of
The force, which is regarded as 'corrupt to the core' by no less a person
than the country's chief executive, shall also have the arbitrary power to
search and arrest without warrant and take possession of 'any property' or
weapon 'likely' to be used in any act of terrorism.
The word 'terrorism' has been too broadly defined to leave any significant
offence out of the schedule. The list of scheduled offences can be further
widened to transfer the jurisdiction of ordinary courts to the
newly-created special courts. An unscheduled offence committed in the
course of commission of a scheduled one or independently by the same
accused shall also be exclusively triable by the special court.
The special court judges are to be appointed in consultation with the chief
justices concerned and 'consultation' will have to be 'meaningful' in terms
of the Supreme Court judgment in the Judges Case. But it is still a far cry
from the judiciary's call for appointment of special judges from among the
regular judicial cadres. With their tenure, remunerations and other terms
and conditions of service to be decided by the executive, the special
judges will not be a part of the judicial hierarchy.
They will remain vulnerable to executive pressure and this militates
against the independence of the judiciary, mandated by another provision of
the Constitution. The jurisdiction of special courts has been made
exclusive but the power to bring an offence within the purview of the
special law will rest with the police. There have been cases in the past
wherein, for reasons better known to it, police displayed its forensic
skill to interchange scheduled and unscheduled offences. The power of
assignment of cases and their transfer from one special court to another
shall also effectively rest with the executive.
The requirement of oath on the Holy Quran 'at the commencement of
proceedings' for Muslims and by non-Muslims in accordance with their faith
shuts out the Ahmedis or Qadianis from appointment as special judges
because they will not be able to take the Quranic oath.
The law confers extensive powers on a force known for misusing its
authority on its own and at the behest of the government. While real
terrorists may still remain at large, the axe may fall on political
opponents. The mere threat of being charged with a scheduled offence will
be sufficient for any innocent citizen or ordinary offender to yield to
The measure comes amidst a suo motu supreme court inquiry into sectarian
violence and betrays a mindset more interested in harsh, short-term
administrative measures than in finding the real causes of the strife and
long-term solutions within the normal legal framework.
Economic reforms fail to attract DFI
LAHORE, Aug 9: Board of Investment (BoI) chairman Humayun Akhtar has
admitted that various economic reforms and incentives announced by the PML
government have failed to attract direct foreign investment.
The government was prepared to give more fiscal incentives and could
evenchange the constitution to meet the concerns of foreign investors about
their investment, he told businessmen at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (LCCI) on Saturday. "Portfolio investment has started coming into
the country but no direct foreign investment is forthcoming so far. It
appears as if the foreign investors are waiting to see if we can achieve
our targets and succeed in implementing the reforms," Akhtar said. "The
heavy mandate given by the people to the PML has ensured political
stability in the country, but economic stability is yet to be attained," he
told the businessmen, whose leader indirectly criticized the government for
the continually deteriorating state of law and order in his welcome address.
Akhtar said the government intended to announce its investment and
industrialization policy in September and restructure the BoI according to
it. "It'll be a simple policy for at least next five years."
Is the boom in stock prices justified?
Dr. Farrukh Saleem
Political violence, factional terrorism and sectarian killings continue in
Karachi and Lahore. The national treasury must make debt payments of more
than $2 billion by the end of the calendar year. The government's supply
side policies may not be able to meet IMF's targeted deficit ceiling. The
potential of a substantial shortfall in revenue collection remains high.
The federal government seems awfully reluctant to downsize. Then there is
the persistent trade deficit of $250 million per month and the current
account deficit of $4 billion per year.
MRJ Securities has already defaulted and Zafar Moti, a prominent Karachi
stock broker, was removed by the Corporate Law Authority (CLA) for
unprofessional conduct. The top bosses of all the three stock exchanges, in
the meanwhile, are engaged in a fight of a lifetime with the CLA over the
restructuring of the country's stock exchanges.
The other side of the coin is: the Karachi Stock Exchange's KSE-100 Index
which stood at around 1,350 in the October of 1993 has risen by a mere 48
percent over the past nearly four years to a current level of around 2,000
whereby the earnings of companies that form the Index have grown by an
average of 100 per cent over the same 45-month period.
Over the long haul the increase in stock prices would have to match the
increase in corporate earnings. After all, stock prices are nothing but
discounted future corporate earnings.
It does not necessarily indicate that stock prices at the KSE are about to
take a massive leap upwards, but rather that a gradual increase in stock
prices is justified on the basis of the strong growth in earnings.
In addition to the above, the Nawaz Sharif government has increased
personal income tax exemption and reduced corporate income tax rates from
36 per cent to 30 per cent.
Tax rate for the banking sector has been cut from 58 per cent to 55 per
cent and the 10 per cent regulatory duty has been abolished. Ceiling of
import tariff has been reduced from 65 per cent to 45 per cent and there
has been an impressive cut (in real terms) in the defence budget. Duty on
plant and machinery has generally been reduced to 10 per cent. Excise duty
on bank loans has been withdrawn and cost of capital is expected to come
further down in the near future.
Under the new scenario, corporate earnings of major KSE-listed companies
are being estimated to increase by a respectable 27 per cent in 1997 and a
remarkable 32 per cent in 1998 (see chart) beating almost every regional
market including the Bangkok Stock Exchange, the Kuala Lumpur Stock
Exchange, the Jakarta Stock Exchange, the Bombay Stock Exchange, and the
Manila Stock Exchange. According to another report published by the
Economics Department of ABN-Amro Bank: "One of the strongest signals that
Nawaz Sharif's government has sent out since coming to power is its formal
endorsement of the autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)".
>From an international perspective, investor confidence appears to be
turning positive. The ESAF's finalization would postpone the default
hypothesis by a minimum of two years and IMF's nod of approval would clear
further multilateral funding and other bilateral lending. Then there is the
potential of an improvement in Indo-Pak relations enabling a further cut in
defence in addition to the huge trade potential between the two ideally
located natural trading partners.
Foreign fund managers have once again, after a good four-year absence,
begun looking at the KSE quite favourably. Considering that the Thai Baht,
Philippines Peso, Indonesian Rupiah, and the Malaysian Ringgit are all in a
state of a severe shock, the Pakistani Rupee has been exhibiting some
unusual strength. Foreign institutional investors, scared of the
depreciation risk, may eventually begin diverting additional funds away
from Thai, Philippine, and Indonesian stocks and more towards Pakistani
On the American front, the U.S. Senate has now allowed the crucial OPIC
insurance coverage to U.S. companies interested in investing in Pakistan.
The U.S. government has also withdrawn its notice sent earlier to Pakistani
exporters of combed cotton yarn. These steps may soon begin attracting
portfolio investment from American fund managers followed by direct
American investment into our industrial sector as well as infrastructure
>From a local perspective, a relatively stable rupee would induce conversion
of dollar accounts for stock market investments. Property investors have
already begun convincing themselves of investing into the Karachi Stock
Exchange. A business-ffiendly government, sooner rather than later, is
bound to turn business sentiments around.
To be sure, no professional expects that it will be all the way up for the
KSE here onwards. Stock markets almost never move in a straight line. One
can be sure, however, that over the following couple of years, the
correlation between the increase in stock prices would be fairly close to
the increase in corporate earnings. As corporate earnings of major
Pakistani publicly traded entities like PTC, PSO, Hubco, Southern Electric
and Fauji Fertiliser are expected to grow strongly.
Their stock prices would eventually catch up as well. That does not mean
that whoever buys KSE-listed scrips would be a millionaire the following
month, but what that means is that stock prices on the Karachi Stock
Exchange have lagged behind the earnings growth of the companies listed on
the exchange and also that long-term investors could expect to reap rewards
from this mismatch between now and the year 2,000.
To be certain, there are going to be surprises along the way. The
Government of Pakistan (GOP) would not always be able to satisfy the IMF
and the tranches would occasionally be withheld. The pace of financial
sector reform is expected to be slow.
Privatization will also be slow and there would be accusations of lack of
transparency. The government would not be able to cut its expenses as per
its own commitments.
The government would not be able to achieve its revenue collection target
The year-end budgetary deficit would, therefore, be higher. GOP would also
have to borrow in addition to the self-imposed budgetary limit.
The KSE-100 Index would naturally respond, but then who ever said that
stock markets are for the faint-hearted.
Normalisation of trade with India being scuttled?
Ihtasham ul Haque
ALL RECENT efforts by the PML government for starting formal trade with
India have once again been marred by vested interests and the decision to
allow import of 14 new items from India continues to be the subject of
harsh criticism despite clarifications issued even by Minister for Commerce
and Investment Ishaq Dar.
During the tenure of the two PPP governments, serious attempts were made to
have full-fledged trade with India but no headway could be made in that
respect mainly owing to strong opposition by the then Pakistan High
Commissioner in New Delhi, Riaz Khokhar, now the Ambassador in the United
Although there is no such opposition this time, some people within the
establishment and a section of the print media are trying to scuttle the move.
The issue of trade with India once again came into the limelight when the
government decided to implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
obligation by granting the status of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India
and open up new business and trade avenues.
India has already offered MFN status to Pakistan and is seeking the same in
the light of the WTO requirements. However, the governments in Pakistan,
irrespective of their party affiliations, failed to do so precisely owing
to pressure by a strong lobby.
During the PPP government, the ministry of commerce had decided in
principle to have full-fledged trade relations with India but the matter
was deferred when Riaz Khokhar reportedly used his influence in Rawalpindi
"The proposal is still very much there but awaits a political decision by
the government," said an official concerned with the issue.
He said Pakistan would have to normalize its trade relations with India as
required under the WTO Charter and in view of the trade and economic
climate prevailing throughout the world.
The issue came to the forefront recently when the government announced its
new trade policy that allowed India to export a number of new items to
Pakistan, including tyres and chemicals.
The move did not receive a favourable response from some influential
quarters and things began to go sour for the government. As a result it was
stated that the government had not yet taken any final decision about the
issue and that India would not be granted MFN status until the Kashmir
issue was resolved.
"We cannot grant India MFN status, nor are we going to normalize trade with
it," said Mr Dar. But his statement is considered a political one which
does not necessarily mean that Pakistan could resist it for long in view of
the changes taking place in the international arena.
The issue had been in the focus for the last few years and in this period
there has been some interaction between Indian and Pakistani traders who
also visited each other's countries.
Recently an Indian delegation came to Pakistan and it was broadly indicated
that there would be formal trade between the two sides and that it was
merely a matter of timing.
Pakistan's position on the issue is not quiet strong because of its
commitment to the WTO. And it was in this context that India twice made
attempts to lodge a compliant with the WTO but Pakistan requested it not to
do so, as Islamabad would soon be reciprocating India's gesture.
But it is believed that Pakistan cannot postpone its decision for an
Pakistan and India are already trading more than 800 items and 14 more have
been included in the list. The issue of formal bilateral trade also got
prominence when the two prime ministers met in Male during the SAARC summit.
While they called for improving political relations, they also discussed
matters of increasing trade and business relations between the two countries.
The enthusiasm on the part of both Indian and Pakistani businessmen for
expanding economic relations could be gauged from the fact that they have
already established business contacts in Lahore and Haryana. This happened
when the PPP government had decided to have in principle, full-fledged
trade relation with India.
A number of officials and independent observers believe that formal trade
with India and grant of the MFN status to it would pose no threat to Pakistan.
They maintain that both countries would benefit from business contacts and
save precious foreign exchange which is currently being wasted in importing
items from far-off places.
Nevertheless, the stalemate on Kashmir remains.
The unofficial dialogue between some former military and civilian
bureaucrats and intellectuals of the two sides also calls for resolving the
long-outstanding dispute. However, they did not make the opening of trade
or the exchange of delegations between the two countries conditional on the
resolution of the conflict.
The key question now is whether the government would eventually succumb to
the pressure exerted by the powerful lobby as the PPP government did. Some
officials of the commerce ministry are of the view that the matter would
have to wait for quite some time.
KMTP and Karachi's transport problem
Karachi was a small city of hardly 100,000 people when the British provided
a 10-mile diesel tram system besides the double track railway mainline
connecting Karachi port with up-country. They also acquired land for two
additional rail tracks up to Pipri where space for a large marshaling yard
was also reserved.
This shows that the British planners had very correctly planned that
Karachi deserved a mass transit system 100 years earlier, but unfortunately
we are still undecided today.
The diesel-operated trams did serve the low and even middle income people
of Karachi. Instead of upgrading these as recommended by the 1952 MRVP
Karachi Master Plan and the 1974 Karachi Master Plan.
These were unceremoniously uprooted, resulting in the present chaotic
conditions and consequent astronomical economic losses besides huge
expenses on law order problems.
In August 1975, Herald reported "two deaths a day and an accident every
hour." This caused deep resentment amongst the city dwellers which had
increased from 400,000 in 1947 to about 4.5 million by 1975.
The frequency of accidents continued to rise when in 1985, as correctly
predicted by the 1974 Master Plan and the 1977 Rapid Transit Cell's report,
as a result of the well-known Bushra Zaidi tragedy followed by the
Quaidabad accident killing 30 people, the city was paralysed for several
months causing huge socio-economic losses.
This ultimately turned into a major law and order problem in Karachi on
which billions of rupees must have been spent so far.
These economic losses were reported to be of the order of Rs 1.5 billion
for each day of inactivity perhaps on the basis of the city's contribution
Thus the total losses to the nation can well be imagined as these could be
many times the cost of providing a modern Mass Transit System apart from
the recurring losses of KTC and the Circular Railway (KCR), which took away
huge subsidies during the last two decades.
The KTC has since been wound up and the KCR is running two empty trains a
day incurring further losses.
The 1952 MRVP plan, the 1974 KDA's Master Plan and the early 1975 RTC
report had recommended upgrading of the diesel trams and revamping of the
existing rail system, adding a grade separated Metro System from the city
centre to the outlying fast developing areas of North Karachi and Scheme
No. 33, supported by Light Rail and improved buses to serve as feeders to
the Mass Transit System. Besides these, the 1982 Justice Ajmal Mian and
1985 Masud-uz- zaman Commissions identified the absence of a mass transit
system as one of the major causes of unrest in Karachi and consequent huge
economic losses to the nation.
Accordingly, on the recommendations of the Commission and the World Bank,
KSDP was approved including a detailed mass transit study conducted from
1987 to 1990 which recommended a network of 87.4 kms of partly grade
separated Transit Ways for use as Busway convertible to light rail by 2000 AD.
It also recommended direct implementation as light rail in case a BOT
Company could offer to do so. This Plan was approved by the government and
the World Bank at various levels.
The World Bank Aide-Memoirs dated October l6 to December 4, 1989 confirmed
this. However, the World Bank did not offer any positive commitment of
funds for implementation. This left only the BOT alternative for
implementing a light rail system since no BOT Company was prepared to
consider construction of the busway.
Accordingly the BOT process was initiated in 1990 and was followed up in
1994-95 after preliminary designs were prepared by the French and
American-Canadian joint venture consultants on two corridors (1 & 2) as
also for the revitalization of Circular Railway and mainline, for which the
design work was still to be done.
In the first attempt, no proper BOT offer was received. However, in the
second attempt for Corridor-1, three offers were received costing $1,100
million, $850 million and $ 580 million.
A contract was finalized in January 1996 for Priority I corridor by the
National Mass Transit Authority with a Canadian- Turkish- Pakistani Company
Joint Venture (IMTC) in the presence of the prime ministers of Canada and
Pakistan for $ 580 million including $230 million loan by the government.
The loan was to be paid back (at 13 per cent interest per annum. The
company was required to pay rental of the infrastructure and to operate the
system for 30 years after which it would return the system to the
government in working order free of cost, unless the lease/concession is
extended by mutual agreement.
It is understood that the financial closure of the BOT contract is pending
as the Pakistan government has not yet decided to give a green signal and
loan to the company, which has since been reduced to $160 million, whereas
for Lahore, a 13 km light rail is reported to have been approved to be
provided under the public sector, through a Japanese loan,
Further, the motorway is being extended to Peshawar from Islamabad, These
will add Rs 1 billion p.a. to the National Budget as toll subsidy for users
besides cost of special police force. Apart from this, the distance between
Islamabad and Peshawar is increased by 60 kms, which will increase the use
of road vehicles which consume 10 times more fuel per ton-km compared to
rail, adding to further economic losses.
No doubt, Lahore represents the largest province of Pakistan, yet Karachi
is the largest city and was the first capital of Pakistan by the
Quaid-e-Azam himself, apart from the fact that Karachi is still financial
and business capital and the only gateway of Pakistan, providing half of
federal revenues and substantial contribution to the GDP.
Thus any delay in the provision of a modern mass transit system as
recommended by various commissions and promised by successive governments,
including the present prime minister.
Coming to the question of priorities of providing motorways and the Lahore
Light Rail at the cost of further over-burdening the foreign and local
debts instead of debt retirement.
The BOT offer for Karachi Light Rail appears to be much more favourable,
rather an ideal solution, and should not be allowed to be lost in political
controversies. As a matter of fact such a BOT process may be initiated for
all such projects instead of adding more debts, including for Lahore,
Islamabad and Faisalabad Light Rail Systems and the highway/motorway
schemes under consideration.
Having been associated with the Rapid Transit Study of the Federal Ministry
of Communications during 1974-77, I would have preferred a network of
proper Metro or Heavy Rail System, partly in the sub-way. However, the
light rail system offered with three articulated electric operated
carriages capable of carrying 35,000 to 45,000 passengers per hour in one
direction (pphd) against the present 40,000 to 50,000 pphd demand in the
peak hours, I think this as a good substitute, as subway cost could be much
more due to Karachis high subsoil water and possible underground utilities,
which would require shifting. Besides this, no BOT company has come forward
to offer for such a scheme.
As against this, the overall cost of a convertible busway could ultimately
turnout to be much more in the long run, as the structural cost itself
would be about 20 per cent to 25 per cent more than that of exclusive Light
Rail structure to start with as costly flanged rails will have to be
provided flush with the bitumen roam surface adding to the structural cost,
besides a few additional beams to be provided for stronger deck to support
moving bus wheels all over its width, and 50 per cent wider stations.
Apart from this at the time of conversion to light rail the cost of
vehicles and the allied system would be many times the present day cost
while the cost of buses and their replacement every eight years during the
30 years period would be four to eight times the present day cost. The
efficiency and safety of the bus operations by local bus operators on the
Elevated Transit Way based on the experience of the existing service and
the KTC would still be questionable as compared to the Light Rail
Operations under the umbrella of an international consortium lead by a
In any case the capacity of the Busway to carry passengers is hardly 12000
to 15000 pphd. which is one third the capacity of LRT whereas the present
travel demand is over 40,000 to 50,000 pphd. Thus a Busway would be far too
over-saturated on the very first day and as such will invite scathing
criticism from the public and possible accountability of the people
concerned with the planning and execution of the Busway project.
In view of the above facts the following conclusions can be safely drawn:
1. Subway cost would be five times higher than the Elevated Light Rail
System satisfying the peak travel requirements beyond the foreseeable future.
2. Busway or Light Rail System at street level is impossible due to
innumerable intersections and cross traffic, specially in the dense city
3. In the long-run Two Lane Elevated Busway will be more costly as compared
to a Light Rail besides being totally inadequate to serve the travel
requirements of the main corridors of the city.
4. No BOT Company has come forward to construct a Bus-way Structure and
operate buses to recover its cost and as such the entire cost of
Infrastructure of Busway will have to be borne by the Government which has
inadequate resources at its disposal.
A Two Lane Busway, even with the best operating discipline as a Bus Convoy
System will be almost impossible to achieve under the present capability of
local operators, and as such could offer hardly 10,000 to 15,000 pphd
travel needs against the present peak requirement of 40,000 to 50,000 pphd
and will thus be.totally inadequate and over saturated from Day one besides
being prone to accidents and hazards of Buses colliding and falling down
the elevated structure, creating havoc in the city already in the grip of
serious law & order situation..
It is thus clearly obvious that a Busway and even the scheme to provide
air-conditioned buses would hardly scratch the surface as far as the
overall transport requirements of Karachi city are concerned. However the
AC buses could be helpful as feeders to the Light Rail Mass Transit in
attracting the car users to switch to the Light Rail Mass Transit on Park &
Ride System thus helping to minimize Congestion and Environmental Pollution
on the busy city roads.
In view of the above facts the BOT Contract for Light Rail which offers
most of the funds except only Seed Money as loan would be the best choice
if at all Karachi is to have a Mass Transit System and consequent chances
of durable peace and environment for attracting investments by foreign
investors. As a matter of fact a BOT Company may also be persuaded to
consider Revitalization of the Western part of Karachi Circular Railway and
Quadrupling of Main Line up to Pipri which would complete about 50% of the
entire Mass Transit network and would also help to revitalize the freight
movements to and from the Karachi Port by rail considerably reducing the
current railway losses, and the heavy trucking through the city roads thus
saving the cost of many flyovers & bypasses minimizing wear and tear and
above all road congestion, accidents and the bulging national fuel bill.
As a senior citizen associated with the Mass Transit Studies for the past
23 years and even the BOT process, I would, therefore, strongly urge the
concerned authorities specially the worthy Prime Minster to seriously
consider the above facts and give a green signal to this BOT project for a
Light Rail System in Karachi thus ushering in a new era for the city and
Pakistan while entering the 21st Century.
Trade policy moves from regulation to motivation
The trade policy 97-98 is clearly the first credible effort that addresses
truly the key aspects of export growth. It goes far beyond mere removal of
procedural irritants and a catalogue of stock promotional measures, these
in themselves not insignificant though. Historically, there used to be only
an import policy which was really a foreign exchange budget for imports
against scarce resources. With measured trade liberalisations, some ahead
of WTO commitments, all that has changed, moving from regulation to
Commerce Minister Ishaq Dar put it succinctly as he claimed that export-led
growth is the objective of the government's economic strategy, through
high-value added exports which would rectify the balance of trade and of
payments, as well as increase employment opportunities.
For the first time, the need for "reversing the anti-export bias" of the
last 50 years is explicitly recognised. For the first time, a realistic
assessment has been made that the main cause of decline in exports is
massive shortfall in production.
The real culprit last year was the steep fall in agricultural and
industrial production, the latter showing an all-time lowest growth of 1.78
per cent in 96-97 versus 4.4 per cent in the preceding 95-96 and the
historical average of about 6 per cent large scale manufacturing actually
posted a negative growth of (-) 1.43 per cent. Such poor scale of
production is inevitably reflected in exports sliding down to $8.26 billion
from $8.71 billion in 95-96, no matter what promotions may be launched.
The surprising thing is that the overall export decline was not steeper,
because, as the export data stands, excluding raw cotton, the export of
which in 96-97 was nominal at US $30 million worth, compared with $507
million a year ago, non-cotton exports last year were at par with those in
95-96. The conclusion must be that production has to increase for
generating enough export surplus which alone will lift exports to reach the
scaled- down target of $9.575 billion.
Stress on economic policy
The new trade policy, therefore, targets on increasing production in all
sectors, particularly manufacturing, through a whole range of policy
improvements in the fiscal, monetary and banking sectors. In that sense, we
are really looking at a trade and economic policy, though the various
policy dispensations impacting on export trade come from different
institutions, namely, the Finance Ministry, the Central Board of Revenue,
State Bank of Pakistan, commercial banks and others, besides the pivotal
Commerce Ministry and its promotional arm, the EPB.
The whole trade policy has thus to be viewed not in isolation but in
conjunction with the precursor fast track reform packages of March and May
'97 and the budgetary measures in the following June as well as the
post-budget supportive steps in the area of bank finance. The prospect of
easing interest rate under the Export Finance Scheme of the State Bank was
already on the trade policy agenda and has been obviously a matter of close
consultation between Commerce, Finance and the State Bank. All the
concerned agencies are to dedicate their efforts for revival of economic
activity, rehabilitation and financial restructuring of sick units that are
still viable, increase in production and expansion in exports vital for
reduction of trade deficit, improvement in balance of payments and
ultimately retirement of foreign debt.
Given the accepted need for speeding up production, the crucial question is
the adequate availability of finance. This aspect is quite strongly treated
in the new trade policy and the measures preceding and following it.
In the March package of economic reforms that came in the shape of an
unprecedented mini- budget approved by the National Assembly in early
April, Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz said the export-oriented economic
recovery programme was based on the strategy of export-led growth following
the successful example of South and South East Asian developing countries.
The main plank of the wide-ranging reforms was the reduction in the maximum
import tariff slab of 65 per cent to 45 per cent. To provide raw materials
and machinery to the exporters at international prices, duty on machinery
was reduced to a bare 10 per cent and zero sales tax, with total duty
exemption if imported in customs bond, subject to export obligations, also
for textile spinning industry if producting yarn of 30s counts or higher,
obviously to reward higher value addition.
Regulatory duty of 10 per cent on all imports was abolished and sales tax
standard rate of 18 per cent (a few rates at 23 per cent) reduced to 12.5
per cent retaining the lower rate of 10 per cent for textiles and clothing.
Personal income tax rates were halved and corporate / company tax rates
reduced. Lower tax rats on export incomes are already available.
Raw materials used mainly for export production were made duty-free, and a
mechanism for input/output coefficients was envisaged to facilitate payment
of duty drawbacks on exports within 14 days.
These reductions in tariffs and para-tariffs, were designed to induce new
investments. In the textile sector, and para-tariffs, were designed to
induce new investments. In the textile sector, imports of 5000 shuttleless
looms is already under way.
The Minister gave assurance that adequate bank credit will be made
available and maximum support will be given to the exporters.
The assurances about greater and less expensive credit availability to the
export sector and reducing the mark-up on concessionary export finance were
duly redeemed, even beyond expectations.
Focusing on easy finance for the credit-starved export sector, the State
Bank made a major modification in the concessionary Export Financing Scheme
The refinance funds, instead of placement in special deposit account of
commercial banks, were made available to banks to help them step up export
Banks would no longer drag their feet on export finance needs. This was
also the main agenda of the newly instituted Export Development Committee's
first meeting on 17th May when the Governor of the State Bank, Dr Yakub,
promised it will be the first priority of banks to provide export credit.
Then the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of banks was reduced from 25 per
cent to 20 per cent substantially increasing the lendable funds. Now, a
weekly accounting is permitted allowing manoeuvrability from day to day.
As a result of these measures that have come in waves, including the
pace-setter withdrawal of 1 per cent excise duty on bank loans from 97-98,
the commercial interest rates have started falling to a reasonable level of
16-18 per cent. To top it up, the interest on export finance has been
reduced, for the first time, from 13 per cent to 11 per cent. This single
step would give a tremendous support to exports by providing cheaper
working capital, though still dearer than in most Asia-Pacific countries.
The latest news is that the extension in repayment period for EFS loans,
from 150 days to 180, which had just lapsed last fiscal and was made
available only for exports of engineering goods, hand-knotted carpets and
computer software has been reintroduced for the monitoring year 97098 for
exports of all value-added textile and leather made-ups, cutlery and
surgicals, handicrafts, fish and tobacco/cigarettes.
Correspondingly, the export obligation against loans on past performance
would be reduced from 2.4 times to 2.0 times.
Several new export products have been entered for concessionery export
finance, in particular cotton yarn, if 30 counts or higher, the exports of
which have been suffering lately due to unequal competition from India and
The new trade policy catalogues a good number of new export incentives,
meaningful tariff reductions for raw materials and intermediates for export
production and procedural adjustments to reduce bureaucracy, that hampers
exports and impinges on the time of the exporters that should better be
devoted to production. One aspect needs particular mention. Duty drawbacks
on exports are an important part of cash liquidity of exporters and must be
made available in the shortest period after exports.
The earlier provision of payment within 14 days has not worked. Now, 50 per
cent payment in three days and rest after audit is not wholly satisfactory.
Similarly, refund of sales tax at 50 per cent initially and the rest later
is also causing difficulty, besides the new documentation requirement which
is difficult to comply.
The scheme of no duty - no drawback will also not be workable, because
there would always be some duty-paid inputs in export production, and, in
any case, it would not cover the commercial exporters. The modality of
having standard and input / output norms as the basis of standard drawbacks
remains the most efficious.
The future agenda is quite clear. For increasing production, further easing
of bank credit is absolutely essential to make our exporters equally
competitive visa-vis other Asia-Pacific suppliers who have access to fund
sat much lower costs. The commercial rate needs to be brought down to no
more than 14 per cent.
For export finance, the next step should be 8 per cent Machinery and
material should be allowed freely without any hindrance. If machinery
imports have to be taxed at all, a scheme can be devised to provide duty
drawbacks in proportion to depreciation relatable to export production.
This years' trade policy envisages financial support upto Rs 150,000 to
individual companies for achieving ISO-9000 certification.
This is great. ISO-14000 is also getting into greater prominence and will
be required more and more for successful export marketing.
This should also be encouraged through financial support. These will be the
real trade policy issues of the future.
The WTO-related trade liberalisations have already started for the third
year going, intensifying competition on quality and minimum standards.
Alongwith production, new marketing techniques will have to be adopted. The
best approach will be to go for joint ventures with reputed producers
world-wide. International consultant could help. The current exercise,
Intechmart-97 for Pakistan, launched by UNIDO/EPB/FPCCI could and should be
a turning point.
Fresh package of incentives for EPZs likely
Aamir Shafaat Khan
KARACHI, Aug 13: The investment policy is expected to provide a fresh
package of incentives to export processing and free trade zones located in
various parts of the country.
Sources said proposals submitted by the Export Processing Zone Authority
(EPZA) for the revitalization of zones are now under active consideration
of the Board of Investment (BoI) and may be included in the investment
policy due next month.
Chairman, EPZA, Syed Muzzaffar Ali Shah, told Dawn on Wednesday that there
are at least 16 proposals awaiting approval compared to 17 incentives now
available for the investors. "The government may pick up some of these
proposals," he added.
The EPZA has proposed to allow project financing by banks and local
development financial institutions (DFIs) besides giving tax exemption on
profit of DFIs and banks, he said.
"There has been no progress in export processing zones," he said
attributing the lacklustre performance to inconsistency in policies.
He added the government is now committed to attract more investment and it
is hoped that the new investment policy will come out with more incentives.
He added the authority has geared up its efforts to make EPZs at par with
foreign zones and for this purpose computerization of EPZA will be done
shortly coupled with training of people for investment and marketing
strategies with changed attitudes.
Muzaffar said the authority will persuade multinational companies (MNCs)
and foreign countries to set up their own industrial units in export
Proposals submitted by the EPZA to the government for inclusion in the
investment policy are as follows:
A five to seven year tax holiday from date of production may be allowed as
new investors are being provided tax holiday up to the year 2000. The units
at the EPZs be allowed to source capital goods from domestic leasing
companies which can import the goods free of duty on their behalf and
Exporters may be treated at par with tariff area counterparts for freight
subsidy on certain items. The Central Board of Revenue should simplify the
procedure for disposal of duty free vehicles imported by zone investors.
Customs functionaries in the zone may be placed under EPZA and export
processing zones may be allowed to function within the ambit of the EPZ
PTCL finalizes $250m securitization deal
ISLAMABAD, Aug 14: Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited has managed
250 million dollars securitization deal on Thursday in New York by
concluding an agreement with the Citibank and the ABN Amro Bank.
According to local PTCL office the deal which has been finalized is based
on the concept of securitization of PTCL future receivables from the major
US and British carriers like AT&T, Sprint, British Telecom, MCI, Mercury
and Deutch Telecom - the major telecoms operators of the world.
The PTCL foreign exchange transaction has the longest tenure of six years
and is one of the unique transactions which has ever taken place in South
Asia. The deal is of special significance for as it has been concluded on
the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the country.
The deal of six years' tenure has been possible because of the
creditworthiness of the PTCL and it is a major development in the history
of capital market of the country, officials of the organization said.
The transaction has created a lot of enthusiasm amongst the qualified
foreign institutional buyers from US and Japan who have taken keen interest
in the deal and made long term commitment in the financial and corporate
sector of the country. This capital market transaction from PTCL has
provided diversification in the borrowing arena of Pakistan and will help
in improving credit rating of Pakistan in view of the interest of qualified
institutional investors and involvement of world class operators like AT&T,
BT, Sprint, MCI etc in the transaction.
Govt decides to carry on with Keti Bunder plan
ISLAMABAD, Aug 15: The government has withdrawn its decision to scrap the
1320mw power project of Consolidated Electric Power Asia (CEPA) to be
constructed at Keti Bunder, Dawn officially learnt.
"The legal obligations of both the government and the CEPA remained
unchanged," Secretary Water and Power, Javed Burki told Dawn on Friday
after meeting a visiting delegation of the Southern Company an American
concern, which has recently purchased CEPA shares from Hopewell Holdings
Limited of Gordon Wu.
The delegation after negotiation with the government has left and the Power
Purchase Agreement and other agreements signed with CEPA remained intact,
The government's decision to cancel the letter of support issued to CEPA by
the previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party for setting up 5280mw
power project was announced on the floor of National Assembly by the
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Chaudhry Nisar Ali
who then, was also holding the portfolio of ministry of water and power.
In the first phase of the project the CEPA was allowed to set up two power
units of 1320mw capacity at the imported coal.
"These agreements cannot be cancelled unilaterally," said Burki. However,
according to some inside sources the government has reversed its decision
as the Southern Electric which is the biggest power generation company of
the United States pulled some official strings.
The CEPA officials contend that the financial close of power project has to
be done simultaneously with financial close of a 185km long 500kv double
circuit transmission line from the site of project at Keti Bunder to Jamshoro.
The previous government had prepared a schedule for inviting bids for
construction of transmission line according to which the financial closure
had to be done by March 1997.
A deep sea port had also to be constructed by CEPA at Keti Bunder. Ministry
of communication had informed the Cabinet in March this year that CEPA had
not conducted any study on the project of sea port.
However, the CEPA people said that they were ready to carry out the study
and undertake dredging at the port provided the government would meet its
contractual obligation of awarding the contract of transmission line.
Investors react positively to passage of anti-terrorism bill
KARACHI, Aug 15: Leading shares came in for active short-covering at the
lower levels on Friday, both from the local and foreign investors, on news
that the National Assembly has passed the anti-terrorism bill to check
activities of terrorists. The index was quoted higher by 21 points at
1,919.07, as the heavy weight in it recovered smartly in the morning session.
There was an air of optimism in the rings as initial reaction to the
passage of the bill was more than positive but owing to weekend
considerations the buying support remained confined to most of the safe
havens, said a floor broker.
How the newly passed bill works only time will tell but it provided the
much needed boost to investors who were yearning for peace for the last
three years, dealers said.
The market sentiment in part was also influenced favourably owing to
relative calm on the sectarian front and no incident of terrorism during
the post-bill session, they added.
The broader market, however, stayed weak as investors were not inclined to
make fresh commitments owing to two official holidays ahead. Losing shares
maintained a strong lead over the advancing ones at 148 to 63 with 54
shares holding on the last levels, out of the total 265 actives which came
in for trading.
Price changes on all the counters were fractional as investors were not
inclined to make bigger commitments partly because of weekend
considerations and partly to the absence of bargain-hunters.
However, institutional traders were active on a number of counters which in
turn evoked modest interest from some of the genuine investors.
"The market largely owes its strength to strong selective foreign buying
and until it is there there is a possibility of a strong turnaround," most
Analysts said the immediate impact of the terrorism bill appeared to be
positive on stock trading as leading investors are back in the rings though
on selected counters.
Some others said it was largely the strength of Hub-Power and PTCL on
strong short-covering by leading foreign funds at the lower levels which
put the index back above the psychological barrier but the market's overall
performance was weak.
"It is too early to say something about the direction of the market during
the next week as it is dependent on external events," they stated.
Bulk of the short Friday session trading was confined to Hub-Power, PTCL
and ICI Pakistan, which received massive battering during the last few
sessions as the same set of investors covered positions at the lower level
who earlier took profits.
Owing to a short Friday session, the traded volume fell to 42 million
shares as compared to 60 million shares on Wednesday.
PTCL traded higher by 65 paisa at Rs 41 on 15 million shares followed by
Hub-Power, sharply higher by Rs 1.70 on 10 million shares, and ICI
Pakistan, up 40 paisa on 8 million shares.
Dewan Salman and FFC-Jordan Fertilizer followed them, up 80 paisa and 35
paisa respectively on 2.500 million and 1.800 million shares each.
Lever Brothers Pakistan came in for renewed selling on news of fall in
interim profits, losing another Rs 35 at Rs 975, followed by Singer
Pakistan, Siemens Pakistan, NDLC, Grays of Cambridge and Spencer Pakistan,
which fell by one rupee each.
Engro Chemicals, which has been under pressure for the last couple of
sessions owing to below market expectation interim dividend of 25% and
lower half yearly profits, recovered Rs 2 and so did PSO and National
Refinery, rising by one rupee each.
Other actively traded shares were led by Schon Bank, up 40 paisa on 0.111
million shares, followed by D. G. Khan Cement, unchanged on 0.108 million
shares. All other transactions were below 0.100 million shares owing to
DEFAULTERS COUNTER: No deal was reported on this counter for the first time
since trading started on August 6, as investors were not inclined to make
fresh commitments owing perhaps to weekend considerations.
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Back to the top.
The great betrayal
HAVING fulfilled his life's ambition, on August 7, 1947, Mohammad Ali
Jinnah flew from Delhi to Karachi. Fifty years ago to the day, on August
10, 1947, he painstakingly worked on the speech he was to deliver the
following day as president of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.
This speech of August 11, 1947, was his creed. It is much quoted, bits of
it trotted out by all and sundry on every possible occasion, at each hint
of disaster or unrest or persecution, but never once has it been honoured
or adhered to by any man who has subsequently had anything to do with the
leadership of this country.
His priorities were correct, his apprehensions well-founded. He started off
by defining the first duty, the primary duty, of any government of any
country - "to maintain law and order so that the life, property and
religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State."
He moved on to what he described as the "biggest curses" afflicting the
sub-continent - curses suffered by other countries but, as he said, "our
condition is much worse." The curses: bribery and corruption. Poison, he
said they were, to be "put down with an iron hand." Then came
blackmarketing, and the great evil of nepotism and jobbery, an evil he
stated he would not countenance. As for the division of India, he was
convinced that there was no other possible solution. A United India could
never have worked. He urged his people to forget the past, to bury the
hatchet, to work together no matter to which community or caste or creed or
colour they belonged. When each man is an equal citizen of the state, with
equal obligations, rights, and privileges, then only will progress be
In his Pakistan, said Jinnah, there must be no majority or minority
communities, all will be but one people. The fragmentation of India into
multiple sects and creeds was the cause of its persistent failure to
achieve independence. Had the peoples of India been united into one sole
people, they would not have been continually subjugated. The new Pakistanis
of the new nation must learn from past foolishness that caused such dire
strife and division.
Then came the core of the speech, the core of his creed that he set forth
that day. To his countrymen he said: "You are free; you are free to go to
your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of
worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or
creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the State." "Keep that
in front of us as our ideal," he urged his legislators. Justice and
fairplay, were to be their guiding principles, the watchwords of their
ethics, as they were his.
During the eleven months he lived thereafter, dying of tuberculosis, he did
whatever he could to see that lasting institutions were built in the
country he had made. He failed, for want of time and for the competence
lacking in his followers. The men he had with him and the men he left
behind were not men such as he. Their minds were set, visionless. Devoid of
largesse of spirit, they succeeded in only doing everything they warned
them not to do. With prescience, Jinnah predicted that each successive
government would be worse than its predecessor.
President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
declared that on this August 14 they would address the nation from the
podium of his stolid mausoleum. However, heavily guarded as they are, the
anarchy that prevails in the city has made them change their minds. They
will now merely drop in, offer a hasty fateha and, hopefully, seek Jinnah's
forgiveness, and then drop out. What the Founder of this country will tell
them, from the depths of his tomb, they will not hear:
You, all of you who have ruled, led, and administered the state of
Pakistan, have collectively and dissolutely broken faith with your people.
You have betrayed both them and me.
Neither surprised nor confounded am I now, for long ago I fathomed your
genius (with hindsight, I now realize how exceedingly well). It was because
of this failing that I deviated from my initial adherence to the concept of
one nation, and set myself the task of carving out a separate homeland for
you, a territory for you to tend and nurture, in which you could not only
survive, but flourish, and build it into a country your successors would be
proud to call their homeland. Given the circumstances and my short lease of
life, I did the best I could.
It will serve no purpose for me now to recount the multitude of your
follies, your sins of commission and of omission, or your losses. The
Master Referee exonerated me long ago. I rest upon my laurels. You, on your
part, failed. You made no attempt to do better than you have done - you
blundered along, robbing and looting, losing half the country, drowning in
debt and corruption, lowering in the eyes of the world yourselves and the
people you have purposefully kept in abject poverty and ignorance.
You, the false leaders, the men of straw, have made it a practice to
remember me, but you remember me as I was not, as I never was; you remember
me solely as you find it convenient or politic to remember me. You deny
that I was a man free of bigotry, liberal, tolerant, progressive, endowed
with political dexterity and a good deal of common sense, not given to
flights of fancy, that I was a normal human being with faults, foibles and
failings, that I was a man with the strength to take upon himself a mission
which fortune and fate permitted me to accomplish. You conveniently forget
that having done so, when my time ran out I died with much apprehension
about what I was leaving behind, I died with little or no trust in those in
whose hands I was bequeathing my legacy (though I had but few regrets for
what I had done).
I do not wish to be sanctified and canonised, but I do resent being
misquoted and misunderstood. I conceived and created a nation-state with
the steadfast intention that it should be forward-looking, democratic and
secular. Bigotry, theocracy, intolerance, hatred - they played no role in
my ideology. At the very outset, three days before the countdown, I
unequivocally and firmly declared this in my speech to your first
Constituent Assembly, which I now feel fell on deaf ears. But, yet, a
distorted, censored version of this speech was given to my official
biographer, Bolitho, for his book commissioned by the government.
Whether you like them or not, whether they suit you or not, whether they be
too liberal, humanitarian, tolerant and progressive for your warped minds
and spirits to grasp and accept, these words of mine spoken that August
day, embody my faith, my testament. You have negated both.
What is on the ground in my country today, a country rent by sectarian and
ethnic killings, by intolerance and bigotry, by discriminatory laws? Never
for a moment did I think that in the nation I created there could be an
iniquitous law that has converted into a minority an entire community that
was part of the majority, a law which prohibits, on pain of three years
imprisonment, the members of this community from reciting Kalima Tayyaba.
What are you celebrating on this 50th birthday of the nation? Anarchy? Or
the fact that you are left with only half the country given to you in 1947?
In this half then you were 35 million; today you are bursting at the seams
with 140 million. Of these, 40 million live below the poverty line, 70
million have no access to safe drinking water, 75 million are deprived of
health facilities, 95 million survive with no basic sanitation, 0.8 million
newborn die each year, many from malnutrition. And yet the population
growth rate remains at 3 per cent, plus or minus, which means that by the
year 2023, if the country survives as a whole, you will have to cope with a
population of 300 million. How?
In my time, we bought a dollar for three rupees; now you are paying
forty-two. And how do you spend what you do not earn? An amount of 2.7
billion rupees has been allocated in the national budget this year for
health, to treat the hundred million poor and needy. An identical sum has
been allocated to the prime minister to enable him to live and work in his
secretariat, with vain pomp and undeserved glory. Is this fair play? Is it
ignorance that forces the people to tolerate such glaring inequity? Just
one-third of that amount, a paltry 0.9 billion rupees, goes towards
education - and this with your literacy rate of less than 30 per cent.
Should you laugh or weep? Celebrate or repent?
I can but lie here helpless, bitterly disillusioned by the travesty you
have made of your country and of me.
Can child labour be defended?
THE world community has put Pakistan on notice as one of the worst
offenders in the area of child labour. Some key export sectors are under
threat of sanctions, unless some measures are taken to demonstrate the
country's commitment to tackle this issue over an agreed time frame. What
is the nature of this issue and to what extent can we as a nation continue
to defend this practice?
Children under 18, who form the majority of this country's population and
currently make up around 9% of labour force, are the most vulnerable
segment of the population. They cannot speak up for themselves and have to
look towards their parents for protection and a humane and fair treatment
so that they can lead lives free of malnourishment and ill-health and with
access to educational and other developmental opportunities.
The demand for child labour manifests itself in the form of wage employment
in industry and commercial or home based family enterprises, while in the
agriculture sector (with the highest incidence of child labour) the child
helps out the family by doing odd jobs. A closer examination of industry
employing child labour will reveal that the latter are found in the
small-scale sector. The main reasons are:
a) The absence of statutory protection for children in this sector as laws
do not extend to family/household labour. Child labour is rampant in this
sector, not only because children can be paid much lower wages than adults
but also because they can be made to work for longer hours without protest
and without additional remuneration. In a survey of child labour carried
out in 1996 by the Ministry of Labour and the Federal Bureau of Statistics,
almost half of the children were working for more than normal working hours
and close to 25% were working for 56 hours a week.
b) Children cannot form labour unions and turnover, in terms of a worker
moving from one job to another, is rather low. They cannot only be
dismissed when demand is sluggish, but can also be reprimanded and punished
for failing to comply rigidly with institutions.
c) Children can generally be relied upon to do dull, monotonous and
routine-like tasks better than adults and are hence more suited to labour
intensive jobs. Therefore, not only do children come cheap they also keep
production costs low by making labour intensive manufacturing processes
viable in comparison with more modern technology-intensive production
Child labour has historically been portrayed as an economic issue on the
plea that the poor lack both income and wealth. As a result, education of
children gets a lower priority compared to more pressing needs of food and
housing. By viewing it essentially as an economic phenomenon enough
arguments can always be presented in support of child labour, thereby
making its eradication from society difficult.
There is no doubt that working children generally come from extremely poor
families whose survival is critically dependent upon their children selling
their labour from an early age. It is also true that the opportunity cost
of children from poor families going to school is high, compared with the
situation in developed countries where such costs are low because
opportunities for illiterates are highly restricted.
Such a justification of child labour is generally couched in more
sophisticated jargon by presenting child labour as a part of the culture
and an apprenticeship to acquire skills. Children attending schools, it is
argued, are also a loss to the local economy and the household because they
yearn for white collar jobs thereafter. One group even argues that some of
these children will be pushed into sex trade, if child labour is eliminated.
This is clearly an exaggeration. Sex trade is more visible and requires to
be carried out in distinct identifiable locations, thereby making its
supervision and monitoring relatively easier.
Having presented the arguments generally put forward in defence of child
labour let us now proceed to examine these issues. The first few questions
that come to mind concern the share of the child's income in total
household income (i.e., the extent to which his contribution is critical to
the family's economic survival), the long term impact on the technical
development, productivity and competitiveness of industry that depends upon
child labour, and the sustainability and growth potential of an economy
with a huge pool of an illiterate, poorly skilled labour force, etc. These
questions are relevant because with globalization and increasing
integration with the world economy it is difficult to believe that Pakistan
can continue to rely on weak technologies and a low skilled, predominantly
illiterate, work force to retain its competitive edge.
Enough comprehensive studies have not been conducted on the impact on
household incomes, if children were to attend schools. The available
evidence on improvement in living standards on the basis of child earnings
is weak. In fact, some studies have even concluded that the economic
survival of the family did not depend upon the earnings of these children.
Not only is the contribution small, in many cases the earnings of children
are even used by male adults for financing the consumption of alcohol and
drugs, rather than for ensuring the survival of the family.
In other words, even if poverty drives many to send their children to work,
child labour does not relieve poverty. In the 1996 survey, referred to
above, a large number of children from families living above the poverty
line were going to work to augment family income to improve its standard of
living. Around 21% of children were members of households whose incomes
were in excess of Rs 4,000 per month while 39% were from households earning
Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000 per month.
Nevertheless, few would disagree that in most cases the employment
potential at a later age in the life of a child who starts work at an early
age is seriously affected. The health of many is affected by fatigue caused
by long working hours, diseases such as tuberculosis and jaundice, or by
the hazardous conditions at work. Some are even rendered unfit for work by
The low-level skills that children acquire during early age condemn them to
tedious and highly mechanical low paying jobs for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the earnings that the
child eventually has to forgo as an adult, either because of physical
disabilities or lack of training and education that he could have acquired
in childhood, is much more substantial than his/her earnings as a child
In other words, child labour tends to perpetuate poverty. Far from reducing
poverty it condemns one generation after another to the cruel outcomes of
More importantly, however, child labour has to be seen as a problem of
institutions, social attitudes and sentiments rather than as an outcome of
poverty. Not only did developed countries address these issues successfully
way before their economies grew strong, this problem does not exist in many
developing countries let alone have serious dimensions. Historical
comparisons with countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Kenya and China show
that, provided political commitment to change "realities" is strong, even
developing countries can successfully implement universal compulsory
education and achieve reduction in the degree of child labour.
The ILO rightly argues that presenting poverty as a pretext for ignoring
universally accepted values is to argue in favour of the continuation of
these reprehensible standards. Only social mobility can enable children to
escape from this vicious circle of poverty, and this can only come from
However, to the extent that poor access to education because of lack of
schools is presented as one of the factors contributing to the flourishing
trade of child labour the point is valid. Furthermore, even when the number
of schools is adequate, the quality of education is invariably so poor and
the learning environment for the child so hostile (unpleasant surroundings,
dingy, damp and run-down classrooms, teachers missing from school, a harsh
discipline implemented by a teacher who wields a stick rather freely, etc.)
that neither motivates parents to send the child to school nor does the
child find the conditions in school attractive enough to stay in the
Therefore, the functional irrelevance and poor quality of schooling
available to the children of poor households do provide a justification for
parents preferring work to education for their children. Parents are happy
sending their children to a school which functions regularly. Therefore,
where schools do not function regularly either because of a lack or
frequently absent teachers, and are, hence, not viewed as alternatives,
parents even send children to work to prevent them from loitering around in
the streets and getting into bad company, essentially because schools are
not viewed as alternatives.
At present the education system simply presides over a huge drop-out rate
which pushes more children into the low-paying segments of the labour
market. By making education attractive through improved curricula, better
trained teachers, attractive surroundings, i.e. through an improved
environment for education, would be the most effective way of progressively
diverting children from labour. All this would, of course, require much
larger allocations for education than the resources being committed today
along with appropriate institutional arrangements for the delivery of good
quality educational services. These mechanisms and procedures should be
anchored in measures that ensure greater accountability of the service
provider, the teacher to the service recipients, the households whose
children are enrolled in the schools.
It's the chair that matters
THE refusal of the PIA man in New York to hand over charge to his successor
(he had secured a court stay order against his transfer) reminded me of a
similar interesting, if not positively intriguing, situation that developed
in a small town in Punjab some time ago. Maybe it has now been resolved,
maybe the stalemate continues, but the details are indeed unique in a way.
Whatever the position, it presents an insight into the dogged character of
the Pakistani bureaucrat. When he sets his mind on something, especially
the chair of office, it is not easy to dislodge him from his stand - or
rather, from his seat.
As the story goes, an officer of the Food Department refused to vacate his
office and his chair (like the New York PIA chap) when transferred. His
successor tried in vain to get into the chair, but the incumbent, waiting
hopefully for cancellation of his transfer, would not budge.
Not trusting anyone in such a vital matter, he kept the keys of the
official jeep in his pocket, locked the telephone in a drawer of his table,
came to office half an hour before opening time and left half an hour after
closing time, and did not get up from the chair during this period. Not
even to go to the toilet, as the newspaper reported.
Thus was the indomitable officer protecting his chair from intruders when
last reports came in. His abnormal behaviour had begun to attract
government servants from other offices, and there were visitors all the
time as if on a sight-seeing trip. As a result, official activity in the
food office had come to a standstill, till the issue was resolved either way.
For the bureaucrat, his chair is the be-all and end-all of his existence.
Possibly it sends up some special electronic rays into the body which give
him super confidence in himself and in his ability to conduct himself
properly like an officer.
It is not an ordinary chair. Were it not so, it would not alienate him from
the riff-raff and give him delusions of grandeur. Its invisible influence
makes it akin to a royal throne. The officer is so enamoured of this chair
that, left to him, he would strap his body to it, because once he is out of
it, the magical effect disappears and he becomes an ordinary, even abject,
human being with surprisingly human qualities.
There are innumerable instances of otherwise decent, highly educated and
cultured men acting like tyrants and dictators just because they are
occupying an important bureaucratic position. At any given time, any
citizen who deals with government offices, or even a minor public servant
himself, will give you half a dozen names of officers who are as
stiff-necked that they have trouble talking to their wives and children
when they get home.
Their way of working in office is marked by an inordinate love for files,
so much so that they don't want to get rid of them and send them on their
way, so they sit on them. They are the really privileged class of Pakistan,
not the billionaires and the politicians, not even the drug barons and the
Kalashnikov-toting gangsters, because all these types look up to the
bureaucrat for help and blessings to facilitate their work and money-earning.
Come superannuation day and then look at the miraculous change. I don't
think that anywhere else in the world you will see a more dramatic
transformation. There have been cases where former subordinate colleagues
have failed to recognise in the smiling, affable visitor their erstwhile
frowning and fire-eating boss. I have heard about some senior officers in
the government of Pakistan that they smile only on Eid days, and that too
when they meet an officer of equal or higher rank.
Highly educated and enlightened as the bureaucrat is (by frequent foreign
trips at government expense) he considers it uncivilised to do anyone a
favour and make them feel grateful and beholden to him. So he tries his
best not to do anything which eases someone's difficulty or solves
someone's problem, except when directed from above. Then, of course it is
like the word of God and becomes a duty, howsoever unpleasant it may be.
Some mean and selfish citizens try to get around this noble attitude by
bribing the officer, and, at the same time, convincing him that the gift
has nothing to do with their stuck up file. In any case, his own conscience
is clear. A gift accepted in good faith cannot be termed as illegal
gratification by the strictest of moralists.
But I was talking of the obsession for the chair. It is said that a
22-carat officer is all of a sudden reduced to eleven carats the day he
vacates his official seat. His parting from his private secretary and
orderly is heart-rending. So there must be something in the theory that
invisible rays emanate from the chair and suffuse the occupant's being with
An unkind critic of the bureaucracy was once cruel enough to suggest that
his official chair should be given to the officer as a farewell present and
that when he dies he should be buried sitting in it. No harm in that, but
what has the poor family done to deserve this? Because, after retirement,
if he is in the same chair, his old habits will continue, much to the
disconcertment of the wife and children. They could relish these habits
when they were accompanied by his power and authority, but not without
them. Verily it is the chair that does it.
As I said in the beginning, maybe the crisis in that Food Department office
has abated, and maybe the officer who made the news is still ensconced in
his chair waiting for good news while his successor stamps his feet with
impatience in the PA's room. Whatever the case, the matter cannot be
dismissed by us with scorn or with derisive laughter. The incident shows
that, for the bureaucrat, his chair is a matter of life and death, and he
would rather be seen dead in it than leave it voluntarily - even to go to
Can we stop whining for a day?
WHEN dutiful and perhaps loving offspring celebrate their grandmother's
birthday they do not point out her infirmities, of how she has grown fat,
doddering and cantankerous, complaining about everything and being
generally a nuisance.
They do what is required of them and if they are upwardly mobile
townspeople they get a cake, put a modest number of candles on it and for
at least the time that the party lasts they allow their grandmother to have
a good time. Birthdays are for being sentimental and, if possible, happy.
They are not occasions for drawing up a balance sheet of the cosmos.
But look what's happening in the country. In the run-up to its 50th
birthday there has been a veritable explosion of sour and ill-sounding
punditry with every wiseacre across the land considering it his bounden
duty to draw as dark and morbid a picture of our last 50 years as his
feverish imagination can get him to do so. This says something about the
character of our intellectual elite, if there be any such class in a
country devoted to illiteracy. When it should speak up it takes refuge
behind expediency. Which is why every major crisis in the nation's history
has produced such a sorry crop of martyrs. But no sooner has the moment of
danger passed than the anguish coming from this gilded class breaks all
barriers of moderation.
Don't we moan enough for the rest of the year, deriving a macabre pleasure
from running our country down, even when we know in our hearts that many of
us are accessories to the same crimes of which our rulers stand accused? We
have been decrying the sate of the country for the last 20 years and no
doubt will keep doing this in the days to come because the revolution in
the country's affairs that all of us are desirous of seeing, preferably
without getting our own hands soiled in the process, is not going to come
in a hurry. So on our 50th birthday at least why don't we put a stop to
this moaning if only for a day and be a bit happy about what this country
means to us?
The first truth to be imbibed is that Pakistan for all its afflictions is
not a Somalia or a Uganda even though it has become fashionable for some
native social scientists (may their tribe perish) to parrot the fashionable
dialectic of a 'failed state'. As they thus thrive on the backs of a
borrowed wisdom, they forget the resilience of their country which has
managed to forge a national identity despite having to suffer a
never-ending succession of mountebanks as its rulers. If Pakistan could
survive Ziaul Haq, Asif Zardari, Benazir Bhutto and... well, let this
pass... it can survive anything, even sectarian warfare and the smouldering
fires of Karachi. If it had to go under, it would have done so long ago.
Now it is here to stay if for no other reason than that its 140 million
souls (this being a measure of our gift for procreation) have nowhere else
to go and perhaps no wish to do so either. The upper crust may view with
watery eyes the prospect of safe havens and mediocre colleges in the West.
But for ordinary mortals even when they go far afield in search of jobs
home will always be Chakwal, Mirpur or Tando Adam.
The next thing to remember is that the expanding middle and upper classes
(whose numbers are growing despite what the economists say), those who ride
about in cars, chocking the Republic's roads and generally adding to the
crassness which has become one of the leading characteristics of life in
Pakistan, would not be where they are if Pakistan had not come into
existence. The Hindu educated class - much sharper than ours, let us
confess - would have crowded them out and kept them where their forefathers
were: in positions of economic subordination.
Every time a well-heeled Pakistani gentleman or lady gives vent to the
angst without which an evening drink is never complete, he or she should
spare a thought for the fact that Pakistanis, for all their foolhardiness
in so many things, live better and certainly eat better than their
counterparts in the rest of South Asia, Sri Lanka included. If Pakistan
were such a bad place to live in, how about a stint in the slums of Bombay
or Dhaka? While there is much in our affairs to bemoan, does it help to
shut our eyes to the few blessings we can rightfully call our own?
Take a look at the map of this region and see the turmoil it is in. The
states of Central Asia are still trying to find their bearings. Afghanistan
has been brought to rack and ruin by decades of war. As for Iran, it is a
fine-sounding place from a distance but from closer quarters it would
perhaps look different. There is no denying the filth and untreated sewage
running across our land. Our schools and colleges are something to
endlessly cry over. Social services are non-existent and much more besides.
All this is true but so is the fact that Pakistan has greater hallmarks of
stability than other countries in this so-called arc of crisis.
Let us not forget another point. Pakistan today has the most open democracy
in the Islamic world, Turkey and Malaysia included. In the former the army
lays down the parameters of what is permissible politically; in the latter
the democratic spirit which prevails has an authoritarian edge to it. The
very angst which is to be heard at all times in Pakistan, and the sounds of
which on this 50th anniversary are reaching a crescendo, is a function of
Pakistani democracy. Try expressing this angst in Iraq or Saudi Arabia and
a better appreciation will dawn of what we enjoy and many of our brethren
in what for want of a better word I can only call the Ummah do not.
As for lawlessness, it is no use pretending that it is not on the rise.
Even so, it helps to keep things in focus. Areas of Karachi apart, it is
still safe to walk the streets of Pakistani cities at night. Try doing this
in parts of Washington and New York, let alone Moscow where a new mafia
rules, and the distinction will become more apparent. Even as far as
Karachi is concerned, it is instructive to remember that not long ago a
government otherwise notable for its loot and plunder had successfully
clamped down on disorder. This only goes to show that provided the will and
the vision are there, the forces raising heads in Karachi can be cut down
to size again. The same holds true for Punjab where sectarian killings feed
newspaper headlines every day. Grave as this problem has become, the state
institutions of Pakistan, despite their vaunted enfeeblement, are still
capable of getting the better of it.
The last item in this litany of counting our blessings is to remember the
restlessness of the Pakistani people. This is the most positive outcome of
our anarchic democracy. Having seen a succession of governments come and
go, popular patience with corruption and incompetence is wearing
dangerously thin. Any government not coming up to the expectations of the
people should not be surprised if it forfeits public trust. Benazir Bhutto
and her heedless band of companions have found this out to their cost.
Nawaz Sharif will do so too if his government is seen to be floundering and
not delivering what is expected of it. If this is not democracy, what is?
Beyond the performance of governments, we must look at the spirit of the
Pakistani people. If that were to fall a victim to apathy, we would then be
truly in trouble. But that is far from being the case. The country's
governing elites may be infected with defeatism but not so the masses who,
despite the hard knocks they have received, still burn with the desire to
make something of their country. Other countries in our time have been
pulled down the drain by their leaders. Nigeria comes to mind as an example
of this phenomenon. So does the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia.
Given the dearth of leadership, the same fate in theory could befall us.
But it will not because between failed leadership and the precipice stand
the people of Pakistan. They have suffered lies, deceits and disasters over
the years but it is an indication of the maturity and anger forged in the
crucible of their despair that they are unlikely to put up with much of
these in the future.
If this be a valid proposition - and who is there to say that it is not? -
then why all the gloom? Our country was a new and uncertain creation on
August 14, 1947. But it is here to stay and will be around till the last
trumpets are sounded and the towers of Jericho come tumbling down. So
trusting in our genius to muddle through, let us raise whatever we have in
our hands and on its birthday wish this maddeningly frustrating but
irreplaceable country many, many happy returns. There will be time enough
for moaning when this day is over.
Cricket Board's worry
Our Sports Reporter
LAHORE, Aug 15: Non-availability of key players is proving a big worry in
finalisation of 14 members of the Pakistan cricket team which is to play
the second Sahara Cup series against India at Toronto from the 13th of next
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Majid Khan, talking
exclusively to this reporter on Friday evening, said that the wily
right-arm leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmad, who had played an important role in a
historic win in the five-match first Sahara Cup series against India last
time, had also informed the board that he was "unfit" and so was not
available for the series this time!
"After receiving an intimation from Mushtaq Ahmad, we have sent a message
to know from him about nature of his injury which is stopping him from
joining the Pakistan team? Captain Wasim Akram has already ruled himself
out of the matches against India in Toronto and in Pakistan. Paceman
Muhammad Zahid is also out of action for six months. The paceman Waqar
Younis is making an effort to take Glamorgan to the top of the
All-England Championship after failing to earn a win for his county in a
crucial Nat-West Trophy match. He is yet to inform about his availability
for the Pakistan team for the Sahara Cup. Pakistan team is scheduled to
leave for Toronto on September 9. We will be holding a tuning-up camp for
over a fortnight. However, young off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, reliable
batsman Ijaz Ahmad, pacemen Muhammad Akram, Shahid Nazir, Abdul Razzaq and
all other main players have confirmed their availability", said Majid Khan.
While replying to a question, the PCB chief executive said that serious
consultations were in progress to finalise a date for the Council meeting.
"We are not having a consensus on a date for the PCB Council meeting. On
certain dates, when the chairman Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah Bokhari is free, I
myself am busy with other commitments. Similarly, Mr Bokhari is also not
free on certain dates. However, we hope to finalise a suitable date within
three or four days", said Majid Khan.
100 greatest cricketers; some omissions
JOHN Woodcock, veteran journalist and former cricket correspondent The
Times, London, has come out with a list of all-time greatest cricketers,
totalling 100, in a series of articles in the Saturday magazine of the
Now that Sir Neville Cardus, R.C. Robertson- Glasgow, the historian H.S
Altham and John Arlott have passed away and the Australians Jack Fingleton,
Ray Robinson, Arthur Mailey and Johnny Moyes and the reputed West Indian
C.L.R. James too have died, Jim Swanton, formerly of the Daily Telegraph
(London), and Woodcock should be considered as the doyen of cricket
writers. Woodcock, a former editor of the most authentic chronicler of the
game, the Wisden Cricketers' almanack, is fully competent to give his
rating of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders from the days the Test match
era heralded on March 15, 1877, at Melbourne or even before. However, since
every writer has a right to be opinionated his assemblage has some glaring
omissions, certainly not slips since deliberately done in a computerised
The Pakistani fans of the game are angrily pointing out the exclusion of
Zaheer Abbas whose mastery over all sorts of bowling during his playing
days was remarkable. There was grandeur in his strokeplay. Not that the
statistics do not support his qualification to take a place in company of
the elitist group of contemporary cricketers. His glorious 274 against
England in 1971 at Birmingham won him the appreciation of the English
critics and the affection of the connoisseurs. He scattered the English
attack to the winds with a touch and mode that was entirely his own. He got
a pride of place as Wisden's five cricketers of the year in 1972.
In first class cricket, in the English county championship he thrice scored
a double hundred and a hundred in 1976 and 1977, playing for
Gloucestershire, the team of Dr W.G. Grace and Walter Hammond. He stands
above all luminaries in scoring two separate hundreds in first class
matches eight times. His exclusion from Woodcock's list cannot but be
regretted and one hopes he makes an early amendment.
Similarly the passing over of the magician spinner Abdul Qadir is
surprising. His Test career spanned over 13 years and in more series than
one against all cricket-playing countries, except the latterly-admitted ICC
member Zimbabwe and South Africa, having joined the main cricketing nations
quite late, Qadir's guile and wile harassed the batsmen of the highest
order. His disguised action, with flight and curve, was a delight to the
spectators enjoying the game from the galleries. He resembled Vinoo Mankad,
Subhas Gupte, Amir Elahi and the now almost forgotten Australian Jack
Iverson while moving to deceive the batsmen with his crafty and almost
unplayable googly. Even Shane Warne, the Australian mesmeriser, has time
and again paid tributes to the skill of Qadir. It is yet to be explained
why he has been left out.
No doubt there are other border-line cases of exclusions like those of
Majid Khan, Mohammad Nisar, one of the soundest openers of the
subcontinent, Vijay Merchant, and the inimitable stylist, Mushtaq Ali, a
hero of cricket fans at all venues in India and England. When he was
dropped for the second unofficial Test against the Australian Services XI
at Calcutta in 1945 the fans mobbed Prince Duleepsinhji, a famed cricketer
himself and a thorough gentleman, and angrily shouted, "No Mushtaq, no
Test." The crowds threatened violence. The chairman of the selectors,
Duleep, had but to accede to their demand. There is no instance of the
fans' love for a cricketer in the game's history. There were more
delectable strokes in his batsmanship than the aggressive variety of some
of the swash-bucklers. He has been called "the Errol Flynn of cricket" by a
gifted Australian all-rounder of yore, Keith Miller. He falls in the
category of some of the finest stylists of cricket, Spooner, Palairet and
Compton of England, Alan Kippax and Archie Jackson of Australia, if Victor
Trumper has to be put in a class of his own, being more dashing, energetic
and vehement. However, for pure graceful cricket Mushtaq Ali deserved a
place. He is still erect and fit, though approaching 83.
Dr W.G. Grace, who gave refinement to the batsmanship after the early
Hambeldon era, heads Woodcock's rating followed by Sir Donald Bradman.
One finds that Arthur Shrewsbury, one of the most organised of England
openers, has been put at No 31. He belonged to the Golden Age of cricket.
Interestingly Dr Grace, when asked about his world XI, only said, "Give me
Arthur." It was a rare tribute to one of the most technically sound batsmen.
Victor Trumper, the brilliant Australian stroke-player, died in June 1915
when he was only 38 and at the apogee of his batting form. No bowler could
keep him quiet. He could cut to the smithereens any sort of bowling. Even
on sticky dog he exhibited his nimbleness of feet and wrists and could go
on making runs in an unruffled and quick way.
In a crucial Test for England at Manchester in 1902 the whole strategy of
MacLaren, the English captain, rested on getting Trumper out in a jiffy.
There was a strong armoury of attack with MacLaren viz Lockwood, Rhodes,
Fred Tate, Braund and Stanley Jackson. Perhaps MacLaren can be successful,
thought the Lancashire supporters of England. Trumper opened the Australian
innings, took up the English challenge with such swiftness and dash that he
hit the first century before lunch in a Test match. He pricked the bubble
of Maclaren's scheme with delightful strokes all over the field that amazed
the onlookers. There was versality of shotplay in him. England lost the
match by three runs.
Why has Sanath Jayasuriya, the consistent Sri Lankan stroke-maker who
almost overhauled Lara's record in the recent Test against India, been kept
out of the world rating by Woodcock, ask the followers of the game?
Other notable omissions by Woodcock are the West Indian opening pair of
Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, Joel Garner, the tall former West
Indian pacer, and the noted Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson who had
formed a destructive combination of fast bowling with Dennis Lillee.
Fortunately the latter is listed at No 19, above Sir Alec Bedser, Ray
Lindwall, George Lohmann. Fred Trueman and Sir Richard Hadlee. An
additional (or separate) list to accommodate some other eminent cricketing
personalities to make up the lapses is needed - maybe by some other veteran
Golden Jubilee year marked by absence of sports policy
A. Majid Khan
We are celebrating the golden jubilee of Pakistan apparently with no
realisation that the country has not been able to formulate even its
national sports policy during all these years, what to say of executing it.
Half a century is considerably long period in the life of a nation but we
on our part, for one reason or the other, failed to put the sports
organisations on the right track and virtually neglected this vital sector
of national activity.
Right from the outset we left charge of running the sports bodies in the
hands of ministers and bureaucrats. This process is continuing and still
there seems to be hardly any realisation that this has resulted in
weakening the organisational structure of most of our sports organisations.
The outcome of this stereotyped approach is the overall decline of national
sports and the disillusionment of the young generation which drifted
towards unhealthy activities.
In the absence of a democratic structure and woeful lack of physical
infrastructure, the sports organisations at all levels were reduced to
political dens and patronage nests. The office-bearers of the associations
sought protection for their inactivity and unconstitutional acts. As a
consequence the sincere and committed sports men were left with no
alternative but to leave the organisations. Instead the sports mafias
filled the void and further strengthened their hold on the organisations.
If we look into the 50 years sports history of the country it will be seen
that a good number of sports officials are holding posts for well over 20
and 30 years. In certain cases an official is enjoying perks in more than
two sports bodies. Last four generations under the existing system have
been deprived of a fair chance.
Three months back a national sports conference was held in Islamabad and it
was announced that such sports conferences should be held in Karachi,
Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta before the national sports policy is framed by
October this year. Two months remain for the deadline and nothing is being
done. It appears that from national federations down to the provincial and
divisional level the sports organisers want status quo as it serves their
interest. With no accountability at any level they are just holding the
offices and carrying out their activities with the financial support of the
PSB and provincial sports boards of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP.
The federal government finds itself helpless as the federations have the
protection of the Pakistan Olympic Associations (POA) which is against the
government interference in the affairs of the sports bodies under the
charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Similarly the
provincial sports associations also get protection from their national
federations with no interference of the provincial governments.
The federations and provincial association have to work and generate funds
for the games promotion. Those who could not accomplish their task should
be forced to quit the organisation which they are controlling for many
years. Such a change will at least herald a new era in the 50th year.
Abbasi wants sport to go into private sector
KARACHI, Aug 11: "The politicians and bureaucrats should relinquish their
grip on sports organisations," said Mr. Arif Ali Khan Abbasi, former Chief
Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Chairman of the Sindh
Sports Board (SSB) in an exclusive interview to `Dawn' here on Monday.
"Today sports has turned into an industry and enormous sums of money in the
form of sponsorship are available provided able private sectors individuals
are handed over charge of all the sporting organisations in the country,"
stated Mr. Arif Abbasi, reputed for earning colossal amount of money for
the PCB during the 1996 World Cup Cricket Tournament jointly hosted by
Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in the subcontinent.
"The politicians and government functionaries have plenty of more important
jobs to handle than to divert their time to commerce where sports is
concerned," opined the Chairman of the Sindh Sports Board.
"The government has a lot of important and pressing projects to place money
on and the grant in aid to sports bodies should be done away with
forthwith," stated the former CE of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
"If an organiser cannot raise enough money in sponsorship deals he should
be sidelined and only those people from the private sector with the
capacity to raise money should be entrusted with the job of running the
sports bodies," opined Mr. Arif Ali Khan Abbasi.
"You see, both the hockey and squash federations running should be taken
away from the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Pakistan Air
Force respectively, and the charge should be given to competent people from
the private sector," explained the Chairman of the Sindh Sports Board.
"PIA has reached rockbottom where its finance is concerned and as a sage
once said zero plus zero is equal to zero. So how does one expect the
Airlines to promote hockey on sound footing," inquired Mr. Arif Ali Khan
"As for squash, I really cannot understand why has its federation been
handed over to the Air Force to run. They have not been able to import a
single portable four-sided glass court uptil now. Do you know, that I had
broached the subject with Kerry Packer way back in 1980," said the Chairman
of the Sindh Sports Board.
"We were planning to use a four-sided glass court on the centre of a
cricket field during the luncheon interval then and this is 1997, where
they are still in the planning stage to acquire one," stated Mr. Arif Ali
12 Pakistanis to compete in Singapore squash
KARACHI, Aug 13: No less than a dozen squash players, of whom two are world
famed and seasoned campaigners, the remaining are promising youngsters who
would be competing in the Singapore Open, scheduled there from Aug 20.
Pakistan's world number 27th Zarak Jahan Khan, world no 28 Mir Zaman Gul,
former Asian juniors champion Amjad Khan, ranked 58, Kashif Shuja (World No
77) and Shamsul Islam Kakar (World No 86) are in the 32-man draw of the
tournament which carries a total cash prize of dollars 21,000.
Other Pakistanis have to go through the qualifying process for earning
eight places reserved in the main draw. They are reigning Asian juniors
champion Mansoor Zaman, currently ranked World No 101, Ejaz Azmat,Zubair
Ali, Faisal Yakub Mesiya, Shahid Zaman, Mohammad Hussain and Shahzad Mohib.
The eight seeded players are 1. Martin Heate (Scotland - World No 20), 2.
Omer El-Borossy (Egypt-No 21), 3. Paul Gregory (Greece- No 22), 4. Zarak
Jahan Khan (Pakistan-No 27), 5. Mir Zaman Gul (Pakistan-No 28), 6. Stefan
Casteleyn (Belgium-No 29), 7. Simon Frenz (Germany-No31) 8. Rodney Durabch
(South Africa-No 32).
Jansher off to Finland for World Games
KARACHI, Aug 13: World number one Jansher Khan, the Pakistan champion of
the world squash, left the other day for London on his way to Finland for
the World Games, starting at Lahti, Finland, today.
Squash is one of the disciplines of the World Games and is being contested
by 16 players, one from each country.
The World Games include those disciplines, which are not part of the
Olympics but their international federations are endeavouring hard for
their inclusion in future Olympiads.
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