DAWN WIRE SERVICE
Week Ending : 19 April 1997 Issue : 03/16
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Altaf wants early compensation for victims
Another PAF officer held on drug smuggling charge
Appointments no more to be made on quota basis: SC
Smuggler held with uranium samples
PAF officer confesses to smuggling heroin
US Pakistanis to be issued travel cards
Mergers, acquisitions of sick units proposed
PSO sale may trigger race for regions oil
Public sector reform: rising unemployment
Importance of small-scale industry in Pakistan
Duty-free imports under NDRP
KSE 100-share index shows gain of 3.55 points
Believing the worst about ourselves Omar Kureishi
Will the business respond? Sultan Ahmed
13th Amendment in perspective M.B. Naqvi
Sri Lankas Sharjah win and the betting game
Is the balance titling in favour of the islands?
2-year ban clamped on Aamir Sohail
Cricket circle stunned over ban on Aamir Sohail
Waqar gets injured; blow to Pakistan on tour
Zahid, Afridi break county contracts
Jansher keeps countrys flag flying high
Altaf wants early compensation for victims
LONDON, April 17: Altaf Hussain, the self-exiled leader of the MQM wants
the government to make immediate arrangements for the earliest re-
possession of homes of those of his party supporters and workers who had
fled their localities in the last four or five years to escape persecution
and harassment by the Haqiqis who, he said, were still being backed by the
Next, he wants the government to pay cash compensation immediately to the
families of those MQM supporters and workers who fell victim to what he
called the custodial and extra- judicial killings.
In a wide-ranging interview with Dawn on Thursday last (April 10) at his
modest home-cum-office, in the unpretentious Middlesex House on Edgware
high street, a lower middle class locality of London, a seemingly cool and
collected Altaf Hussain gave a graphic description of the sufferings of
those families who, he said, were ousted from their homes in the last four
years by the Haqiqis to punish them for supporting the MQM.
They left their homes to save their lives and are now living either with
their relatives or in rented houses. They want to go back home now that
they have voted their party back into power, he said.
But, according to him, even some of the ministers who won their elections
from these no-go areas have not been able to return to their homes even
though they drive in cars flying the national flag. Same is the case with a
number of our MPAs and MNAs.
Mentioning the plight of the families whose wage earners had died in
custodial and extra-judicial killings Altaf Hussain said his party could
no more keep these people from losing their patience, they are hungry and
destitute. They have nobody to support them. The Khidmat-i-Khalq committee
of the MQM can provide succour only to a limited extent.
He said the PML-MQM agreement had mentioned both these points, and in his
opinion it was time the PML delivered without losing further time.
He answered in the negative when asked if he was thinking of issuing any
ultimatums or giving any deadlines to the government for fulfilling the
But he asked Mr Nawaz Sharif to use his prime ministerial powers more
effectively now that he has succeeded in removing the dreaded
constitutional clause of 58(2)(b).
In this connection he mentioned the Tuesday-Wednesday (April 8-9) action by
the rangers in Karachis district central during which, he claimed, the
rangers insulted and harassed the people by forcing them to submit to a
He said when he asked the Sindh chief minister and then the prime minister
about the matter the two pleaded total ignorance and denied that the
government had anything to do with the rangers action.
Now here is the dilemma. The rangers come directly under the interior
ministry. But I also know what had happened when Nawaz Sharif in his
previous tenure had wanted the rangers to take control of Punjab governor
house. Now who actually controls the rangers? he asked.
The interview was conducted in an austerely furnished office of Altaf
Hussain which you reach after passing through three other rooms, the first
a small one furnished with a reception counter and a couple of chairs, the
second seemed like a class room with probably 25 chairs and the third was
the office of his secretary Tariq Mir where Altaf Hussain received me to
take me to his office next door. Facing these rooms is a hall partitioned
by a screen, the relatively small portion serving probably as a dinning
room and the bigger one containing a large table probably for conducting
Mr Altaf Hussain blamed the previous government of Ms Benazir Bhutto and
the agencies directly for the custodial and extra- judicial killings
and said even the presidential proclamation dismissing her government had
mentioned the charge and the supreme court had upheld the proclamation.
But still nothing is being done against Ms Bhutto. Why? Was the charge
levelled against the government only an excuse to get rid of her
government? he asked.
He disagreed when told that Ms Bhutto could have been used as a scapegoat
by somebody who was actually behind the persecution of the MQM and said if
she had disagreed with these killings she should have resigned.
He did not disagree when asked if in his opinion the Army was behind the
agencies whom he had accused of backing the Haqiqis.
He said the common sipahi and even the middle level officer had no enmity
towards the MQM, but some of the generals who had wanted to protect the
prevailing degenerate feudal system had taken upon themselves to persecute
and eliminate the MQM.
I have appealed to General Jehangir Karamat a number of times to help
remove the gulf that has been created between the MQM and the Army due to
the wrong policies of some of his predecessors. I have appealed to him to
come forward and help remove all the misunderstandings between the MQM and
the Army, claimed Mr Hussain.
Asked why he thought some of the previous army chiefs were against the MQM,
he said it was actually the feudals who feeling threatened by the middle
class phenomenon of the MQM had persuaded these generals to get rid of the
When reminded that the army at one time had accused his party of trying to
divide the province of Sindh and then separate it from Pakistan, he denied
the charge vehemently and said all this was cooked up by the said army
generals, they concocted it all and then had brigadier Haroon announce it
to the press.
He said at that time he had asked the accusers to take the case to the
Supreme Court and if the court found him guilty he had offered to be hanged
from Minar-i-Pakistan. He recalled that sometime later the Army had
distanced itself from the allegation.
He said the late General Asif Nawaz had moved against him on June 19, 1992,
because he had decided to turn the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) into
Muttahida Qaumi Mohaz (MQM) and was planning to make the formal
announcement to the effect on August 14, 1992.
He thought while a middle class party at the urban Sindh level was
considered a nuisance by the feudals and their influential friends, they
were not at all prepared to tolerate for even a day such a party at the
national level, so they decided to go for the kill in June 1992.
I dont see any other reason for the persecution of the MQM since we have
not looted the national treasury, we are not bank defaulters, neither are
we bribe-takers. Those who commit these crimes have gone scot free, but
those who do not indulge in these things but talk of bringing about a
revolution of middle class who are educated and capable of running and
administering the government are given the wrong end of the stick. Why?
Altaf asked rather rhetorically.
He rejected the entire theory when told that the matter between him and the
late General Asif Nawaz was personal and the latter had launched the
operation against the MQM because he (Altaf) had reportedly recommended
that general Aslam Beg be given extension instead of promoting the former.
He said the recommendation was not made by him alone it was a consensus
recommendation made by all the IJI leadership. But even if it were true
that I alone had made the recommendation, which constitution and which law
says that a party which had a strong base in a large area of the country
should be bulldozed just because the recommendation, if accepted, would
have hurt the career of one individual?
He said the nation was passing through very difficult times and it was
hardly the time for indulging in personal vendettas.
I have requested General Karamat to constitute a committee to find out the
real reasons for launching the Army action against the MQM, added Mr
CONFLICT WITH ARMY
When asked why instead of waiting for the army to take the initiative in
this regard, the MQM itself did not act to avoid a conflict with the Army,
he said the MQM had already taken the first step by joining hands with the
PML and helping it form the government in Sindh, and now it was the
responsibility of the other side to reciprocate.
You see I am no personal friend of Nawaz Sharif. I have reached an
understanding with him simply because he does not represent the feudal
classes. He is an industrialist. An industrialist is an improvement on the
feudal any time. And I hope he will do something to dislodge the feudal
system. Also, since he was given a massive mandate by a large part of
Pakistani population I hope he will bring about revolutionary (I am using
this term in its positive sense) changes aimed at improving the economy,
enhancing the living standard of the common man and bringing education
within his reach, he maintained.
But, he said, it was time for the thinking and responsible elements in the
Army to find out the reasons for the MQM Army confrontation and do
something to end it and if we are found guilty on some counts we will
readily accept the responsibility and try to correct our mistakes.
He said Mohajirs had always been regarded as the allies of the Army, we
have fought side by side with the army in the former East Pakistan and as a
matter of fact the Sindhi nationalists have always accused the Mohajirs of
being agents of the Army. The Mohajirs have no conflict of interest with
the Army. Our struggle is against the feudals. If feudalism is eliminated,
educated middle classes take over the reins of the government, corruption
will be eliminated, the economy will improve, which in turn will help the
Army which today is facing an acute shortage of resources. And if the
economy became strong the defence capability of the country will also
NO PLANS TO RETURN
He said he had no plans to return to Pakistan in a hurry because according
to him he still feared that he would be killed as soon as he set foot on
He defended his decision by referring to the murders of Murtaza Bhutto, and
that of his own elder brother and nephew, and the irony is, Murtaza was
the brother of a sitting prime minister and now his own brother-in-law is
being accused of murdering him.
He, however, admitted that it was not very easy to give the lead and guide
the MQM sitting in London. He also agreed that it was an expensive kind of
a struggle. But he said he was being adequately funded by contributions
from his supporters all over the world.
When it was suggested to him that he would help reduce the present pressure
on the Mohajirs by removing the red rag of the MQM from the sight of its
persecutors, for the time being by dissolving it, he said he was not
prepared to bow before the oppressors, why should I dissolve the MQM. The
MQM is not doing anything against the constitution and neither has it done
anything against the law of the land.
He said Mohajirs had been made to suffer economically and politically and
they had been consistently denied their share in power.
When told about the perception in some circles that since the advent of the
MQM, the mohajir youth had neglected studies and taken up arms, he said if
that were true why there was peace and tranquillity and how so much
development work was done in the province between November 1990 to June
1992 when the MQM was a coalition partner in the then Nawaz Sharif
When told that some circles allege that during that period the MQM allowed
its youth to pass examinations by using unfair means, he vehemently denied
the allegation and said that MQM had launched a campaign against such
practices and referred to a number of speeches of his in which he had
exhorted the Mohajir youth to equip and arm themselves with education and
He said if it was claimed that the army operation was launched in urban
Sindh to recover arms then why such operations had not been launched so far
in Punjab, the NWFP and Balochistan, dont they have guns there.
He also asked if the other political parties did not do things that the MQM
was being accused of doing.
When told that principles were all right but at times to save a situation
it was prudent to play politics, he said he even did that by resigning from
the MQM leadership when asked by some of the then top officers of the Army,
but nothing changed even after that, mohajirs were continued to be
persecuted, killed and maimed.
But he said he was still prepared to listen to any logical suggestion short
of dissolving the MQM.
When asked about the Haqiqis he said he was not against their political
activities, what he objected to was their policy of using brute force to
establish their political supremacy.
He disagreed when told that the MQM had also been accused of using strong
arm tactics to overcome their political opponents.
Mr Hussain suggested that all those who use the gun to establish their
political supremacy should be apprehended, even if they belong to the MQM.
When asked what he considered more important the countrys economy or the
interests of the mohajirs he said both. If the economy is not taken care
of, God forbid, we might have to auction the country itself, but it is
equally important to attend to the immediate problems of the Mohajirs which
are related to their very existence.
He said he completely endorsed Nawaz Sharifs economic package but thought
nothing could be achieved without first eliminating the prevailing
corruption, no amount of contributions from well-wishers would save
Pakistans economy until and unless corruption is eradicated.
He said he had already asked the overseas mohajirs to contribute generously
to the prime ministers debt retirement fund.
Mr Hussain said he would appeal to the people of Karachi and Hyderabad to
file their tax returns honestly and repay their bank loans in time setting
an example for others.
To a question he agreed that military purchases, which normally run into
hundreds of millions of dollars and sometimes even more than a billion,
offered huge commissions therefore, it was necessary that these deals as
well as the military budgets were closely scrutinised by the National
When asked what he had done so far to win over the alienated elements in
rural Sindh, he said the MQM had sacrificed the office of the chief
minister to reassure the rural population that the MQM posed no threat to
In his opinion real change in the society would come only if the governance
was done through local representatives enjoying full powers.
He said it was not enough to hold local bodies elections. These bodies
should be given real power as well and even the police personnel should be
recruited from the areas where they are posted.
He said he was not an economist but his political instinct told him that
half of the countrys economic problems could be overcome by resorting to
local government system.
When told that his efforts in this direction were not yielding the desired
results perhaps because he was making them from the narrow ethnic platform
and if his members were to make the same efforts from the platforms of
national political parties instead, they would probably become more
effective, he disagreed and said in the first place with the conversion of
Mohajir Qaumi Movement into Muttahida Qaumi Movement the ethnic stigma
should disappear from the MQM, and secondly he pointed out that the
mohajirs in the past had joined all these national parties but they were
never given the importance their population merited by these parties. Now
we are a national party not an ethnic party, why should we join any other
party, all Pakistanis interested in middle class revolution should join us
He disagreed when told that it was all right to claim that MQM had become a
national party, but when arguments are forwarded in favour of the party,
they always tended to focus on the interests of mohajirs.
To prove his point he asked two youngsters to join the interview. One
claimed that his name was Ataullah Kurd and that he was a Balochi and the
other said he was from Yousuf Zai tribe, a Pukhtoon and his name was
Shahid. The two claimed that they were MQM organisers in their respective
areas for which they had suffered imprisonment, torture and harassment.
Altaf Hussain agreed that Karachi was not solely a mohajir city and that
people from other provinces were also settled there in large numbers, but
pointed out that while the people from Punjab, the NWFP and Balochistan had
their provinces to fall back on, the mohajirs had nothing but Karachi as
their line of defence against any oppression or exploitation.
When asked why he had raised the issue of quota in the PML- MQM agreement
when he and Nawaz Sharif both say that merit should be sole criteria for
government jobs, he said as long as there existed the quota system for
federal jobs he would continue to demand job quotas for the Mohajirs in
keeping with their numerical strength.
He promised to do away with quota system if and when MQM came into power.
When asked if there was any possibility that at some future date the MQM
would sit in the opposition at the national level considering the fact that
so far the MQM had not joined the federal government, he said his party had
already forwarded the name of one person for the federal cabinet but he did
not know when the gentleman would be inducted.
He said the MQM had placed no conditions on its joining the federal
government, neither had it insisted on being given specific ministries. He,
however, said, the MQM had asked for two or three cabinet posts but settled
for one when the prime minister said he could offer only one portfolio at
He said the MQM did not insist on either the number of portfolios, or on
the appointment of its nominee as the governor and had even sacrificed its
right by giving up the post of chief minister, we have done all this in
the larger interest of peace and amity.
But, he said, when the problems of even the basic nature are not resolved
after the lapse of so many days, the MQM was justified in recording its
When told that MQMs overseas activities like their world-wide protests
focusing on human right violations in Pakistan and their allegations of
corruption against political governments do more harm to the image of
Pakistan rather than help their cause inside Pakistan, Altaf Hussain said
that his party had been left with no option but to stage protect rallies
against the use of oppressive methods against the MQM inside Pakistan.
Let them stop the atrocities against our party and we will also stop the
world-wide protests. And as far as corruption is concerned, everyone in the
world knows that there is one party in Pakistan which is not corrupt and
that is MQM, he asserted.
Another PAF officer held on drug smuggling charge
ISLAMABAD, April 16: The intelligence authorities on Wednesday arrested
another Air Force officer believed to be an accomplice of Squadron Leader
Mohammad Farooq who was arrested in the United States for smuggling heroin,
a spokesman for Pakistan Air Force told Dawn.
Squadron Leader Qasim Bhatti was arrested from Karachi by the Inter-
Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence and brought to Islamabad
for interrogation, the spokesman said.
Bhatti, based at Chaklala Airport in Rawalpindi, was missing since April 9
when the US officials had arrested Farooq, he said.
Qasim Bhatti had made a telephone call to Farooq in the US on April 9 but
after failing to receive any response from him, he went underground, the
spokesman said. Presuming that his friend had run into some trouble, he
escaped from Rawalpindi.
He said that Bhatti was being traced by the intelligence agencies since
April 9 but he had left for Karachi apparently to escape abroad. I must
confess that the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence
helped us to manage their arrest.
An act of an individual has damaged not only the image of the PAF but
also Pakistan, the spokesman said. We are ashamed of him, he said.
The spokesman said that the PAF had received information about the arrest
of Farooq from US authorities the same day (April 9). The US officials had
kept it secret to arrest other colleagues of Farooq and it was perhaps this
reason that even the Pakistan embassy was not informed by the US
authorities about the incident.
The Air Chief was leaving for Haj on that day and he was informed about
the incident at the airport, the spokesman said. Since then Air Marshal
Abbas Khattak had been pursuing the case and being kept informed about the
latest developments, he added.
The spokesman said the Air Chief had instructed that Bhatti should be
handed over to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) officials for interrogations
and to ensure that such a case was never repeated in future.
Appointments no more to be made on quota basis: SC
ISLAMABAD, April 16: The Supreme Court held on Wednesday that appointments
in the service of Pakistan on the basis of quota system could not be made
anymore as the period specified for such recruitments had already expired.
The court observed that the quota system had not served national interests;
on the contrary, it had generated parochial and class feelings, resulting
In its detailed judgment on a writ petition filed by candidates for the
post of civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates in Punjab, the court
disapproved of the practice of making appointments on quota basis even
after the expiry of specified period for such recruitments .We deprecate
the above conduct (appointment on quota basis) on the part of defaulting
departments, the court observed.
The petition was dismissed on March 31 last. The detailed judgment was
released on Wednesday.
Appointments on the basis of quota were first provided for 10 years in the
1973 Constitution. Later, it was extended for another 10 years through a
presidential order by Gen Zia-ul- Haq. The 20- year period had expired on
September 14, 1993.
After this authoritative pronouncement by the highest court of the country,
fixing of quota under clause 2, Article 27 would be unconstitutional. The
court, however, appreciated clause 1 of Article 27.
Article 27(2) says : No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in
the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any
such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex,
residence or place of birth.
The court held that fixing quota on regional basis was contrary to Islamic
injunctions. After discussing a judgment of the Federal Shariat Court in
the Nusrat Baig Mirza vs government of Pakistan (PLD 1992 F.S.C.) case, the
court observed that the Holy Quran enjoined that there was no difference
between human beings on the basis of race, colour and territory. The
fittest person who is strong and trustworthy is to be employed.
It is evident that the concept of zone or quota system runs counter not
only to clause (1) of Article 27, read with Article 2- A and Article 25 of
the Constitution, but also to the commandment of Allah as ordained in the
Holy Quran, the court held.
Smuggler held with uranium samples
RAWALPINDI, April 16: A notorious smuggler, wanted in several international
cases of drug trafficking and gun-running was arrested on Wednesday here
allegedly with two kilograms of fine quality heroin worth Rs 20 million, a
.30 bore pistol and a few samples of uranium, used in atomic bombs.
Munawar Shah, an ex-army officer who retired with the rank of major, was
arrested on his way to Islamabad airport where he was to deliver the heroin
and samples of uranium to an unidentified carrier, Colonel Sanaullah of the
Anti-Narcotics Force in Rawalpindi said.
The man was going to the airport in a Toyota Corolla car (RPP-9788) when he
was intercepted on Peshawar Road by an ANF raiding party. During the search
ANF recovered the heroin and uranium samples from concealed parts of the
Preliminary investigations revealed that Munawar Shah was to deliver the
consignment to an unidentified passenger of a UK- bound flight.
Raja Altaf, another known drug dealer was reportedly to receive the heroin
and uranium samples at Londons Heathrow airport, Colonel Sanaullah added.
Raja Altaf was arrested in a heroin smuggling case a few year ago in
Peshawar. Later he obtained bail from a local court and managed to escape
to London, the official said.
ANF has also found some documents which suggest that Munawar Shah
reportedly has links with international gangs of arms smugglers operating
from Central Asian States, Saudi Arabia and Europe.
The ANF official said the agency had been on the trail of Mr Shah for the
last three months. He did not give any further details about the uranium
samples recovered from Mr. Shah.
PAF officer confesses to smuggling heroin
WASHINGTON, April 15: The PAF officer arrested for heroin smuggling after a
dramatic sting operation by DEA agents in New Yorks Manhattan area, was
charged in a US court on Tuesday where he confessed his crime, according to
a complaint filed in the court.
The operation was set up by a confidential DEA informer, identified in the
complaint as CI (confidential informer), who had promised Sq. Ldr. Farooq
Ahmed Khan, acting under the assumed name of Sultan, to bring a buyer to
purchase the two kilograms of heroin for $160,000 at a McDonalds
restaurant located at the crossing of 34th Street and 10th Avenue in
Legal experts said the next stage of the case would be formal indictment of
the accused who had been provided with a legal attorney to contest his case
but he had decided to plead guilty.
Sq. Ldr Farooq Ahmed Khan was produced before Hon. James C. Francis, US
Magistrate Judge, Southern District of New York and was charged under US
Code Sections 812, 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A). His case was approved by
Assistant US Attorney Mei Lin Kwan-Gett.
According to the complaint filed by Special Agent Donald Bailey of the DEA,
who acted as the buyer who met Farooq at the McDonald restaurant on April
9, the accused wanted to see the money first before he handed over the
heroin which he was carrying in his bag.
Bailey informed the Court that CI was a paid informant of the DEA who had
been providing reliable information in the past that had led to arrest and
conviction of numerous individuals for violation of the federal narcotics
On or about April 8, 1997, the CI spoke by telephone with an individual
who identified himself as Sultan, who told the CI that he would be
arriving in New York City the following day with approximately two
kilograms of heroin. The CI told Sultan that he knew of a buyer who was
willing to pay approximately $160,000 for two kgs of heroin.
On April 9 Sultan called the CI and told him that he was in New York City.
They arranged to meet at the McDonald where Sultan provided him with a
sample of the heroin. Sultan told CI that once he saw the money, he would
provide rest of the heroin. Sultan also told CI his name was not Sultan.
Baileys complaint in the court said CI informed him and he went to the
McDonald acting in his under-cover capacity as the buyer. He was told that
the heroin was of a good quality and Farooq wanted to see the money.
I telephoned other DEA agents who drove up to the intersection outside the
McDonalds restaurant and showed Farooq approximately $100,000 through the
car window which later drove off. I and Farooq went into the McDonald
inside the bathroom where he opened his garment bag and took out two
plastic bags filled with a tan powdery substance.
We discussed conducting similar transactions in future months and Khan
told me he could probably provide me with three kilograms of heroin next
month. He then packed his plastic bag and we exited the McDonald.
At 8.40 pm on April 9 I alerted an arrest team who arrested Farooq with
2090 gross grams of powder that tested positive for presence of heroin.
After other DEA agents arrested Farooq and he was advised of his rights,
he signed a statement in which he stated, in substance and in part, that he
had brought two kilograms of heroin to New York in order to sell it for
US Pakistanis to be issued travel cards
WASHINGTON, April 13: The Pakistan Government is considering issuing a
green card to Pakistanis who have acquired US citizenship to enable them to
travel freely to Pakistan without obtaining visas.
Pakistan Ambassador to US, Mr. Riaz Khokhar told a gathering of community
leaders he had already sent his recommendations to the prime minister to
implement such a scheme and various aspects of the proposal were being
Pakistani American leaders had complained that they were not allowed dual
citizenship which caused them a lot of problems as they had to obtain
Pakistani visas for their US passports.
The Ambassador said the Embassy was already issuing five-year visas to such
Pakistanis and he was prepared to even issue 10- year visas.
When a Pakistani complained that overseas Pakistanis were treated as dogs
by the Customs and police at the airports, the Ambassador said everybody
else is also given such treatment by these agencies.
Mergers, acquisitions of sick units proposed
KARACHI, April 12: Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) activity in Pakistan is
concentrated mainly among the Multinational companies and that too in the
pharmaceutical sector, though sick industrial units could be a key area
where the benefits would be significant. This was stated by speakers at a
seminar on Mergers and acquisitions in Pakistan organized by the
Corporate Finance Society 97, MBA-IV the graduating class of May97 of the
IBA, on Saturday.
Dr Abdul Wahab, the director of IBA, said that there were several aspects
to the M&A activity in Pakistan such as the small size of local companies
and the problems of management of huge corporations.
Elaborating, he said that due to their small size, Pakistani companies were
unable to compete globally, while we lack the management capabilities to
take care of large corporations. He drew the attention to the PIA and
Pakistan Steel where it was, he said, difficult to manage 25,000 employees.
Other aspects to the M&A activity, he said, were that it killed
entrepreneurship of employees and enhanced the political and economic power
of the conglomerates. M&A activity has its benefits as well as problems,
said Dr Wahab and added that the benefit would depend on the motives behind
the activity. If it is antisocial or to obtain monopolistic power, it would
Mr.Kamran Faridi, MD Citicorp Investment Bank Ltd. said that the concept
behind M&A is to enhance shareholders value, create liquidity and raise
demand, adding that we need large, liquid, efficient M&A market. He
emphasised on the safety nets for workers and employees who are laid off
due to M&A.
Mr.Shabbir Diwan, Executive Director, Gatron Industries opined that the
mergers of local companies so far had all been paper mergers. He cited
the mergers of Raza Textile with Omer Fabrics and Allied Spinning with Taj
Mills of the same group. He advocated the acquisition of sick units, whose
carryover losses could be adjusted by profitable companies against their
Mr.Moazzam Malik, Director, BMA Capital Management said that there was no
formal role of M&As prior to 1990 but as market grows, the activity would
receive tremendous boost.
PSO sale may trigger race for regions oil
WHO WILL be the successful bidder after the government offers the
controlling shares of Pakistan State Oil for sale to the private sector
under its privatisation programme sometime in June?
This is being debated in oil circles but there is no ready answer as it
could well be one of the toughest corporate fights among the world oil
giants ever witnessed in this part of the world.
No prospective world investor having resource and back-up facilities would
like to give a virtual walkover to his rival in the bidding for a blue
chip share such as PSO. Holding a market share of 75 per cent in the retail
petroleum products distribution network, an annual sales volume of Rs 82
billion, assets of Rs 16 billion and above all, a market leader in more
ways than one, the PSO is certainly an attractive investment bait.
World oil market leaders, notably Mobil Corporation, Shell Pakistan and
British Petroleum (BP) are said to have already taken positions with a vow
to fight to the last as the bait has many cross-border ramifications for
the winner. There are three contenders for the PSO bid while others oil
giants may join the race later.
Privatisation of PSO has a relevance for those who have already a big stake
in the Central Asian oil business both retail and exploration as it could
well provide the missing link for the retail business here. And this
factor, including the proximity of the possible source of supply, put the
Mobil Corporation on the top of prospective buyers of PSO.
After having bought a lubricant plant here, Mobil Corporation will enter
the retail oil business possibly by the next month. Sitting in Islamabad
its country manager could be instructed to join the race for the PSO
shares. Data on the subject is already being collected by the bidders.
There are no resources or any other technical problems for the three
possible bidders as none could beat the other on these counts, said an oil
expert adding the Mobil could have an edge over others for more than one
reasons including its strong oil base in the Central Asian countries.
Shell (Pakistan), an equally resourceful contender, already holding 20 per
cent of the retail oil market share here, or Rs 30 billion annual turnover
might have an obvious bidding disadvantage.
Under policy guidelines laid for the essential commodities, the government
is bound to discourage any sort of monopoly and opt for an open market
competition policy to ensure fair prices for the consumers. Caltex might
not have much of a say in the retail market because of its modest five per
cent market share if Shell wins the PSO bid. The bosses of Shell Pakistan
if they really intend to protect their retail business here into the 21st
century will have to seek refuge in same fool-proof device compatible to
the magnitude of Pakistans new century unfolding oil scenario. But owing
to its contribution in restoring customer confidence in the quality of
products and new customer-related concepts including Retails VISUAL
Identity (RVI) qualify Shell Pakistan to be one bonifide bidder.
British Petroleum (BP) after the recent visit of its president is also very
much in the battle arena but is still to show its cards. Whether it will
opt for oil exploration, chances for which are not that bright or the
retail business is not clear but it surely could be one of the PSO stake
Caltex Corporation Pakistan appears to be not that enthusiastic about the
PSO battle as its high-ups seem to be more than satisfied with their market
share of 5 percent in the retail business.
Having strong presence in the gulf and the South Asian region, the big
question is this why Caltex is a reluctant retailer in an expanding
market, with a growth rate of 10 per cent, many may well ask. But Caltex
people like to work in low- key.
However, its groups recently launched corporate identity campaign focusing
on building value for customers through improved services has shown
astounding success in the Gulf.
The launch of the new identity the world over has changed the old one. Let
us see how caltex does business after the sale offer of the PSO share. It
might also be one of the bidders to protect its interests. There are fear
in some quarters that foreign oil giants could form a cartel to manipulate
POL prices at the retail level after the privatisation of PSO, the only
counter-balancing force and it is essential that three should be more than
one retailers working under the free market economy system.
But oil analysts allay these fears. Shell, Mobil, BP, Caltex and some
others have stakes in all the countries but are engaged in healthy
competition to pass on the benefits of world price decline to billion of
However, the question may well he asked why the government should privatise
an enormously viable and profitable corporate entity at all. Successive
former governments, owe PSO too much as in difficult periods it has lined
up funds from foreign markets, on the strength of its credit worthiness to
fill in official resource gaps. Ruling at Rs 270 for a 10-rupee share (Peak
at Rs 425), with a good dividend record and reciepient of Corporate
Excellence awards for successive years, PSO could be an envy of any
investor. But the government needs money under its recently launched
National Debt Retirement Programme and might not have some rethinking on
Many oil analyst say PSO has its own identity in addition to playing the
role of an official refuge and should not be bracketed with the six units
and other utilities such as Sui Southern Gas and Sui Northan gas.
There is a difference between the losing and earning companies. The debt of
30 million dollars is too big an amount to be repaid through the sale of
Irrespective of an academic discussion on the issue, the government is not
inclined to look back and is expected to go ahead with its privatisation
plan and after June PSO might have a new management.
Who it could be is too early to say after winning the biggest financial
battles in the corporate history of Pakistan. Shell, BP, Caltex and Mobil
all have are equal chance.
But after the delayed deregulation of retail distribution network by July
1998, the oil business for customers might not taste the same as during the
last five decades.
Public sector reform: rising unemployment
Dr Mahnaz Fatima
AN EXPECTED corollary to the recently announced fiscal package is the
public sector reform which is intended to downsize public sector
corporations and relieve some 150,000 workers from their jobs with a view
to reducing government expenditure.
The financial sector reform, under the World Bank dictates, is expected to
relieve some 40,000 banking employees. The Municipal Training Institute is
being abolished whose utility and importance was favourably evaluated in
1994-95 because of which it was allowed to continue. And, many more
departments will either be downsized or abolished. The above steps are
indeed surprising as they come from a peoples government whose first
responsibility should be towards the majority comprising the low-income or
poor segments of the country.
While one may not expect the government to continue to provide jobs in the
public sector endlessly into the future, the least that could be expected
of a peoples government is a continued sense of responsibility to those it
employs already, at least, until such time that the private sector is able
to absorb those off-loaded by the public sector.
To show the already employed the door when the size of the economy is not
big enough to absorb them is an act of callousness that was least expected
of a peoples government and is a move which, if adopted, will only be
Already, privatisation has relieved lakhs of workers shattering the
theoretical myth that privatisation would lead to greater efficiency,
reinvestment, and job creation. So, the private sector that is once again
claiming a major share of the national resources by way of fiscal
concessions has yet to demonstrate practically the contribution that it can
make to the countrys economic development in general and employment
creation in particular. Until then, the jobs of the public sector employees
should be provided security by the peoples government.
It might be argued that there is a need to take bold decision in the
interest of reducing the burden on the national exchequer. One would then
wonder as to how bold could a decision be that is directed primarily
against the powerless low-income and poor people when courage should be
directed against the harmful powerful segments of the society.
For example, if fiscal imbalance is to be reduced, then the first bold
initiative ought to be directed towards the levy of agricultural income tax
in a meaningful manner in all the four provinces of the country.
If there is a desire to be even more courageous, then a further
demonstration is required in striking at the roots of the mother of all
evils and corruption in the society which is absentee landlordism. So, a
real bold measure would be to give land to the tiller and allow ownership
of land only to those who would till it themselves.
To take measures against the powerless poor is more an act of cowardice
than courage that is typical of capitalistic thinking being perpetuated in
the country with the intellectual support of neo-classical economists who
also take only an accounting view of the public sector problem because of a
sheer paucity of their training in the area of management and
One could only be aghast to read about a proposed move of banning labour
unions in the banking sector in this day and age of modern management whose
practice should actually render a union redundant rather than having to ban
The success of management practices can be gauged from a voluntary decline
in the union memberships. A forced ban on unions is a strong indicator of
poor management practices. Also, as explained in many of my previous
articles on institutional decay and administrative corruption in Pakistan,
the rot in public sector organisations is actually at the top and the
laziness / poor work ethics at the lower rungs is a manifestation of
unethical and unacceptable administrative practices that have remained in
vogue at the top for many years.
A truly bold public sector or institutional reform package would comprise a
massive reshuffle in the top two to three layers of management. This step
ought to be complemented by the appointment of independent boards whose
members would have an impeccable track record of good professionalism,
character, and high integrity and would contribute to the organisation as
if it were their own prime responsibility. Also, board members should not
be allowed to serve on more than two boards at a time so that they are not
overburdened and are able to concentrate on the organisation they are
supposed to turn around.
So, the brunt of public sector reform ought to be directed at the real
causes of public sector problems and away from the powerless lower-income
groups facing the threat of retrenchment. Otherwise, people will be
justified in concluding that the majority are being tyrannised by the
minority who can force their way into the corridors of decision-making
because of their networks, influence, power, and also wealth that they have
been able to amass by now. It will be little wonder then that while the
government has held conventions of special sections of businessmen,
industrialists, and farmers; no national convention was planned, at least,
until April 8, for the workers and labour unions. As mentioned before in
one of my articles on privatisation a couple of years ago, the policies
that are claimed to have been developed with consensus will not be a true
reflection of the national sentiment until such time that the important
interest group of workers and labour unions is also made an active party to
One would expect the current elected government to begin to integrate
workers into national decision-making as it is a government that was given
a heavy mandate by all segments of the population and not just by the
special publics who have been provided an audience with the Prime Minister
If fiscal imbalance is such a serious problem that it will be costing
lower-level public sector employees their livelihoods, then one wonders
about the rationale behind the individual income tax breaks given recently
to the salaried classes especially when the revenue impact through an
increased tax base was not even reported by the economic wizards of the
country at the helm of affairs.
First, keeping the revenue impact close to the chest of governments
economic experts is an act of moral irresponsibility and professional /
intellectual cowardice. For, it clearly shows that they wish to evade
public accountability after emerging as champions of accountability during
the Moeen Qureshi interlude.
Second, to give individual tax breaks at a time when the government is
finding it difficult to retain its employees is poor fiscal planning and
management, to say the least. Also, the buck of a poorly planned fiscal
package should not be passed on to the businessmen and industrialists as it
is the professional and moral responsibility of the government-employed
economic experts to point out the bugs to the cabinet and the Prime
Minister. And, they should be doing their earnest in saving the country
from more unemployment and the government from another catastrophe.
It is not acceptable to throw out those hired by the last Benazir
government under garb of merit. For, no one can imagine PML aligned
workmen to be more meritorious than those aligned with the PPP. If,
however, the PPP aligned workers are creating administrative problems to
tarnish a PML government, then they ought to be disciplined rather than
being thrown out for they too are jobless citizens of the country in dire
need of jobs. And, if severed, then it will be viewed more as an act of
political victimisation rather than a true pursuit of merit.
Before closing down government divisions, it should be considered important
to evaluate their utility for the economy and the society. For, shooting
them down from a strict narrow accounting approach that the countrys
public finance experts choose to follow is a practice that is becoming
increasingly more repugnant the more it is followed.
No reform package can even be termed as an effort at reform if it tries to
solve one problem by creating yet another more serious one. So, no economic
reform package can come closest to economic reform worth the name if it
aggravates another grave economic problem of unemployment that the proposed
public sector / financial sector reform packages, in the works, are likely
As it is, the officially reported rate of unemployment and underemployment
is grossly understated due to either faulty or inapplicable definitions of
unemployed and employed used in the calculations that I have been pointing
out for the last two years.
The government economists, however, continue to endorse these understated
rates of unemployment for they might, otherwise, cease to remain in the
good graces of the powers that be in the country. For, acceptance in the
government circles appears to be the culminating point in the careers of
neo-classical economists that they strive for even if it is at the expense
of a sense of responsibility towards the people that social scientists
should be discharging first and last.
Given these career ambitions, one should not be too surprised to find yet
another public sector / financial sector reforms package that might again
attempt to sweep the problem, of a high rate of unemployment and
underemployment in the country, under the rug.
At this point, one cannot help mentioning the MCB and the Allied Bank which
were turned around with least or no human cost. While privatisation might
have been a factor behind its happy turn-around, there are numerous
examples of not-so-successful and unhappy private sector organisations
coupled with examples of some successful organisations that functioned
efficiently and happily in the public sector as well such as the Millat
Tractors Ltd. end of the day, it is top management expertise and the
ability to take a holistic view that is the name of the game.
Importance of small-scale industry in Pakistan
S.A. Naseer Rizvi
THE SPEEDY industrial development of East Asia is the result of the success
achieved by the countries of this region in small-scale industry.
Even an economic superpower like Japan had to start from small-scale
industries. G.C. Allen writes in his book titled Short Economic History of
Modern Japan that the silk weaving industry was in the hands of peasants,
confined to their small homes. It was the same in the case of cotton, wool
and other textiles. The book, Asia Pacific-A timely View also explains
how Taiwan and other under developed countries of East Asia took a start
and created history by their rapid economic development.
The promotion of small scale industry helps in achieving many objectives
particularly solving the unemployment problem to a considerable extent.
Moreover, it does not require huge investment and foreign exchange help.
The industry may also help in solving the problems of the returning
migrants from Middle East and other countries. Small industry uses
relatively more labour intensive techniques and can generate employment for
the expanding labour force.
It can also be a considerable source of foreign exchange earnings, as it
uses the relatively abundant factor of production, labour. It is actually
an efficient user of the scarce factor, capital and has better linkage of
other sectors of domestic economy.
The role of small scale industry is also appreciable as far as its
contribution to the GDP is concerned. The share of small scale
manufacturing sector in GDP has increased from 3.6 per cent to 5 per cent
during the period 1972-73 to 1985-86. Similarly the share of small scale
industry in total manufacturing has increased from 23.3 per cent in 1972-73
to 27.5 per cent in 1985-86. These results are based on constant growth
rates for different periods as assumed in National Income Accounts.
According to the available statistics, although the contribution of the
small scale sector to GDP does not appear to be very high, it is
nonetheless an important sector in many other respects, especially in terms
of employment generation, exports and better linkages with other sectors of
the domestic economy.
It is estimated that about 80 per cent of the total industrial labour force
is currently employed in the small scale sector.
The employment generated in the small scale manufacturing sector has been
much larger than that generated in the large manufacturing sector.
The small scale sector is also an efficient user of the scarce factor
capital. If we use the incremental capital output ratio to measure the
efficiency of capital, it is only the small scale which is a more efficient
user of capital than the large scale sector.
Small scale industries have great potential for earning foreign exchange.
It is stated in the Sixth Five Year Plan that the engine of export growth
will be agro-based and small scale industry.
The plan envisages a 15 per cent per annum increase in the exports of
output of small scale and cottage industries. The share of manufactured
goods in total exports has increased \considerably over time. It is
difficult to determine the contribution of small scale industry to total
manufactured exports. However, a few items have been identified which are
mainly produced by small scale industry.
These items include ready-made garments, hosiery, carpets, rugs, footwear,
marble items, surgical instruments and sports goods. The share of these
items, taken together in total exports, increased from 7.53 per cent in
1972-73 to 16.93 per cent in 1993. In manufactured exports, it increased
from 24.76 per cent to 31.25 per cent during 1972-73 to 1984-85.
The growth of this sector creates demand for domestic capital goods
industry. Small scale industry also acts as a training centre both for
workers and entrepreneurs. As it uses less sophisticated machinery, workers
get training easily and in a shorter time. Entrepreneurs with their
acquired skill in small business, can move towards bigger business.
Notwithstanding the fact that small scale industry has not been given a
significant role to play in the countrys economic development, yet this
sector does contribute greatly to value-added in the manufacturing sector.
It is clear that for the last four years, that small scale manufacturing
has been growing steadily and at a greater rate than large scale
The small scale industry expanded more rapidly in the period 1969-70 to
1980-81 than in the 1963-64 to 1969-70 period, due to certain factors. For
example the Pakistani rupee was devalued drastically in 1972 which improved
the competitiveness of the small scale industry with the large scale
sector. The Nationalisation of Industry and labour legislation of Z.A.
Bhutto government also forced investors to move to small scale industry.
The small scale sector in India was classified by the government into three
1. Cottage and household industries which provide self-employment on large
2. The industries sector involving investment in machinery and equipment
upto Rs one lakh and situated in towns with a population of less than
3. Small scale industries comprising industrial units requiring investmen
in fixed capital upto Rs 10 lakhs and in case of ancillaries upto Rs 15
With the establishment of large number of small scale industries in India,
the contribution of this sector in exports has increased. Major exports of
this sector are items such as leather goods, ready-made garments,
engineering goods etc. In 1972, exports of this sector were Rs 150 crores,
which increased to Rs 845 crores in 1978 and to Rs 2,580 crores in 1984-85.
If cottage and small scale industries are put together, the total exports
value was Rs 4,557.6 crores and share in total exports was about 2 per
cent. This further increased to 25.3 per cent in 1985-86. (Ref. Indian
Economy by Karnati Singaiah).
In Pakistan, the task of development of the small scale industry is largely
assigned to the provincial governments, whereas actually it should be dealt
with at national level. Lack of funds is a major constraint on the
expansion of small scale industries. However, since the commercial banks
and other financial institutions are under the control of central
government, the provincially controlled small scale sector faces problems
in availing of credit facilities.
Moreover, the small scale sector also faces difficulty in providing the
required guarantees for the loans. Hence, the considerable speed of
development of this sector could not be achieved. In view of this the
central government must find out a way out to solve the problems of the
small scale industry, so as to enable the industry to contribute more and
more in the countrys exports.
Duty-free imports under NDRP
KARACHI, April 16: The government has restored a number of benefits to
overseas Pakistanis who send remittances through normal banking channels
with a view to build up foreign exchange reserves under the Prime
Ministers National Debt Retirement Programme (NDRP).
Official sources said the rules which govern usual foreign remittances, the
senders are not only entitled to higher rate of interest and tax exemptions
but can also import a number of duty-free goods like vehicles etc.
Under the home remittance scheme, the beneficiary of remittances of $0.2
million and above will be entitled to import a car free of duty and sales
These sources said that the benefits given under the Economic Reforms Act
1992, which were discontinued by the Benazir Bhutto government now could be
once again availed by overseas Pakistanis. Trade circles believe that the
restoration of these benefits will help improve foreign remittances from
overseas Pakistanis. It is a timely decision by the government because it
will not only help to restore the confidence of Pakistanis abroad but also
of prospective foreign investors in our policies, said a leading
Under the Economic Reforms Act 1992, all foreign remittances received
through normal banking channels are exempted from income tax and the
authorities can also not ask its source for income tax purposes. Such
remittances are also exempted from wealth tax for a period of six years (as
per Wealth Tax Act), which will lead to a saving of about 15 per cent i.e.
2.5 per cent per annum.
KSE 100-share index shows gain of 3.55 points
KARACHI, April 16: Leading shares on Wednesday recovered modestly as
institutional traders covered positions at the lower levels enabling the
market to give an improved performance but it is pretty difficult to
predict that consolidation forces are now at work in the rings.
However, relatively better performance turned in by the broader market did
suggest that a change for the better was already visible and there was
possibility of sustained turnaround by the next week.
It was perhaps in this background that the index did not breach the barrier
of 1,500 points as widely speculated, although there was no change in the
background news both from the political and law and order fronts, dealers
said. News of factional killing is there but investors seem to have
decided to follow the markets technical demands rather than being
influenced by disturbing incidents in the city, they added.
They said even a modest increase in the index ahead of four closures could
well signal the return of bull market and was what was going to happen when
the trading resumed after holidays.
The KSE 100-share index showed an extended fractional gain of 3.55 points
at 1,523.16 as compared to 1,519.09 and did not breach the barrier of 1,500
points as widely speculated earlier.
Contrary to predictions of a big sell-off owing to a long weekend ahead as
the market will close for Eid holidays from Thursday and re-open on next
Monday, strong technical support was evident, which enabled the broader
market to perform a bit better. The evidence of strong support at the
lower levels tells that the current downward drift is overdone and the
market could witness a sustained bull-run in the post-Eid holiday
sessions, analysts said.
They said the interesting feature was that the market behaved properly
without the PTC vouchers, which witnessed a renewed sell-off followed by
news of weaker GDR. It was the most active scrip, falling 15 paisa at Rs
26.70, the most attractive buying rate for any prospective investor, on 14
Its PTCL A lot was also actively traded for the first time after several
months apparently on some foreign support and accounted for 3 million
shares, off 55 paisa at Rs 26.50.
Insurance shares led the market decline on active selling on the perception
that owing to high incidence of carlifting in the city their profits would
be much lower because of higher claims from the car owners. All fell under
the lead of Adamjee, Century Insurance and PIC.
Among the leading MNCs, which suffered fresh setback Burshane Pakistan,
Shell Pakistan, Siemens, Lever Brothers and Telecard were prominent,
falling by Rs 2 to 4.
PSO, which has been under pressure owing to news of privatization came in
for active short-covering at the lower levels and finished recovered by Rs
2. Others to follow it were Sapphire Textiles, Mari Gas, Engro Chemicals
and Quice Food. But the biggest rise of Rs 7 was noted in Bata Pakistan,
which surged to Rs 44 on turnover of 2,000 shares.
Volume fell to 40m shares from the previous 55m shares owing to weekend
considerations. The most active list this time was topped by PTC vouchers,
lower 15 paisa on 14m shares, followed by ICI Pakistan, up 15 paisa on 10m
shares, Hub-Power, higher 30 paisa on 6.500m shares and Dewan Salman, easy
five paisa on 3m shares.
Other actively traded shares were led by FFC-Jordan Fertilizer, higher 20
paisa on 1m shares followed by Dhan Fibre, up 15 paisa on 0.500m shares,
D.G.Khan Cement, higher 20 paisa on 0.210m shares and PICIC, unchanged on
There were 295 actives, which came in for trading, out of which 152 shares
fell, while 73 rose, with 70 holding on to the last levels.
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Believing the worst about ourselves
I once wrote that national self-denigration had become a cottage industry
and of all the people in the world, we Pakistanis were prepared to believe
the worst of ourselves. The real Paki-bashers were the Pakistanis.
Thus when some outfit that calls itself Transparency International declared
Pakistan to be the second most corrupt country in the world, it was
accepted lock, stock and barrel, without reservations, without a murmur of
protest. Nobody wanted to know how such a damaging and damning conclusion
had been arrived at, and most of all who Transparency International was.
What was the source of their funding? Was it a truly independent
organisation dedicated to the promotion of virtue and rectitude or was it
serving some hidden master. Was it the puppeteer or the puppet?
I use the example of Transparency International because we ourselves
accorded to it the exalted status of a second Daniel. For some mystifying
reason, unless we collectively suffer from an inferiority complex, we
accept the world of a foreigner as gospel and dont give a fig about what
we may have to say ourselves. Nothing better exemplifies this than the
betting and match-fixing scandal in cricket matches that has re-surfaced,
carrying the seed of the destruction of the Pakistan cricket team.
There have been rumours about betting and the involvement of players for a
long time. Nobody took these rumours seriously. When Pakistan lost the
semi-final at Lahore in 1987 World Cup, allegations were made by some
vested-interests or super-patriots that something was not quite right about
the result. Indeed a former test cricketer directly accused certain parties
of having made a killing. No one seriously believed this. But consider
the changed scenario of the 1996 quarter-final at Bangalore against India.
There were not just allegations of a sell-out but a near-certainty. Angry
cricket fans openly accused the team of being in the pay of bookies, the
players were threatened and the travelling plans of the team were changed
to avoid the wrath of the public. Wasim Akram had to move from his
residence and he told me recently that even now he receives obscene
telephone calls. In the case of one caller, he accused Wasim Akram of
having bought an island in the Pacific. What had changed between 1987 and
What had changed was that the late though hardly lamented Ad Hoc Committee
had acted, with wild abandon on charges made by the Australians, Shane
Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh. No matter what the members of this Committee
may say now, at that time they gave the definite impression that they were
inclined to believe the Australians. That these charges had been made after
5 months of the bribe-offer did not strike this Committee as being
suspicious. Nor did these Australian players offer any kind of proof. That
they provided signed statements long after the story had done its rounds
was an after-thought, a blatantly bogus attempt to legitimise what was a
bit of mischievous scandal-mongering.
The Sunday Telegraph of London asked me to do a story on these allegations
and I told them, tongue in cheek, that I had my own theory. They wanted to
know what it was and I said that I believed that a bribe had been offered
to the Australian players and they took the bribe! There was circumstantial
evidence to suggest that the Karachi test match had been thrown. The
wicket on the last day was crumbling and the ball was turning square. Shane
Warne and Tim May should have been unplayable. Yet Pakistans last pair put
on 50 runs and the winning runs came from an easy missed stumping. The
Sunday Telegraph told me that they would check it out with their legal
department and then come back to me and told me to write it. Which I did
and it was duly published. The point I wanted to make was that anyone can
make allegations and if Shane Warne and company can be believed, why not my
I suggest that the bribery and match-fixing allegations gained credibility
only because they were made by foreigners. Had the same charges been
brought out by some Pakistani players, they would have been dismissed out
of hand or attributed to some ulterior motives.
I had written then that the Ad Hoc Committee should have been supportive of
the players and considered them to be innocent unless they had the sort of
evidence that would hold up in a court of law. The irony is that this is
what is now being asked from Aamir Sohail. I have the greatest affection
and respect for Javed Burki who has been a friend of mine for many years
but I find it strange that he should now say that the PCB should wait and
then should anyone be able to back up their assertions, then they should
look into it. I wish he had himself followed this course of action when the
allegations first surfaced.
The matter has now taken a serious turn and it should not be left to the
PCB. In a convoluted way they are party to this whole sordid business and
if an inquiry is to be held, and it should, the inquiry should be by an
independent body. There is a lot at stake. The image of Pakistan cricket
over the years has been a murky one and we have been drawn into all kinds
of controversies and in the bargain have been called cheats. I think this
kind of nonsense should be brought to an end.
I think that Aamir Sohail should not have gone public if he had any proof
but then he had been pushed to the wall. The whole affair does no credit to
him nor does the PCB emerge with any glory. I find it very sad that we have
such a low esteem of ourselves and even sadder that we care so little about
national self-respect. I do not subscribe to the view that we are a nation
of cheats. We have our share of cheats but so do other countries, probably
Will the business respond?
SUCCESS and failure of the Nawaz Sharif government depends on the extent of
positive cooperation it receives from the bureaucracy and businessmen. He
can transfer, suspend and sack errant bureaucrats, however senior they are,
but cannot do the same with industrialists and businessmen nor replace
them, except very partially with foreign investors who are reluctant to
invest when our own investors are dragging their feet.
So he has gone all out to win them over at a time when they are rejoicing
over the return of the businessmens government with an overwhelming
mandate and assertion of Mr Sharifs superamacy over the President Leghari
by defanging the dreaded Eighth Amendment.
Not only the Prime Minister is a businessman but also the commerce and
interior ministers who are very close to him. And several ministers have
investment interests in business enterprises. The Chief Minister of the
Punjab is a businessman. And Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz was told when he
addressed the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry that the
National Assembly had 35 businessmen as members, which means a hefty 15 per
cent representation. PML members elected to the NA and Senate from Karachi
Not necessarily because of such heavy representation of big business in
Parliament, but because of Mr Sharifs personal conviction that the
businessmen can also do for the country what they had done for themselves,
he thought he ought to go all out to unleash their energies to revive and
revitalise the economy now going downhill alarmingly.
He has done all that they wanted, and with incredible speed, as
acknowledged by them. And he has promised far more, and quickly, if he is
convinced of the need for it. He followed up his radical fiscal package by
sweeping off 229 anomalies in it that had hurt the manufacturing sector
while helping the importers, at one go on April 13, as promised by Commerce
Minister Ishaq Dar the evening before. He has promised many more packages
following the generous agricultural package, which would revive the sick
industries, shrink the large public sector with its colossal waste, vast
inefficiency and rampant corruption, accelerate the exports, reform the
financial sector and make the utility companies more efficient and less
Going all out to meet their demands he has slashed personal income tax by a
half, and announced substantial corporate tax relief from July 1. And he
had reduced import tariff from 65 to 10 to 45 per cent and done away with
the 10 per cent regulatory duty on imports. He reduced sales tax from 18
per cent to 12.5 per cent, and he has exempted machinery for new industries
from sales tax altogether. And he has swept away the anomalies that arose
following the package by removing 229 of them at one stroke.
He has let businessmen off the hook of the income tax officers and allowed
them file their tax declarations through a simple process of self-
assessment. Chairman of the Central Board of Revenue Hafeez Ullah Ishaq
says that a simple one-page Urdu income tax form is being introduced with
minimal entries, unlike the elaborate form of last year, to facilitie
minimum contact between tax payers and the assessors. He claims the PMs
tax reforms package is so radical that none of the 192 countries in the
world had ever envisaged such drastic changes in the tax regime. And the
CBR has set up a committee to eliminate all other fiscal anomalies within a
The Sindh government too is studying the means to set up one- window
facility for commercial tax payers and is to send the report of a seven-man
committee to the Federal Task Force within ten days. All that is likely to
be incorporated in the report of the Tax Reforms Commission headed by Syed
Qureshi which will be reflected in the annual budget in June.
Having got all they wanted and more, what will the businessmen do in
return? Will they pay the reduced taxes in full? Will they return the bank
loans where the default has risen to Rs 140 billion and save the sick
banks? Will they invest more and use less of bank funds and more of their
own funds and speed up economic growth, particularly industrial growth
which has been an abysmally low 4.5 per cent for the last three years? Will
they export more, and more of the value-added, and clean up their trade
practices, particularly in the export sector where their unethical conduct
has hurt the exports? Will they pay fair wages to their workers and give
decent dividends to the share holders?
Voicing such expectations Mr Sartaj Aziz told the FPCCI that the
businessmen should now think less of their own profits and more of saving
the economy that had been shattered and try to profit through higher
economic growth. Will the businessmen accustomed to their high profits and
the usual devious ways of hiding that from taxation officer, their partners
and shareholders bring about such a total change in their business culture
and become good corporate citizens?
It is relevant to ask that if the foreign companies can pay full taxes,
take less loans from banks and repay the loans promptly, pay the workers
and share-holders well, keep up the quality of their products and have
large financial reserves for future expansion, why cant Pakistani
companies do likewise? Not all the foreign companies are big, some of them,
as in pharmaceuticals, are small and yet they do well.
They have to do that as otherwise their chairmen and managing directors
will be changed by share-holders abroad who insist on quarterly reports and
assured good profits, like the Fortune 500 companies of US which have
reported rise in profits by 23.3 per cent in 1996.
A situation in which 300 textile mills pay less tax than ICI even in the
good days of the textile industry is unacceptable; but that happens as
sponsors of such companies own a majority of the shares and the development
finance institutions which had lent vast sums to them do not interfere to
check vast abuses in such companies. And the too many dubious auditing
firms in Pakistan certify their accounts as good and the government does
not use its cost accounting machinery to make detailed studies of a few of
such defaulting industries and their flourishing owners.
When it came to the quality of our export products Mr Sartaj Aziz said 90
per cent of Malaysias products were ISO 9000 approved, while not even 5
per cent of Pakistans products was. In fact, in Pakistan where plugs and
sockets seldom fit, only 40 of its products have ISO rating, while 4,000
products in India enjoy it. We certainly are a world apart from any kind of
export boom at a time when ISO 9000 rating is becoming more and more
It is easy for us to declare this year as the exports year, or 1997-98 as
the oil and gas year to look for more energy sources or 2000 as the Visit
Pakistan Year. What matters is not targets and declarations but
performance, and sustained quality performance.
Some persons are describing Mr Sharifs reforms packages as a gamble which
may not pay off. But what other option has he? Surely he cannot increase
the taxes, raise interest rates further, make the utilities more expensive
and give greater authority to the bureaucracy to become too stern with
everyone and in the process pocket far more loot. If he fails now it will
not be the failure of the government, it will be the greater failure of the
country itself, and the result may be the bloody revolution of which Mr
Sharif has spoken of and not another elections and another set of
politicians in power.
Sceptics of supply-side economics in our context do not realise that demand
management had its very long run in Pakistan. What does the rigid import
policy which has per force been relaxed in recent years, the high import
duties of 120 per cent and more, checks on money supply and credit, high
interest rates close to 25 per cent mean if not demand management. Where
demand management has failed miserably is in the exploding public sector
with its 1,032 corporations and autonomous bodies consuming too much and
producing too little that has left the government now with a borrowing of
Rs 74.3 billion from banks against the target of Rs 44 billion for the
whole year and a total national debt of Rs 2,200 billion.
That is what makes it important and urgent to revive the 4,0000 sick
industrial units, produce more, export more of the value-added, increase
employment and collect larger taxes from them. We have no other option.
The economy is in an absolute and total mess. Economic growth this year may
be 4.5 per cent instead of the projected 6.3 per cent. And industrial
growth may be 4.5 per cent instead of the targeted 7.2 per cent. Inflation
is around 15 per cent instead of the targeted 8.5 per cent. And the budget
deficit may be 6 to 7 per cent against the targeted 4 per cent because of
the fall in revenues. The situation is so bad even the caretaker government
had to raise over two billion dollars as short term loans.
Some businessmen at the FPCCI meeting told Mr Sartaj Aziz the sharp fall in
reduction in taxes should not mean fall in revenues and rise in the
deficit. The businessmen who are now tearing up tax demand notices and
throwing them on the faces of the CBR staff have to rise to the occasion
and fulfil their promise to the PM. If they fail that will be a manifest
breach of faith and betrayal of their public commitment. The business
community is on trial and if they fail, it will be only at grave risk to
themselves and the country as a whole in a period of acute economic crisis.
13th Amendment in perspective
BY defanging the Eighth Amendment, Mian Nawaz Sharif has normalised the
Constitution. It, more or less, completes the framework of parliamentary
democracy in the country. This is not the achievement of democratic ideals
by itself. It merely makes it possible to begin approximating towards the
democratic goals. We have to see the progress in perspective, both in terms
of past and what lies in future.
This is not the first time that defenders of parliamentary democracy have
tried to seize the initiative and deprive the head of the state of real, or
imaginary, extra or reserved powers to veto the representatives of the
people by torpedoing the whole elected system.
It will be recalled that way back in 1953, Governor General Ghulam Muhammad
had discovered certain reserve powers in his office, a la Government of
India Act 1935 (as amended for Pakistan), although no one thought that
these powers had any place in the constitution of a free country. He
dismissed the government of Khawaja Nazimuddin unexpectedly and shocked
both the parliament and all democrats by his arbitrary, and what most
people thought was illegal, action. He followed it up in quick succession
by bringing in an outsider as the prime minister and later forcing him to
reconstitute the cabinet as he wished at gun-point.
Democrats retaliated in 1954 by making the head of the state obliged to
accept the advice of the PM and not to take any arbitrary action. Ghulam
Muhammad waited for a few months and then retaliated. He dismissed the
Constituent Assembly to which British parliament had transferred
sovereignty over Pakistan and whose creature he himself as governor-general
was. It is a sad story of how the superior judiciary behaved in this case
by ultimately upholding the GGs action.
Next round was in the dark days after the country had been led to disaster
by two chief martial law administrators, viz Gens. Ayub Khan and Yahya
Khan; it had suffered a humiliating defeat, and was dismembered. With 5,000
square miles of West Pakistani territory and 95,000 prisoners of war in
Indias hands, the people in the remainder of Pakistan decided that the
chapter of the presidential system, bogus democracy and military rule must
be closed; henceforward there should be parliamentary democracy. They wrote
themselves the Permanent Constitution (1973) in which the president was
reduced to a political cipher; no official notification could be published
in the gazette unless the presidents signature had been countersigned by
the PM. This was to ensure that no head of the state would play any games
with democratic processes.
However, with the capricious behaviour of the then PM and as a result of
exigencies of Pakistani politics, the PM made himself vulnerable and the
generals resumed power. The next general, for good measure, hanged the
prime minister to ensure his own longevity and security. He tacitly
acknowledged the changed climate of opinion in the country regarding the
Constitution and democracy by declaring that he was not abrogating the
Constitution. He only put it in abeyance (whatever that could mean).
What had happened was that the Constitution had been overthrown and the
reality was that the military made one mans will prevail as he wished. But
eventually even he, having tried all the gimmicks was forced to restore
democracy partly in order to please the western powers which were
bankrolling him through loans and credits. But the manner of doing so is
worth remembering; it underscores what the 8th Amendment was for and when
it came to be used, it elucidated many facts about current Pakistan
Zia first began by convening a nominally elected Parliament. But he made
sure that no party was allowed to participate, while most parties had also
boycotted it. Having framed such an assembly of political non-entities
after making sure of his own presidentship through a fake referendum, he
was forced first to permit the formation of a party inside the Parliament
and later he was confronted with demands for lifting Martial Law. He
proposed a deal: let the parliament constitutionally create a National
Security Council in which four top generals including himself, the
topmost generals would sit with PM and two other elected ministers. This
council was to have the power to declare Emergency during which the
military would take over the government,perhaps for a specified period.
Realising the implications, such as are visible today in Turkey, the
National Assembly led by Muhammad Khan Junejo refused.
Zia came back with another proposal: let it pass an amendment, nominally
for protecting his Islamic reforms, in which he slipped in the Section
58(2)(b) and he will lift martial law. Assessing the gravity of situation
and exacerbated by eight years of martial law, the Parliament caved in.
That is how the generals made sure of their supremacy over all the elected
system by giving president the power of life and death over the entire
elected system. We can now look back and see how the 58(2)(b) powers have
been used. In brief nine years, four sets of elected national assemblies
with governments responsible to them plus all the provincial assemblies and
governments responsible to them have been dismissed by the presidential
fiat. The people have been shown by implication that the locus of true
power was the army and the generals had the last word. The fundamental
basis of democracy had been knocked out by the lesson implicit in thus
unceremoniously sending the elected representatives of the people home.
This argument of force is hard to refute. The exercise of that power was by
itself a negation of democracy and what that did in the succeeding period
after every incident of such an exercise: it reminded all politicians of
the true distribution of powers in the polity and this awareness was
reflected in their conduct.
The deputies did not feel free to act. Instead, the National Assembly and
the politicians in it behaved erratically, indeed corruptly, largely
because their raison d etre of being the supreme authority in the state
was denied to them; in frustration they would indulge in petty personal
Although there are many reasons why corruption has flourished in this
country, the fact of extra-parliamentary authorities breathing down their
necks has contributed a good bit of impulse toward corruption. This
argument has to be taken note of. There is a certain plausibility: Military
takeovers are nothing new in this country. The art of maligning the
politicians is old, well-tested and organised. Somehow people have come to
believe, as a result of almost 50 years of systematic and orchestrated
propaganda that the politicians are uniquely corrupt and inefficient as
if people in every other walk of life are efficient or more honest.
The question arises: would the military not intervene in future, especially
when economic difficulties force the government to take painful decisions
or things are otherwise bad? Would it resist taking over? Who can say that
they would not. The true defence of a democracy lies in the hearts and
minds of the people. In a society that is predisposed to believe that the
military is all powerful and that whenever it feels the urge to take over
(i.e. whenever it finds conditions conducive to such an action) it can,
there is reason to believe it will be strongly tempted to. But it need not
always be so. Once the people decide that they would defend democracy, such
a likelihood simply disappears.
At this particular point of time a military takeover is not considered
likely at all. There are three good reasons. First the western opinion
would simply not let that happen and Pakistan, one way or another, is in no
shape to defy the West. Secondly, economic conditions are so bad that a
military regime will find it hard to manage the situation, without the
democratic sanction behind the government. Indeed no dictator can hold the
fort now. Thirdly, times have changed. The Pakistan military is not stupid.
It knows that the climate of opinion in the country does not favour another
takeover, no matter what the conditions may be. They know that another
adventure this time round may produce unexpected reactions; there might
even be resistance. One way or another, Pakistan is in no shape or
condition to withstand the consequences of another military takeover and
the military realises it.
To revert to the rejoicing that most Pakistanis are indulging in, it has to
be said that they are justified. But we should also remember that whatever
has been achieved is only a preliminary correction of a distortion in the
political framework. It will now enable the government, if it has and it
certainly has a democratic mandate to take the democratic road in its
true spirit. Thus the outlook is bright. The context is a many-sided or
multiple crises. These are grave crises and would involve painful choices.
Only a free and strong government can tackle the situation. Fortunately we
have a government with a massive mandate from the people. It is well-placed
to tackle the issues, if it adopts the correct methodology of involving the
people; not merely listening to the people but asking them to participate
in decision-making and in execution.
The democrats have to be democrats and should avoid like plague the old
bureaucratic mental habits of being frightened by difficult situations and
resorting to states of emergency and taking panicky action as senior
bureaucrats think appropriate. The best way of going about the business is
to invite the people to participate in all significant discussions, asking
for advice regarding the main methods of tackling the situation or problem.
There are not many options left. The hard ones would require strong popular
support anyhow; why not involve them in decision-making through widespread
consultations? Democratic methods define a functioning democracy. That is
where our salvation lies. Ours is certainly a pluralistic society par
excellence. Let all the flowers bloom in the sense that let all the
opinions be aired, collated, sifted and thrashed out.
Remember how Mohammad Khan Junejo went about the business of signing the
Geneva Accords on Afghanistan. The difficult solutions or decisions by the
government must necessarily have the sanction of active expressions of
favourable opinion among as wide a section of people that take interest in
the particular such matter. That is the way to go about the business.
Controversy is not to be shunned or shut out or suppressed.
Let all opinions be aired and argumentation take place. The government and
other sections must continuously go on informing the people about the state
of affairs by correctly defining the problems and discussing ways and means
of solving them. Near-consensus can always be evolved on matters in a
fairly short time, thanks to modern facilities. If the government is not
afraid of democratic methods, the outlook despite genuine difficulties will
remain bright, although many bad laws, social practices and customs remain
to disfigure the society.
Sri Lankas Sharjah win and the betting game
THE Sharjah Cup, an annual cricket feature staged in the Gulf, was duly and
deservingly carried away by Sri Lanka who put up a satisfying and all-round
better performance than the other finalist, Pakistan.
The losers had some glimmer of hope in the earlier phase of the match when
the world champions had plummeted to 67 for three or in the last stage when
the Lankans were tied down by the bolts of Wasim Akram and the clever off-
breaks of Saqlain Mushtaq.
The second victory of the team from the pearl island in the sheikhdom must
have lifted their confidence after a Test battering in New Zealand. It must
have saved the face of the tournament organisers, who were being roundly
deplored for fabricating the results in the round-robin encounters for
earning hefty profits for themselves and the notorious betting cartels.
The Sri Lankan triumph, with only four balls to spare, would not have been
possible without the responsible batsmanship of their veteran Aravinda de
Silva, who hit an unbeaten 87 in a serene and assured way. In the whole
competition he stood head and shoulders above the rest of batsmen with an
aggregate of 410 runs in five matches. Arvanidas 134 in the return tie
against Pakistan may have been more aggressive when his bat moved like a
scimitar but his effort in the final was an organised one. There was poise
and ease in his manners to meet the challenge at hand; he was hardly forced
into a ruffled attitude, even though Jayasuriya had left him and the
opener, Kaluwitharna, had paid the price for impetuosity. Even in the last
overs he was not prepared to indulge in crudities and guided his side
safely to success.
It can by no logic be explained why Pakistan had been shaky and slow in
their innings apart from the gutsy knocks of Ijaz Ahmad and Inzamamul Haq,
who lasted upto the last wicket. Salim Malik, the senior-most member of the
outfit and having the experience of English county battles, was
excruciatingly slow. One expected him to take the initiative but he did not
show the courage to open out. Though a half-century was recorded by him but
his contribution could not much help the cause of the team. Later from 185
for four at the fall of Malik the whole innings folded up for 214 under
no circumstance a difficult target for the Lankans to chase.
Whatever may have the difference in the quality and level of bowling the
fielding of the Pakistan squad and the field-placing by the captain left
much to be desired. The lethargic approach to pick up and throw the ball
back to the stumps was regrettable. Besides, the field arrangements of the
captain was two flawed to be true. So many hits that could have been saved
by placing men in the deep went straight to the boundary. The Sri Lankans,
time and again, found gaps and their score soared to the consternation of
the Pakistani supporters. It is still incomprehensible why fielders were
not placed to guard deep third man, deep fine leg, mid-wicket and long off.
The Sri Lankans, on the contrary, had sentries at the deep to save
boundaries. Pakistans 214 may have gone up to a more challenging total had
the Lankan captain not adopted a tactical approach on the field. Their
fielders were comparatively more alert and agile.
Besides, at the latter part of the Pakistan innings it was clear to all
that their tactics was based on giving Inzamam lesser strike, which
affected the run-rate.
The Sri Lankans win would have enhanced their morale and confidence for
the upcoming Test duels against Pakistan on their soil, thanks largely to
poor batting of the Pakistanis and below-par captaincy of Wasim Akram,
whatever may have been his bowling effort.
One of the top competing teams would have emerged victorious in the
triangular but debate is still going on if the round-robin matches in the
Sharjah Cup were genuine or manipulated to inflate the purse of the
organisers who had aligned themselves with the bookies and the betting
cartels to fleece the cricket fans.
The triangular started on the right note, much in accord with the form of
the national outfits when Sri Lanka crushed the minnows, Zimbabwe, by seven
wickets. But the imposing stadium of the emirate was empty, barring the
players enclosure. Who would have seen the Zimbabweans in action? The star
attractions, India and the West Indies, busy in Test encounters in the far-
off Caribbean islands, had not come. Certainly the Sharjah Cup management
and the gambling bureaux would not have arranged the competition without
manipulating high profits. The interest of UAE cricket to boost the game
in the Gulf was not involved since they were not an invitee to the
contest and even their presence would not have helped the cause of those
running the international cricket show in Sharjah.
The second fixture in the double-league tournament between Pakistan and Sri
Lanka was a drama enacted to mislead the followers of the game and upset
the calculations of the large number of enthusiasts who would have put
their money on one team or the other, believing that the test of strength
was going to be true and not false.
Sri Lankas 243 in 50 overs was a reasonably good score with two aggressive
knocks of Marvan Atapattu (94) and Aravinda de Silva (97). The challenge
was stiff but the target was not unattainable. With sensible and brisk
batting Pakistan were 173 for four in 38 overs. Quite a good effort and
march to catch up with the Lankan total. Pakistan were going grand, opined
the onlookers or those watching the tie on the television. But suddenly in
ideal batting conditions the whole middle and lower order crashed for 224.
Was it a hoax, irresponsible effort by the Pakistani batsmen or the Sri
Lankans were too difficult an obstacle to be overcome? The foreign
observers were at one to say that the Sri Lankan victory was a gift to them
on a silver platter.
The third match finished in accord with form; Pakistan outplayed Zimbabwe
by 93 runs, the latter becoming an easy victim to the former with four of
their batsmen run out, risking needless scores.
The result in the reverse league match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was a
replication of the first one in which the former stumbled for just 200 from
156 for 5, losing the duel for the second time.
The fifth tie in the programme was a deception through and through for all
to see when Zimbabwe earned a verdict against Sri Lanka. The analysts of
the game couldnt believe their eyes when the last Lankan batsman returned
to the pavilion at 153, their lowest score in the series. Most of the
middle and lower order players did not lift their bat to the ordinary pace
and spin attack of Zimbabwe. The tournament was going according to the
planning of the gamblers and the organisers to fleece the fans.
Pakistan was not to lose its last round-robin encounter and had to enter
the final of the competition for the bookies and the officials of CBFS had
to be saved from losses.
Why Pakistan should be a competitor in a tournament, where there are open
match-fixing and betting cartels are busy to turn upside down the outcome
of the matches. If at all the argument is proffered that betting is an
international evil in which Sharjah plays a major role, fabrication of the
results through match fixing would degrade the value of cricket. It will
topsy-turpy the form of the team and hit the confidence of the players,
their own global rating. The boards of the cricket-playing countries, as
also the International Cricket Council, should take up this issue in a
serious way and try to remove this evil. Perhaps betting cannot be
eliminated in totality but deceit in the shape of match-fixing cannot be
sidestepped for long; it has to be ended the sooner the better.
Is the balance titling in favour of the islands?
Mohammad Shoaib Ahmed
AS the curtain goes up on the 1996-97 Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test series, it is
worthwhile to have a look at the history of encounters between the two
rivals. Even a cursory glance at the past results should suffice to show
that Pakistan has maintained the upper hand. The Test rubbers played in
Pakistan especially have been dominated by the home team. In all Sri Lanka-
Pakistan have so far contested seventeen Test matches. Pakistan have to
their credit nine wins as compared to the three achieved by the Sri
Bandula Warnapura was leading the side that came here in 1981-82 when
Pakistans cricket was gripped by controversies. No less than nine
prominent cricketers had refused to play under Javed Miandad. The Board
didnt select any of the rebels in the first two Tests, instead they
fielded a raw side.
Saleem Malik greeted the Sri Lankans with a century on his Test debut at
Karachis National Stadium. Tahir Naqqash, Rashid Khan and Saleem Yousuf
also made their mark against the tourists. The side, though packed with
youngsters, made short work of the final. But the tables were almost turned
in the next Test. Stand-in skipper Duleep Mendis had the home side
struggling in the second Test in Faisalabad. Pakistan averted the follow-on
by the skin of their teeth. Then on the final afternoon, they had to battle
it out grimly for saving the match.
The star-turned-rebels were however back in the Pakistan side in the third
and final Test in Lahore. The Sri Lankans had no answer to the fiery pace
of Imran Khan, then arguably the most lethal fast bowler on the scene.
Zaheer Abbas, an excellent batsman posted an enterprising hundred at
Gaddafi Stadium, denying the visitors a chance of making inroads into the
Pakistan batting as they did in Faisalabad.
Four seasons later the Sri Lankans came to Pakistan under the captaincy of
Duleep Mendis, a hard-hitting right-handed batsman. The visitors were
blasted in Karachi and Sialkot. They managed an honourable draw on the
batting paradise of Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad. Thus for the second time
running, they drew a Test in Faisalabad.
Although Sri Lanka were humiliated in the 1985-86 series here they
discovered Aravinda de Silva. The perky right-hander won great admiration
by notching two magnificent hundreds in three Tests. He was a picture of
confidence all the time and was particularly severe on Imran Khan, hauling
him for sixes quite regularly.
Ravi Ratnayeke may never forget the Sialkot Test. Maintaining nagging line
and length, he ripped through Pakistans batting line-up, claiming as many
as eight wickets in the first innings. Todate this remains the best bowling
figures ever by a Sri Lankan in a Test innings. Sri Lanka, however, lost
the Sialkot Test.
Pakistan toured Sri Lanka later in the same season. They confirmed their
clear-cut superiority over the hosts in the very first Test. The exploits
of Mudassar Nazar and Tauseef Ahmed overcame the resistance offered by
eleven Sri Lankan players and two umpires.
In the Colombo Test, however, Pakistan fell victim to some dubious
decisions which marred the game before it was awarded to the home side.
They were not prepared to let go the chance of beating Pakistan by hook or
by crook. A lot of umpiring decisions were questioned. The third and final
Test was drawn and the series remained locked at 1-1.
Four years later, Imran Khan was the captain in the 1991-92 series against
Sri Lanka. The Lankan skipper was Aravinda de Silva. On the whole, the
three-Test rubber between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was a low scoring affair.
In Sialkot almost six hours play was lost due to poor light and bad
weather. Even Pakistan could have won the Test but for a tenacious
fightback from left-handers, Sanath Jayasuriya and wicketkeeper Hashan
Tillekeratne. Twice in the match, both were involved in crucial
partnerships to keep alive Sri Lankan hopes. In Gujranwala, after 36 overs
had been bowled on the opening day in 152 minutes, no more play was
possible. Faisalabad had the best weather of the series. There was no
outright result. Pakistan, after conceding a 19-run first innings lead, won
by three wickets in the end, also taking the series by a 1-0 margin.
In 1994-95 season, Pakistan were scheduled to play three Tests in Sri Lanka
but elections in that country forced the cancellation of the second Test
for security reasons. Against the awesome duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar
Younis, the Sri Lankans were decimated to humiliating defeats by 301 runs
and innings and 52 runs in the two Tests.
In the first Test at Colombos P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Pakistan owed
their 301 run victory to Saeed Anwar, who blasted 94 and 136, and Wasim
Akram, who starred with the ball to take the match bag of eight for 73. The
consolation for Sri Lanka was Aravinda De Silvas 127 in the first innings.
Wasim and Waqar were at their deadliest in the third Test at the
picturesque Asgiriya Stadium in the hill resort of Kandy. The deadly Ws
were in no mood to allow the opposing batsmen respite as they reduced them
to their lowest ever total of 71 in 145 minutes off 28.5 overs. The pair
bowled unchanged to gobble up four of 32 and 6 for 34, respectively.
Inzamam-ul-Haq steered Pakistan to a position of strength as he churned a
graceful 100 not out, batting at No. 7, to help Pakistan to a lead of 286.
The debacle of first innings was almost repeated when Sri Lanka slumped to
78 for six but spirited knocks from Tillekeratne and fellow left-hander
Ruwan Kalpage raised hopes of averting an innings defeat as they shared a
record partnership of 131 but Waqar proved formidable. His five for 85 gave
him a match haul of 11 for 119.
The ever-improving Sri Lankans were the earliest visitors to Pakistan in
1995-96 season. This was in late August 1995 as Arjuna Ranatungas men
arrived to play three Tests and an equal number of One-day Internationals
plus two three-day first-class matches.
Former captain Saleem Malik, for his alleged role in a bribery scandal, and
his brother-in-law Ijaz Ahmed and off-spinner Akram Raza for being his
comrades in arms, were out of contention for the Pakistan squad. Wasim
Akram may have been in line for the captaincy but, instead, Rameez Raja was
chosen to lead Pakistan mainly due to his Mr Clean image. He started on a
most positive note though, when he led his team to an innings and 40 runs
triumph in the inaugural Test at Peshawars Arbab Niaz Stadium. Sri Lanka
struck back by winning the next two Tests, and Ranatunga joined the ranks
of W.G. Grace, W.J. Cronje and Saleem Malik as being one of the four
captains who turned a 1-0 disadvantage into a 2-1 win in a three-Test
rubber. Left-arm fast bowler Chaminda Vass, alongwith Muttiah Muralitharan,
played a major role in Sri Lankas triumph against Pakistan.
The present batch of the Sri Lankan cricketers, led by the versatile Arjuna
Ranatunga, appear quite talented and promising. They are known for playing
positive cricket everywhere. The skipper himself takes pride in
entertaining crowds with breathtaking strokes. So we are in for exciting 15
days cricketing extravaganza.
2-year ban clamped on Aamir Sohail
LAHORE, April 16: Famous Test opener Aamir Sohail has been banned for two
years from all sorts of cricket activity for accusing some teammates of
betting and gambling and criticising former Test captain Javed Burki.
Announcing the decision on Wednesday before a crowded Press conference at
the PCB headquarters at the Qadhafi Stadium, Disciplinary Committee
chairman Talat Ali Malik (himself a former Test opener) said that the
stylish batsman has been punished for violating the Code of Conduct by
levelling unsubstantiated allegations against fellow-players.
Talaat Ali Malik said that Aamir Sohail refused to provide any
documentary evidence to substantiate his allegations when he appeared for
ten minutes before the committee on April 14 (Monday), the date on which he
had been asked to plead his case. Instead, Aamir Sohail handed over a
signed statement of three lines which stated:
Whatever evidence I had, has been given to the Ministry of Sports,
Government of Pakistan, and I have been advised to convey the same message
in front of the Disciplinary Committee.
The committee chairman said that the meeting on Monday was also attended by
another member Ashraf Qureshi (Rawalpindi). However, former Test medium-
fast bowler Sikandar Bakht could not come to Lahore to attend the meeting
due to indisposition.
I talked to Sikandar Bakht the other day and also today (Wednesday), only
a little before this Press conference. The decision of banning Aamir Sohail
has full backing of Sikandar and all concerned, asserted Talat Ali Malik
in a raised voice.
The committee chairman faced a volley of questions from the mediamen and,
at times, would lose his cool while replying to some naive queries.
Job of the players is to go and play cricket on the grounds rather than
taking over the role of administrators. Aamir Sohail and all the other
players are fully aware of the clauses of the Code of Conduct, which have
also been signed by them and which has been prepared in line with the
guidelines of the ICC Code of Conduct, roared Talaat Ali Malik in anger.
While replying to a question about the cricketing ability of the banned
player (Aamir Sohail), the committee chairman agreed that, without any
doubt, Aamir Sohail was one of the best players in the game today and that
was the reason why he was feeling pained to announce the punishment.
Aamir should have served Pakistan cricket by playing in the playfields
rather than indulging in this unhappy war of words, said the committee
Cricket circle stunned over ban on Aamir Sohail
KARACHI, April 17: Former chief cricket selector Hasib Ahsan has termed the
ban imposed on Test opener Aamir Sohail by the PCB as `unfair.
In an interview here on Thursday the former off-spinner said the verdict to
ban Pakistan opener for two years was done summarily without giving a fair
chance to the player.
He said the PCB and its disciplinary committee should have followed due
process before coming to a decision but they sidetracked every norm of
justice and gave the verdict which may destroy the cricket career of a
prominent Test star who had served Pakistan well in the past.
The only honest course open before the PCB and the disciplinary committee
was to invite all those who were accused by Aamir Sohail of betting and
bribery and recorded their statement while dealing with the so-called
breach of code of conduct by Aamir Sohail, he added.
The former Test spinner said instead of cross-checking all facts about the
allegation the committee met and took a summary decision.
Hasib said the player was not given justifiable opportunity to defend
himself which is the basic requirement of normal justice. He said had Aamir
Sohail failed after getting proper chance to defend himself, sterner action
could have been taken.
Waqar gets injured; blow to Pakistan on tour
COLOMBO (Sri Lanka), April 17: Pakistan has lost the key pacer for the two-
Test series against Sri Lanka as Waqar Younis fractured his third bone in
his left foot to be sidelined from the tour.
Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram is already on the casualty list and is
unlikely to figure in the first Test starting at Khatterama Stadium on
Saturday to leave Pakistan without its two most dangerous and match-
winning opening bowlers who between them share 538 wickets in 106 Tests.
While Akram is suffering from a shoulder injury, Waqar Younis complained of
pain in the foot on Thursday morning when he was undergoing work-outs for
the second days play against a local outfit.
Dr Dan Keisal, team physiotherapist, immediately expressed his fears which
were confirmed after the lunch break when Waqar Younis returned to the
Police ground on crunches with his leg plastered from foot to knee.
X-ray reports revealed a hair-line fracture in the third bone of the left
foot with a four-week advice for treatment from the orthopaedic surgeon.
Although Waqar Younis was as stunned as his other members knowing nothing
about how he got injured, there were indications that the speedster slipped
on the swimming pool while chasing his pal, Mushtaq Ahmad.
The other version being given is that Waqar twisted his foot while bowling
on Wednesday. Waqar bagged three wicket for 33 in 11.3 overs.
The team manager, Nasimul Ghani and Mushtaq Mohammad, have sent an SOS for
a replacement of Waqar Younis who is expected to return on Sunday by Air
Lanka. However, the two concerned officials have yet to get in touch with
PCB officials as everything is shut out for at least four days because of
Sources tipped Abdul Razzak and Fazl-i-Akbar as one of the likely
replacements. One feels here that in the absence of Wasim and Waqar, an
experienced bowler was needed and at this stage there is no other seasoned
bowler like Aqib who snapped up 47 wickets in the domestic season.
Zahid, Afridi break county contracts
KARACHI, April 13: Mohammad Zahid and Shahid Afridi have declined county
offers on the advice of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Zahid and Afridi were to formally sign the contracts with Nottinghamshire
and Leicestershire respectively in the city on Saturday. The officials of
the two counties, along with the agent of the two players, had flown from
England on Thursday.
But the two budding youngsters approached Majid Khan, Chief Executive, PCB,
in Sharjah and sought his permission which was refused.
Majid had laid the term that if the two counties spared the players for
India (in May) and Sri Lanka (in August), he had no objection.
Nevertheless, the county officials rejected this condition. They are likely
to fly back to England on Monday.
Zahid was offered a 60,000 pound sterling contract while Afridi was offered
75,000 pound sterling for a season.
So far, the PCB has not announced any compensation to the two players nor
has it promised them places in the Pakistan team till the Sahara Cup in
It is interesting to note that Majid Khan, in official statements, has
emphasised that he had nothing to do with the players contracts with the
Jansher keeps countrys flag flying high
Jansher Khan, the wizard of world squash renowned for his amazing powers of
retrieval and concentration, displayed his phenomenal stamina and skill in
a marathon two hours and six minutes final to wear down Scotlands Peter
Nicol by three games to two in the prestigious British Open at Cardiff.
It was the hardest match the second after the epic Jahangir Khan Geoff
Hunt battle of 1981 in this very tournament with which Jansher Khan
earned the sixth successive crown, the score being 715, 912, 815, 158.
The left-handed highlander, Peter Nicol, currently ranked world no three,
entered the British Open final for the first time, downing Australias
World No Two Rodney Eyles in the semi final. Though a loser, he
demonstrated astonishing progress during the past four years coming up from
160 places down to emerge potential threat to top players. It is indeed a
great tribute to his professional touch and grit that should serve as an
example to the younger squash players. Nicol is 24, four years less than
World Champion Jansher Khan.
Pre-tournament favourite Jansher Khan played true to his form and survived
despite several questionable decisions, mostly against the title holder, by
referee Brian Gurnertt. The Khan exercised extraordinary restraint in a
highly tension packed title bout.
Maintaining Pakistans peerless position in the event, Jansher Khan has
started the 1997 Circuit in a whirlwind fashion by winning the first super
series, British Open, following his victory in the Australian Open. But not
long ago he was hardly over a point ahead of Australias Rodney Eyles when
the world ranking was announce in January this year. His wins in Liz
(Austria) on March 9 and in the British Open, would however increase his
lead on computer notwithstanding the zero point for pulling out of the four
PSF approved tournament.
The Khan had paid the penalty for his abrupt withdrawal from last years
four tournaments. No wonder he has now announced that he would take part in
almost all the super series and major tournaments during the course of
current year to reestablish his stronghold on the world rankings. Has
success in the coming tournaments depends on his complete fitness as the
challenge is becoming more tough with Egypts Ahmed Brada, Canadas
Jonathan Power, Australias Dow Jenson and Scotlands Peter Nicol posing
potential threat to the Khan supremacy. Jansher Khan is fully aware of the
challenge awaiting him and he had made his ambition quite clear by setting
his eyes on a new record of victories in the British Open and also increase
his winning record of eight wins in the World Open scheduled in Kuala
Lumpur from November 49.
As against this bright and brilliant performance, it is a matter of great
concern that brothers Zubair Jahan Khan (world no 10) and Zarak Jahan Khan
(world no 18) could not make any headway in the British Open and were
beaten in the first round. None of our other players could qualify for the
main round of the championship. There exists tremendous gap between the
world champion Jansher Khan and our other players as we have not found, so
far, a real and potential youngster capable of following in the footsteps
of Jansher Khan, who emerged as world class player in the era dominated by
Todays youngsters are getting much better facilities and incentives from
the Pakistan Squash Federation and the PIA too is providing all possible
facilities to the colts and regular players. But it only indicates that
players lack professional commitment to the game. Woe betide the period,
after Jansher Khan declines, for he cannot always guarantee to carry the
heavy burden of winning all the tournaments in the wake of growing
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