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                          C O N T E N T S 

N A T I O N A L   N E W S
Islamabad wants clear pledge from Delhi  
Pakistan opposes proposed world court charter
Islamabad to take up issue with UAE authorities
'PR must sell surplus land to raise funds'
Tarar emphasizes need for technical education
Cases against 3,400 loan defaulters finalized
Blasts a plan to sabotage govt action on no-go areas,saysMQM
It's between Benazir and Ehtesab: Shujaat
WAPDA, Sindh row over bills intensifies

B U S I N E S S  &  E C O N O M Y 
Forex reserves rise by $263m
Rupee gains 36 paisa in kerb
Banking reforms fail to deliver goods
Power bills help detect 159,000 tax defaulters
KESC suffers loss of over Rs6bn: official
1 lakh tons additional fertilizer imported
Major banks miss Rabi crop credit targets
NA body opposes privatization of fertilizer plants
Heavy selling in Hub Power on ultimatum to IPPs news

E D I T O R I A L S  &  F E A T U R E S
Storming of the Supreme Court                     Ardeshir Cowasjee
Open season                                            Irfan Husain
Pakistan as a 'bridge state'                    Syed Sikander Mehdi
Killings unlimited                                    Omar Kureishi

S P O R T S 
Doubtful Jansher faces tough task in British Open
Pakistan meet South Africa in Triangular opener today
Pakistan gain 2-0 lead against Pacific Oceania
Pakistan hockey team leaves for South Africa tomorrow

                     N A T I O N A L   N E W S 
Islamabad wants clear pledge from Delhi  
Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, March 28: Welcoming Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's
stance that dialogue with Pakistan would continue, a Foreign Office spokesman
said here on Saturday that " we are obviously interested in a clear pledge (by
the Indian side) of its sincerity towards a peaceful resolution of disputes,
particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir."
The spokesman, responding to a question, said the dialogue at the foreign
fecretary-level, which got deadlocked in the third round, could be resumed as
soon as India expressed willingness to abide by the mechanism envisioned in
joint statement issued at the end of the second round of talks in Islamabad in
June 1997.
The spokesman said the joint statement had stipulated an eight-point agenda,
with issues of security and Kashmir topping it, for consideration by eight
separate working groups of the two government officials meeting almost
simultaneously to prepare grounds for higher-level talks. 
However,the secretaries' talks had failed over differences between the two
sides on the interpretation of the Islamabad joint statement, he added.
Answering questions at the weekly news briefing, the spokesmen said that so
as Pakistan was concerned, it would return to the negotiating table after the
political situation had stabilised in India.
He said Pakistan was satisfied with the exchange of friendly letters between
the prime ministers, and wanted that dialogue should continue in order to
reduce tensions and remove causes of the conflict. This would provide an
opportunity to both sides to work closely with each other, he added.

Pakistan opposes proposed world court charter
Shujaat Ali Khan

LAHORE, April 3: Pakistan, India and China are opposed to assigning the UN
Security Council any role in the trigger mechanism of the proposed
International Criminal Court, the Pakistan delegate to the preparatory
committee of the draft charter of the court told Dawn on Friday.
Dr Syed Farooq Hasan, who recently attended the UN Prepcom meeting in New
said the proposal was fraught with serious implications for a balanced world
order. The five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Council exercise
disproportionate influence on the world body and the new institution for the
administration of international criminal justice might also fall a prey to
power politics.
Citing a 'hypothetical example', he said the UN Council might be persuaded to
lodge a complaint in the international court against President Saddam Hussein
of Iraq. The court might issue a process for the appearance of the president,
which might provide an excuse to the United States to use coercive measures
against the person of President Saddam Hussein, ostensibly 'to bring him to
Accordingly, Third World countries are opposed to empowering any international
entity to bring complaints against alleged perpetrators of war crimes,
and crimes against humanity and peace. The latter offence, in particular,
is so
general and wide that it can be misused and misapplied to leaders, groups and
individuals who resist superpower politics.
In all probability, therefore, Dr Hasan said, the proposal would be dropped
when the next Prepcom meeting was held in Rome in June-July. Sovereign states
would remain the only lawful complainants before the new international court.
An exception might, however, be created for the aggrieved or interested
in such a way that it did not impinge on state sovereignty.
Dr Hasan said an international criminal court had long been on the agenda of
those who wanted universal enforcement of basic human rights. 
Islamabad to take up issue with UAE authorities

DUBAI, March 29: Pakistan diplomats in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are seeking
with the UAE officials on a reported statement by the Dubai police chief
lashing out at Pakistanis on their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
"We will certainly take up this matter with the UAE authorities and will
try to
clear their misunderstandings about Pakistanis", said Pakistan Ambassador in
Abu Dhabi Mushtaq Leghari, adding that "the entire nation cannot be penalized
for the crime committed by a few individuals."
Similar sentiments were echoed by the Pakistan consul-general in Dubai, Sajjad
Ashraf, who is yet to meet Maj-Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim.
Dubai police chief Maj-Gen Tamim, at a press conference on Monday, had said
Dubai police had seized almost 2,666kg of hashish, 6kg of heroin and 5.5kg of
opium, valued at Dhs27 million (Rs324 million approximately), and arrested 11
Pakistanis and two Omanis in six cases since January last.
Tamim had said the Pakistan ambassador would have to be officially summoned
informed. "Shall we put restriction on visas for Pakistanis? Shall we treat
Pakistanis strictly. We don't want strained relations between them (Pakistan)
and us (the UAE)," he had said.
Pakistan diplomats and community leaders have termed it as one of the
statements most damaging to relations between the two countries.
Mr Leghari said Pakistan government was taking all possible steps to arrest
problem of drug trafficking and strict measures had been taken in this regard.
Recently, authorities had torched the standing poppy crop in the northern
of Pakistan and, similarly, a large quantity of seized drugs was set ablaze by
customs authorities, Leghari reminded.
He pointed out that the increase in patrolling the seas and along the borders,
expansion in the intelligence network and assignment of special teams at all
major airports to keep a check on potential drug traffickers was already in
He said that the government of Pakistan was ready to cooperate with any
to help curb smuggling of drugs into, and abroad from, the country.
Commenting on the statement given by Dubai police chief, the Pakistan
ambassador said he would meet the local authorities to brief them about his
government's steps in its fight against drug smuggling. He pointed out that
public statements such as the one made by the Dubai police chief would not
serve any concrete purpose.
The Pakistan consul general in Dubai expressed concern on the threatened curbs
on trade with Pakistan as Dubai was the trading hub of the region and one of
the major destinations for Pakistan products.
"If Pakistani ships are forced to dock at a special port and to undergo
and tedious checks, most of our perishable products like fruits and vegetables
will be wasted," he feared.

'PR must sell surplus land to raise funds'
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, March 29: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday directed the railways
authorities to sell their surplus land to generate resources for laying a
double track, acquiring new locomotives and improving the condition of trains.

He issued the directive while addressing a meeting of party workers at his
Model Town residence. Railways Minister Yaqub Nasir was also present.

A worker had pointed out that corruption had eaten deep into the railways and
the commuters were facing many difficulties.

The premier asked the minister to take effective measures to end
corruption. He
said the railways should repay the outstanding loans by selling surplus land.
He said there was also a dire need for a double track and improving the
condition of railways. Resources for the purpose could also be generated by
selling extra land, Mr Sharif said.

Responding to a complaint by another worker about inflated electricity bills,
the prime minister, said the previous government was to blame for it. 

He said he was aware of the problem and alleged that private power agreements
had been signed to skim fabulous commissions and kickbacks.

Mr Sharif indicated that the government had made up its mind to sort out the
problem. He hoped that a way out would be found soon.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the pace of progress, the prime minister said
he wanted to expedite it. However, he said, resources were the major
constraint. "The situation is so bad, the crisis so serious and economic
pressure so huge that one doesn't know what to do".

Tarar emphasizes need for technical education

RAWALPINDI, April 2: President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar said here on Thursday the
government had directed all provinces to take effective measures to root out
the menace of terrorism and sectarianism.
Talking to newsmen after inaugurating a technical training centre of Anjuman
Faizul Islam (AFI), a welfare organization, he said a national security plan
had been chalked out, which would be shortly implemented in the country to
maintain law and order and protect the lives of citizens.
The ministry of interior, he said, had asked all provincial governments to
ensure full implementation and success of the plan.
Responding to a question, the president said the government would not change
its stance on the Kashmir issue.
"We should take advantage of modern scientific inventions to bring Pakistan at
par with other developed countries of the world," he added.
"As a nation, the main reason of our problems is that we lag behind in the
field of technology and technical skill, as compared to other nations.
Unfortunately, this sector was badly neglected in the past," the president
Mr Tarar revealed that at present the number of secondary schools in the
country was 10,000 but there were only 600 vocational institutions at
Similarly, he said, there were only 175 institutions available for
skill in the country. The lack of technical education and training had
in massive unemployment, he added.
Cases against 3,400 loan defaulters finalized
Shaukat Ali

LAHORE, April 1: On the instructions of the State Bank, various banks have
finalized cases against about 3,400 bank loan defaulters.
Sources said total outstanding amount due on these defaulters is said to be
about Rs39 billion.
"Almost 85 per cent of the loan default cases included in the first list being
referred to different banking courts belong to the Punjab and Sindh", senior
officials of Habib Bank Limited said here on Wednesday.
It is understood that cases will be sent to the banking courts by April 10.
Bankers said the courts are expected to decide cases in about six months.
When asked whether all the defaulters had been spotted for such an action,
sources disclosed that about one third banks loan defaulters had never
responded to repeated callings by the banks to them during the last about 15
months to clear their dues or get their outstanding amounts re-scheduled.
"The banks are left with no other option but to seek confiscation of their
(defaulters) assets through the banking courts", the bank officials said.
According to the central bank sources, the recovery of the bad debts had not
been encouraging as only around Rs 4.2 billion were paid back, or re-scheduled
for payment, by the defaulters all over the country during the last year. 
However, finance minister Sartaj Aziz had put this figure around Rs22 billion
while briefing a meeting in Islamabad the other day.
The banks are to get back about Rs143 billion loans advanced to different
individuals and business houses from 1985 to 1996. 
The central bank hopes that the new drive will help recover at least
another 10
to 15 per cent of the defaulted amount before further action is taken against
the defaulters", sources added.
Peshawar Bureau Report: The provincial cooperative department has claimed big
success in achieving its targets towards recovery of defaulted loans and
realising Rs 22.224 million in last month as against 7 million per month of
last six months. The total amount of stuck-up loans stands at over Rs one
billion for which the provincial chief minister has given the recovery target
by June next.
The cooperative department has has also arrested 25 defaulters so far.

Blasts a plan to sabotage govt action on 'no-go' areas, says MQM
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, March 31: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement said on Tuesday that the two
bomb blasts which happened left three persons dead and 22 injured were part of
a "well-organized and deliberate" plan to sabotage and avert any government
initiatives on ending the so-called 'no-go' areas in Karachi.
The party blamed the government's intelligence agencies and the Mohajir Qaumi
Movement led by Afaq Ahmed for masterminding these blasts and said it was
significant that they happened the very morning when newspapers carried
by the prime minister saying that he wanted to end the 'no-go' ares without
The party also said the three persons killed were its sympathizers.
Later in a statement it said it had sent telegrams to the president, the prime
minister, the army chief, the Sindh High Court chief justice, the federal
interior minister, the Sindh governor, the Sindh chief minister and the
interior secretary demanding that a judicial probe be initiated to find the
cause of these blasts and that the Sindh chief justice head this inquiry.
Senator Aftab Ahmed Sheikh told a press conference at MQM headquarters Nine
Zero in Azizabad that the blasts happened very close to the party's
headquarters and one of them took place right opposite the building in
which he
He said this was a message to the party that it should know its limits.
The senator also mentioned the incident when a Pakistan Air Force jettisoned
its oil tanks over District Central in May 1997 which left several people dead
and alleged that this was also a message to the MQM that its headquarters were
never safe.
The MQM chief, Altaf Hussain, in a statement from London condemned the blasts
and asked his party workers to "remain united and not be scared".
The senator, flanked by Sindh's senior minister Farooq Sattar and Senator
Nasreen Jalil, said that the blasts happened on a day when the Sindh chief
minister was supposed to participate in a high level meeting in Islamabad on
the 'no-go' areas issue. 
ARRESTED: The senator also said in the last few weeks 12 workers and relatives
of workers of the MQM had been arrested by police and law-enforcement agencies
from Korangi, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Liaquatabad.
MNAs Tariq Javed, Ejaz Mehmood, Arif Advocate, Hasan Mussana Alvi and Babar
Ghouri and ministers Wasim Akhtar and Bashir Farooqui were also present at the
press conference.

It's between Benazir and Ehtesab: Shujaat
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, March 28: Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Husain says warrants for
the arrest of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto have been issued by the
Ehtesab Bench of the Sindh High Court and the government has nothing to do

Talking to reporters here on Saturday, he said these warrants were bailable
there was no justification for Ms Bhutto to raise a hue and cry.

He said if she failed to get bail, he said, it was for the Ehtesab Bench to
decide whether or not to order her arrest.

As for the government, he said it had neither made any attempt in the past to
arrest her nor has it any plan in the future to do so.

"The matter is strictly between the former prime minister and the Ehtesab

He said the government had been tracing for the last one year the
irregularities committed by the present government. However, he pointed
out, it
had not taken any step contrary to the provisions of the law.

Regarding the reported statement of Ms Bhutto that she would like to see the
brave man who dared arrest her, the interior minister said the challenge had
been thrown to the Ehtesab Bench and not the government.

Answering a question, the minister said the government would go ahead with the
implementation of its national plan irrespective of opposition from the NWFP

"The government cannot tolerate the use of rocket launchers and missiles.

"If some people regard these deadly weapons as their raiment, we'll strip them
of it."

WAPDA, Sindh row over bills intensifies
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, April 1: The ongoing "electricity bill war" between WAPDA and the
Sindh government took a new turn on Wednesday when a private consultant,
appointed as chairman of a working group by the federal government to sort out
the issue, proposed that Islamabad deduct 50 per cent of the current bill (Rs
5.58 billion) at source from Sindh's share in the NFC award.
Confirming this, Syed Sardar Ahmad, advisor to the Sindh CM on finance,
informed Dawn on Wednesday that the provincial government had rejected the
proposal given by the private consultant and had made it clear to Islamabad
that any deductions at source would not be acceptable. "It is against the
provisions of the current National Finance Commission award signed by the
finance minister and representatives of the federal as well as of all
provincial governments on Feb 3 last year," a senior official of the Sindh
government stated.
Following complaints from all the four provinces on excessive billing by
the federal government constituted four working groups, one for each province,
to work on "reconciliation of WAPDA's pending bills with the records of the
provincial governments"
These groups were formed on Feb 16 at a meeting of the four provincial finance
For Sindh, Mr Mahmood Ahmad Lodhi was appointed chairman and one officer each
from the Sindh government, WAPDA and KESC were appointed members.
The consultants appointed to each of these working groups are entitled to a
payment of Rs 50,000 by WAPDA as consultancy charges, besides TA and DA
facilities admissible to BPS-22 officers. The package includes a
chauffeur-driven vehicle at the place of duty.
Sources in the Sindh government said the working group had met only once and
the private consultant decided to take the current bill of Rs 5.58 billion for
the period July 1997 to February 1998 as the first issue and suggested the
federal government to deduct 50 per cent of this amount from Sindh's share in
the divisible pool.
Mr Lodhi was evasive in his reply to questions by Dawn. "Everything is in a
flux," he said, and then added a "consensus is emerging and by the end of June
the group will submit a report to the federal adjuster".
WAPDA had recovered Rs 30.47 billion from all the four provinces by way of
deduction at source out of the shares of every province during the last three
years _ 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97.
The four provinces had been pressing Islamabad on the issue and after strong
protests it was decided that WAPDA would recover the outstanding amounts from
the provinces directly.
In fact, all the four provinces insisted on making it a part of the NFC award
signed on Feb 3 last year.
WAPDA has now sent presumptive bills of Rs 18.71 billion to all the four
provinces for 1997-98. This includes Rs 8.26 billion outstanding against Sindh
for 1997-98 and Rs 5.58 billion for the period July 1997 to Feb 1998.
Sindh has already complained that the number of WAPDA consumers is 16,371
(19.71 per cent of WAPDA's public sector consumers in all four provinces), but
it has been asked to pay over 41 per cent of the total amount being demanded
from all four provinces.

                 B U S I N E S S  &  E C O N O M Y
Forex reserves rise by $263m
Mohiuddin Aazim
KARACHI, April 2: The release of $248 million worth of a soft loan by Japan
raised Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves above $ 1.2 billion mark by the
of last month.
The State Bank report released here on Thursday said Pakistan's foreign
exchange reserves rose by around $263 million to $1.265 billion on March 28
from about $.1002 billion on March 21.
The SBP did not give reasons for the rise in the reserves but senior bankers
linked it to inflow of a $248 million foreign currency loan by Japan's
Economic Cooperation Fund for banking sector reforms.
The report says on March 28 the country had approved foreign exchange reserves
worth $554.585 million whereas balances held abroad in the form of cash and
short term securities totalled $710.551 million. On March 21, the two figures
stood at $484.400 million and $517.408 million respectively.
In the third week of March, Japan had signed an agreement in Islamabad for
extending a $250 million worth of banking sector adjustment loan to
Pakistan as
a parallel co-financing with the World Bank. The WB had already provided a
million loan to Pakistan for the banking sector reforms.
The OECF loan  the largest single Japanese loan to Pakistan  is to be paid
within 30 years. It carries a 1.8 per cent annual interest.
During this fiscal year, Pakistan has so far maintained foreign exchange
reserves above $1 billion.
Bankers say the reserves could have seen a further boost had there been
sufficient inflow of foreign currency swap funds and had the exports grown
They say that inflow of the swap funds has declined lately mainly because the
Far East Asian crisis has made these funds costlier and the return on
investment of the rupee equivalent of such funds in Pakistan is quite low.
Pakistan's exports grew only by 5.56 per cent to $5.6 billion during
July-February 1997/98 and imports fell by around 8 per cent to $7.0 billion. 
But as the financial crisis in Far East Asia has started telling upon
Pakistan's textile sector to this region there are little hopes of meeting
a 15
per cent growth in exports. Pakistan exports 71 per cent of cotton yarn and 29
per cent of cotton cloth to East Asia.
Rupee gains 36 paisa in kerb
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, March 31: The US dollar fell below Rs 46 for buying and selling in
kerb market on Tuesday as the rupee gained 36 paisa against the greenback in
one session.
Money market sources said the dollar closed at Rs 45.90 and Rs 45.95 for
and selling on Tuesday afternoon against the Monday close of Rs 46.28 and Rs
46.31. The rupee regained 36 paisa against the dollar.
"The main reason for the fall in dollar is that the rumours of devaluation
died after the State Bank allowed the banks to quote their own dollar-rupee
exchange rates," said Munaf Kalia of Khanani & Kalia.
He said no big buying of the greenback was visible adding most investors were
watching the situation keenly.
For the last one week the banks are quoting their own dollar-rupee exchange
rates within a pre-fixed band of 44.05 and 44.49. They have already been
quoting their rates for other currencies since February 6.
Kalia said if the situation remained all the same the dollar may dip to Rs
45.50 within a couple of days.
"I think some investors have started selling their stocks," said Aslam Latif
Galaxy International. "It seems the investors have lost hopes of further
By the end of last year unceasing rumours of rupee devaluation had sent the
dollar as high as Rs 47 in the kerb market and speculators had made heavy
buying of the greenback for profit taking.
Some bankers reached by Dawn said the dollar declined as the market got
wind of
a green signal the IMF gave on Monday for the release of the second tranche of
its $1.6 billion worth of loan for Pakistan.
Press reports on Tuesday said the IMF board of directors had approved the
release of the second tranche of its loan under enhanced structural adjustment
facility (ESAF) and extended fund facility (EFF). No official announcement was
made, however.
Latif said the demand for the rupee was high on Tuesday as it was the closing
date for the purchase of Rs 25,000 worth of government bonds and the buyers of
these bonds needed money in local currency. Some other brokers said the rupee
demand was up also because people had started buying sacrificial animals and
making other preparations for Eid-ul-Azha for which they needed rupees.

Banking reforms fail to deliver goods
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 28: All expensive monetary incentives offered to the banks last
year failed to achieve the basic objective of reducing high mark-ups rates.
This is evident from a State Bank report which shows that the overall average
lending rate fell only by 0.84 per cent to 16.31 per cent in February 1998
17.15 per cent in February 1997.
The report further shows that the maximum mark-up remained above 22 per cent
though its share in total bank credit was quite low.
The report was tabled by SBP Governor Dr Muhammad Yaqub at a meeting held with
the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Saturday.
The State Bank offered quite a number of monetary incentives to the banks in
1997 including a 5 per cent cut in statutory liquidity ratio. Steps were also
taken to keep public sector borrowing within limits for the same purpose.
Figures first. Average lending rates of all Pakistani banks fell by 0.81 per
cent to 16.70 in February 1998 from 17.51 in February 1997 whereas the
rates of
foreign banks went down by 0.56 per cent to 15.27 from 15.83. On the other
lending rates of Pakistani commercial banks decreased by 0.67 per cent to
from 17.56 and those of specialised banks by only 0.11 per cent to 14.10 from
The report reveals that the banks charged over 22 per cent mark-up on 0.51 per
cent of the loans disbursed to the private sector and public sector commercial
entities in February 1998.
Over 20-22 per cent mark-up was charged on 7.47 per cent of the loans; over
19-20 per cent on 21.23 per cent of the loans; over 18-19 per cent on 30.55
cent of the loans and over 17- 18 per cent on 41.86 per cent of the loans.
Further break-up shows that over 16 per cent mark-up was charged on 49.90 per
cent of the loans; over 15-16 per cent on 59.46 per cent of the loans and over
11-15 per cent on 88.67 per cent of the loans. It shows that 11 per cent or
less than that mark-up was charged on 11.33 per cent of the total loans.
A comparison of Pakistani and foreign banks show the former used a much higher
slab of mark-ups as compared to the latter.
The report says all the banks disbursed Rs 77.10 billion worth of credit to
private sector and public sector commercial entities up to March 7 in this
fiscal year. The report does not give exclusive figures for the credit
disbursement to the private sector only but financial analysts believe PSCEs
consume a big share of combined credit flow to the private sector plus PSCEs.
The report reveals that the public sector borrowing stood at Rs 26.5
billion up
to March 7 in this fiscal year that was much lower than the borrowings
during corresponding periods in the last three years  Rs 48.87 billion in
1994-95; Rs 76.02 billion in 1995-96 and Rs 68.95 billion in 1996-97.
Financial analysts say the less than 1 per cent reduction in mark-up rates
within a year means the measures taken so far to improve the liquidity and
efficiency of the banks have failed to deliver the goods.
Last year the State Bank lowered the SLR from 25 to 20 per cent for the banks
and from 19 to 14 per cent for the DFIs; cut the export refinancing mark-up
from 13 to 11 per cent and also reduced repo rates from 19 to 18.5 per cent
then to 18 per cent. It also allowed the banks to keep their cash reserves
at 4
per cent of their time and demand liabilities instead of 5 per cent on the
daily basis though it retained the rate of cash reserves intact at 5 per cent
on weekly basis. Besides, it eliminated the subsidy on commodity financing by
five major banks.
Power bills help detect 159,000 tax defaulters
Shaukat Ali

LAHORE, March 30: WAPDA and the Income Tax Department have decided to join
hands to spot tax defaulters, Dawn learnt here on Monday. As the first outcome
of this exercise the Income Tax Department has been able to mark over 159,000
business houses in the Lahore region alone which have the capacity to pay the
tax but evaded to file the returns during the present financial year. 
Informed sources believe that the missing tax payers could have added to the
tune of Rs350 million to Rs500 million income tax had they filed the tax
It is understood that on the instructions of the federal government WAPDA
agreed to provide necessary details to the tax department to locate the tax
"The exercise which has been so far done in the Lahore region alone has
produced amazing results as far concealing of the assets is concerned on part
of the business houses. Most of them have been doing handsome business - as is
suggested by their electricity bills", tax department officials told this
They explained that in the Lahore region (of the tax department) WAPDA had
given almost 300,000 commercial connections. In most cases applicants for this
type of connection had justified their request on the basis of their business
potential. "This year ", they added " only 140,300 of these connection holders
have filed their tax returns while the rest assumed silence giving a dam to
government warnings that filing of tax return by WAPDA's commercial connection
holders was a must", the official sources said adding that the tax department
would soon start a drive to pick the defaulters for an appropriate action.
Under instructions from Islamabad, the sources said, this exercise would be
undertaken in other regions of the department in all the provinces. 
According to them the ministry of finance was planning to collect data of the
telephone connection holders and the commercial gas connection holders from
next financial year to force them to file their tax returns.

KESC suffers loss of over Rs6bn: official
Our Reporter

KARACHI, March 31: The annual general meeting of the Karachi Electric Supply
Corporation (KESC), which, according to shareholders, was marred by rowdy
scenes, was informed by its chairman on Tuesday that the corporation had
suffered a loss of over six billion rupees owing to the increase in the price
of furnace oil and gas, increase in the tariff, transmission and distribution
losses and higher cost of operation.
In his review of the KESC performance during 1996-97 in the 87th AGM at the
Fleet Club, chairman Javed Burki said effective generating capacity of the
also declined.
While giving reasons for the losses, Mr Burki said 134 per cent increase in
furnace oil and 16 per cent increase in the cost of gas caused the crunch.
The corporation suffered loss of Rs6.77 billion during the financial year
ended on June 30, 1997, reflecting an increase of Rs1.34 billion over previous
year's Rs468.87 million.
Burki said there was a decrease of Rs49,02 million in total revenue and an
increase in expenditure by Rs6,261.46 million.
Revenue from sale of energy also declined by 1.20 per cent at Rs15,796.78
million compared to Rs15,988.04 during 1995-96.
Transmission and distribution losses also increased and were estimated at
per cent as against 31.20 per cent in 1995-96.
The decline in revenue, he said, was owing to increase in allowances of Rs2.94
billion which were passed during 1996-97 on account of excesses billing in the
previous year.
Mr Burki informed the shareholders that cost of furnace oil enhanced from
Rs2,677.60 per metric ton on 27.10.95 to Rs6,276 on 30.6.97. Similarly cost of
gas increased from Rs84.05 per Mcf on 15.5.96 to Rs98.05 per Mcf on June 30,
1997, reflecting 134.39 per cent increase in fuel and 16.67 per cent in gas
The cost of fuel and oil consumed during the period under review was
Rs10,980,672 million compared to Rs7,392,593 million a year earlier, he said.
During 1996-97 total effective installed capacity came down from 1738 mw to
1525 mw due to non-utilization of dual fuel station West Wharf unit 8 and 9
Korangi Thermal Power Station unit 1 and 2.
The overall contribution of Bin Qasim Thermal Power Station to the KESC system
was 74.93 per cent and out of total power requirement 80 per cent was
by the KESC's own power plants while the rest were met through power purchase
from KANUPP, WAPDA, PASMIC and TAPAL Energy. Cost of electricity purchased
during this period was Rs3,444,086 million.
The KESC chairman informed the shareholders that 7,738 new power connections
were provided. He also touched upon the development projects and said the
unit of the Bin Qasim Unit was on load testing. He also briefed the
shareholders about the installation of new grid stations and laying of
underground cables and overhead transmission lines under 5th and 6th Power
sector loan.
Meanwhile, general secretary of the KESC shareholders association, Choudhary
Mazhar Ali, in a press release condemned "manhandling of shareholders" during
the AGM and said the shareholders were not allowed to discuss very important

1 lakh tons additional fertilizer imported
Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, April 1: Pakistan had to import one lakh tons additional
so far this year following the closure of local plants due to ill-conceived
decisions of the government and erratic supply of natural gas, the raw
of urea, an informed source told Dawn here on Wednesday.
For the ensuing Kharif season alone, another 3,20,000 nutrient tons of
fertilizer including 270,000 tons of DAP is likely to be imported,
according to
estimates of the Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MINFAL).
This projection is based on the assumption that total consumption of
during the season would be 2,304,000 tons including 2,015,000 tons of urea and
283,000 tons of DAP. This is based on the assumption that their off-take would
increase by 10% for urea and 25% for DAP.
In the current financial year, the country imported approximately 604,000 tons
for $125.6 million during July-February, down from 14,85,000 tons imported
during the corresponding period of last year.
However, the import of DPA might have been much lower had two public sector
companies with total annual production capacity of about one lakh tons of
Sulphur Phosphate (SSP), a substitute of DAP, not been forced to close their
operations through acts of omission and commission by various government
agencies, according to a reliable source.
The National Fertiliser Company in Sindh and Hazara Phosphate in NWFP stopped
production after the government imposed duty on the import of raw material.
latter company suffered double crunch after the Sarhad Development Authority
raised the price of Phosphoric Acid rock to the level of the price paid on the
imported product. After the closure, the country had to import 38,000 tons of
DAP to compensate for SSP at an additional cost far in excess of what the
government would have earned as tax revenue from the import duty. The NFC,
after closure of many months, has now resumed operation but only as
producer of
urea fertilizer.
Meanwhile, Hazara Phosphate has been placed on the anvil for its sale to a
private sector company. The source failed to explain how the private sector
would make it profitable when as a public sector unit it is unable to sustain
the increased cost of production and has been ordered closed on that account.
The reason for decrease in import was described as enough stocks from the
previous year, that is, 1,78,000 tons. This was of course due to 16 to 17 per
cent drop in offtake of fertilizer during the previous year.
According to official statistics, the offtake of fertilizer during Rabi,
1997-98 stood at 2.065 million tons. A significant feature of these statistics
is that the offtake of DAP rose from about 392 thousand tons last year to
643 thousand tons in the current Rabi season. This raises the expectation of
the farmers moving towards better DAP:Urea ratio. Last year, it was 1:339 and
in the current Rabi season, it changed to 1:220, almost close to the
recommended formula. This is attributable to increase in support price plus
expectation of bumper crop based on a clement weather. This means that the
demand for DAP may increase in the future. At present, the local industry is
producing mainly urea, because of the closure of Hazara Phosphate and
conversion of NFC to production of urea. However, a new plant will start
production at Port Qasim under a joint venture of Fauji Fertiliser Company and
M/s Jordan Phosphate Mines Co by the end of 1998.
Its capacity to produce 4.5 lakh tons of urea would make the country
self-sufficient in that fertilizer for the foreseeable future. This is,
however, dependent on the continuous availability of natural gas, the basic
material of urea. Wide fluctuations, however, badly affect its production.
The price of imported fertilizer has registered a downward trend this year.
This is because China did not import fertilizer at all, while India reduced
import following increase in local production. 

Static revenue, rising cost bring losses to PIA
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, March 30: PIA Chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the airlines had
suffered losses due to financial constraints. He said the cost of running the
company had increased while the revenues stood static due to lack of
investment. He said there was a need to bridge the gap between the cost and
revenues to make the airline a profitable company. He claimed that PIA
would be
brought in operational position in six months due to recent reforms introduced
by the management.
In reply to a question, he said there were 70-80 officials in the PIA surplus
pool. He said most of them had secured their jobs in violation of the merit.
Replying a question, he said PIA was negotiating a deal with a foreign firm to
replace its outdated computer reservation system. "It will cost us 20 per cent
less than $10 million we're spending to keep the current system in working
order," he claimed. He said the company would provide software and updates
of charge.
He was of the view that the liberalization of the aviation policy expected to
be announced shortly would give private airlines more concessions and make the
environment more competitive for the national carrier.
The PIA Director Finance, Shahid Islam said PIA management requires at least
one more year to bring the airline back on the track provided reforms
in the recent months continue.
"We are taking steps to make the airline a profitable concern. But the goal
can't be achieved overnight," PIA Director (Finance) Shahid Islam told a group
of Lahore journalists who were taken to visit its headoffices last week.
Islam blamed the artificially high fuel price for PIA domestic operations,
subsidy offered to passengers on domestic routes, the devaluation of the rupee
(as all PIA loans are denominated in the US dollars) and high civil aviation
charges were the factors that had hit the airline hard during the previous
PIA flies about six million passengers on its international as well as
Quoting an instance of the new accounting policy, the official said, PIA had
recognized that it had underfunded its pension fund by Rs1.8 billion.
The national airline has an outstanding long-term loan of $240 million against
the purchase of six A-310 aircraft for its fleet and a short-term loan of $82
million. The latter loan was secured to provide working capital to its
Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
PIA has 50 per cent stakes in the hotel taken on lease in 1979 and on which it
has invested $115 million until now. The hotel is incurring a loss for some
years and is unable to even service its debts.
Islam said next year PIA would have an option to buy the hotel whose real
estate value stood at $300 million. He said PIA would have to invest $60
million if it decided to purchase the hotel.

Major banks miss Rabi crop credit targets
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 30: Five major commercial banks missed their mandatory farm
credit targets for the Rabi cropstretching from October to Februarythis year.
Two specialized banks namely Federal Bank for Cooperatives and Agricultural
Development Bank also could not meet their targets.
Senior bankers say partly-privatized Allied Bank and Muslim Commercial Bank
disbursed 85 per cent each of the targetted farm creditsthe highest among all.
Their targets for the Rabi crop disbursement were Rs 374 million each. Two
state-run banks i.e. National Bank and Habib Bank chased closely by meeting 80
per cent and 76 per cent of their targetsRs 655 million and Rs 863 million
respectively. The United Bank missed its target almost entirely: it disbursed
around Rs 4 million against the target of Rs 253 million.
Disbursement of farm credit by specialized banks ADBP and FBC also remained
below their targets. ADBP disbursed slightly more than Rs 2.0 billion against
the target of Rs 4.025 billion and FBC disbursed Rs 2.301 billion against Rs
3.019 billion target.
Whereas the specialized banks have little to say on their failure to meet farm
credit targets because the funds they use for financing this credit come from
the State Bank and sometimes low inflow of funds affect disbursements. But the
case of the commercial banks is different.
Commercial banks employ their own funds in farm credits as they do in other
areas of operations.
Senior bankers say declining rate of recovery has made many a commercial bank
more restrictive in extending agricultural loans. Besides, the overall
financial health has a lot to do with meeting their mandatory targets which
appears to be the case with UBL.
Bankers say many factors encourage defaults in farm credit. They say while
and FBC keep up adding mark-up on the principal amount of agricultural loans
the commercial banks cannot do so after the contract period plus a cushion
period of 210 days.
The bankers say an amendments in prudential regulations is necessary to end
this anomaly. They say the banks are allowed to take legal action against
defaulters after the cushion period is over but the legal process is so
cumbersome that it is next to impossible to recover defaulted money. The
bankers say a delay in settlement of cases of bona fide losses in agricultural
loaning also creates problems.
Bona fide losses mean the amounts of farm credits which become unrecoverable
because of force majure or other genuine reasons. The State Bank is
supposed to
share 50 per cent of such losses with the banks but it takes a long time for
the banks and the State Bank to settle such cases.
Recently the State Bank has initiated an exercise to settle years old cases of
bona fide losses and has asked the banks to send their claims on a
specially-designed proforma. Bankers say if they succeed in getting back their
due amounts from the State Bank on this account it would ease off their
liquidity crunch thereby enabling them to extend increased farm credit.
NA body opposes privatization of fertilizer plants
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April 3: The National Assembly standing committee on industries and
production has opposed privatization of the Pak Arab Fertilizer, Multan, and
Pak Saudi Fertilizer, Mirpur Mathelo.
In a meeting held here on Friday, the committee called upon the government to
withdraw its decision to privatize the two fertilizer manufacturing plants.
Both the plants are generating revenues worth billions of rupees for the
government. Moreover, the committee said, the Agriculture Engineering
Institution was affiliated with Pak Arab Fertilizer. They are managed by the
National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC).
'Only those projects should be sold to the private sector which had caused
enormous liabilities to the government,' the committee resolved.
The committee also recommended to the government to revive the two phosphatic
fertilizer manufacturing plants  Lyallpur and Chemical Fertilizer in
and Hazara Phosphate Fertilizer.
Heavy selling in Hub Power on ultimatum to IPPs news
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 3: Hub Power on Friday came in for heavy selling on news that
the government has given an ultimatum to all private sector thermal Power
to cut their tariffs to an economic level, taking the entire energy sector to
terribly lower levels.
Being one of the massively capitalized shares among foreign-sponsored
after PTCL, Hub Power has the generation capacity of 1,300 mw and sold its
entire production of Rs 20 billion to WAPDA. Its management last month
announced an interim dividend of 70 per cent for the current fiscal.
"Whether or not the private sector power units, set up under the name of
Independent Power Plants, cut donor countries including the IMF guaranteed
tariff of 6.5 cents per kwh is not clear, but the news has jolted all energy
shares, notably the foreign-sponsored ones," analysts said.
They said with heavy covering purchases in PTCL after the news of final
approval of Goldman Sachs as financial adviser to privatize 26 shares of the
PTCL to some strategic foreign investor, the market should have passed through
a major shakeout.
The KSE 100-share index shed 6.67 points at 1,527.69 as compared to 1,534.36 a
day earlier, reflecting the weakness of base shares.
However, the presence of active institutional support at the dips and a good
bit of speculative buying in the pivotals did not allow the market to pass
through a major shakeout but rather selling was well-digested.
Alternate bouts of buying and selling within a narrow range appeared to be the
guiding factor of the entire trading as no one was inclined to hold long
positions until there are some positive signals from the political front.
Mitchell's Fruits and Pak-Suzuki Motors led the list of prominent gainers, up
Rs 3.25 and Rs 3.50, while most of the other gains fluctuated between Rs 2 to
Rs 3.
Gul Ahmed Textiles, after being ex-dividend, showed a good gain of Rs 2.60 and
so did Nafees Cotton after a weak performance during the last few sessions.
Pakistan House International, Engro Chemicals, Knoll Pharma, Associated
Industries and Century Papers were among other major gainers, rising by Rs
2 to
Rs 3.
Losers were led by Nestle Milkpak and Sandoz Pakistan, which suffered fall
ranging from Rs 8 to Rs 11 on adverse reports about earnings.
They were followed by most of the energy shares, notably Pakistan Oilfields,
PSO, Southern Electric and some others, falling by Rs 1.25 Rs 6.25. Alico and
Lever Brothers also fell modestly on renewed selling.
Traded volume fell to 37.457 million shares from 52 million shares as losers
outpaced gainers by 67 to 45, with 57 shares holding on to the last levels.
PTCL topped the list of most actives, up 15 paisa at Rs 28.75 on news that
commission rate for its privatization has been negotiated with Goldman Sachs.
It accounted for 20.264 million shares, more than half of the total.
Hub Power, which came in for heavy selling after the news of government's
ultimatum to lower power rates, fell by Rs 1.25 to Rs 44.85 on 11.034 million
shares, followed by ICI Pakistan, unchanged at Rs 16.70 on 2.171 million
shares, PIA, up 12 paisa at Rs 4.53 on 0.658 million shares, and Southern
Electric, sharply lower at Rs 10.55 on 0.472 million shares.
They were followed by Japan Power, easy 55 paisa on 0.412 million shares,
unchanged on 0.306 million shares, Sui Southern, lower 15 paisa on 0.244
million shares, and Faysal Bank, off 50 paisa on 0.151 million shares.
DEFAULTING COMPANIES: A fresh increase of 25 paisa in the share value of
Sunshine Cloth on 1,000 shares featured the trading on this counter where
prices of other shares generally maintained the previous levels barring
Textile, which fell by 10 paisa on 4,500 shares.
Mian Textiles and Suzuki Motorcycles were traded unchanged on 1,000 and 2,000
shares respectively.

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              E D I T O R I A L S  &  F E A T U R E S
Storming of the Supreme Court
Ardeshir Cowasjee

AS you drive towards the rear entrance of the Sindh High Court, on the left
hand side, near the old Sukkur Barrage offices, you will see a 70-year old
shady tree which should wear a plaque with the engraving: "Saved by Nasir
One day in 1993, on my way to the Court, I noticed that two of the four old
trees that had been planted when the British built the Barrage offices had
chopped down and uprooted. They were just about to start on the third. The
Chief Justice in those days was Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid. I approached him in
his Chamber and told him of the destruction taking place just outside the
compound. What can we do to save what is left, I asked. He did not tell me to
file a writ, he did not consult the law books to check on what sections
permitted him to do what, he was ready to act immediately. I got the
Commissioner on the line and he then and there ordered him to stop the
By that time three had gone, but one was safe.
Nasir Aslam Zahid was one of the best CJs that Sindh has had, and afforded its
people full protection. Upsetting the prime minister or the provincial chief
minister and their various minions never worried or concerned him, so
he had to go. Soon after Benazir Bhutto came in at the end of 1993, he was
exiled to the Shariat Court. His departure was a great loss to the people of
the province. However, when his two-year term on that Bench came to an end he
was elevated to the Supreme Court.
So, it was with great relief that I read early this month that Chief
Justice of
Pakistan Ajmal Mian had appointed Justice Zahid to preside over the Bench
comprising Justices Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan, former Chief
Justices of the Balochistan and the Peshawar High Courts, to investigate the
November 28, 1997 storming of the apex court of the land by the rowdies of the
government. After the passage of four months, something would be done about
restoring the people's faith in their judiciary.
Soon thereafter, a notice was sent to me from the Supreme Court asking me
to be
present in the court of Justice Zahid at Islamabad on March 25 to record my
statement concerning the video cassette I had sent the Chief Justice with my
letter to him of December 13, 1997. This video cassette contained a recording
of the disgraceful events of November 28 shown by the BBC and recorded by the
CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court. Inter alia, I had written :
"You will no doubt appreciate the urgency of the matter. Apparently encouraged
by the successful storming of the Supreme Court on November 28, a fortnight
later a mob invaded the court of a civil judge at Faisalabad.
"It is my firm belief, which, needless to say, is shared by many others, that,
as is the case with Benazir Bhutto, her family and followers, Nawaz Sharif and
his adherents can neither tolerate nor survive a strong united judiciary.
"If Nawaz does survive beyond the next six months, he will find ways to remove
Since I myself am not familiar with the majority of Nawaz Sharif's MNAs and
MPAs, and certainly not with his party workers, I sought the help of Spin
Doctor Hussain Haqqani, who had spun for both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto,
and Zahid Husain, correspondent for The Times (London), in charge of the AP
bureau in Pakistan, and writer for Newsline. Apart from Mushahid Husain and
Saifur Rahman and Nasreen Jalil who I know, Haqqani was able to identify a few
MNAs, MPAs and others and Zahid confirmed the identity of those he knew. This
was conveyed to the Court.
Those listed as having been seen on the film were Mushtaq Tahirkheli,
secretary to the PM, information minister Senator Mushahid Hussain of the PML,
Ehtesab Bureau Chief Senator Saifur Rahman of the PML, PML MNAs Khwaja Asif
Tariq Aziz, PML MPAs Saad Rafiq, Chaudhry Tanvir, Akhtar Rasool, Mian Abdul
Sattar and PML party worker Najma Hamid.
On March 25, the CCTV cassette was shown in the courtroom and I confirmed the
listing of the names as submitted with my affidavit and was then
by the Attorney General. Of those listed, in the court that day was Tariq
who was asked to make his statement. He swore that he was a law-abiding man
that contrary to what was reported in the press it was not he who had
removed a
court signboard. When he was caught by a press photographer, with arms
upstretched and the board in his hands, he explained that he had reacted
subconsciously and was actually trying to hand it back from where it had been
torn down. Two others who had been present at the court that day but were not
identified on the film, PML MNAs Mian Mohammed Munir and Rao Qaiser,
volunteered their statements which were recorded by the Court.
The 'heavies' followed the next day. Najma Hamid made her statement and
testified that she was neither in Islamabad nor in the Supreme Court on
November 28, that the chaddar-clad woman filmed climbing up the staircase (and
identified by Hussain Haqqani) was not her. It was a case of mistaken
I apologized, she graciously accepted the apology and withdrew.
Next came Senator Saifur Rahman, seen in the film waving the crowd on towards
the courtroom door. He had no intention of coming to the court on November 28,
but had been sent there by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (whose
jurisdiction does not extend to Islamabad) to see what was happening as he had
heard that there was some sort of disturbance going on in the court premises.
All he had done was to try and control the crowd and get them out of the
Khwaja Asif, MNA and Privatisation chief was in the court that day, as he was
one of the contemners summoned by the then Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. He
had also done his best, pleading with folded hands whilst standing on a table,
begging the stormtroopers to disband and go home.
Lastly came the prime minister's Spin Doctor Mushahid. His stance and
was that of a minister making a political statement in the Assembly and on
several occasions the judges had to restrain him and remind him that he was
in the National Assembly, but in a court of law, where he had been summoned to
give an explanation and to answer questions, not to give a political
speech. To
quote Justice Zahid: "You might be a minister, but in this court of mine you
are here merely as a witness, testifying under oath." Justice Munawar Mirza
also felt compelled to reprimand him: "You should remember that this is a
courtroom of the Supreme Court and not the floor of the National Assembly."
Mushahid Husain's explanations were at odds with each other. He firstly, in
statement, claimed that the storming of the court was "a spontaneous reaction
of the people to a charged atmosphere." Later he proclaimed, in answer to a
question, that the storming was the result of "a conspiracy hatched by Farooq
Leghari and Sajjad Ali Shah to destabilize the government." Again he had to be
reprimanded. Justices Zahid and Mirza firmly informed him that it was quite
improper for him to refer to Justice Sajjad Ali Shah as plain "Sajjad Ali
Then, with a flourish and a satisfied smile, Mushahid Husain produced a
copy of
Dawn of March 25, and turning to the letters page pointed to a letter to the
editor headed "Selective criticism," written by one M Riaz-ul-Haq Ramay of
Multan, opening with the sentences: "Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee is really a
He makes selective criticism." It ends: "He has his blind spots - selective
criticism, as I said."
The Court allowed me to respond to this by informing the honourable judges
every information minister has a team of letter-writers paid to discredit
journalists and columnists who are not complimentary to their masters and to
"set the record straight." The very same letter sent by the same Ramay of
Multan had been printed in Dawn eight to ten days ago. (On checking, it was
found to have been printed on March 17.)
At this, a flustered Mushahid held up the back page of Dawn and pointed to the
print line where the name of the editor is printed. Exuding false
innocence, he
exclaimed that planting letters in a paper edited by the present editor of
was an impossibility. The judges asked him to keep calm, not to get excited,
not to persist with making unsolicited statements but to restrict himself
strictly to answering questions.
I sprang to his defence and the court was most indulgent. I was allowed to
explain that normally Mushahid Sahib is a very calm man, extremely good
natured, who smiles and laughs with the greatest of ease. In fact, one of his
assistants had told me how on one occasion when he was informed of the
death of
an acquaintance he responded with his usual happy laugh and had to be
upon to listen carefully while the sad news was repeated to him.
The court assembles again on April 2 when the remaining five on the list will
be examined. They are Tahirkheli and four MPAs from Lahore.

Open season
Irfan Husain

THE brutal murder of three persons in broad daylight in Multan, the other day,
underscores yet again the government's failure to curb the vicious spiral of
sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart.
Add this incident to the recent series of ethnic battles in Hangu and the
bloodbath at a graveyard in Lahore a few weeks ago, and a sickeningly clear
picture of planned killings motivated by religious intolerance emerges. But as
the groups involved exchange charges and bullets, one thing should be
self-evident: it is extremely unlikely that the minority would wish to provoke
the majority by going on the offensive.
Although there is a long history of overt and covert animosity between Islam's
two major sects, ordinary Shias and Sunnis have lived in peace and harmony for
centuries in the subcontinent, frequently inter-marrying and maintaining close
social ties. But time and again, they have been provoked by bigots on both
sides to take up cudgels to right real or imagined slights. Ashura has
frequently been marred by tension and violence, but until recently, unpleasant
incidents meant some broken heads and fractured bones. In Hangu, by contrast,
rocket-launchers and machine guns were freely used.
Apart from the sophisticated weaponry so easily available in the country
the level of hatred for those with different beliefs has also registered a
steep rise. As liberalism and tolerance have been eroded by the rising tide of
rigid dogma and blind intolerance, groups of rabid hate-mongers have crawled
out of the woodwork to occupy centre stage. Supported by external elements in
the region who are waging a proxy war, and emboldened by the reluctance of
successive governments to act ruthlessly, they have spread a reign of terror
across the land.
Ironically, our legal system has made the fight against these terrorists even
more difficult. It is an easy matter to get bail  specially in the lower
courts  even if a person is accused of the most vicious crime. The
controversial anti-terrorism laws have proved to be toothless, and the absence
of a resolute response has encouraged these fanatics to perpetrate more and
bloodier outrages. And yet the two major groupings that are behind this mayhem
are well known, and their hate-filled messages are available on tapes and
pamphlets across the country.
Another major source of this epidemic of sectarian killings is the
proliferation of institutions where young minds are warped and fed on a forced
diet of rage and hostility for any point of view that is at variance from
own. Simultaneously, they are starved of any notion of rational thought and
modern ideas. When these young men emerge from their mediaeval concentration
camps, they are completely unsuited for jobs in today's demanding market, and
are willing foot soldiers in the militia that is closest to their narrow
vision. Unemployed and unemployable, they form the bulk of the Taliban, and
swelling number of stormtroopers who have suddenly become features of the
Instead of cracking down on these institutions, the government has announced
that it will open 20,000 new "mosque schools" under its new educational
It is difficult to see how this step will further the cause of education in
Pakistan, given the calibre of the average 'mullah.' As it is, our children
very poorly tutored in government schools; to subject them for a decade to the
attentions of those who will be running these "mosque schools" is a
Successive governments have, at one time or another, promised a ban on
sectarian parties. But succumbing to pressure and the perceived need to pamper
extremists for narrow political gains both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto
backed off from actually declaring such individuals and groups beyond the
Thus, they continue to flourish and exact their toll.
The Taliban phenomenon in neighbouring Afghanistan has given a boost to some
religious parties here that have often acted as a reserve force for the
rabble next door. Given the porous nature of our borders, it is an easy matter
for volunteers from extremist parties, as well as graduates from the so-called
religious institutions to trek across and fight in Afghanistan. So far, the
government has turned a blind eye to these activities, much to the intense
annoyance of Iran and the Central Asian republics. Once there, these
and brainwashed warriors are battle hardened, and the ones who return are
'trained terrorists.'
The government has usually reacted to acts of terrorism by blaming the "hidden
hand" of Indian intelligence agencies. Now it is entirely possible that our
unfriendly neighbours are indeed fishing in the troubled waters of Pakistan in
retaliation for what they perceive as our interference in Kashmir; but if they
are, they are only using the tensions that already exist. They cannot be held
responsible for the sectarian divide that has opened up and now threatens to
swallow us all.
The fact is that by trying to appease the domestic extremist lobby as well as
foreign powers with which we otherwise have good relations, the government has
abdicated its role of protecting national sovereignty and the lives of
Pakistani citizens. According to police sources, at least one terrorist who
killed in a shootout had the visiting card of a diplomat from a Muslim country
in his pocket; investigations could not be pursued owing to "orders from the
If this government can track down Asif Zardari's and Benazir Bhutto's bank
accounts in Zurich and the Cayman Islands, surely it would be a simple matter
to establish the flow of funds from foreign capitals into the coffers of
extremist groups.
The whole thing boils down to a matter of political will, and in this case, it
is clear that the government is reluctant to knock heads. And yet, neither
Nawaz Sharif during his first stint, nor Benazir Bhutto during her second, had
any qualms about coming down very hard on the MQM. It would appear that while
the full might of the state can be deployed against Karachi-based ethnic
groups, the same degree of force is not applied to sectarian parties in Punjab
and the NWFP. This kind of selective treatment adds weight to the MQM
thesis of
anti-Mohajir discrimination.
But sooner or later, this government will have to realize that by giving free
rein to the forces of sectarianism, it risks bringing down the entire edifice
of the state.

Pakistan as a 'bridge state'
Syed Sikander Mehdi

THE cold war has ended and politics of superpower confrontation has ceased.
However, history has not come to an end and contentions and conflicts abound.
While many old conflicts continue to keep the wounds festering, new conflicts,
new challenges and new threats necessitate the quest for new responses.
After skating for fifty years on the thin bargaining space provided by the
war politics, Pakistan finds itself in desperate straits today. It needs to
reappraise its role in the regional and global contexts, free itself from
militarist, adventurist, conflict-fuelling temptations, illusions and designs
and go all out in all possible directions establishing itself as a credible
bridge state.
A bridge state is essentially a peaceful state, a peace- building and
peace-promoting state. It strives to diffuse tension, reduce conflict and
promote harmony and cooperation between and among all peoples and all states.
It attains security, prosperity and dignity for itself by weaving peace at
local, regional and international levels. In other words, and as explained by
Ramon Lopoz Reyes, a leading scholar on the concept of zones of peace, a
state bridges the fault line so that fault line tensions are reduced and
parties on either side are drawn to join in forging a zone of peaceful
To be a bridge state, a state has to concentrate on itself first. The house
to be in order and assurance given to all sections of society that the state
genuinely aims to be non- discriminating, just, peaceful and non-violent. In
addition, it has to work for political democratization, promotion of human
rights, economic development and justice and safeguard of the environment.
Further, a firm resolution has to be made at functional level and not
rhetorically only that internal conflicts would be resolved peacefully, justly
and through dialogue and discourse.
When a state establishes itself as a bridge state by transforming itself
into a
nation-state zone of peace, it may aspire to function as a bridge state at
regional and later at global level. The important thing is to establish the
credibility as a peace state, as a state promoting peace within and peace
without. It has to be committed and convince others through its domestic and
foreign policy that it is really committed internally to democratization and
the safeguard of human rights and externally to nonviolent conflict
A bridge state is not a utopian concept. During the cold war times, countries
like Sweden, Austria and Switzerland functioned as bridge states. They
built up
and developed regimes of peace and harmony within, promoted human rights and
human dignity, encouraged people's participation in the decision-making
process, resorted to peaceful resolution of internal conflicts and invited
civil society to share responsibility with the state to transform themselves
into non-violent, people-friendly and welfare states.
Externally, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland resisted all temptations to
play up
one superpower against the other. They worked hard to diffuse tension both at
regional and global levels. By playing constructive role and by establishing
credibility for themselves as states genuinely interested in
conflict-resolution and reduction and in peace-building and peaceful and
democratic governance, these states really contributed to easing of tension in
Europe and beyond and bringing the two warring superpowers to the negotiation
table at Stockholm, Vienna and Geneva to sort out their problems peacefully.
By functioning as bridge states, these countries obtained many gains for
themselves including peace at home, a high degree of security and prosperity
for themselves and an international image as civilized, peaceful and humane
states. They were least threatened by either bloc during a time when
far stronger states were being threatened and harmed by the United States, the
Soviet Union, their respective allies and client states.
By transforming itself into a bridge state, Pakistan also stands to gain a
For long Pakistan, like most states has remained a 'conflict state.' It is in
conflict with itself, its own people, its friends and foes. Its track record
shows that it excels in the art of creating new conflicts without resolving
old ones.
The state has already caused much damage to itself owing to its feudal
style of
governance. In addition, it has considerably tarnished its image abroad. It is
widely suspected to be involved in weapon-, violence- and drug-trafficking.
Further, society has virtually been ripped apart because of increasing
deprivations, indignities, violence and ethnic strife.
There is little realization that a state that lives by sword alone also
perishes by sword; that a state that thrives on conflicts is also devoured by
conflicts. But the going continues to be feudal and conflictual and tomorrow's
Pakistan seems to be what yesterday's Pakistan was: lonely, violent,
resource-poor and credibility-deficient.
While the past cannot be wished away, a similar future can be prevented. Late
though it already is, an alternative future is, nevertheless, possible.
Pakistan can still be prevented from degenerating into another Afghanistan or
Yugoslavia. However, for this, bold strategies, creative initiatives and
radical approaches are needed. What, indeed, is required is the rapid
transformation of the country from a 'conflict state' to a bridge state.
The concept of bridge state is being presented here not in its narrow
geographical sense only. In fact, numerous declaratory statements of the
succeeding governments in Pakistan, their initiatives and the so-called
scholarly works on foreign and security policy have almost always
over-emphasized the geographical factor as a prime mover. Several vital
and security policy decisions including those relating to growing Pak-American
ties in the 1950s, Pakistan's joining the Western military pacts (SEATO and
CENTO), estranged relations with the Soviet Union and Islamabad's military and
political involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s and after were always
defended in the name of geopolitical compulsions.
Likewise, Pakistan's location has always been highlighted in policy
It is invariably projected as a country with strong links with South Asia, the
Gulf region, the Middle East and beyond, with Africa and Europe.The
collapse of
the Soviet Union and consequent emergence of independent central Asian states
and Azerbaijan are projected as factors dramatically enhancing Pakistan's
geopolitical importance.
However, any scheme of thing keeping India or Russia or both out of it or
perpetuating either or both as adversary states is simply conflict-fuelling
not peace-building. Further, simply by being located at a certain geographical
point or even at a junction does not automatically make a state a unifier or a
regional integrationist. It is the policy which matters. It is the policy
unites or divides and any policy to isolate certain country or countries and
obstruct its/their movements within a region may produce new conflicts instead
of resolving the old ones.
A bridge state genuinely works for regional harmony, integration and
cooperation, avoids manipulation of geography to its advantage exclusively and
promotes confidence-building measures all around excluding none. An Asian
bridge state needs to study seriously the origin, creation, function and role
of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in regional and
global peace-building and work to create a similar institution for South Asia
or for any larger regional scheme of things. Asian peace is not possible
through manipulative politics aiming to establish a regional facility against
some states or regions. A regime of common, cooperative and non-provocative
security has to be established for the benefit of all.
Here, one may refer to Pakistan's Afghanistan policy to illustrate the point.
Pakistan, to begin with, has long common borders with Afghanistan. Both the
countries have so much in common and share so much of history, geography and
culture that they could have been termed as sort of twin states. But both
remained antagonistic towards each other till the Saur revolution in
Afghanistan. Subsequently, Pakistan got involved in factional, internal
politics there and on the promptings of the United States, it took side in the
conflict. As such, neither during the days of Soviet military presence there
nor after could Pakistan play an effective and convincing peace role.
It opted to play the power game and missed the historic opportunity of
functioning as a bridge state and emerging as a conflict-resolver
acceptable to
all the parties involved in Afghanistan. Needless to add that the cost for
Pakistan, Afghanistan and other regional states has been enormous. In fact,
entire region has been pushed into the valley of darkness and violence and the
succeeding generations would pay heavily for Pakistan's involvement in
Afghanistan both during the Soviet times and after.
Had Pakistan actively and constructively worked as a peace promoting state,
territorial and other losses would have been minimal and its gains enormous.
Though much time has already been lost and significant opportunities missed,
Pakistan can still make amends and gain security, prosperity and humanism
through a well-defined policy of peace at home and abroad.

Killings unlimited
Omar Kureishi

I LEARNT with much sadness of the death of Ashab Naqvi. He was a friend of
and had been a colleague at the Times of Karachi when I was that newspaper's
Resident Editor. It is a death I can relate to.
But those 20 who were killed in a single day in Karachi and others who get
killed as a matter of routine violence, these are unfortunate people with whom
I have no personal connection and, therefore, cannot mourn their deaths except
in an impersonal, distant way. Yet one is aware that they were someone's kith
and kin and death has come to their households in the most unexpected and
brutal way.
There seems to be no end to the blood-letting and to call this mindless and
senseless is to repeat words that have been used over and over again so that
they have lost all meaning. All one knows is that no matter how hard we try we
can't seem to pull free from the death-trap and from the transgressions of the
city's past.
William Faulkner wrote that the past is never dead and it's not even past. We
seem to be frozen in time since the first political killings many years ago
the killings just go on and the years roll by but we keep returning to the
beginning. On the face of it, this is clearly a law and order failure but
are the equivalent of gangland killings, not so much a war waged against
society but against one another.
It so happens that the people of Karachi are by-standers and the victims. The
aim is to intimidate opponents, spread terror. The assailants are professional
hit-men, guns for hire, so it would seem. One cannot imagine political
activists, no matter how dedicated, resorting to this kind of indiscriminate
slaughter. It needs detachment.
Karachi is awash with arms and has been so for many years. Every now and then
we read of promises to disarm the city. But these are feeble promises and
clearly there is no will to do so. Karachi has had every type of government,
from martial law to democratic with a few intervening years of the Jam Sadiq
model, an arbitrary, authoritarian government with the honesty to admit
that it
had no moral pretensions. No attempt has ever been made to arrive at any kind
of understanding among the political elements that it is in the interest of
of them to seize these illegal arms. Instead, as between nations, so among the
political factions, there seems to be an arms race. But worse, peaceful,
law-abiding citizens are also acquiring arms for purposes of self-defence.
I first visited Kenya in 1956 at the height of the Mau Mau uprising. There I
heard reports that ladies would carry a small pistol in their evening
I don't think we have quite come to that in Karachi but sooner or later the
people of this city will start to fend for themselves and will seek to become
self-reliant in matters of personal security. This is a mindboggling prospect.
This would make the government an observer!
The killings are bad enough, to put it conservatively. But a consequence or an
aftermath is the call for a strike and the first city of the country shuts
down. No one has been able to understand what such a strike accomplishes.
If it
is a demonstration of street muscle-power the people of the city need no
convincing. The burning of tyres, the torching of buses, the stoning of shops,
these make a very poor political statement. Strikes are invariably successful
though to watch Khabarnama one would not think so.
But what percentage of the shopkeepers pull down their shutters as a show of
solidarity and what percentage out of fear and being coerced into doing so?
Karachi afford the colossal cost of a strike? Already business has slowed
foreign investors are staying away from Karachi, even foreign visitors are
doing so. Those foreign companies that were Karachi based are beginning to
out of the city, Caltex being a case in point. Foreign airlines are giving
Karachi a miss either overflying or operating through Islamabad if they have
traffic rights. Is this in the best interest of Karachi and the people who
in this city.
There is a massive unemployment problem and jobs, in any case, are hard to
If Karachi is bruised economically, the situation will get even worse. Then
there is the terrible hardship that the people have to endure. This on top of
the permanent misery under which they live. Those that suffer the most are
those who earn their living on a daily basis, the petty shopkeepers, the
vendors. Salaried employees are not affected and for them it is one more
holiday. The strike or hartal is an out- dated political tactic. It may have
had some utility in the past. It has none now. It has become a form of a
Clearly, Karachi is heading, helter-shelter, into anarchy. Sadly, no solution
is in sight. It is, as if, the city is consumed by a death wish. But then,
is unfair because the overwhelming majority of the people would like nothing
better than to see a modicum of peace restored so that they can get on with
their difficult lives.
Those who claim to be the leaders of Karachi owe it to the people of Karachi
that they should settle their differences through dialogue and achieve some
sort of a reconciliation so that, at least, the killings are brought to an end
and the fear that stalks the ordinary, unsuspecting and most of all innocent
citizen is removed. They need only to look at South Africa. What had seemed
beyond redemption has been redeemed. It needed both head and heart, mostly

                            S P O R T S 
Doubtful Jansher faces tough task in British Open
A. Majid Khan

Pakistan has over the last 16 years enjoyed unprecedented domination in the
prestigious British open squash, once regarded as the unofficial world
championship, but the chances of maintaining this high status look bleak and
remote as the defending champion Jansher Khan is faced with his knee problem
which he had developed early this month.
The British open has for us a special significance and importance ever since
Hashim Khan claimed the coveted title and held it for six years, followed by
Azam Khan (four years) Roshan Khan and late Mohibullah Khan once, from 1951 to
Then occurred a sort of blight and after 12 blank years Qamar Zaman took back
the title in 1975. The advent of Jahagir Khan, the living legend of squash,
the creation of a virtually unbeatable new record of ten successive victories
till his retirement in 1993 due to persistent back problem.
Jansher Khan took over form Jahangir to ensure Pakistan's continued domination
in the British Open for six consecutive years (1993-1997).
Winning of 30 titles by Pakistan in the British Open one of the oldest
tournaments of international squash instituted in 1930, is the greatest feat
that any country had ever achieved in half a century.
But this year as the British Open's main round starts on March 30 in
Birmingham, Jansher Khan faces the biggest challenge of his illustrious
He holds the record of eight wins in the World Open, but did not defend it
year in Kuala Lumpur for personal reasons.
Jansher Khan says he needs operation of his left knee as advised by a
Manchester bone specialist whom he consulted soon after retaining the Super
series event, contested by the top eight players of the world. The mandatory
non-ranking event thus not help in improving his position.
After winning the Super Series event Jansher Khan pulled out of Austrian Open
which was held from March 2 to 14. He also withdrew from the English National
League and stayed in England for consultation and rest. For pulling out of the
Austrian Open a PSA ranking tournament, Jansher Khan got a zero point.
Now he intends to compete in the British open with his knee problem, which
think it would have been much better for Jansher Khan to skip. But being the
first super series event of the 1998 squash calender, he is keen to
in it, notwithstanding the risk involved.
One hopes that Jansher Khan, Pakistan's pride who has brought glory and honour
for the country during the past so many years, gets fit in time to face the
future with confidence. After all a good number of world renowned squash
players who have suffered injuries had staged comeback with a renewed will and
determination in the world squash circuit.

Pakistan meet South Africa in Triangular opener today
Qamar Ahmed
DURBAN, April 2: Fresh from their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe in the one-day
series, Pakistan will now meet South Africa on Friday in the opening game of
the Triangular Series at Kingsmead, Sri Lanka being the third team in the
Each team will play the other thrice before the final on April 22 at Newlands
in Capetown. At Kingsmead, Pakistan still remain unbeaten in a Test or in a
one-day game. In 1993 Pakistan notched upon astonishing 10-wicket victory over
South Africa in the Triangular Series which then involved the West Indies.
Waqar Younis with five for 25 had destroyed South Africa at a time when things
had started to look gloomy for the visitors.
In the Mandela Trophy in 1994-95 Pakistan also squandered the opportunity of
winning the trophy having reached the finals and then losing their way through
dissension in the team.
Recently, however, Pakistan has not been one of the best one-day teams
In the Golden Jubilee matches at home also Pakistan had to end at the
bottom of
the table. This, however, is a different tournament altogether and Pakistan is
looking forward to perform a lot better and start with a clean slate.
Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hussain have done well in the matches against
Zimbabwe only a few days ago and are likely to be in the team with Wasim
Waqar Younis and Azhar Mahmood to strengthen the bowling.
The batting is fragile and on this tour it has disappointed everyone. Aamir
Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed, Yousaf Youhana, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad
Wasim, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif will fill in the batting positions.
The final selection is to be made on the morning of the match. The South
Africans have recalled Herschelle Gibbs, Jonty Rhodes, Pat Symcox, Derek
Crookes and Mike Rindel and have added new caps Steve Elworthy and Roger
Telemachus in the 15 man team. They are all considered to be one-day
With Gary Kirsten, Daryll Cullinan, Jacque Kallis, Mark Boucher and Hansie
Cronje, the batting line-up at least on paper would appear formidable. 
Shaun Pollock as an all-rounder also adds new dimension to the side which has
been bubbling with a win in the Test series against Sri Lanka, the World Cup
champions, will of course, pose a lot of threat to both Pakistan and South

Pakistan gain 2-0 lead against Pacific Oceania
By Farhana Ayaz

ISLAMABAD, April 3: Pakistan brushed aside Pacific Oceania in the two opening
singles to gain a 2-0 lead here in the first round of Davis Cup Asia-Oceania
Group-II 1998 tie being played at clay courts of Islamabad Club.
Pakistan's gifted clay court specialist, Asim Shafiq making his debut in Davis
Cup singles allowed Pacific top seed Lency Tenai just one game in the straight
sets drubbing of 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, while the gutsy 17-year-old Lawrence Tere
to extend an indisposed Pakistan number one Mohammad Khaliq before conceding
1-6, 5-7, 1-6 in the second singles.
The doubles fixture will be playedtomorrow at 12.00 noon. Pakistan will be
fielding their ace pair of Mohammad Khaliq and Asim Shafiq against Lency Tenai
and Lawrence Tere of Pacific Oceania. However, change can be expected in the
visitors squad as Lawrence Tere has been referred to for a session with physio
over the serving-arm's shoulder trouble.
Any changes in the doubles teams can be announced one hour before the fixture,
according to the Davis Cup rules.
Before the start of the fixture, today, a brief formal ceremony was held.
In the first singles, Pakistan number two Asim Shafiq never faltered in his
straight sets rising triumph over Pacific number one Lency Tenai. In fact
playing on his home course where he has trained as a junior since 1990, Asim
commanded such authority over 29-year-old Tenai that the opponent remained
stunned throughout the one hour 12 minutes dual.
Asim's game on the other hand, a mixture of soft and hard shots continued on a
winning tempo. After running through the first set, the 22-years old
slenderly-built was given a little surprise when Tenai broke him in the first
game of the second set. However, Asim's grit didn't swallow it well and he
broke Tenai in the next game after saving and squandered a game point each.
In the second singles, national number one Mohammad Khaliq snatcheda straight
sets win against Lawrence Tere who gave good account of his bright potential.
Under antibiotics for a slight sore throat, Mohammad Khaliq had a white
around his right thigh during the fixture. For the national champion, this
year's Davis Cup contestsare also a comeback after two years following a road
accident in Lahore in 1995. 

In the next four games, Lawrence lost out more on timing and controlling his
shots on the clay court. Instead of indulging in rallies, his winners or
returns went wide and long on more than 16 occasions as Khaliq broke fourth
sixth games. In the seventh game Khaliq sent past two blistering aces before
clinching the first set at 6-1.
Pakistan vs Pacific Oceania:
First singles: Asim Shafiq bt Lency Tenai 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. Second singles:
Mohammad Khaliq bt Lawrence Tere 6-1, 7-5, 6-1.

Pakistan hockey team leaves for South Africa tomorrow
Sports Correspondent

LAHORE, April 3: The Pakistan Whites hockey team training camp which was setup
at the National Hockey Stadium to prepare the team for the four-nation hockey
tournament rounded off on Friday. The tournament is being held in South Africa
from April 8.
Besides Pakistan Whites, the national teams of Canada, Egypt and the host
Africa are taking part in the tournament. The 19-member Pakistan Whites hockey
squad, consisting of 16 players and three officials will leave here for
on Saturday evening. After a night's stay in Karachi, the squad will depart
South Africa on Sunday morning.
The manager of the Pakistan Whites team, the former Olympian Anwar Ali Shah
while talking to Dawn said that all the players were fit. He said captain
Nadeem Ahmad ND was facing some skin problem last week, but now he had fully
Anwar Ali Shah said that Pakistan had bright chances of winning the tournament
as the team was prepared after an extensive fortnight training. The Pakistan
Hockey Federation (PHF) appointed Inam Rabbani Rana as chef-de-mission. Col
Saeed Ahmad is accompanying the team as coach.

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