------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 21 August 1999 Issue : 05/34 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Pakistan's N-doctrine being finalized: FM + Kashmir will soon become part of Pakistan: PM + Governors of 3 provinces changed + Pakistan can also make neutron bomb + Govt seeking reduction in Hubco rates + Protest against tax measures: Muttahida plans demos, strike + Afghans reject Pakistan move for mediation + Pakistan, India clash at UN arms forum + PPP launches hunger strike protest + AIDS toll 173: 1,395 found with HIV positive in Pakistan --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + CBR asks for prompt report on tax evasion cases + GST not levied on all food items: CBR + IMF unhappy with pace of tax reforms + ST registration: Dar rejects powerloom owners demand + Government may import 2-2.5m tons of wheat + Dar urges exporters to bring back $500m proceeds + 15% GST to hit utility companies revenue + CBR seeks free hand to meet tax target + GST won't hit oil consumers: Dar + 'Pakistan can earn $250m by exporting dates' --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + A monarchy, Madam. A monarchy- 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee + What is the point of criticism? Ayaz Amir + A sorry state of affairs Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + World Cup probe request withdrawn after 48 hours + PHF president says: No major changes in team till Olympics

Pakistan's N-doctrine being finalized: FM
By M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Aug 18: Pakistan is finalising its draft nuclear 
doctrine keeping in view its own regional threat perceptions and 
the global trends in the realm of security of nation states.

Foreign minister Sartaj Aziz responding to a query about India's 
draft nuclear doctrine made public the other day said that 
Pakistan's own nuclear doctrine was in the final stages of being 

He said this doctrine was being based on the proposed strategic 
nuclear restraint regime (SNRR) which Pakistan had already 
discussed with India in October last.

He said Pakistan was at the moment studying the Indian draft 
doctrine and would be able to comment on it in a day or so.

According to informed sources the proposed SNRR had also made a 
detailed reference to the need for developing respective command 
and control systems (CCSs) with a hot line link between the DGMO 
level officers of the respective CCSs of the two countries.

However, these sources said that India did not show any interest in 
developing a mutual nuclear doctrine which in effect had meant the 
determination and development of respective levels of minimum 
credible deterrent (MCD) by the two nuclear neighbours of South 
Asia with mutual consent.

By developing its own nuclear doctrine before Pakistan did and 
making it public India, according to these sources, had tried to 
present itself as a more responsible nuclear power of the region.

"They are telling the world that they have thought the whole thing 
through and have developed their MCD as well as their CCS without 
having to be told to do so, they simply trying to score points," 
these sources added.

However, they said what India has done in effect by going it alone 
on the nuclear doctrine, was to make the world hit the panic 

"They are now being seen as running headlong towards the pursuit of 
nuclear weapons and weaponizing their missiles," the sources 

These sources did not rule out the possibility of the concerned 
quarters increasing the pressure, as a result of this new 
development, on both India and Pakistan to " turn around before 
both sides head down a path that will not be in either of their 

In the opinion of these sources, the world would now be doubly 
concerned about the region's nuclear designs and would double its 
efforts to make the two countries to develop systems which would 
prevent their respective missile systems from being mated with 
their respective nuclear weapons.

This, it is believed, would head off the dangers that might come if 
India and Pakistan were to go full steam for a full nuclear 
programme and a missile delivery system designed to deliver those 

Kashmir will soon become part of Pakistan: PM

ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday 
expressed the confidence that Kashmir would gain freedom one day 
and become a part of Pakistan.

"Inshaallah Kashmir will be freed one day and become a part of 
Pakistan," he said while addressing a gathering of people on the 
occasion of 11th death anniversary of President Gen Zia-ul-Haq here 
at the Faisal Mosque.

The Prime Minister paid rich tributes to the late President for his 
services. "Undoubtedly, late Zia-ul-Haq rendered great services for 

He prayed to Allah Almighty to rest his soul in eternal peace and 
grant strength to his sons, Ejaz-ul-Haq and Anwar-ul-Haq, to follow 
in his footsteps and serve the country.

The prime minister appreciated the people for gathering each year 
at the Faisal Mosque to express their love for Zia-ul-Haq.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Minister for Labour and 
Manpower Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Senior Vice President of PML and MNA 
Ejaz-ul-Haq, Chairman of Privatization Commission Khwaja Asif, 
Chairman of Board of Investment Humayyun Akhtar, Adviser to Prime 
Minister on Sindh Affairs Ghaus Ali Shah and Parliamentary 
Secretary Zafar Ali Shah were also present on the occasion.

Later, prayers were offered for all those who were killed in the 
August 17 plane crash.

IJAZUL HAQ: Senior Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League Ijazul 
Haq on Tuesday said that an international investigation team should 
be formed to probe into the shooting down of Pakistan Navy's 
unarmed aircraft by India and international sanctions should be 
imposed on it if it did not apologise for the incident. 

Governors of 3 provinces changed
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: President Rafiq Tarar on Tuesday replaced 
governors of Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan, shifting Governor 
Miangul Aurangzeb from Balochistan to NWFP and appointing Zulfiqar 
Ali Khosa and Syed Fazal Agha as new governors in Punjab and 
Balochistan respectively.

Governor of Punjab Shahid Hamid and Governor of NWFP Lt.Gen. (retd) 
Arif Bangash have been sent home. No reason has been given by the 
federal government for bringing about these changes.

With the replacement of Governor Arif Bangash in the NWFP, the 
country has reverted to the 1985 situation when all the four 
governors were civilians.

Ex-senator Syed Fazal Agha's appointment as governor in Quetta 
fulfils a long-standing demand of the people of Balochistan for a 
governor from their own province.

The newly appointed governors will take the oaths of their offices 
in their respective provinces on Wednesday morning. Provincial 
chief justices will administer the oaths.

Informed sources said that changes in the stewardship of the three 
provinces would soon be followed by reshuffle in the federal 

Zulfiqar Ali Khosa, sources said, had been rewarded for 
successfully warding off the political challenge posed by former 
president Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari in the Seraiki belt.

Sources said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had taken Minister 
for Interior Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Speaker of Punjab 
Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Illahi into confidence here on Monday 
before finalizing the name of the new Punjab governor.

Punjab's new governor Zulfiqar Khosa and Governor of Balochistan 
Syed Fazal Agha, who are the presidents of Pakistan Muslim League 
in their respective provinces, will now have to resign from the 
party offices.

'Pakistan can also make neutron bomb'
Bureau Report 

ISLAMABAD, Aug 18: Pakistan has the capability to make a neutron 
bomb, said Dr N.M. Butt, a prominent nuclear scientist and former 
director-general of the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and 
Technology (PINSTECH).

Dr Butt told Dawn that Pakistan has the capability to make a 
neutron bomb. "It is only a question of policy. If at any point of 
time the government felt that it was necessary to build such a 
bomb, then we have the manpower and the material to put one 
together in due course of time," he added.

He said the ingredients of the neutron bomb were the same which 
were used in other nuclear devices, but added that building a 
neutron bomb was quite expensive.

Earlier, in the PTV programme 'Sawarey Sawarey', Dr Butt said 
Pakistan had the nuclear technology and human resource to develop 
the device, and added "it was a matter of policy".

Govt seeking reduction in Hubco rates
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: The government is seeking a 10 to 12 per cent 
reduction in the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) from Hub Power 
Company (Hubco) in a bid to resolve the long outstanding tariff 

Informed sources said here on Tuesday that although WAPDA has still 
10 days to give its reply whether it accepted the proposed 
reduction of IRR to 15.6 per cent from 18 per cent, the government 
in the meanwhile has suggested to the Hubco to cut the IRR by 10 to 
12 per cent.

The matter is expected to come up for a final decision when the two 
member government committee headed by Minister for Finance and 
Commerce Ishaq Dar would meet Hubco chief Sheikh Mohammad Alireza 
and chief executive of National Power Company Mr Peter Windsor on 
August 27.

Nevertheless, sources said that the World Bank was opposed to the 
government proposal.

The move, the Bank reportedly believed, would also mar the future 
prospects of foreign investment in Pakistan.

"The Orderly Framework signed between Pakistan and the World Bank 
on various issues seeks Islamabad to implement its agreements with 
power companies in letter and spirit," said another source.

Sources said that the World Bank also wanted the government to 
"own" the statement given in the Parliament by Minister for Water 
and Power Mr Gohar Ayub in which he had said that Pakistan 
government did not find proof of any alleged corruption by the 

The World Bank is of the view that Hubco, which has invested about 
1.5 billion-dollar in 1295mw-power project, should be treated 
fairly and according to the agreement, which was signed during 
Nawaz Sharif's first government.

Also, sources said that Hubco has conveyed to the government that 
even if the IRR was reduced to "zero", it would not have much 
effect on the final tariff and that " at a maximum, the zero IRR 
will effect a reduction of only 0.6 cents per Kwh, " the sources 

They said that the real thing was that the government should reduce 
the 400 per cent duties and taxes and this reduction, in turn, 
would enable Hubco to reduce its tariff by a desirable 3 per cent.

Protest against tax measures: Muttahida plans demos, strike

KARACHI, Aug 19: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has called for a 
strike in Sindh on Sept 4, if the government does not withdraw the 
GST, increase in the prices of various commodities together with 
all mini-budgets and fails to restore octroi and zila tax and 
announce development schemes relating to water supply, transport 
and other utilities for the province.

This was announced by the parliamentary party leader of the MQM in 
the Sindh Assembly, Dr Farooq Sattar, at a news conference on 
Thursday at the Karachi Press Club.

Dr Sattar announced a 15-day programme of MQM protest in the 
province which envisaged a protest rally at Pucca Qila, Hyderabad, 
at 3pm on Aug 27. It would coincide with a similar protest rally in 
Karachi on Sept 3 at Fresco Chowk at the same time.

He said if the government did not accept its demands by midnight of 
Sept 3, the party would go ahead with its strike plan on Sept 4.

He urged people from all walks of life, including businessmen, 
industrialists, transporters etc, to fully support the strike call 
to prove that they were against the policy of "colonization" being 
pursued by the ruling clique of Punjab.

He said contacts with other political parties, including the PPP, 
the Jamaat-i-Islami, the ANP and nationalist parties of Sindh, were 
being made for enlisting their support to make the protest a 

He said in the federal budget for 1999-2000 tax receipts were 
estimated to be more than 300 billion rupees out of which 210 
billion rupees would be collected from Sindh. Now after the 
increase in GST and rates of other utilities, the burden would be 
more on Sindh, particularly on Karachi from where the government 
collected more than 70 per cent of the taxes.

He said the recent measures would yield an additional revenue of 
Rs50 billion out of which Rs35 billion would be from Karachi, but 
hardly any provision had been for Karachi and other parts of the 

In this context, he said out of the Rs116 billion development 
budget Sindh was allocated Rs5 billion only. There are no 
allocation of Rs2 billion for the K-3 project of the KWSB for 
providing an additional 150 mgd water. The Karachi Mass Transit 
Project has also been ignored and there is no allocation of Rs2 
billion demanded for the year. Similarly, no provisions have been 
made for the KESC development projects, the LBOD and the RBOD.

On the contrary, Rs40 billion have been allocated for the 
development of Lahore, and for the whole of Sindh only Rs5 billion 
have been given.

Afghans reject Pakistan move for mediation

DUSHANBE, Aug 19: Afghan groups allied to opposition commander 
Ahmad Shah Masood have rejected Pakistan's offer to mediate in 
peace talks with the Taliban, an Afghan delegation said here on 

"We have rejected the mediation proposal of the Pakistani 
delegation," said Muhammad Yunus Konuni, head of the Afghan 

"We explained to the Pakistani representatives that they cannot act 
as mediators because a mediator is a neutral and impartial person 
and they are at war against us," he told reporters.

Konuni, who met the Pakistani delegation in the Tajik capital, 
called on Pakistan to end its support for the Taliban and to 
withdraw its forces from Afghan territory.

Delegations from the Afghan opposition and Pakistan will meet again 
next week, although no firm date or venue for the talks have been 

Pakistani officials will travel on Saturday to Kandahar, 
headquarters of the Taliban.-AFP

Pakistan, India clash at UN arms forum

GENEVA, Aug 19: Pakistan accused India on Thursday of planning to 
create a "huge arsenal" of land-based, sea-based and air-based 
nuclear forces, combined with a build-up of conventional arms.

Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram warned that India's "dangerous 
escalation" in both weapons categories would lead Islamabad to 
boost its own "reliance on nuclear capabilities".

"Thus, although the Indian document states the purpose of a 
conventional arms build-up is to raise the nuclear threshold, in 
fact the conventional build-up will further lower the nuclear 
threshold and bring closer the danger of nuclear use in the Sub-
Continent," Akram told the UN Conference on Disarmament.

"The Indian doctrine envisages a triad of nuclear forces - land-
based, sea-based and air-based," he said. "This will be a huge 

Akram's speech marked Pakistan's first official reaction to India's 
new draft nuclear doctrine revealed on Tuesday by the government-
appointed National Security Advisory Board.

His remarks to the 66-member state forum drew immediate fire from 
New Delhi's envoy, Savitri Kunadi, who called them "unwarranted and 
possibly ill-informed". "There is no change in the Indian position 
on the doctrine of minimum credible (nuclear) deterrence and its 
elements...," she declared.

On Tuesday, India's National Security Advisory Board said the 
doctrine of nuclear deterrence, based on aircraft, ships and mobile 
land-based missiles, was aimed at convincing a potential aggressor 
that any nuclear attack on India would result in "punitive 
retaliation with nuclear weapons".

Akram said the doctrine indicated that India was "about to embark 
on a further and even more dangerous escalation in the nuclear and 
conventional arms build-up".

"Thus, despite the best endeavours made by Pakistan for strategic 
restraint, India is likely to go ahead with the deployment and 
operationalisation of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems."

He added: "Since the vast majority of India's conventional 'assets' 
are deployed against Pakistan, it will be obliged to respond to the 
Indian build-up. Moreover, the growing imbalance in conventional 
military capabilities will intensify Pakistan's reliance on its 
nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression or 
domination by India."

Akram cited a recent US study which said India might possess 1,600 
kilos of nuclear bomb-making fissile material, giving it a 
capability to develop more than 400 nuclear warheads.

"This estimate and the Indian nuclear doctrine just propounded will 
have to be taken into account by Pakistan and all those countries 
likely to be threatened by India's nuclear weapons arsenal," he 

Kunadi said that as the world's largest democracy, India was 
committed to greater transparency in decision-making. The draft was 
for "purposes of public discussion and debate", she added, 
quipping: "Such an open transparency programme may not be familiar 
for the delegation of Pakistan."

Akram also appeared to scoff at the United States' initial reaction 
to the draft Indian doctrine.

"The only hope which one nuclear weapon power has expressed 
yesterday is that India will sign the CTBT. Its signing is hardly 
relevant to the scope and magnitude of instability and danger which 
India will provoke by deploying an inordinately large nuclear 
arsenal which it envisages," Akram said.-Reuters

PPP launches hunger strike protest

KARACHI, Aug 16: The Pakistan People's Party on Monday staged a 
token hunger strike outside the Sindh assembly building in its 
second stage of anti-Nawaz campaign.

The party's central, provincial and local leaders and workers, 
including a large number of women, had pitched their tent on the 
assembly building roundabout at 10am, and they kept on chanting 
slogans against the government.

At the end of the hunger strike acting chairperson of the party, 
Makhdoom Amin Fahim, said Pakistan was at the most critical 
juncture of its history and stood isolated because of the 
"irresponsible" policies of the present government.

"Because of the government's policies, Pakistan armed forces' image 
has been tarnished and they stand humiliated, a force which has 
made a positive contribution in the maintenance of world peace.

"If we have to save Pakistan, it is necessary to remove this 
'junta' without wasting any time," said the Makhdoom of Hala, 
urging the people to come forward and play their role in this 

He also accused the government of "mutilating the face of the 
Constitution for perpetuating the personal rule of Nawaz Sharif."

Replying to a question, he said that the parties which had taken 
out rallies separately had one common objective and very soon they 
would all converge on one platform to oust the present regime.

Asked to comment on his talks with the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi 
Movement, Altaf Hussain, in London, Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that 
he had useful discussion on promoting cooperation between Sindhis 
and Mohajirs and ways and means to protect and respect their rights 
because both of them had to live in the province.

He said the message had been well understood by the MQM leadership, 
and hoped that something positive would emerge soon.

Earlier talking to newsmen, Sindh PPP president Nisar Khuhro said 
that the token hunger strike was a manifestation of the people's 
dissatisfaction with the prevailing situation, in which their 
rights had been usurped, their assembly had been made ineffective, 
and the law and order situation was deteriorating day by day.

He said that the people of Sindh were of the view that the Nawaz 
government had no right to stay because it had denied them their 
fundamental rights, extrajudicial killings and kidnappings were on 
the rise and the people were being forced to commit suicide. In 
this context, he said that in Sindh more than 600 people had 
committed suicide.

AIDS toll 173: 1,395 found with HIV positive in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: AIDS has taken a toll of 173 lives in Pakistan, 
posing a serious warning to take preventive measures, sources at 
the National Institute of Health (NIH) told APP.

The institute conducted blood tests of 2.4 million people 
throughout the country and found HIV positive virus in 1,395 
persons. Sources said that 178 persons were suffering from AIDS, 
out of these 173 have died.

According to areawise details, 343 HIV positive and 32 cases of 
AIDS are in the Punjab, 383 HIV positive and 69 cases of AIDS in 
Sindh, 264 HIV positive and 41 cases of AIDS in the NWFP, 192 HIV 
positive and 11 cases of AIDS in Balochistan, 15 HIV positive and 
two cases of AIDS in AJK, and 256 HIV positive and 23 cases of AIDS 
have been detected in federal capital and Northern Areas.

Sources said the total number of 1,395 cases of AIDS had been 
detected in the country during the last 12 years. Most of them were 
between the age of 20 to 49, they added.

The number of male AIDS cases were eight times more than the female 
cases due to more active male behaviour.

Sources said AIDS was a multi-dimensional issue and had social, 
economical, ethical, legal and other implications. The problem of 
AIDS could not be dealt by the health sector alone.

The government had developed a comprehensive awareness campaign 
through the electronic and print media.

It had established 44 AIDS centres throughout the country where 
blood tests were being conducted, sources added.

They said an AIDS patient could survive for 7 to 10 years after 
being infected by HIV positive. Prevention was the only remedy 
against AIDS and any person could obtain information about it by 
calling '123', they added.

CBR asks for prompt report on tax evasion cases
By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD; Aug 19: Central Board of Revenue has warned the Customs 
department against delay in reporting tax evasion and tax fraud 
cases, and has directed all collectorates to report immediately 
such cases to Director General Tax Revenue Receipts.

The warning has come through a Customs General Order No 32 (17-
8/99) after being repeatedly pointed out by Public Accounts 
Committee that such cases are not being reported bythe department 

The CGO says that in the past, CBR has issued instructions 
regarding reporting of cases of tax frauds and tax evasion to the 
audit department vide C. No 9 (500) CA/96, dated May 19, 1999.

However, none of these cases were reported to the audit department 
by the authorities concerned as required under the relevant rules, 
nor were details thereof intimated. According to para 20 of the 
General Financial Rules, Vol 1, any loss of public money, 
departmental revenue, stores or property etc. held by or on behalf 
of the government caused by evasive methods or otherwise is 
required to be reported to the audit department immediately, even 
if such loss has been made good by the party responsible for it.

The Public Accounts Committee, in its recent meetings appreciated 
the above requirements of audit. Upon this, CBR issued directions 
to the subordinate offices to comply with the codal provisions.

But in actual practice, their compliance has not been 
noticeable.Infact, every auditreportcontainssuch observations which 
have to be replied to by the CBR. Such a situation also puts the 
CBR in an embarrassing position before the PAC.

In the audit reports for the year 1993-94, for instance, certain 
major cases of losses and misappropriation of public revenue are 
mentioned. These cases were either detected by the audit department 
or came to its notice through formal or informal media.

GST not levied on all food items: CBR

ISLAMABAD, Aug 19: Central Board of Revenue (CBR) on Thursday said 
that General Sales Tax was levied only on certain food items and 

Contradicting the reports about the levy of GST on all food items 
and medicines, the Board said, certain food products and medicines 
were exposed to GST recently as decided by the federal cabinet.

CBR further stated that there was no surge in the prices of the 
food items as the levy of GST on food articles has also been done 
simultaneously with the withdrawal of CED on food and catering 
services by hotels, restaurants and clubs.

"The reports as published by a section of the press are incorrect, 
misleading and baseless," a press statement issued by the CBR 

For the information of the general public and to remove the false 
impression created by the reports, the statement said, there is no 
sales tax on following items:

- Milk, whether fresh or dried, loose or packed with or without 
brand name or trade mark.

- Yogurt, whether fresh, loose or packed, with or without brand 
name or trade mark.

- Flesh, un-packed poultry meat, mutton, beef, fish, crustaceans 
(except those sold in retail packing with brand names and trade 

- Table salt or iodized salt (except those sold in retail packing 
with brand names and trade marks).

- Red chilies, ginger and turmeric (except those sold in retail 
packing with brand names or trade marks).

- Allopathic, Homeopathic, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines having 
therapeutic and prophylactic uses.

According to the statement, also there is no price increase (due to 
imposition of GST) on electricity and petroleum products for 
ordinary consumers.

The price-increase, if any, for industrial and commercial 
enterprises, shall be fully adjustable/relatable from the output 
sales tax payable by them and, therefore, there will be no effect 
on prices, the statement added.

The levy of GST on natural gas, the statement said, is done 
simultaneously with the withdrawal of CED on gas.

Similarly, the levy of sales tax on food articles has also been 
done simultaneously with the withdrawal of CED on food and catering 
services by hotels, restaurants and clubs. Therefore, there will be 
no increase in prices in this case also, the statement maintained.-

IMF unhappy with pace of tax reforms

ISLAMABAD, Aug 19: An IMF experts' team has reportedly expressed 
displeasure over the slow pace of implementation on tax reforms 
programme, officials told Dawn.

The team visited Central Board of Revenue on Thursday and examined 
the report on structural adjustments in sales tax and income tax 

The IMF team, led by David Burton, Director IMF Middle-eastern 
department, sought details on taxation structural reforms, 
especially in the tax-net expansion and on the performance of the 
income tax and sales tax administrations.

The CBR officials made presentations on new tax modules for 
scientific tax receipts estimation; structural reforms agenda for 
IT/ST administration; and ST net expansion programme, 1999-2000.

Officials said the IMF experts pointed out a number of grey areas 
in structural reforms such as lack of coordination between IT and 
ST administrations, loopholes in curbing tax evasion, unpopular 
method of tax assessment; imperfect tax procedures which is an 
impediment in the way of GST in VAT form, especially in the textile 
and retail sectors; delay in legislation for implementing services 
(sales) tax; failure of the government in converting CBR into a 
corporate body.

The experts suggested to create a new system of coordination 
between ST/IT wings; bring new sectors and businesses in tax net.

The team took serious note of the non-compliance of the govt-Fund 
agreement on implementation of the common tax identifier (CTI) by 
the end of July 1999, and the income tax wing's failure to increase 
the number of wealth tax payers.

The officials said the Fund team noted that the CBR had not yet 
implemented the Scientific Tax Receipts Estimation Modules.

Our Islamabad Bureau adds: Mr Burton called on Finance Minister 
Ishaq Dar on Thursday and discussed with him the structural 
adjustment reform programme.

According to official sources the minister briefed Mr Burton about 
the restructuring of the CBR with specialreference to converting it 
into a revenue authority.

He said the National Assembly was likely to adopt the Pakistan 
Revenue Authority (PRA) bill in its next session.

Mr Dar told the IMF deputy director that the proposed PRA would be 
an independent body to help increase the revenue.

The Fund's Middle-eastern department director Paul Chabrier, was to 
visit Pakistan but because of his other engagements in Washington 
Mr. Burton was sent in his place to lead the Fund's team in talks 
with Pakistan for the release of the next tranche of $280 million 
from the three-year $1.6 billion ESAF/EFF programme.

ST registration: Dar rejects powerloom owners demand

ISLAMABAD, Aug 19: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has rejected 
the demand of All Pakistan Powerlooms Association to remove the 
condition of compulsory sales tax registration of their units.

Finance minister after a meeting with the association here Thursday 
afternoon, constituted a 5-member committee, headed by Mian Abdul 
Manan, MNA and NA finance committee chairman, to look into other 
demands of the powerloom industry, official sources told Dawn.

Other members of the committee are: Mumtaz Haider Rizvi, Chief 
Sales Tax, Central Board of Revenue; Mian Ijaz Shafi, MNA; M Akram 
Ansari, MNA and Parliamentary Secretary; and Rana Zahid Tauseef, 
MNA from Faisalabad, where there is a concentration of powerlooms 

The association's delegation, led by its president, Akhlaq Ahmad, 
demanded that the powerloom industry should not be brought under 
the GST net, and urged for suspending the ST department's campaign 
for registration.

The minister said that the government could not rescind a Finance 
Act announcement, however, it would give sympathetic consideration 
to the complaints regarding GST implementation methods which were 
termed as"harsh" by the powerloom industrialists.

The yarn merchants association, textile sizing units' association, 
powerloom manufacturers' association was also represented in the 

They had their separate complaints regarding the "coercive" methods 
applied by the ST department for registration and GST returns 

The minister is reported to have told them firmly that all their 
grievances relating to issues other than those about the 
registration and tax-return filing, would be addressed by the five-
member committee. 

The members of the committee would also be visiting Faisalabad, to 
make an on-the-spot study of the capacity of the industry and the 
yarn traders to get registered and pay GST.

Government may import 2-2.5m tons of wheat
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Aug 19: The government is finalizing the wheat import 
programme for 2 million to 2.5 million tons for this season after 
ascertaining the province-wise requirements in the Wheat 
Coordination Committee meeting being held on Saturday in Islamabad.

This wheat import programme is being discussed amid reports that 
international prices are down in range of 115 to 117 dollars a ton 
but freight cost is moving up because of escalation in bunker 

International commodity brokers quoted on Monday white soft wheat 
at 115.10 dollars per ton for August and at 116.94 for September.

Market sources believe that USA is expected to be the main wheat 
supplier to Pakistan this season. At least 115 million dollars are 
available right now to finance for 0.9 million tons to 1.0 million 
tons with possibility of additional equal amount being offered as 
credit for more wheat.

Well placed sources in Karachi said on Thursday that Sindh Food 
Department officials are carrying a detailed brief on the 
provincial wheat requirement in the Saturday meeting.

"Sindh may ask for 0.8 million to 1.0 million tons share wheat from 
Islamabad," a well placed source indicated as he pointed out that 
there was now about 550,000 tons stock. The government succeeded in 
procuring over 550,000 tons of wheat from farmers this season by 
restricting even inter-tehsil movement within the province.

According to the market sources, USA is expected to be main wheat 
supplier to Pakistan this season mainly because of indications of 
availability of over 75 million dollars soft term credit and 
additional availability of 41 million dollars refund from the F-16 

An agreement for 100,000 tons import against 13 million dollars 
credit has already been signed with the USA recently in Islamabad 
and traders expect tender for this wheat in Pakistan's Washington 
embassy any day. This amount was previously allocated for soyabean 
oil, which is now being given for wheat after Pakistan government 
estimated wheat harvest at 18.2 million tons which is lower than 19 
million tons target.

Shipment is expected to commence from mid-September and may 
continue till mid-October.

According to market sources, the Australian Wheat Board has shown 
interest to provide wheat to Pakistan against the 41 million 
dollars available as refund from the F-16 deal.

Dar urges exporters to bring back $500m proceeds

KARACHI, Aug 17: The Minister for Finance and Commerce Ishaq Dar 
has urged upon exporters to immediately bring back $500m held by 
them outside the country against export proceeds.

'I would request you to bring back this huge amount of foreign 
exchange badly needed by the country without further waste of time 
and before the State Bank of Pakistan revives circular 48,' the 
minister stressed.

He was speaking at the award distribution ceremony of Pakistan 
Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) 
here on Monday evening.

The minister said the SBP issued circular 48 so that dollars held 
back by exporters abroad against export proceeds for last so many 
years will be brought back but even today a huge amount of $500 
million is lying outside the country.

He criticised the role of vice president FPCCI, Mabmood Ahmed in 
this regard and said: 'I was assured by him that exporters will 
bring back the foreign exchange if the SBP withdraws the circular 

The PRGMEA chairman Asif Abdullah raised the issue with regard to 
agencies collecting provincial and local levies and said 'these 
have become a source of irritant to exporters.'

In reply the minister said, 'if you remember about my first meeting 
held with businessmen in Karachi in '97, I asked FPCCI to prepare 
suggestion for resolving the matter but till today I have not 
received any report from the apex body of trade and industry.

However, he assured that he would request the retired judge of 
Supreme Court who has been assigned the task for clubbing levies 
such as cess, labour welfare fund, social security etc to submit 
his report by Sept 30, instead of Dec 31, '99.

The minister also assured that arrangement will be made for 24-hour 
clearance of export consignments at ports and the issue of SRO 1140 
will be looked into.

Similarly, Dar said that matters pertaining to Part-I of Export 
Refinance Scheme would be taken up by the newly-formed committee 
working under EPB chairman Wajid Jawad.

The Minister for Finance and Commerce, Ishaq Dar has said if India 
and Bangladesh subsidize their exports which is against the 
international commitments, Pakistan will have to take up the matter 
with WTO.

'We cannot subsidize our exports to keep our products competitive 
in the world market but we enjoy the right approach WTO of which 
Pakistan is also a signatory,' said the minister.

The minister asked the PRGMEA chairman (Central) Asif Abdullah to 
carry out an exercise of input cost of readymade garments viz a viz 
Bangladeshi and Indian products so that the matter is taken up with 
WTO after having fool-proof evidence in support of the material 
relating to heavy subsidiary on their exports.

He said, Pakistan is presently faced with internal and external 
resource mobilisation and all-out efforts and a firm commitment was 
required to overcome the issue. For mobilising internal resources 
more revenue would have to be collected and for external resources 
there is no option except to enhance the exports to improve balance 
of trade.

15% GST to hit utility companies revenue
Haris Anwar

KARACHI, Aug 19: The imposition of 15 per cent GST on electricity, 
gas and furnace oil will worsen the financial position of power 
utility companies.

The official decision to absorb the impact of 15 per cent GST on 
power consumers in the additional surcharge will directly hit the 
power utilities as it is the part of their revenues.

"Yes additional surcharge is the part of our revenues and if this 
the intention of the government then it will hit us," a spokesman 
at the Karachi Electricity Corporation said.

He said the company had not yet received anything in writing by the 
ministry of water and power.

"We think the utility revenues will be impacted by this move at a 
time when they desperately need additional funds," he added.

Another hit, which power utilities are likely to get, is through 
higher furnace oil prices. The government has decided to pass on 
the impact of 15 per cent GST to consumers.

"As the furnace oil is a pass-through item in the IPPs tariff, it 
will further add to the cost of electricity buying and producing," 
said an energy expert.

Wapda's cost of power buying from Hubco will increase in direct 
proportion to furnace oil price increase. Hubco fulfils about 17 
electricity requirement of Wapda.

As the KESC system is based on 100 per cent thermal generation, the 
fuel cost is the single largest component of the total expenditure. 
The last increase in the furnace oil prices was made on 22 June 
1999, which increased its fuel cost by Rs 923 million in fiscal 

Another victim of presidential ordinance which brought, 
electricity, gas and POL products in the GST net, is the fertilizer 
sector whose cost of buying gas would increase by about five per 

"After withdrawing 10 per cent excise duty, the net impact of 15 
per cent GST on the consumers comes to five per cent and fertilizer 
sector companies are not exempt," said an official at the gas 
distribution company.

CBR seeks free hand to meet tax target
Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, Aug 20: Chairman of the Central Board of Revenue Mian 
Iqbal Farid said on Friday that due to political interference, 
revenue collection target could not be achieved.

The representation was made at a meeting of the cabinet which was 
presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A source told Dawn that Mr Farid apprised the cabinet of 
difficulties being faced by the CBR in collecting revenue and 
meeting the target set by the government.

He said revenue collection could be increased only through 
promotion of tax culture in society and inculcating confidence 
among people.

The chairman called for the elimination of political interference, 
particularly in revenue recovery efforts. He urged the government 
to give the CBR a free hand so that it could deliver the goods, the 
source said.

" The Central Board of Revenue was directed to accelerate its 
efforts for the maximisation of revenue collection which is 
essential for making the economy self-reliant," a press release 

The cabinet approved a proposal for the federalisation of KKH-
Skardu Road and the Nowshera-Mardan-Malakand-Chakdara- Dir-Chitral 

The cabinet reviewed reports of foreign NGOs and media over 
violation of human rights in Pakistan. It rejected the reports, 
saying most of them were exaggerated, adds NNI.

The cabinet was told that an advertisement had been published in 
European countries newspapers on child labour, in which it had been 
said that the children belonged to Pakistan. But the meeting was 
told that the children shown in the advertisement were Indians. The 
meeting was told that the signboard in the advertisement had Hindi 
written on it.

The committee will meet on August 24 at the Foreign Office and 
prepare its report for the next cabinet meeting.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain also briefed the cabinet 
on the law and order, saying it had improved immensely. He said 
that ethnic violence in Sindh and sectarian violence in Punjab had 
registered marked decrease. The minister said the Governor's Rule 
in Sindh had helped improve law and order.

The minister told the meeting that constant monitoring of law and 
order was being carried out, and the interior ministry was in touch 
with the provincial governments.

The cabinet meeting appreciated the efforts of interior ministry in 
maintaining law and order. '

GST won't hit oil consumers: Dar

KARACHI, Aug 15: Federal Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar has ruled 
out any increase in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and 
other petroleum products except furnace oil after the imposition of 
15 per cent General Sales Tax (GST) on petroleum products from Aug 

Talking to newsmen after the inauguration ceremony of the Investors 
Account Services of Central Depository Company (CDC) here on 
Sunday, he said since the government had reduced the surcharge on 
POL products, the imposition of GST would not affect the consumers.

The service will allow stock investors to directly maintain their 
accounts in the CDC.

He said the GST would only affect the prices of furnace oil which 
was used by independent power producers (IPPs) and industrial 
units. However, the IPPs and industries were entitled to adjust the 
hike later in payment of taxes to the government, he added.

He said 15 per cent GST on electricity would only be levied on 
industrial and commercial consumers using over 500 units per month, 
but they had also been entitled to adjustment in the GST. The donor 
agencies have been told that the business community is entitled to 
such adjustment, and they have agreed to that.

The finance minister said the impact of the hike in gas rates would 
be on consumers which was decided by the caretaker cabinet because 
the two state-run gas companies were facing acute financial 

He said there would be no change in the budget structure, but if 
the minimum export price was down in the international market and 
any such change was required to boost exports, the government would 
do that immediately and would not wait for the next year's trade 
policy. He said it was the way all the developed countries of G-7 
were doing and the government would also use the same means to meet 
the necessary requirement, he added.

SICK INDUSTRIES: Mr Dar said the government was pursuing the cases 
of sick industrial units on a war footing and the committee 
comprising the heads of five major banks, PICIC, NDFC, and members 
from the private sector would submit their report on the fate of 
443 revivable industrial units. The committee for such industrial 
units, headed by Shaukat Mirza, had finalized the list of revivable 
units out of more than 900 sick units. He said nine such units 
would be auctioned, and notices had been sent to other 81 such 

IMF: Mr Dar said the government would make public all documents of 
agreement with the IMF.

The finance minister said the IMF mission had arrived on Saturday 
and talks had begun with the IMF officials in Islamabad.

"We don't want to conceal anything," he said, adding the arrival of 
the IMF mission had quashed all rumours that the team would not 
come to Pakistan again.

The IMF team has arrived to discuss the release of the $280 million 
tranche of loan to Pakistan under the ESAF Programme.

STUCKUP LOANS: The finance minister said the government would soon 
appoint a retired judge of the Supreme Court to speed up the 
recovery of stuckup loans from the owners of sick industrial units.

"Out of the 32,000 cases of loan defaulters, so far only 11,000 
cases have been disposed of by banking courts," he said, and 
expressed his concern over the slow process of litigation to 
recover stuckup loans.

INSIDER TRADING: Mr Dar also expressed concern over insider trading 
and speculation in the stock markets, and said reportedly the 
shareholders, sponsors, brokers and members of stock exchanges were 
involved in speculation and insider trading.

He said the Hubco issue had harmed direct investment in the 
country. "I have taken up the challenge, and my team is sincerely 
trying to forget the past, but we cannot compromise national and 
public interest and will have to create a balance. I told Hubco and 
international donors to mean business, and if they feel that 
Pakistan can be armtwisted, those days are gone." - PPI/APP

'Pakistan can earn $250m by exporting dates'

TURBAT, Aug 18: State Minister and chairman Export Promotion 
Bureau, Wajid Jawed said Wednesday Pakistan can earn 250 million 
dollars by exporting locally produced dates with the slight 

He was speaking at the two-day date show organised by Export 
Promotion Bureau (EPB) in collaboration with Balochistan 
Agriculture Department.

He said most of the dates produced in Makran Division are waisted 
due to lack of transportation, and proper storage and packing 
facilities in Turbat and Panjgur.

He said top priority will be given to construct the road between 
Turbat and Pasni mini port to give access to date exports to Gulf 

He said EPB will approach Bahria Foundation for running a fairy 
service between Karachi and Turbat, and Turbat and Gulf countries 
for marketing dates and livestock produced in this area.

Presently Pakistan exports dates worth 27 million dollars, said 
State Minister and added that the exports could be expanded 
manifold by improving communication facilities, installing 
processing plants and storage facilities coupled with hectic 
marketing efforts.

Responding to a demand, Wajid Jawad said EPB will set up its office 
at Pasni in next two months to facilitate the exports from coastal 

He said a processing plants for dates were badly needed in Turbat, 
and Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) was being 
approached to set up this plant here. PIDC chairman is here to work 
out the possibility in this regard, he said.

Agriculture Minister, Aslam Buledi said dates and livestock from 
Makran area could earn precious foreign exchange from Gulf 
countries if proper road was built and Pasni miniport was re-

Vice Chairman EPB said Balochistan produces about 70 percent of 
country's total dates production of 600,000 tons annually, of which 
only 65,000 tons is exported.

He said Pakistan earns 27 million dollar by exporting dates to 
India, USA, Europe and Gulf countries and stands fifth in the rank 
of world's leading date exporters.

President FPCCI Fazlur-Rahman Dittu and president Quetta Chamber of 
Commerce and Industry, Fazal Qadir Sheerani also spoke on the 

Back to the top
A monarchy, Madam. A monarchy- 2
Ardeshir Cowasjee

IN the international fora, all we have is nuisance value. How can 
we be expected to hold our head high in any debate when we cannot 
even tolerate a debate in our own upper house, the Senate, on the 
so-called 'honour killings,' in reality legalised murder?

On the home front, another hare-brained half-baked project, the 
Prime Minister's 'Mera Ghar Scheme,' is on the anvil. The front end 
and the rear end have neither been tied up nor tidied and in the 
meantime the people's land is being grabbed, this time round the 
grabbers being the Federal Government of Pakistan.

Realizing the importance and necessity of parks and open spaces, in 
1982 the government allotted a 30-acre plot to the Horticultural 
Society of Pakistan to develop its scheme for the establishment of 
a horticultural complex, botanical gardens, and a park for the 
enjoyment of the people of the overpopulated, congested and 
garbage-ridden city of Karachi.

Contour survey, planning, designing and preliminary work of like 
nature was carried out. Site offices were built and set up and a 
nursery planted. Whatever could be done with the meagre bit of 
water which trickled in via a half-inch pipe connection was done. 
The Society was not able to make substantial progress owing to the 
lethargy and ever-changing policies of Sindh's successive 
governments, for want of government and institutional financial aid 
and support, and for lack of the promised adequate supply of water.

Come 1988 and with it Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari. They 
established in Sindh, under the able guidance of Commuter Qaim Ali 
Shah, their executor of evil intentions, Agha Siraj Durrani, and 
their other crony land-grabbers. On one excuse or another, the 
Zardari/Durrani connection made efforts to have the Horticultural 
Society's 30-acres allotted to various builders and developers for 
a price. The people protested and successfully resisted.

The year 1990 brought into power in Sindh slayer Jam Sadiq Ali of 
Sanghar. In April of 1991 a gang of toughs, engaged by builders 
Wasif Wazir Associates, invaded the park site, overpowered the 
Society's chowkidars, broke into the site offices and destroyed 
whatever furniture and fittings there were. They also destroyed 
whatever saplings and plants had been nurtured. The matter was 
reported to Jam Sadiq. True to form, he declared himself to be 
'shocked' and promised to 'investigate.' Jam, of course, did 
nothing and the land-grabber continued his job. He built a wall 
around what he claimed to be his property.

Threatening noises that endangered the Society's possession of the 
property were heard. So, to save its land, the Society went to 
court through its then president, Mahmud Ali, and me, the two 
petitioners. The respondents were the province of Sindh and Wasif 
Wazir Associates. Barrister Khalid Jawed drafted a petition (his 
first ever), we persuaded the Grandmaster Sharifuddin Pirzada to 
rise, and a stay order was obtained restraining both Government and 

Come 1995, and again Benazir/Asif, with this time in Sindh, Syed 
Abdullah Shah. The Member, Land Utilization of the Board of Revenue 
wrote to the advocate-general of Sindh, ".....in pursuance of the 
Prime Minister's directives as well as concurrence of the Chief 
Minister of Sindh...", he referred to other allocations made in 
favour of seven builders and urged him to take up the matter "at 
your personal level." He was asked to make strenuous efforts to 
have the stay order vacated and the constitutional petition 
dismissed. Luckily for us, the A-G was unsuccessful.

Come 1997 and the advent of the second round of Nawaz Sharif, and 
now in 1999, the Sharif sidekick Saifur Rahman has identified plots 
of land on which the 'Mera Ghars' can be built, one plot being the 
Horticultural Society's land. I informed Saif that this land was 
not for him to grab and that he should make sure that the prime 
minister is not ushered there to lay a mass-produced foundation 
stone or plant a sapling. Saif managed this.

For the information of the prime minister, his man Saifur Rahman, 
his governor of Sindh, and his adviser on Sindh affairs, the third 
Shah, Ghous Ali, and his advisers, secretaries, administrators and 
officers, the legal status of the Society's 30 acres is as follows 

"1)	The Horticultural Society of Pakistan was allotted 30 acres 
of land in Deh Okewari, Taluka Karachi, possession of which was 
handed over to the Society on 19/9/82. On 23/4/91, Wasif Wazir 
Associates unlawfully and by use of force trespassed on five acres 
of this land. The Society lodged a report with the police on 
25/4/91. Meanwhile the Government attempted to cancel the allotment 
of the remaining 25 acres. Threatened with the cancellation of the 
plot, the Society filed Constitutional Petition No.D-520 of 1991 in 
the High Court of Sindh.

"2) The petition together with its stay application came up for 
hearing on 8/5/91. The Court (Saiduzzaman Siddiqui CJ and Imam Ali 
Kazi J) issued notice to the AG and called for para-wise comments 
from the Government of Sindh (R1) and also restrained Wasif Wazir 
Associates (R2) from raising any construction on the plot. A 
commissioner was appointed to inspect the site and submit his 
report to the court."3) The commissioner visited the site on 9/5/91 
and reported that there was a boundary wall with an iron gate 
surrounding 5 acres of the 30 acres, and the chowkidar of 

Respondent No.2 claimed it to be the property of that Respondent. 
There was no construction other than walls with sheet-roofing, on 
which a few labourers were working. The remaining 25 acres were 

"4) On 6/6/91, the Court (Saiduzzaman Siddiqui CJ and Abdul Rahim 
Kazi J) admitted the petition for regular hearing and ordered that 
the interim order passed earlier was to continue until the hearing 
of the stay application.

"5) On 16/6/91, the AAG for the Government of Sindh produced a copy 
of an order dated 4/5/91 passed by the Government of Sindh which 
purported to allot 25 acres of land to some seven entities/persons 
(later these were discovered to be Ahmad Ali Construction Company, 
Mobin International, Nasir Abdullah Hussain, China Builders, 
Mustapha and Company, Combined Builders, Mrs Sabra Begum). The 
order was passed by the Secretary, Government of Sindh, Board of 
Revenue, LU Department, issued with the approval of the Chief 
Minister, the land to be used for residential-cum-commercial 
purposes. On this the court ordered that as the petition had 
already been admitted, the petitioners' possession of the land 
should not be interfered with until the hearing of the stay 
application and that the Sindh Government order dated 4/5/91 would 
not be further implemented. Subsequently, the petition was amended 
to also implead the seven entities/persons.

"6) The last time this petition came up for hearing was on 10/3/99, 
but it was adjourned for want of time. The application and petition 
are still pending and will come up again for hearing.

"7) The present legal position : As far as the 5 acres of the 30 
acres is concerned R2 claims it to be in his possession. The 
Society disputes the possession. The court has restrained R2 from 
raising any construction thereon. As to the remaining 25 acres, 
they are in the possession of the Society and the court has 
directed that this possession will not be interfered with. This 
order is still operative. The order of the Sindh Government dated 
4/5/91 remains suspended".

Now to a quotation which I have used many a time before, an excerpt 
from a letter written to The Times (London) in February 1987 : 
"Those who fear that fields will lose to bricks and those who might 
hope to gain from such an exchange would do well to remember the 
age-old anecdote about an open space in London. 'Were I to enclose 
Green Park within my garden, what would be the cost?' asked Queen 
Anne. 'A monarchy, Madam. A monarchy,' replied Robert Walpole."
successive time, this has fallen on ignorant, deaf, and deafer 
ears.Whether we like it or not, right now the only possible saviour 
of the people's land, of their parks, playing fields, gardens and 
open spaces, is the judiciary.

What is the point of criticism?
By Ayaz Amir 
IN Pakistan we might not have arrived anywhere else but we 
certainly have reached the end of criticism. Just as talking is 
useless and indeed a strain if no one is listening to you, a 
critical standpoint is of no use if it leads to nothing, least of 
all to any kind of change.

Pakistani rulers, or at least the crop we have had since the re-
birth of democracy (some joke, this), are averse even to reading 
newspapers. Praise and sycophancy they consider their due, a 
merited tribute to their talent and genius. For criticism they have 
no patience. Nor, much of the time, the required understanding. How 
then do you construct what in other climes, more salubrious than 
ours, is called a national discourse? There is no such animal in 

Indeed over here the printed word is an anomaly. It feeds the 
waters of cynicism, angst and despair. It gives a powerful boost to 
the passion for breast-beating which is one of our foremost 
national characteristics. But the printed word has no effect on 
national policy. It has never stopped a government from committing 
a blunder or otherwise traversing the paths of folly. It has never 
stopped anyone in a position of authority from behaving in a 
wilful, corrupt or even self-destructive manner.

Consider the records in office of Pakistan's leading monuments to 
democracy: Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. They have bristled at 
criticism, considering it either opinionated or driven by selfish 
motives (which in many cases, alas, has been true). But they have 
never, not once, thought it expedient or sensible to mend their 
ways because of the power of the printed word.

The press is far from being perfect and it has more than its share 
of blackguards in its ranks. But generally, from General Zia's time 
onwards, the responsible press has successfully, and with some 
ability, pointed the finger at governmental blunders and 
transgressions. But to no effect. Only the quality of wilful 
behaviour has changed.

In her first term Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari were amateurs in 
corruption. In her second term she and her husband became 
sophisticated and bold, stepping into places angels would have 
feared to tread.

Nawaz Sharif's first term was distinguished by the cooperatives' 
scam (its victims still holding on to their useless pieces of 
paper), the yellow cab scheme (which drove a nail into the banking 
sector) and the motorway, Pakistan's idea of what a white elephant 
should look like. In his second term the proclivity to go for 
grandiose schemes has become more daring.

As proof there is the 'Maira Ghar' scheme which required audacity 
to conceive. With land seized for free, the government, having 
become the biggest qabza group of all, and with construction costs 
put at an astronomical 650 rupees a square foot (a rate at which 
palaces of Italian marble could be built), it is hard not to see 
who stands to make a killing from this enterprise: the construction 
mafia. But will criticism or even well-meant counsel make a 
difference? Not the slightest.

In countries more fortunate than ours resoluteness and 
determination are usually applied to enterprises of some moment. In 
Pakistan resoluteness stands for persisting in folly even when 
every available sign suggests that it will lead to self-

Politicians of course are not the only ones to blame. Since the 
mid-eighties the English press, to the extent it could make its 
voice heard, has emphasized the disastrous consequences of 
Pakistan's Afghan policy. But without the slightest effect on the 
godfathers of this policy, the army and the ISI. We have reached a 
point where no one has any idea of how to deal with, or curb the 
messianic zeal of, the jihadi organisations whose proliferation and 
strength are a direct consequence of our ambition to become the 
chess-masters of Afghanistan. Yet there is no attempt at re-
examining the doctrinal foundations of an approach which poses a 
serious danger to Pakistan simply because it lacks the strength to 
sustain the external adventurism implicit in this thinking.

Or take Kargil. So much has been said and written about Pakistan's 
deep humiliation in this crisis. Elsewhere heads would have rolled, 
hara-kiri would have been committed. Not in Pakistan, where a 
complete absence of humility on the part of the prime minister and 
his team serves only to pour salt over open wounds. The sad truth 
is that in a milieu which lives on certainty, and where to ask 
questions is not part of the national culture, nurturing a spirit 
of scepticism is a useless undertaking.

In brief then, the press in Pakistan can neither influence policy 
nor affect the behaviour of individuals in authority. What it is 
good at doing is at painting 'impressions': Benazir's corruption, 
Zardari's flamboyant behaviour in financial matters, the cupidity 
of the Sharifs, their skill in turning public office to private 
advantage, the drugs-and-guns legacy of the Afghan war, the 
disaster of Kargil.

While these are powerful impressions, with a great deal of 
emotional content in them, they are of no use unless exploited by 
someone and used as levers of change. Ghulam Ishaq Khan and General 
Beg used the widespread perception of Benazir's corruption to oust 
her from power in 1990. Ishaq Khan exploited the perception of 
Nawaz Sharif's cluelessness in office by ousting him as prime 
minister in 1993. When Leghari dismissed Benazir in 1996 few tears 
were shed because of the widespread impression that by her actions 
she had brought about her own downfall.

Events have come full circle. Despite sinister attempts to control 
the press, the press has been successful once again in exposing the 
inadequacies of Sharif's second coming: the total ineptitude of his 
government and its lack of direction. Kargil has only served to fix 
this perception in stone.

The Sharif government is thus vulnerable but there is nothing 
around to take advantage of its weakness. The system of checks and 
balances enshrined in the Eighth Amendment lies in our 
constitutional junkyard. After Kargil the army is licking its 
wounds and is unsure of itself. If the lack of leadership is total, 
so is the lack of alternatives. In this situation revving up the 
engines of criticism is little better than hurling javelins into a 

A sorry state of affairs
Irfan Husain

IT IS rare for an elected leader in Pakistan to complete half his 
or her term of office. To this extent, Nawaz Sharif has some cause 
to celebrate although he would be well advised to hold the 
champagne or whatever his favourite brew is.

But despite his crushing parliamentary majority, the last two-and-
a-half years have not been smooth sailing for the PM. His 
government has been rocked by a series of crises, mostly of his own 
making. From the showdown with the ex-President and ex-Chief 
Justice to the abrupt dismissal of the previous army chief, Nawaz 
Sharif has governed with all the pulse-racing, ulcer-causing 
abandon of a compulsive gambler.

This roller-coaster ride may not have taught the Muslim League 
leader any lessons, but it has brought home to the rest of us the 
importance of an effective opposition. Without this essential 
pillar of democracy, this government has run roughshod over every 
institution, demolishing established checks and balances for short-
term gains. But the opposition, reduced to tatters in the Muslim 
League landslide in 1997, is still reeling from the plethora of 
evidence of corruption against its leader, Benazir Bhutto.

However, despite the difficult times the PPP is passing through 
currently, it remains the only political alternative to the Muslim 
League. And the sooner it emerges from its present slump the better 
for it and the country. Unfortunately, its fortunes are so closely 
linked to the fate of the Bhuttos that their leader's current woes 
have prevented its resurgence in the wake of the ruling party's 
difficulties. Nevertheless, whatever our feelings for Benazir 
Bhutto and her spouse, it is in our interest to see the revival of 
the PPP. As we have witnessed time and again, the large number of 
'tonga' parties and religious and ethnic groupings may be fine to 
build an anti-government alliance, but they have no hope of gaining 
power through the electoral process.

I have often asked my PPP friends why they don't dump Benazir 
Bhutto as she has become such a liability for their party. They 
tell me that whatever their personal reservations about their 
leader, the fact is that without her, the party would split along 
provincial lines. Apparently, she is the only one with the stature 
to hold it together. This is a sad reflection on a political 
organization established thirty years ago, but this state of 
affairs is an indication of the lengths Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his 
widow and his daughter have gone to in order to ensure that the 
party should remain a family fiefdom.

In or out of power, the rivalries and tensions between senior 
members of the party seethe just below the surface. This infighting 
is encouraged by Benazir Bhutto who has ensured that nobody can 
question her leadership. This is precisely why there have never 
been any elections within the PPP: apart from wanting to handpick 
her close associates, the PPP leader does not wish a colleague to 
establish a base within the party.

Given these in-built (or Bhutto-built) problems and constraints, 
how can the PPP hope to stage a comeback on the national stage? 
Khalid Ahmed, the well-known journalist and an old friend, sent me 
a paper he wrote recently on the subject called "What the PPP 
should do."

Basically, Khalid has argued that the Kargil fiasco represents a 
watershed in our history, and has handed the PPP an opportunity to 
present the country with a clear-cut alternative. Instead of being 
a Muslim League clone, it should revert to its roots of being a 
secular, liberal and progressive party. The party leadership must 
realize that the army is a conservative, right-wing institution 
that will neither welcome nor facilitate its return to power. 
Therefore, instead of constantly trying to appease it and blindly 
supporting its high-risk policies in the region, the PPP must 
recognize that the world has changed. 

Economic strength and not military might determines a country's 
standing in the world. In this scenario, nations need to think and 
act in a responsible, rational manner to gain the respect and the 
support of the world community.

I have compressed Khalid Ahmed's arguments ruthlessly, and I hope 
he will excuse me for any distortions that may have crept in. 
However, he has strongly advocated the PPP's return to its liberal, 
secular origins so that it can serve as a beacon for the 
constituency that was drawn to it since its inception and which now 
feels abandoned. I feel that while it is difficult to argue against 
Khalid's entirely sensible ideas, the problem lies in convincing 
Benazir Bhutto. And even if she bought these proposals now, she 
would probably try and court right-wing support whenever it was 
politically expedient.

My PPP friends in Karachi would add another couple of requirements 
that may be even harder for their leader to accept: according to 
them, she should return at once; the legally trained among them are 
confident that the Supreme Court would grant her bail even if she 
was arrested. And her presence in the court would strengthen her 
appeal immeasurably. But above all, she needs to apologize to the 
nation for her acts of omission and commission (mostly the latter). 
They are confident that our emotional countrymen would forgive her 
at once and rally to her support. Unfortunately, I don't think this 
admission of guilt will come easily to somebody of Benazir Bhutto's 

Pakistan is truly a unique country. Two-and-a-half years ago, the 
PPP was shattered and its leader reviled around the world. But in a 
very short period, Nawaz Sharif has created conditions for the 
return of his nemesis through his bull-in-a-china-shop style of 
governance. Unfortunately, her own limitations as a person and as a 
politician prevent her from capitalizing on her rival's blunders.

Normally, we would shrug our shoulders, say "Too bad!" and get on 
with life. But alas, we are stuck with the PPP, warts and all. If 
our hard-won democracy is to function at all, a viable opposition 
is essential. And if the opposition is as shop-worn and soiled as 

the PPP, there is very little we can do about it. However, its 
leader has been presented a golden opportunity to burnish her and 
her party's image and return to the fray. But I would be pleasantly 
surprised if she were to bite the bullet and come out with a plea 
of "Mea Culpa!" to the nation.

Maybe she is waiting for all of us to say: "BB come back. All is 

                            S P O R T S 
World Cup probe request withdrawn after 48 hours
Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Aug 20: The federal government has shelved plans to 
investigate allegations through the judicial commission that 
Pakistan cricket team threw matches in the World Cup.

The Ministry of Sports and Culture had requested the judicial 
commission to include World Cup in its probe through a notification 
on Aug 16.

But the Ministry withdrew that notification on Aug 18 only 48 hours 
later without giving any explanation.

"The commission has no clue why that notification has been 
withdrawn. Probably because the (ministry) thinks that the 
Accountability Cell had conducted an inquiry into the allegations 
surrounding the World Cup," Lahore High Court Registrar Abdus Salam 
Khawar said from the Punjab metropolis.

The Accountability Cell argues that it carried out probe into World 
Cup allegations on the instructions of the judicial commission - a 
claim rebutted by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum on Aug 15.

Salam Khawar said on the basis of the withdrawal of the 
notification, the judicial commission will not be summoning the 15 
members of the World Cup team on Aug 23.

He said only the cross-examination will be done on Aug 23 for which 
four main accused viz Wasim Akram, Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmad and 
Mushtaq Ahmad have been summoned. The accused directed to appear on 
Monday include Salim Pervaiz (an alleged bookie), Ata-ur-Rahman 
(former Test bowler) and Javed Miandad (former captain and coach).

Salam Khawar, however, emphasised that the judicial commission 
would carry out the mandate given to it. He clarified that the 
commission would probe the charges until April's Sharjah tournament 
and would submit a report to President Rafiq Tarar.

"But separate reports would be submitted. The judicial commission 
would not consider the report of the Accountability Cell and 
instead submit an independent report," he said.

Salam Khawar was optimistic that the judicial commission would in 
all probability finalize and submit its report well before the Sept 
30 deadline.

Although the Accountability Cell clears Wasim, Salim and Ijaz of 
all charges, the ad hoc committee still maintains that they would 
remain suspended.

"Until the decision is announced officially, they would remain 
illegible for the selection in the Pakistan cricket team," an 
official of the ad hoc committee remarked.

PHF president says: No major changes in team till Olympics

ZURICH, Aug 18: President, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Akhtar 
Rasool Chaudhary has said that no major changes will be made in the 
National team till Olympics.

"We are experiencing that team is finally settling down and will 
not bring changes until they are very essential,"he told APP in an 
interview here on Wednesday after arrival of Pakistan team in 
Switzerland for the second leg ofthe European tour to feature in a 
4-Nation tournament.

He made it clear that if team management feels to boost up the 
performance of any department or specialized position then the 
changes will take place.

He said changes are aimed at improving performance and room of 
improvement is always there in the rebuilding of any team.

Akhtar said the prime objective ahead of team is regaining Olympic 
title besides qualifying for the Olympic. "We do not have much time 
to made frequent changes and will try maximum to continue with the 
present set up," he said.

PHF President described the 4-Nation tournaments "vital for 
imparting necessary experience and exposure to the new players." He 
said playing World and Olympic Champion, Holland and teams like 
Spain and Germany will help players to get themselves used to the 
competitive and pressure hockey.

Akhtar Rasool said team is showing signs of progress and finishing 
second in a recent 4-Nation tournament in Amsterdam after Holland 
is a proof to it.

"We beat the World's most strongest side Holland in the tournament 
but unfortunately lost the final to the same side," he said.

He said team was shaping well with each passing day and he was 
optimistic that the ongoing two-week tour of Europe will help in 
boosting the spirit and morale of the players.

He praised the role of the new management of the team for enhancing 
its performance and moulding it into a winning combination. "Both 
manager Shahnaz Sheikh and Coach Manzoor ul Hasan are seasoned 
professionals in view of their status in hockey and I expect a lot 
from them for taking Pakistan hockey to new heights," he said.-APP

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