------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 25 December 1999 Issue : 05/52 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Hijacked Indian plane lands in Afghanistan, one passenger killed + Afghan Taliban refuse Indian demands for hijack rescue + Mushahid's release a test case of govt's HR record: wife + Interest-free system from 2001 ordered: SC rules Riba un-Islamic + Order was given by Nawaz, says Ameenullah + Army to stay till 'mess' cleared, says Musharraf + Pakistan to retain right to conduct Nuclear tests + Amendment to NAB Ordinance shortly + Government withdraws Secretariat Allowance + Reference against Mehtab ready + Nawaz challenges ATC's jurisdiction + Clinton may skip Pakistan in trip to subcontinent + Child labour elimination efforts lauded + Arrests in Pakistan not related to terrorism: US + US visa interviews suspended for 30 days --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Number of taxes to be reduced, says CE + Names of 1,500 'tax evaders' put on ECL + Report on textile quota fraud clarified + Concession in mark-up on loan repayment + Petroleum dealers decrease prices + Raw materials - No cash margin on imports: SBP + State Bank of Pakistan mops up Rs5bn + Tax amnesty scheme: CBR to confiscate assets on mis-declarations + Investors fail to respond to new credit rating + CBR warns sales tax evaders --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Military justice: the good and the not so good Ayaz Amir + A column for Christmas Irfan Husain + Giving police a human face Aziz Siddiqi ----------- SPORTS + PCB request for change in teleconference date + Commission report: PCB outlines policy

Hijacked Indian plane lands in Afghanistan, one passenger killed

NEW DELHI, Dec 25: Armed hijackers forced an Indian Airlines plane 
with more than 150 people on board to land in Afghanistan Saturday, 
the fourth stop in a horrifying ordeal in which at least one 
passenger was killed.

The Indian Airlines Airbus landed at 0303 GMT in Kandahar, the 
southern base of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, Taliban 
spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen said. "Nobody has been allowed out of 
the plane which is surrounded by military vehicles," the spokesman 
said, adding that the Taliban were ready to refuel the aircraft.

The plane, with 189 passengers and crew on board, was hijacked en 
route from Kathmandu to New Delhi on Friday. After stops in the 
northern Indian city of Amritsar and nearby Lahore in Pakistan, the 
hijackers forced the plane to Dubai, where it was refuelled and 25 
passengers allowed to disembark before the aircraft took off again 
for Afghanistan around 0100 GMT.

The body of one passenger, reportedly stabbed to death by one of 
the hijackers, was also removed from the plane in Dubai. Some freed 
passengers said the hijackers were Sikhs, although their demands 
were still unknown 16 hours into the ordeal, which had already 
spanned six countries.

"We are in the process of establishing contact with the Afghan 
authorities," said Civil Aviation Secretary Ravindra Gupta.

"At Kandahar, the Air Traffic Control has offered all humanitarian 
help, including food and medicine," Gupta said. Home Minister L.K. 
Advani, speaking to reporters following a top-level meeting at the 
civil aviation ministry's crisis management centre in Delhi, 
admitted that Afghanistan posed a problem. "It will be a tricky 
proposition, because we don't have an embassy there," he said. "We 
have some reports about the identity of the hijackers, but I will 
not make a statement until we have full confirmation," Advani said.

The freed hostages appeared traumatized by their experience, with 
crying children and women and one man with a bandaged head. One 74 
year-old, who was not named for security reasons, said the 
hijackers were "difficult to identify. They came with pistols, 
knives and hand grenades. They blind folded all the passengers 
except for women and children with pieces of cloth. I understand 
that one passenger has been killed with a knife," he said. "We are 
in touch with their respective governments and have asked them to 
help apply pressure so that the passengers are released soon," 
Advani said. Indian air officials reported the hijackers spoke 
Hindi and were armed with dynamite, AK-47 assault rifles, pistols 
and hand grenades.

The dead passenger was identified by Indian Airline officials as 
Ripin Katyal, 25, who had been in Kathmandu on his honeymoon. 
Katyal's father, who had been waiting along with 200 desperate 
relatives at New Delhi airport, broke down when the news was 

The plane was hijacked after taking off at 1130 GMT from Katmandu's 
Tribhuvan International Airport. Officials said the hijackers took 
control the moment the plane entered Indian airspace and neared the 
northern city of Lucknow at around 1220 GMT on Friday. (AFP) 

Afghan Taliban refuse Indian demands for hijack rescue

KABUL, Dec 25: Armed hijackers forced an Indian Airlines plane with 
more than 150 people on board to land at Kandahar, the fourth stop 
in a terrifying ordeal in which at least one passenger was killed.

The Indian Airlines Airbus landed at 0303 GMT in Kandahar, southern 
Afghanistan. Troops from the fundamentalist Islamic militia 
surrounded the aircraft and are prepared to refuel but resisted 
Indian demands for a rescue.

Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel said nobody has been 
allowed inside the plane and we do not know the identity of the 
hijackers. "We are in contact only with the pilots through their 
radio. We have not talked with the hijackers," the minister added. 
"Nobody has been let in or out of the plane."

He said the Taliban were not involved in the hijack. Reports on 
this score are totally untrue, he said. (AFP) 

Mushahid's release a test case of govt's HR record: wife
Staff Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: Dr Dushka Mushahid has said that since the 
military government regularly talks about upholding human rights in 
the country releasing Mushahid Hussain would indicate of how far 
the claim is true, as he has not yet been charged.

Dr Dushka was allowed to meet Mushahid Hussain on Friday afternoon, 
following court orders, at the Punjab House. Mr Husain's sister, 
mother and son, Mustafa, were also present at the meeting. His wife 
said that ten days back her husband was put in a truck and taken 
for interrogation, after being kept in protective custody for two 
months, yet the authorities had still failed to come up with any 
charge against him. "He is the only political personality who is 
being treated like this by the military authorities," she said. 

She said she had written to Gen Musharraf about the unlawful 
detention of her husband on Dec 17 but there had not been any 
positive response from his side since then.

She said that the defence secretary, on Friday, again declined to 
accept the writ petition orders, stating that it had to come 
'through proper channel.' However, she said that at 3pm a major 
called and inform her that they can come to the Punjab House, 
Islamabad to meet Mushahid.

Interest-free system from 2001 ordered: SC rules Riba un-Islamic
Shujaat Ali Khan

LAHORE, Dec 23: The Supreme Court on Thursday outlawed 'interest' 
in every form and called by whatever name and laid down elaborate 
guidelines for a completely interest-free economy by June 2001, 
after dismissing government and bank appeals against a 1992 Federal 
Shariat Court judgment.

The transactions declared un-Islamic and, therefore, unconstitutional
include mark-up, murabaha, bai' muajjal (deferred sale) and any 
so-called interest-free modes insofar as elements of Riba 
usury and interest) have crept into them.

Any amount, big or small, over and above the principal in a loan or 
barter transaction, whether obtained for consumption or for 
commercial or productive activity, is prohibited by the Holy Quran, 
a Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices 
Khalilur Rehman Khan, Munir A. Sheikh, Wajihuddin Ahmed and Maulana 
Muhammad Taqi Usmani (member) held unanimously.

Justice Ahmed, however, expressed his reservations in a separate 
98-page note about some of the findings and conclusions of the 716-
page majority judgement authored by Justice Khan and concurred with 
by Justices Sheikh and Usmani (who also wrote a 277- page 
elaborative note). The order of the court is spread over 106 pages.

The domestic inter-government borrowings as well as the borrowings 
of the federal government from the State Bank shall be interest 
free. By January 24, 2000, the federal finance ministry will form a 
task force to find out ways to convert the domestic borrowings into 
project-related financing and to establish a mutual fund that may 
finance the government on that basis.

The units of the mutual fund may be purchased by the public and 
they will be tradable in the secondary market on the basis of net 
asset value. The certificates of the existing bonds and savings 
schemes shall be converted into the units of the proposed mutual 

As for foreign borrowings, serious efforts shall be made by the 
government to relieve the nation of the burden of foreign debt as 
soon as possible and to renegotiate the existing loans. Foreign 
financial assistance, if necessary, should henceforth be sought and 
accepted on the basis of Islamic modes of financing.

The judgment contains several measures for developing 
infrastructure and legal framework for an interest-free economy. It 
calls for 'strict' austerity to drastically curtail the government 
expenditure to avoid deficit financing. Enactments to regulate the 
federal and provincial consolidated funds and public accounts have 
been recommended. It also calls for laws to ensure transparency in 
and confidentiality of financial transactions, including freedom of 
information and privacy acts.

Observing that an under-developed debt market promotes Riba, the 
court said that if the concept of Islamic debt through musharaka 
certificates was adopted on an urgent basis, a lot of equity/funds 
could be made available through developed markets and 'in that way 
reliance on banks can be reduced'.

The judgment stipulates a multi-phased transformation to an 
interest-free economy. The first step is establishment within a 
month of a high-level commission in the State Bank to effectively 
control and supervise the process of transition.

The judgment called for a phased repeal or amendment of the 
interest-based provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, the Land 
Acquisition Act, the negotiable Instruments Act, the Co-op 
Societies Act, the Insurance Act, the State Bank of Pakistan Act, 
the Banking Companies Ordinance, the Banks Nationalisation Act, the 
recovery laws and other enactments. The Interest Act and the money 
lending laws and rules shall, however, cease to have effect on 
March 31, 2000.

Order was given by Nawaz, says Ameenullah

KARACHI, Dec 20: Former director-general of the Civil Aviation 
Authority, Ameenullah Chaudhry, who has turned approver in the Oct 
12 plane conspiracy case, has stated that deposed prime minister 
Nawaz Sharif had ordered him to ensure that "under no circumstances 
PIA flight PK-805 coming from Colombo be allowed to land anywhere 
in Pakistan."

Ameenullah had said this in his confessional statement recorded 
earlier, text of which was unsealed in the court of Justice Shabbir 
Ahmed, Administrative Judge of the Anti-terrorism Court, here on 
Monday. He had made the statement before the deputy commissioner of 
Malir on Nov 23.

The former CAA chief had stated that at about 1800 hours his staff 
informed him of the incoming call from the prime minister (Nawaz 
Sharif) who asked him if he (Ameenullah) was aware of the flight 
details of the plane on which the army chief was coming.

After finding out the details of the flight, he directed Yusuf 
Abbas to come to the control tower to see that the directives of 

the prime minister were carried out, Ameenullah had recorded in his 

He also stated that the General Manager, ATS, was directed by him 
to close the Karachi airport and hold all international flights and 
divert domestic flights to Nawabshah.

Ameenullah said that at about 1820 hours the same operator of the 
prime minister's house contacted him and the prime minister's 
earlier instructions were very firmly repeated that the flight 
should not be allowed to land anywhere in Pakistan and should be 
diverted to any place in the Middle East other than Dubai.

"He ordered immediate implementation of his directives. In 
accordance with these directives and in furtherance of them, the 
Karachi and Nawabshah airports were formally closed," said 
Ameeullah adding that the "delay in closing down the Karachi 
airport was owing to the fact that the GM ATS had asked his 
secretary to convey these orders."

In pursuance of the prime minister's order, Mr Yusuf Abbas, who was 
new in town, was to stay there until the former chief of the CAA 
left the office. He was also asked not to disclose the reason for 
the closure of the airport as the pilot may attempt to land 
somewhere else.

In view of the directives of the prime minister, Yusuf Abbas was 
told to make it clear to the pilot that both the Karachi and 
Nawabshah airports were closed and that he should seek orders from 
PIA authorities about the destination of the flight. The pilot, he 
said, was to be told that he could go outside Pakistan at his own 

Ameenullah, however, in his recorded statement said that when it 
was reported that the aircraft was left with fuel for 70 minutes 
only and the flying time for Muscat was more than that, it became 
obvious that the plane would need to land at Nawabshah.

A call was made to the prime minister and when he came on the line 
it was explained to him, his orders were very firm. "He directed 
that the PIA flight PK-805 must not be allowed to land in 
Pakistan." He wanted immediate implementation of his orders.

Ameenullah said that when the situation became "critical" several 
attempts were made to talk to the prime minister but he was not 
available. Thereafter, two calls were made to the then principal 
secretary Saeed Mehdi but his staff informed them that he could not 
come on telephone.

"Around 1910 a call was made in sheer desperation to the ADC of the 
prime minister, who belonged to the Naval service. The situation 
was explained to him, and he promised to get back but he did not," 
said the former CAA chief in his statement.

Immediately thereafter, Ameenullah said, a call was received from 
the military secretary to the then prime minister, Brigadier Javed, 
who said that now the instructions of the prime minister were that 
the flight PK-805 should come to the Karachi airport and sent to 
Sharjah after refuelling.

In his statement, he said that instructions were that former I.G. 
Sindh Rana Maqbool should be contacted and told to have the Karachi 
airport surrounded when the plane landed at Karachi airport.

"All orders flowing from the prime minister/defence minister and 
his staff repeatedly and emphatically, were being implemented as 
the Civil Aviation Authority and aviation division were directly 
under his control," said Ameenullah in his statement.

Army to stay till 'mess' cleared, says Musharraf
Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Dec 23: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf said here 
on Thursday that it would be wrong to assume that the military 
government would stay in power only for a few months. He said in 
unambiguous terms that the present set up would stay on till "the 
mess" was cleared and the goals identified by him achieved.

Addressing senior civil servants at the Governor's House, the 
general set at rest all speculations about the restoration of the 
democratic process, saying there was no possibility of the 
assemblies being restored.

He said some countries had been stressing that the military 
government should give a time frame for the revival of the 
democratic set-up. But, he said, he would not give a schedule for 
the purpose and work for the implementation of his agenda.

Pakistan to retain right to conduct Nuclear tests
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar told a joint 
National Security Council-federal cabinet meeting here on Wednesday 
that Pakistan would retain its right to carry out nuclear tests if 
India did not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He said the CTBT did not, in any way, circumscribe the ability of 
the signatory state to protect its supreme security interests.

He said that the CTBT could not enter into force until signed and 
ratified by the 44 designated states that had nuclear weapons or 
nuclear reactors, including India and Pakistan. So far, 41 
designated countries have signed the treaty. The three which have 
not signed are India, Pakistan and N. Korea.

"Thus, if India does not sign, Pakistan will retain the right to 
conduct tests," said the minister for foreign affairs.

He further said the treaty only prohibited nuclear tests. "It does 
not affect possession or enhancement of nuclear capability or 
production of fissile material," he said while adding that the 
treaty was non-discriminatory.

Sattar gave a detailed briefing on the CTBT to the meeting which 
was presided over by Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The CTBT provides for withdrawal on 6-month advance notice, on 
grounds of an "extraordinary event or events which a state party 
regards as jeopardising its supreme interests."

In practical terms, no research/manufacturing facility can be 
inspected under the treaty if it cannot be the site of nuclear 
explosions. Inspections can cover only those sites where an 
explosion is suspected to have been carried out. The treaty does 
not provide for routine inspections.

Amendment to NAB Ordinance shortly
Asad Ali

LAHORE, Dec 18: The federal government will soon amend the National 
Accountability Bureau Ordinance. This would ensure that an accused 
person seeking release under Section 25 by voluntarily returning 
assets does not escape the disqualification clause barring him or 
her from holding public office for 21 years, it was reliably learnt 
on Saturday.

Sources said due to a 'typographical error' accused people seeking 
recourse under Section 25 were not affected by the disqualification 
clause in -- Section 15. The sources said the law in its present 
form could embarrass the government because it could allow corrupt 
politicians to return to power by paying back the looted money. It 
was learnt the amendment would have retrospective effect.

The error was identified in the wake of a controversy over the 
political future of former Punjab chief minister Sardar Arif Nakai 
after his returning the allegedly misappropriated amount of Rs 1.5 
million to the National Accountability Bureau. The former CM had 
returned the amount under Section 25 of the NAB ordinance on Friday 
and the case against him was disposed of. The judge said legal 
consequences of Section 25 shall follow.

According to the sources, under the present law a release under 
Section 25 does not mean disqualification for 21 years from holding 
a public office.

Under the ordinance, Section 15 deals with the disqualification. It 
is titled disqualification to contest elections and its sub-clause 
(a) reads "where an accused person is convicted for the offence of 
corruption or corrupt practices as specified in the schedule to 
this ordinance. He shall stand disqualified for 21 years for 
seeking or from being elected, chosen, appointed as a member or 
representative of any public office, or any statutory or local 
authority of the government of Pakistan".

The sources say proviso to this section was very important in the 
present context. It reads: "Provided that any accused person who 
has availed the benefit of sections 26 and 27 of this ordinance 
shall also be deemed to have been convicted for an offence under 
this order, and shall stand disqualified for 21 years as above". 
According to the sources, it should have been sections 25 and 26 in 
the proviso instead of sections 26 and 27.

Government withdraws Secretariat Allowance

 ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The National Security Council (NSC) and the 
federal cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw the Secretariat 

"The meeting approved a proposal to withdraw the Secretariat 
Allowance ab-initio," an official statement said.

The employees of the federal secretariat from grade 1 to 16 had 
been getting the Secretariat Allowance since 1988. Employees of PTV 
and Radio Pakistan had also been receiving the same allowance.

Sources said the decision would hit the employees of the federal 
secretariat hard as they will face 20 per cent cut in their 
substantial basic pay. "The withdrawal will deprive all employees 
of 600 to 1000 rupees," said an employee, requesting not to be 

"The government announced only one hundred rupees for employees in 
the economic package but withdrew many times more," he said. Some 
secretariat employees, who were not getting the allowance, moved 
the Supreme Court to get it and the apex court had given a verdict 
in their favour, asking the government to grant the allowance to 
all the secretariat employees.-NNI

Reference against Mehtab ready
Ahmad Hassan

PESHAWAR, Dec 22: The first reference against ousted NWFP chief 
minister Sardar Mahtab has been prepared. The reference, which will 
sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), concerns making 
money by felling trees in NWFP forests illegally.

The front men of Sardar Mahtab not only cleared the windfall marked 
by the authorities in Manshera and Kohistan forests but also fell 
green trees in order to increase the profit which ran into millions 
of rupees.

In the process, over 1.5 million cubic feet timber was taken out of 
Kohistan and Mansehra forests, a report said.

Dawn has learnt on good authority that the case of forest 
destruction in the guise of windfall and old timber clearance was 
first prepared by a sensitive agency and sent to ousted prime 
minister Nawaz Sharif who failed to take action on it.

Sources said that investigations into a number of other cases of 
irregularities and abuse of power against Mehtab were in final 

The case of purchase and transportation of 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles 
to Punjab for the Elite Force of Nawaz Sharif is also being 
processed separately, sources said.

A close aide of Sardar Mahtab, Major (retd) Aamir, is already in 
custody in connection with the said case. Similarly, investigation 
into the illegal import of 0.25 million tons of wheat by Sardar 
Mahtab through one of his close friends and sharing of millions of 
dollars of kickbacks are at an advanced stage.

Besides, awarding of transportation contracts for wheat to cronies 
and members of the parliamentary party are also under 

The ex-chief minister is also accused of grabbing a big piece of 
land in Boi, Mansehra district, from a widow. Mahtab and his 
business partners allegedly earned millions of rupees in the fraud.

The agency is also investigating how the former chief minister got 
a house built on the hills of Abbottabad, using Construction & 
Works and other government departments. It is also being 
investigated how the former chief minister acquired the money to 
build the house. A number of references against other top 
politicians are also being prepared.

Nawaz challenges ATC's jurisdiction 

KARACHI, Dec 20: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday 
challenged the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Court conducting 
the proceedings of the Oct 12 plane conspiracy case.

The petition in this regard was filed by his counsel Ijaz Hussain 
Batalvi and Khawaja Sultan under Section 196 Cr.P.C. and all other 
enabling provisions for declaring the proceedings against the 
petitioner as coram non-judice, unlawful, without jurisdiction and 
without lawful authority.

Justice Shabbir Ahmed, the Administrative Judge of the Anti- 
Terrorism Court, fixed the petition for hearing on Tuesday.

The case is to be stopped here, Batalvi pleaded while moving the 
application. Advocate General, Sindh, Raja Qureshi, first claimed 
notice but waived it on receiving a copy.

Mr Qureshi pressed for the commencement of the trial but the court 
adjourned further proceedings till Tuesday.

The counsel for Nawaz Sharif maintained that the country being 
governed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 
1973, "no other constitution/ law/ order, whether provisional or 
otherwise, had any validity, legality or sanction for its 
enforcement or recognition."

Clinton may skip Pakistan in trip to subcontinent
Shaheen Sehbai

WASHINGTON, Dec 21: A senior State Department official on Monday 
hinted for the first time that President Clinton might skip 
Pakistan in his forthcoming visit to India and Bangladesh, and that 
this might be officially announced by the White House soon.

"The President is looking forward to his visit to India and 
Bangladesh," the official told a special briefing for South Asian 
journalists at the State Department. He then specifically pointed 
out: "The omission of Pakistan should be taken note of."

The final decision in this regard, he added, would be made by the 
White House. "We are watching Gen Musharraf. We are not seeking 
comfort zones but want affirmation of the things we had asked for," 
the official said.

Child labour elimination efforts lauded

SIALKOT, Dec 22: Political officer of the consulate of USA Ms Anjic 
Bryan, expressing her satisfaction over the elimination of child 
labour from the export-oriented soccer ball industry of Sialkot, 
has appreciated the positive and effective measures taken by the 
Pakistan government in this direction.

In a briefing here on Tuesday, she queried what facilities were 
being provided to the football stitchers, especially the women. She 
lauded the child labour eradication programme of Sialkot Chamber & 
Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

Ms Bryan said that the USA ministry of trade was satisfied with the 
elimination of child labour from the export- oriented soccer 

USA trade ministry would be asked to help the Sialkot business 
community in recapturing the international trade market. She sought 
positive suggestions from the Sialkot business community for 
enhancing mutual trade between USA and Pakistan.

Arrests in Pakistan not related to terrorism: US

WASHINGTON, Dec 20: The White House said on Monday that a wave of 
arrests reported in Pakistan at the weekend was aimed at domestic 
crime and did not appear to be related to an international 
crackdown on "terrorist" suspects.

"They arrested a number of individuals, up to 200, in connection 
with criminal activity in Pakistan," White House spokesman Joe 
Lockhart said at his daily briefing.

"My understanding of the situation is that it has to do with a 
domestic criminal investigation (which), while very serious in its 
nature, (is) not necessarily connected to the kind of international 
terrorism that we've spent a good bit of time engaging. Both with 
Pakistan and a number of other countries on," Lockhart said.

Pakistan and Jordan said last week they had arrested 14 people - 
one in Pakistan and the rest in Jordan - suspected of belonging to 
a ring loyal to Afghan-based Saudi exile Osama bin Laden.

Those arrests were one of the reasons Washington issued a world-
wide warning earlier this month to Americans about a terrorist 
threat over the New Year period.

Jordanian sources say the 13 detained there were planning attacks 
on tourist and other sites in the kingdom by the end of the year.

US officials said the 200 or so arrests in Pakistan may have been 
related to the killing of a senior Pakistani finance ministry 
official but gave no further details.-Reuters

US visa interviews suspended for 30 days

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: "The US embassy in Islamabad announces that, for 
security reasons, all visa interviews are suspended effective 
December 23, 1999. This policy will be reviewed in 30 days," says a 
US Embassy press release issued here on Wednesday.

The Embassy emphasised that the Consular Section will remain open 
for all American citizen services, including applications for US 
passports and Consular Reports of Birth. "Immigrant visa applicants 
with scheduled interviews should still appear on their appointed 
dates and times. Immigrant visa applicants who have received Packet 
3.5 may submit the requested documents by commercial courier 
services only. If the applicant is deemed qualified, he or she will 
be advised of a future interview date in writing. Immigrant visa 
applicants who have been previously refused will be required to 
submit their documents via commercial courier service," the press 
release added.

Applicants for a non-immigrant visa (tourist, business, and 
student categories) may continue to submit applications via 
commercial courier service. There will be no personal visa 
interviews at the US Embassy or drop-box services other than 
commercial courier service. 

 If eligible without a visa interview, the applicants' visa-stamped 
passports will be returned. If not, eligible applicants will be so 
advised and asked to return for an interview at a later date. 
Applicants are again urged to apply early via courier service for 
any travel they intend to undertake to the United States," it said.

Number of taxes to be reduced, says CE
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, Dec 24: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf told 
traders and industrialists that the government was thinking of 
introducing tax reforms, reducing the number of federal taxes from 
32 to three and simplifying the tax collection system.

Talking to delegations of the chambers of commerce and industry 
from Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot, he said the federal government 
would recover only income tax, duties and the General Sales Tax 

He said the government wanted to widen the tax base to increase 
revenue. For this purpose, he said, the rate of tax could be 
lowered. Discretionary powers of taxation officials would be done 
away with, he said.

Names of 1,500 'tax evaders' put on ECL
Staff Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: The government has once again revised the exit 
control list putting the names of those defaulters on it who have 
defaulted one million rupees and above.

With placing more tax evaders on the exit control list their number 
has swelled to 3,000. The names of over 1,500 tax evaders have been 
added to the new list for defaulting taxes and duties of above 
Rs0.5 million or more.

The Central Board of Revenue on Tuesday last, had supplied a fresh 
list of defaulters to the interior ministry, containing the names 
of about 1,500 "C" category tax evaders. They have been put on ECL 
for failing to deposit taxes and were supposed to clear their dues 
in near future, a time stipulated separately by each of the tax 
wings of Central Board of Revenue.

They revealed that the fresh list contains the names of about 1,500 
sales tax evaders, 500 customs duty evaders while the remaining are 
the income tax and central excise duty evaders.  They collectively 

owe a sum of Rs20 billion, they added. They include those who did 
not clear their taxes as per notices sent to them.  They also 
include about 100 major defaulters who did not file their 
income/wealth tax returns despite repeated notices. The list 
includes those businessmen, reportedly graded as category "A" 
defaulters by NAB.

Report on textile quota fraud clarified

KARACHI, Dec 21: Export Promotion Bureau on Tuesday clarified 
detection of quota fraud in textile exports, saying that the EPB 
through Minister Trade (Washington) has pointed out a large number 
of discrepancies in Namesake file provided by the US Customs.

In a fax release, the EPB said the report on Monday carrying the 
impression that alleged fraud has been detected by the US Customs 
was not correct.

It said that these discrepancies when examined by the US 
authorities did reveral some chances of manipulation by exporters 
which has not yet been confirmed.

The EPB further clarified that quota supervisory council has 
nothing to do with issuance of visas to exporters as this is the 
sole responsibility of the Textile Associations on whose 
recommendation visas are issued by the EPB after proper scrutiny 
and authenticity.

Similarly Auditors are not required to audit of non-quota 
categories items, it added.

The EPB reiterated that the subject is under minute investigation 
of the Bureau and are making efforts to pinpoint alleged fraudulent 
manipulation of visas in various categories.

Concession in mark-up on loan repayment

LAHORE, Dec 23: The Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank will give 
concession in mark-up to those who return their bank loans by at 
least 30 per cent of the principal amount along with the interest 
by Dec 31. 

Bank sources said the concession rate would be announced next 
month. The bank which generally advances loans through the 
registered cooperative societies in the province has so far 
disbursed Rs840 million for the current rabi crops. 

The Punjab government wants the bank to expedite its loans 
disbursement plan and hit a target of around Rs2.6 billion by the 
end of January next year. 

The loans are available for the purchase of fertilizers, seeds, 
hiring tractors and paying utility charges by farmers during the 
present rabi season. 

Banks mobile teams are also visiting remote areas in the interior 
to mark the needy for giving credit on easy terms under fresh 
instructions given to it be the provincial government, bank 
officials said. 

There are about 5,725 registered cooperative societies of farmers 
in Punjab through which the PPCB supplies funds to growers.

Petroleum dealers decrease prices

KARACHI, Dec 23: Petroleum dealers have lowered the retail prices 
of four major petroleum products by 15 to 20 paisas per litre 
throughout the country, following an agreement with the government 
on December 15, 1999 on increase in their commission.

The retail price of Petrol (Regular) was reduced to Rs.27 per litre 
from Rs.27.15 per litre, Petrol (Supreme/Super) Rs.29 per litre 
from Rs. 29.20 per litre, High Speed Diesel (HSD) Rs.11.50 per 
litre from Rs.11.65 per litre and of Hi-Octane to Rs 32 per litre 
from Rs.32.20 per litre.

Talking to the PPI here on Thursday, the Chairman of Pakistan 
Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA), Mr Abdul Sami Khan, said the 
retail prices of four petroleum products involving dealers were 
reduced last week in accordance with an agreement signed between 
the PPDA and the government in Karachi recently.

He, however, said two private sector oil marketing companies - 
Caltex and Shell - were not supplying products to petrol pumps. 
According to the agreement and the dealers had decided not to 
withdraw cases from courts against the government on the commission 
issue until the agreement was honoured in its letter and spirit.

The two sides agreed that the PPDA would not receive service 
charges per litre on four major petroleum products on the retail 
level and the government would pay them an amount equal to these 
service charges in addition to their one percent commission.

They also agreed that in response, the petroleum dealers would 
immediately withdraw the service charges (on an average 15 to 16 
paisas per litre) and sell petroleum products on the government-
notified prices. Also, the PPDA will immediately withdraw writ 
petitions filed in the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, and the 
Supreme Court of Pakistan for an increase in the dealers' 

The issue of increase in the dealers' commission had been going on 
almost for the last 5 years, when the petroleum dealers started 
levying service charges in lieu of revision in their commission.

The PPDA filed a petition in the Sindh High Court against the 
government and appealed in the Supreme Court against the judgement-

Raw materials - No cash margin on imports: SBP

KARACHI, Dec 21: The State Bank has clarified to all the banks that 
letters of credit for the import of industrial raw material can be 
opened without any cash margin.

The clarification has come in the form a letter issued to all banks 
on Tuesday. The letter says the State Bank has learnt that some 
banks are asking commercial importers to provide 35 per cent cash 
margin on LCs of industrial raw material. It says demanding cash 
margin on LCs of industrial raw material was in violation of the 
State Bank circulars on the subject.

"It is clarified that there are no minimum margin restrictions for 
import of industrial raw materials by commercial/industrial 

On October 14 the State Bank had imposed cash margin of 10 per cent 
on import of industrial raw material. It had also imposed 20 per 
cent margin on import of machinery and spare parts and 35 per cent 
on import of all other items except for some essential items. But 
the cash margins on import of industrial raw materials and 
machinery and spare parts were withdrawn on October 27 and October 
31 respectively. Currently a 35 per cent margin remains in force in 
case of import of other items.

Senior bankers say this margin may also be phased out in next six 

State Bank of Pakistan mops up Rs5bn

KARACHI, Dec 23: The State Bank on Thursday mopped up Rs 5.0bn from 
the inter-bank money market through outright sale of treasury 

Senior bankers said the SBP raised the amount at the maximum yield 
of 9.9%. They said SBP had received bids worth Rs 12.9bn for the T 
bills of which it accepted bids worth Rs 5bn and scrapped the 

They said in the two-way OMO SBP also had received Rs 8.8bn worth 
of offers for two-weeks and one-month reverse repo but all the 
offers were rejected.

Tax amnesty scheme: CBR to confiscate assets on mis-declarations

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has been 
authorised to make outright confiscation's, and to initiate penalty 
prosecutions against the persons who fail to declare, under or mis-
declare their incomes and assets, by availing the money benefits of 
whitening scheme announced by the government.

The CBR sources told Dawn here on Wednesday that the CBR has been 
given powers to proceed for confiscation without serving notice for 
second-time explanations on ownership/possession; not to allow any 
area as immune as all the previously whitening schemes intended to 
ensure incomes/assets declarations through payment of a stipulated 
rate of tax, failed as the immunities were in operation alongside 
such schemes.

All immunities under the whitening scheme like foreign currency 
deposit accounts (FCAs), Foreign Currency Bearer Certificates 
(FCBCs) Dollar Bearers Certificates (DBCs) Special US Dollar Bonds 
(USDBs), both registered and bearers, purchase of government land 
etc would have to be disclosed, to avoid confiscation and penalty 
proceedings, says a directive. It allows the CBR to take action 
under the Income Tax Ordinance and Wealth Tax Act.

Through a summary to the federal cabinet, the ministry has informed 
that the whitening scheme launched in 1997, attracted yielded only 
Rs141 million in tax as only 2522 declarations were made under the 
scheme. Out of these, only 20 per cent related to business incomes 
and assets while the rest of the declarations reflected non-
business assets and incomes.

The primary reason for this poor response to the scheme was that a 
number of immunities were available to those targeted under the 
scheme like the immunities on FEBCs, USBs, FCAs etc.

India, on the other hand, launched its whitening scheme the same 
year (1997) under the title "Voluntary Disclosure of Incomes 
(VDIS), which yielded Rs100 billion in tax, while the assets and 
incomes declared valued Rs330 billion, in 466031 declarations.

The scheme mandates payment of 10% tax for regularizing undisclosed 
and untaxed incomes and assets which, declared under the scheme, 
will be immune from action under Income Tax Ordinance and Wealth 
Tax Act. The scheme will cover all incomes earned and assets 
acquired up to June 30, 1999.

Assets not declared by the last date of filing of declaration under 
the scheme shall be confiscated without any compensation. Non-
declaration or mis-declaration shall also entail prosecution and 
penalty proceedings.

All immunities under the whitening scheme like foreign currency 
deposit accounts (FCAs), Foreign Currency Bearer Certificates 
(FCBCs) Dollar Bearers Certificates (DBCs) Special US Dollar Bonds 
(USDBs), both registered and bearers, purchase of government land 
etc would have to be disclosed, to avoid confiscation and penalty 

Investors fail to respond to new credit rating

KARACHI, Dec 23: Shares on the Karachi Stock Exchange on Thursday 
turned in a highly volatile performance as investors remained busy 
with their portfolio adjustments before resuming covering 

The upgrading of Pakistan foreign currency rating from selective 
default to single minus by Moodys and Standard & Poors, the well-
known world credit rating agencies did enthuse investors but they 
could not respond positively owing to some technical problems 
related to clearing.

An idea of the market's two-sided movement may well be had from the 
fact that the KSE 100-share index early was modestly higher but the 
mid-session saw it falling by 15 points before the buying flurry 
toward the closing bell again put it back on the rails.

After breaching the psychological barrier of 1,400 points at one 
stage, it finally ended around 1,407.96 as compared to 1,407.49 a 
day earlier, showing a fractional rise of 0.47 points.

The late recovery before a long weekend, comprising three closures 
means that the market has already absorbed bulk of the year-end 
selling and now could embark up fresh buying for the millennium.

'The next week could witness the advent of the year-end buying and 
that could lift the index to new year's peak'", analysts believe.

The erratic performance of the market was attributed to a long 
weekend ahead as it will now reopen on next Monday owing to 
Saturday's public holiday on account of Birthday of the founder of 

Pakistan and Friday being official closure during the month of 

But selling was well-absorbed as investors and brokerage houses are 
not inclined to think that the current run-up is overdone and their 
optimism has some sound reason behind.

'It is not a speculation but a fact that the KSE 100-share index 
now will fluctuate between 1,500 and 1,700.00 points', most stock 
analysts basing their assessment on the developing corporate 
scenario said.

They said we are eying on the total market capitalization of 
Rs410bn, which has recent fallen as low as Rs324bn and the target 
is expected to be achieved during the next trading week.

The news from the Hubco front were a bit bearish after WAPDA 
chairman's statement that the corruption case may be referred to 
the Ehtasab Bureau as was reflected in renewed selling in its 

Some other leading shares also attracted selling owing to coming 
holidays as no one was inclined to hold on to long positions but 
there nothing wrong in the corporate background news.

Advancing shares managed to force a strong lead over the losing 
ones after trailing far behind during the last two sessions and the 
final count showed 99 plus against 44 minus signs, with 50 shares 
holding on to the last levels.

BOC Pakistan, which rose by Rs9.00 was the top gainer followed by 
EFU Life, IGI and Lever Brothers, which rose by Rs2.00 to Rs10.00. 
Dawood Leasing, Bank of Punjab, Commercial Union Insurance, Ravi 
Textiles and Dawood Hercules also rose by one rupee to Rs1.50.

PSO led the list of losers, falling by Rs8.50 on active selling 
followed by Engro Chemical, off Rs5.35, Pak Datacom, Kohinoor 
Textiles, Din Textiles, General Tyre and Crescent Jute, which 
suffered fall ranging from one rupee to Rs2.95.

Trading volume fell to 140m shares from the previous 148.323m 
shares owing to the absence of sellers.

The most active list was topped by Hub-Power, easy 45 paisa at 
Rs22.00 on 30m shares followed by PSO, off Rs8.50 at Rs196.50 on 
23m shares, FFC-Jordan Fertiliser up 90 paisa at Rs12.30 also on 
23m shares, PTCL, up 15 paisa at Rs2.160 on 18m shares and ICI 
Pakistan, firm by 10 paisa at Rs10.80 on 12m shares.

DEFAULTING COMPANIES: Mian Textiles came in for active renewed 
support and was traded unchanged on 4,000 shares, while Khurshid 
Textiles followed it unchanged on 1,000 shares. Zafara 
International came in for active selling but there were not many 
buyers and was last quoted off Rs2.75 on 500 shares. Market at a 

TONE: steady, total listed 769, actives 193, inactives 576, plus 
99, minus 44, unc 50.

KSE 100-SHARE INDEX: Previous 1,407.49, today's 1,407.96, up 0.47 

TOP TEN: gainers BOC Pakistan Rs9.00, Lever Brothers Rs10.00, IGI 
Rs2.50, EFU Life Rs2.05, Dawood Leasing Rs1.50.

LOSERS: PSO Rs8.50, Engro Chemical Rs5.35, Pak Datacom Rs2.95, 
Kohinoor Textiles Rs1.65, Din Textiles Rs1.00.

TOTAL VOLUME: 140.019m shares.

VOLUME LEADERS: Hub-Power 29.481m, PSO 23.371m, FFC-Jordan 
Fertiliser 22.614m, PTCL 17.761m, ICI Pakistan 12.385m shares.

CBR warns sales tax evaders
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23: The federal government has directed the Central 
Board of Revenue (CBR) to submit the list of those sales tax 
evaders who fail to deposit their arrears under the one-time relief 
package offered by the CBR with immunity from payment of 75% of the 
penalties and additional tax by December 30, '99.

CBR officials told Dawn here on Thursday that the names of such 
persons would be placed on the Exit Control List and officials of 
the Sales Tax Department authorised to arrest these defaulters.

They added that the immunity scheme, announced on December 17, 
1999, will be operative till December 30, 1999, and the listed 
evaders of arrears would have to pay the arrears of principal 
amount, plus 25% of the amounts of additional tax and penalties.

The evaders have been advised to deposit these amounts under the 
head of Account 1220000-Sales Tax, in any of the designated 
branches of the National Bank of Pakistan.

Back to the top
Military justice: the good and the not so good
Ayaz Amir

THE old gag that "military justice is to justice what military 
music is to music" is amusing but not wholly accurate if for no 
other reason than that Beethoven himself has written some rousing 
military marches, strong enough to make even the dead turn in their 
graves. If military music (occasionally) was good enough for him, 
no one else has the right to cavil at it.

Indeed the Army School of Music in Abbottabad should seriously 
think of basing some marching tunes on Beethoven's music. This 
would be an improvement on some of the duller melodies that have 
become part of the army's repertoire ever since the zeal to move 
away from the tradition of British things became one of the 
touchstones of our patriotism.

Needless to say, this spirit of reform has mostly touched the 
surface of the army's existence, leaving its essence still very 
much faithful to its British foundations. Which is another proof of 
our dedication to cosmetic changes: of making concessions to 

As for military justice, there should be little doubt that people 
at large were happily for it in the wake of the dramatic events of 
October 12. Indeed, the strong show of popular support for the 
military takeover rested on two counts: (1) people were sick and 
tired of Nawaz Sharif and the never-ending follies of the heavy 
mandate and (2) because the takeover held out the promise of swift 
and ruthless accountability.

Since then public perceptions have shifted. Partly because, being 
an emotional people, we are liable to sharp swings of mood. Partly 
because the military government has signally failed to keep pace 
with popular expectations.

When the first batch of well-heeled defaulters was caught on 
November 17 a wave of enthusiasm swept the country. But as the 
accountability drive faltered, this feeling evaporated. While the 
momentum may pick up again, a poor impression remains of the army's 
tactics. Imagine the same thing on the battle-field: the first wave 
of assault being brought to a grinding halt the very moment it 
achieves a breakthrough. It would not be called very smart 

The other charge against the current accountability drive has to do 
with the narrowness of its focus. While those caught in the first 
flush of the army's revolutionary zeal remain behind bars (that too 
in police stations where accommodation standards are worse than in 
jails), other carpetbaggers known for their financial skullduggery 
remain untouched. This selective zeal raises questions about the 
army's performance.

True, evidence is required before nailing anyone. But in Pakistan 
the scale of plunder over the last decade and a half has been such 
that on a clear day the relevant evidence should be visible from 
the moon. From where did Humayun Akhtar get the money for his 
bottling interests? What explains the rise and rise of Gujrat 
money? Even in poor, lowly Chakwal, General Majid Malik when he 
first entered politics in 1985 did not own a single brick in the 
entire town. Thanks to 14 years of sustained effort, he is now a 
successful rancher and, amongst other things, part-owner of the 
town's biggest bus adda. This does not mean (perish the thought) 
that he should be crucified but his example throws light on how far 
successful entrepreneurship can go in Pakistan on very little. Then 
we say this is not a business-friendly country. Ask Sadruddin 
Hashwani, the hotel-owner, who likes entertaining senior military 
figures. He certainly would not disagree.

While it is easy to pick on politicians, the worst offenders 
perhaps are mandarins who remain in advantageous positions no 
matter which government is in power. If the true story of the Ahmad 
Sadiks, the Farooquis and the Saeed Mehdis were ever written, mere 
politicos would look like babes in the wood--barring, of course, 
the Sharifs, the tycoons of Gujrat and the other political pontiffs 
who have imparted a wholly new meaning to the marriage of power and 
money in Pakistan.

And what about high-flying bankers? In a sense the current drive 
against defaulters is flawed because it touches only the loan-
takers not the loan-givers. Unless crooked bankers get it in the 
neck too the right precedents will not be set.

The stuck-in-the mud accountability that we are seeing, therefore, 
is self-revelatory. While it shows what the army is capable of when 
it is singleminded, it also draws a circle around its limitations. 
Take, for instance, the case of the Mehran Bank largesse funnelled 
to Muslim League politicians in the 1990 elections. How much 
General Beg took from the banker Yunus Habib, how much was put into 
secret accounts and which politicians were the beneficiaries of 
this bounty is all known and even on record. A former spymaster, Lt 

Gen Durrani, has even given a signed and sealed affidavit in this 
connection. Since Nawaz Sharif's name also appears in this list, he 
can be thrown out of politics for life on this count alone. But 
mention this case and faces go hard and blank. The only charitable 
explanation for this is that it cuts too close to the bone.

This defensive attitude is understandable but it can often be taken 
to excessive lengths. While the army never tires of proclaiming 
that it is the only effectively-functioning institution left in the 
country (a claim which, rightly or wrongly, finds widespread 
support in Pakistan), what it fails to realize is that its self-
confidence on occasion falls short of the role it assigns to itself 
in national life. For example, it bristles too much at sharp 
criticism which nowhere in the world would be taken as the hallmark 
of a self-confident posture.

With the above paragraph as a preface, let me come straight to the 
disturbing case of one of my former colleagues in the Punjab 
assembly, Rana Sanaullah from Faisalabad. On November 25 at a 
meeting of suspended Muslim League parliamentarians at the 
residence of Ch. Pervez Ellahi in Lahore, several persons spoke, 
including Rana Sanaullah. Some of the remarks he made were 
intemperate and uncalled for. I have checked this from other 
sources who confirm that he said things against the army he should 
not have.

Two days later a case was registered against Rana Sanaullah at the 
Ghalib Market Thana in Lahore. On November 28 he was picked up from 
his house in Faisalabad and brought to the Qila Gujar Singh police 
station in Lahore. The morning of November 29 he remained in the 
lock-up. At night, I am told, around 9.30 pm he was taken out of 
his cell and under armed escort taken to the vicinity of the Lahore 
airport. There he was blindfolded and put on a jeep. After 
travelling some distance he was taken out, his hands were tied and 
so tightly yanked up that his feet could barely touch the ground. 
Then followed a severe whipping by two people who knew their trade, 
in all 20-20 lashes being given in this manner. With blood 
streaming down his body Rana Sanaullah was brought back to his cell 
at the Qila Gujjar Singh thana. Now he is lodged in Kot Lakhpat 

If the information I have received is wrong I deserve to be 
punished. If it is correct it portrays a barbarity which brings 
shame on all of us. Granted that Rana Sanaullah said things he 
should not have. Still, he was only delivering a speech and not 
planning to throw a bomb or committing any other act of terrorism. 
But suppose, for argument's sake, it was violence he had in mind. 
Does even that justify the treatment he received?

Carlos was the scourge of the western world. Picked up in a sting 
operation from Sudan he was taken to France where he is now behind 
bars. But was he ever tortured or subjected to the lash? The 
Baader-Meinhof gang in West Germany, the Red Army in Japan, were 
committed to waging war against their societies. But when caught 
their members were not denied due process of law. Rana Sanaullah is 
no member of the Baader-Meinhof gang. While not an intimate of 
mine, I say it from personal knowledge that he was one of the more 
aware and intelligent members of the suspended Punjab assembly. He 
did not deserve this.

Since he is unknown to Madeleine Albright or Karl Inderfurth (not 
to mention CNN and BBC) his arrest and punishment are unlikely to 
ripple the waters of international tranquillity. But that is hardly 
the point. Such behaviour as Rana Sanaullah has suffered hurts him 
less than it diminishes all Pakistanis. When Najam Sethi was 
arrested by the last government on the grounds that a speech he had 
delivered in New Delhi threatened the security of Pakistan, it made 
Pakistan look small and ridiculous by suggesting that Pakistan was 
so insecure as to feel threatened by a mere speech. The same holds 
true for Rana Sanaullah. While his words on that particular 
occasion were foolish, the reaction to them shows the country in a 
dim light.

Since the Governor Punjab, Lt Gen Safdar, is too busy issuing 
orders of the day (old habits obviously dying hard) I will say 
nothing to him. But can the Corps Commander, Lahore, be asked to 
look into the matter and, if nothing else, at least ensure decent 
treatment for Rana Sanaullah in Kot Lakhpat Jail? A word in the end 
about Mushahid Hussain. The exuberance he showed as Nawaz Sharif's 
information minister is a matter between him and his conscience. Of 
concern now is his present plight. He is being held without charge, 
is being denied due process and his family knows nothing of his 
whereabouts. Why must we do things in this fashion? It is wrong and 
far from making us look good, only helps our enemies to paint a 
darker picture of us.

A column for Christmas
By Irfan Husain

Very soon after he took over, General Musharraf spoke out in a 
refreshingly direct manner against religious extremism. This 
unambiguous statement was reinforced by his publicly stated 
admiration for modern secular Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal 

While many rational Pakistanis here and abroad took some comfort 
from the general's straightforward words and waited for action, the 
religious right immediately attacked these sentiments. Since then, 
the general and his spokesmen have maintained a discreet silence on 
the matter. When I mentioned this to a senior member of this 
government, he repeated the now-familiar plea for more time. But 
why does the general need more time to enunciate his policy on the 
status of the minorities, for example? Surely if he can make 
detailed pronouncements on the state of the economy, he can tell us 
how he will safeguard the rights of our minorities.

If he would like to hear the voice of a member of this threatened 
community, let me reproduce below excerpts of an e-mail I received 
last month from a Pakistani-American reader who now lives safely in 
the United States. His name is J. Philip, and he was a student at 
St Patrick's School, General Musharraf's alma mater:

I understand the Chief Executive is from St Pat's... In any case he 
wouldn't be a fanatic like Zia and that's the good part. I wonder 
though whether he would do away with divisive laws like the 
separate electorate laws, something very dear to the hearts of 
minorities. Also, other laws like the one on blasphemy is again a 
life and death issue for minorities... I sometimes feel the country 
has abandoned me with all these laws and I am scared to think about 
coming back for a visit. This is true for most other minorities I 
have talked to here. I sometimes wonder how the minorities in 
Kashmir - since about 25% of Kashmiris are Hindus or Buddhists - 
would feel about being in a state controlled by Pakistan.

I guess these questions would not be in the minds of anybody given 
the problems the country faces... For the past 50 years the Kashmir 
issue has been the issue of supreme importance for which half the 
country was lost and the rest [remains] mired in poverty. Isn't it 
time for a change?"

I think all of us who belong to the majority Muslim population of 
this country should be ashamed that members of the minority should 
feel so unsafe in Pakistan that they fear returning to their homes. 
Even Pakistanis going to India for a visit don't feel so insecure. 
This is a truly damning comment on what we have been reduced to as 
a nation. While we blame Zia for virtually disenfranchising the 
minorities through his separate electorate ordinance, the fact is 
that since his death eleven years ago, no civilian government has 
moved to undo this divisive law. To his credit, Farooq Leghari has 
included the repeal of separate electorates in his Millat Party's 
manifesto, but apart from him, no mainstream politician - even a 
self-proclaimed liberal like Benazir Bhutto - has raised his or her 
voice against it.

What J. Philip has said about Kashmiri non-Muslims is also very 
relevant. While beating our pathetic little drum to raise support 
for our stance on Kashmir, we fail to consider the fact that given 
our terrible track record of dealing with our own minorities, the 
world is hardly likely to entrust the fate of millions of non-
Muslims to us. If we can't safeguard the rights of our Christian, 
Hindu and Ahmadi citizens, we are clearly incapable of guaranteeing 
the lives and property of Kashmiri non-Muslims. As it is, Kashmiri 
mujahideen groups are targeting innocent Hindus, apart from 
attacking Muslims who do not support them.

Fortunately, bigotry and intolerance are limited to a small number 
of highly vocal and well-armed fanatics whose influence far exceeds 
their numbers. After years of financial and administrative support 
from Zia throughout the Eighties, they have become accustomed to 
setting the national agenda. Unfortunately, a succession of supine 
civilian governments just could not summon the gumption to face 
them down, even though both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had a 
common interest in confronting and routing these enemies of 

The question now before us is whether the present military 
government has the will to address this problem. I place this issue 
very high on any rational set of priorities. Currently, Pakistan is 
being viewed as a breeding ground of religious intolerance and an 
exporter of fanatical terrorists. Our image abroad is so awful that 
few foreigners are willing to risk coming here. When we talk about 
increasing tourism and foreign investment, we are totally out of 
touch with reality. As long as the perception in the international 
community is that Pakistan is a haven for terrorist gangs, only the 
foolhardy will invest here, or visit these shores for a holiday.

Scores of non-Muslims are currently languishing in jails across the 
country on trumped-up charges under the Blasphemy Act. Under this 
Act, it is easy for a couple of people to swear they heard or saw a 
non-Muslim blaspheme against the holy Prophet (PBUH). Since the 
automatic punishment for such a crime is death, this has become an 
easy way to settle old scores or acquire somebody's property. Also, 
many Ahmadis have been sentenced for the simple "crime" of saying 
or writing "Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim." And yet we take great 
pleasure if a foreigner manages to recite.

Under such circumstances, it comes as no surprise that J. Philip 
and his co-religionists should feel threatened in Pakistan. Growing 
up in Karachi, I, too studied at St Patrick's around the same time 
General Musharraf did. Apart from Christians, Parsis and Hindus, we 
even had a couple of Jews studying with us. Nobody bothered about 
each other's faith. We played and fought as boys do, and survived 
under the ministrations of tough disciplinarians like Father Tony 
Lobo. When I returned to the school a few years ago out of pure 
nostalgia, I was shocked to see that there were hardly any non-
Muslim names in the class lists on the notice board.

So despite Mr Jinnah's assurances to the minorities that they would 
be treated as equal citizens in Pakistan, the sad fact is that we 
have not kept faith with the founder of the nation. But can General 
Musharraf undo the harm his uniformed predecessor, General Zia, did 
not just to the minorities, but to the whole country? Only time 
will tell, but meanwhile, let me wish my Christian readers a very 
happy Christmas.

Giving police a human face
By Aziz Siddiqui

THE Chief Executive says whatever he touches he finds stinking to 
high heaven. That is no news. The challenge is to change that.

One area of putrefaction is that of the police. The stench is 
perhaps nowhere more pervasive. Nothing is more in need of 
correction, and nothing more possible of at least early initiatives 
at correction.

The experts will go into the structural and organizational flaws; 
the problems of check and supervision; the inadequacies in 
recruitment, training and equipment; the mismatch between duties 
and emoluments, expectation and resources, informal authority and 
formal constraints. All that is important. It has to be worked over 
in detail.

That exercise is said to be under way. The interior minister has 
promised total reform in the next three months. He has given 
tidings of a national public safety commission amendments in the 
PPC, CrPC, Police Act and Evidence Act, preclusion of political 
interference, involvement of the community, etc.

All that is good. The police force is after all what the society 
has made it. And in its ugliest features it has been cast most of 
all in the image of the rulers we have had. The present rulers can 
make a contribution too for better or worse - though it is 
difficult to see what can be worse.

A few changes however need not await the total overhaul. The 
government can demonstrate its seriousness even ahead of that a few 
of the grave symptoms and work backwards.

Take a couple of recent incidents. One is the murder at the hands 
of the police (some law enforcement agency, they say, which is much 
the same thing for the rest of us) of a part-time newspaperman 
Nawaz Zulfiqar Memon of Thatta. The facts should have been easy to 
establish, the culprits easier to identify. Yet, after more than a 
week of the tragedy, the authorities are yet to come up with their 
findings, if they have been at it at all. Why? Surely, that isn't 
much of an earnest of the minister's promise of stiff punishments 
to erring policemen?

Then as the story goes, Memon had been laid into by the goons of a 
local landlord when he had tried to stop their belabouring a van 
driver. His efforts to register an FIR of the incident drew a blank 
even at the SSP level. His pestering at last compelled recording of 
the complaint, but that was the end of it. Nothing followed.He 
decided to approach authorities in Islamabad.

This is a part of the abominable order. When persons of any 
influence are involved in a crime, they make sure no one is able to 
file a complaint of it. Often they do not even have to bother. The 
policemen concerned themselves exercise abundant caution. They do 
not venture anything that is sure to annoy their local patrons. The 
patrons thus enjoy the licence of limitless lawlessness.

The evil will of course have to await the promised reform, and much 
else to begin to be rooted out. It will take some dismantling of 
the power of the feudals and according to the local community some 
authority over the local police. But why not meanwhile begin with 
some little things? Such as setting up of an easy channel for 
redressal of complaints against non-registration of an FIR, or 
inaction over a registered FIR? It may only require some persons 
outside the bureaucratic hierarchy, but with sufficient authority, 
to respond to such complaints and ask the necessary questions of 
the people concerned.

Then, who were the so-called law-enforcement agency people who 
seized Memon at the Islamabad airport? And why?

Either the influential one in Thatta was so influential that he 
could play puppets even out in the federal capital - which is not 
unlikely. Or the law enforcers in Islamabad are so jumpy that they 
bridle at the sight of any unfamiliar face. This too isn't 
unlikely. A letter in a newspaper the other day complained of how 
five persons, all engineers serving in senior positions in business 
establishments in Islamabad, were stopped during one of their daily 
evening drives along Constitutional Avenue and subjected to a 
humiliatingly extended body and car search.

It is plain silly. You don't overtake a would-be terrorist or a 
would-be assassin by making a routine of harassing common citizens. 
The series of rocket attacks in the capital on November 12 proved 
that. Karachi was bad enough. People there are not too ready even 
now to drive out late in the evenings through unbusy stretches of 
roads for fear of a holdup - by the police patrol. Gen. Moinuddin 
Haidar and his provincial counterparts ought to consider ways to 
strictly limit such meddling with citizens only to sensitive areas 
or on specific tip-offs.

Then, how many law enforcement agencies are there? There were more 
than half a dozen at last count. It is hard to think of a country 
with so much of law-enforcement and so little of enforcement of the 
law. There ought to be some quick rationalisation of the number and 
functions of these bodies. The present medley makes for more of 
needling of the innocent and less of security of the nation. Much 
worse than needling in Memon's case.Worst of all is the use of the 
third degree. Torture is as routinely practised by the police as it 
is emphatically prohibited by the law and the constitution. The 
Punjab governor proclaimed the other day that there shall no more 
be any extra-judicial killing in the province. Thank you very much. 
But why not also a ban on torture? (the regime can even win some 
much-needed international goodwill by announcing a readiness to 
sign the UN Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or 
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, though leaving the ratification 
of it to a future elected parliament.)

If that is not done, torture can even get worse, if that is 
possible. For denial to the police their freedom to kill may only 
enhance their tendency to inflict pain. The frustration on one side 
will be vented on the other. Not being able to kill will be made up 
by rendering living more and more of a punishment itself. And it 
will be presumed to be okay by the governor so long as it is kept 
just short of the last gasp.

Torture often leaves its marks. Instances of the use of it cannot 
therefore be denied, although the police brazenly denies them all 
the time. Ishaq Billa, the accomplice of the self-proclaimed abuser 
and killer of a hundred boys, was claimed to have jumped out the 
CIA office window while he was being interrogated by the police, 
and died. A judicial inquiry had an autopsy done on the dead body 
and concluded that no, before falling from the window he had been 
subjected to torture. A case of murder was registered against the 
concerned police officials.

Then for some reason, the judicial finding was not considered 
conclusive enough. So this time an army inquest was set up. It had 
the body taken out again and then somehow it arrived at the view 
that there had been no torture! That the man had died of the fall. 
There was no explanation how the earlier autopsy had so badly 
goofed. The Lahore High Court has since ordered release of the 
first report. That is still, till this writing, to be done.

This whole child-killing episode gets curiouser and curiouser. And 
the reason in the common perception is not entirely that the 
mystery is hard to crack. People suspect complicity of the police 
in the crime.

In another case of murder, the Lahore High Court last week made 
some strong remarks against the police. Some policemen had killed a 
hospital lift-boy, then had their legal branch certify it as an 
accidental killing, and on the strength of that had a magistrate 
grant them bail (although a magistrate wasn't even entitled to do 
that). Does firing one shot after another at the same person 
constitute accidental killing, the judge asked of the magistrate 
before throwing him out of the court. Our policemen, he added, 
shoot at people the way others take aim at deers in the wild. 
Strong words. But the courts should know.

It is that kind of a situation that Gen. Moinuddin Haider has to 
face to bring rule of law into our midst. His test begins with how 
the government responds to the current incidents. What it does with 
the killers of Zulfiqar Memon, both in Islamabad and in Thatta. 
What steps it takes so that the various failures shown up are never 
repeated - steps especially in terms of loosening the feudal hold 
over the police, guaranteeing registration and investigation of 
FIRs, and ending the use of torture. And how it not only resolves 
the mystery of that killer of children, but makes repetition of 
crimes of such ghastly proportions far more unlikely than they are 
now. The stench will take a lot of cleansing. But it can begin to 
be done.

PCB request for change in teleconference date
Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 22: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ad hoc committee 
on Wednesday admitted that it has received a 20-minute video 
footage and a letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) 
who have objected to the bowling action of tearaway fast bowler 
Shoaib Akhtar.

A PCB spokesman refused to disclose the contents of the letter by 
ICC cricket manager operations Clive Hitchcock, but he acknowledged 
that the video included bowling actions of Shoaib from warm up 
matches as well as from Test matches in Australia.

"On Tuesday afternoon, the PCB received the video footage and 
letter from the ICC on the bowling action of Shoaib Akhtar," PCB 
secretary Shafqat Rana said from Lahore on telephone.

Rana confirmed that the ICC has fixed Dec 30 as the date for the 
teleconference of its nine-man advisory panel on illegal deliveries 
to discuss Shoaib's bowling action. Pakistan will be represented by 
former captain Imran Khan.

Nevertheless, Rana added that the PCB has requested the ICC to 
either hold the teleconference on Dec 26 or after the conclusion of 
the tri-nation series in Australia which begins on Jan 9 and 
concludes on Feb 6.

Rana said the request has been made because the Pakistan cricket 
team leaves for Australia on Dec 29 "and it would be an unkind act 
for Shoaib if he is declared ineligible to play in the series after 
being suspended by the advisory panel."

Rana, however, stressed that Shoaib Akhtar will not be pulled out 
from the team despite the latest turn of events.

"He has been selected and will accompany the team to Australia 
because the ICC letter doesn't say that Shoaib Akhtar can't play 
until cleared by the advisory panel," Rana said.

Nevertheless, sources in the cricket board said the officials were 
contemplating pulling out Shoaib Akhtar from the Australia-bound 
team. Sources added that Shahid Nazir and Waqar Younis were being 
considered for selection. But they stressed that final decision 
will be announced on Friday when PCB chairman Lt-Gen Tauqir Zia 
holds his first press conference in Lahore.

John Reid, who was the match referee in the three-Test series 
between Australia and Pakistan, had questioned the legality of 
Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action. He was supported by Peter Willey 
and Darrell Hair who officiated the Perth Test which Pakistan lost 
by an innings.

Hitchcock says in the letter: "...the report by the match referee 
has made it clear that not every delivery is affected but all three 
officials were concerned about the straightening of Shoaib's arm 
immediately before a bouncer or an express fast delivery."

However, Shafqat Rana said a five-man panel of the PCB, comprising 
former Test players, categorically rejected Reid's observation.

He said that on Tuesday afternoon, Javed Miandad, Ramiz Raja, 
Intikhab Alam, Zakir Khan and he, along with PCB chairman Lt-Gen 
Tauqir Zia, manager of the team Brig (retd) Khawaja Nasir and Col. 
Pervaiz watched the 20-minute video.

"All the members were of the unanimous opinion that Shoaib Akhtar's 
bowling action had no fault. His arm, as observed by everyone, was 
straight before the release of the ball," Rana said.

Shafqat Rana said the PCB was dejected and upset with John Reid's 
report. He said Reid was the match referee in last year's three-
Test series in South Africa between Pakistan and South Africa where 
Shoaib Akhtar played in all the matches.

"But Reid never mentioned in his report that he had suspicions 
about Shoaib's bowling action. Now all of a sudden, when Darrell 
Hair stood in the Perth Test, Reid came up with this theory," the 
PCB secretary said.

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram angrily dismissed doubts over the 
legality of Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action.

Commission report: PCB outlines policy
By Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 24: The new Pakistan cricket chief on Friday spelled 
out his board's policy on the ongoing match-fixing and betting saga 
that has also rocked the sport internationally.

Lt-Gen Tauqir Zia, talking to Dawn from Lahore on telephone, 
emphasized that he would take no action against the cricketers 
until and unless advised by the patron of the Pakistan Cricket 

"The report of the judicial commission has been sent to the 
ministry of sports. I don't know if it has been delivered to 
President Rafiq Tarar. But the PCB would act only if the president 
orders action against players," the general said.

The PCB chairman stressed that the judicial commission was 
constituted by the government. He stated that the government was 
only entitled to take decision against the players which would be 
implemented by the board if told. "I have not been appointed to 
start investigating foul play and destabilize the team. My 
assignment is to streamline Pakistan cricket and its team," he 

The PCB ad hoc committee chairman said he had complete faith in the 
cricketers. But he minced no words in saying that if the president 
ordered action against the players, "there would be no delay in 
implementing the orders."

He said he has not asked the ministry of sports to provide him the 
copy of a judicial commission report. He said he was not interested 
in going through the investigations. "As far as I am concerned, all 
the players are innocent until proven guilty. And if there is any 
evidence against the players, then the orders should come from the 
government," he remarked.

"The cricketers are very well paid off. The board takes the best 
possible care of them. After all this, no one expects them to give 
priority to their own interests than the interest of the team and 
the country," said the general.

The general said he was planning to go to Australia during the tri-
nation series either by the end of January or early February. He 
said his travel would depend on his engagements.

Asked if he would be discussing the subject of sledging, the 
general said a lot of matters of bilateral interests would be 
discussed. The general said he would be attending an International 
Cricket Council (ICC) conference to be held in Singapore in the 
second week of February.

On the Shoaib Akhtar's throwing row, the PCB chairman said the 
bowler had full blessings of the board and promised all out support 
to him. He pointed out that after watching the 20-minute video 
provided by the ICC, one thing was quite evident. "No shot has been 
taken from the mid-wicket camera. Not only me, but the entire panel 
who watched the video, was of the unanimous opinion that mid-wicket 
camera is the best angel to judge if Shoaib's arm was coming from 
the top."

The general questioned the fixing of Dec 30 date for the 
teleconference in the background that the board received a 
communication from the ICC inquiring about the availability of 
Imran Khan who is Pakistan's representative on the nine-man 
advisory panel on illegal deliveries. "How can the ICC fix a date 
without consulting the availability of Pakistan's representative. 
After fixing the date, they are looking for Imran. It's quite 
strange," he said.

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