------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 01 April 2000 Issue : 06/14 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + India rejects peace talks offer + No military solution to Kashmir: Clinton demands full democracy + Highlights of US President Bill Clinton's TV address + Pakistan set to sue India for downing plane + Kashmir ruining economy: Pakistan may forego mediation option: CE + Sindh High Court quashes proceedings against Asif Zardari + Pakistan not to conduct more Nuclear tests: envoy + Supreme Court directs AG to give legal justification + Meeting called on April 9: PML strategy after plane case verdict + No alliance with PML: GDA + PML opposes proposed LB system + No timeframe yet, says Musharraf: Malaysia presses for democracy + Musharraf leaves on four-nation visit today + Ban on political parties ruled out + Valuable items of Surrey Palace can be sold: UK court + Army officer accused of killing MQM men + Sentence given to child killer un-Islamic, says CII --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Institutions asked to avoid savings schemes + Government may club taxation stages + FY 98-99: Budget deficit revised + Curbs on foreign exchange outflow eased + Warns of regulatory steps: SBP chief for merger of small banks + ADB focus on private sector + Zero duty on packing bag + G-77 summit: India-Pakistan contacts likely + Next year's PSDP estimated at Rs108bn + Assets, incomes survey in May --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + The fourth junta Ayaz Amir + Cost analysis of our Kashmir policy Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan clinch Sharjah Cricket Cup + Pakistan end South African winning spree + Tauqir wants to guide Pakistan cricket to better future + Pakistan hockey team confident after Osaka

India rejects peace talks offer

NEW DELHI, March 31: India on Friday rejected Pakistan's first 
formal proposal for the resumption of peace talks saying Islamabad 
must first halt its support for, what it alleged was, cross-border 
"terrorism" in Kashmir.

An Indian spokesman confirmed Islamabad's formal proposal for talks 
at a meeting Wednesday between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Inamul 
Haq and the Indian High Commissioner G. Parthasarathy in Pakistan.

"During the meeting, the Pakistan foreign secretary conveyed his 
country's desire to renew dialogue with India and also raised 
concerns about India's so-called aggressive postures against 
Pakistan," foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said.

"But the right conditions have to be created first for a dialogue," 
he told reporters here. "What was articulated through the media was 
articulated in person," he said. "It makes no substantive 
difference. India's position, in substance and nuance, remains 

"It is not a question of they (Pakistan) making an offer and we 
(India) rejecting it because we have always said we want a dialogue 
but the right conditions have to be created first," Jassal said.

"The cessation of Pakistan's cross-border terrorism and the 
abandonment of its vicious propoganda are essential ingredients for 
any meaningful dialogue," the ministry said in a statement.

Wednesday's offer by Islamabad is its first formal proposal since 
the military takeover in Islamabad in October, though the Chief 
Executive General Pervez Musharraf has repeatedly made public 
offers for talks.

The offer came four days after US President Bill Clinton wrapped up 
his March 19-25 tour of the subcontinent with calls on India and 
Pakistan to respect the Line of Control (LoC) for a halt to cross-
border hostilities and for the resumption of a dialogue between the 

Peace talks between India and Pakistan have remained frozen since a 
military conflict last summer between Indian soldiers and Pakistan-
backed forces in Kashmir.

The 10-weeks of fighting in the Kargil mountains of Kashmir which 
began in May last year followed a landmark bus journey by Indian 
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Lahore in February. 

No military solution to Kashmir: Clinton demands full democracy
Ihtasham ul Haque 

ISLAMABAD, March 25: US President Bill Clinton called on the 
government of Pakistan here on Saturday to restore democracy and 
ease tensions with India. Sharing Islamabad's concerns about 
Kashmir and its conviction that the human rights 
of all people must be respected regardless of the flag they lived 
under, he said: " But a stark truth must be faced. There is no 
military solution to Kashmir. International sympathy, support, and 
intervention cannot be won by provoking a bigger, bloodier 

"On the contrary, sympathy and support will be lost. And no matter 
how great the grievance, it is wrong to support attacks against 
civilians across the Line of control", he said further.

Addressing the people of Pakistan on radio and TV, the US 
president, who quoted from the holy Quran and the sayings of the 
Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal in his speech, also offered to 
restore full economic and political partnership, provided Pakistan 
met various challenges.

"I hope you will be able to meet the difficult challenges we have 
discussed today. If you do not, there is a danger that Pakistan may 
grow even more isolated, draining even more resources away from the 
needs of the people, moving even closer to a conflict that no one 
can win. But if you do, our full economic and political partnership 
can be restored for the benefit of the people of Pakistan", he 

He said he was here as a great friend of Pakistan, a concerned 
friend who would stand with the people of Pakistan as long as "you 
seek the stable prosperous, democratic nation of your founder's 

Mr Clinton said that despite setbacks and suffering, the people of 
Pakistan have built this nation from the ground up on a foundation 
of democracy and law. "And for more than 50 years, we have been 
partners. Pakistan helped the United States open a dialogue with 
China. We stood together when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. 
Our partnership helped end the Cold War. In the years since we have 
cooperated in the fight against terrorism".

He said Pakistan could achieve great things in this new world. "But 
obstacles stand in the way. They are daunting. The political 
situation, the economic situation, the tension in this region. They 
are holding Pakistan back. They are making the lives of the people 
of Pakistan harder by the day. I do not have to tell you this. This 
is something you know. It is something you see.

"But I have hope. I believe Pakistan can make its way through these 
troubles and build a future worthy of the vision of its founders - 
a stable, prosperous, democratic Pakistan secure in its borders, 
friendly with its neighbours, confident in its future. A Pakistan, 
as Jinnah said, 'at peace within and peace without'.

"We share your disappointment that previous democratic governments 
in Pakistan did not do a better for their citizens. But one thing 
is certain, democracy cannot develop, if it is constantly uprooted 
before it has a chance to take hold. Successful democratic 
government takes time, patience and hard work. The answer to flawed 
democracy is not to end democracy, but to improve it."

He said he knew that General Musharraf had just announced a date 
for local elections. "That is a step. But only a step - the return 
of civilian democratic rule requires a complete plan, real 

The US president said there were obstacles Pakistan was facing, 
including violence and extremism. "Americans also have felt these 
evils. Surely, we have both suffered enough to know that no 
grievance, no cause and no system of belief can ever justify the 
deliberate killing of innocents. Those who bomb bus stations, 
target embassies, or kill those who uphold the law are not heroes. 
They are our common enemies - for their aim is to exploit painful 
problems, not to resolve them. Just as we have fought together to 
defeat those who traffic in narcotics, today I ask Pakistan to 
intensify it efforts to defeat those who inflict terror."

Highlights of US President Bill Clinton's TV address
ISLAMABAD, March 25: US President Bill Clinton gave a frank 15-
minute televised address to the people of Pakistan on Saturday, 
warning them to reduce tensions with India and return to democracy.

The following are the highlights of his address:

"I am here as a friend. A committed friend who will stand with the 
people of Pakistan as long as you seek the stable, prosperous 
democratic nation of your founder's dream.

"This era does not reward people who struggle in vain to redraw 
borders with blood. It belongs to those with the vision to look 
beyond borders for partners in trade.

"Pakistan can achieve great things in this new world but real 
obstacles stand in the way, the political situation, the economic 
situation, the tensions in this region, they are holding Pakistan 
back from achieving its full potential in the global economy."

DEMOCRACY: "Clearly the absence of democracy makes it 
harder, not easier, for people to move ahead.

"The answer to flawed democracy is not to end democracy but to 
improve it. The return of civilian democratic rule requires a 
complete plan, a real roadmap."

NUCLEAR WEAPONS: "We must try to resolve the differences 
between our two nations on nuclear weapons. Are you really more 
secure today than before you tested nuclear weapons? Will these 
weapons make war with India less likely or simply more deadly? Will 
a costly arms race help you to achieve any economic development? 
Will it bring you closer to your friends around the world?

"I ask Pakistan also to be a leader for non-proliferation. One way 
to strengthen your security will be to join the Comprehensive Test 
Ban Treaty. The whole world will rally around you if you do."

TIES WITH INDIA: "I believe it is also in Pakistan's interest to 
reduce tensions with India. Pakistan also must help create 
conditions that will allow dialogue to succeed. For India and 
Pakistan this must be a time of restraint, for respect of the LoC, 
for renewed lines of communications.

"A stark truth must also be faced. There is no military solution to 

"No matter how great the grievance it is wrong to support attacks 
against civilians across the Line of Control. We (the United 
States) cannot and will not mediate or resolve the dispute in 
Kashmir. Only you and India can do that through dialogue."

PAKISTAN'S FUTURE: "I hope you will be able to meet the difficult 
challenges we have discussed today. If you do not, there is a 
danger that Pakistan may grow even more isolated, draining even 
more resources away from the needs of the people, moving even 
closer to a conflict no one can win.

"If you do meet these challenges our full economic and political 
partnership can be restored for the benefit of the people of 

Pakistan set to sue India for downing plane
AMSTERDAM, March 31: Pakistan will sue India before the World Court 
on Monday for shooting down one of its naval planes last year, 
killing 16 people. Pakistan is asking the International Court of 
Justice in The Hague to rule that India was responsible for 
bringing down its surveillance aircraft, the Atlantique, on August 

It wants India to pay compensation to Pakistan and to the families 
of the dead personnel, most of them young trainees. The incident, 
termed an "act of military aggression" by Pakistan, heightened 
tension between the neighbouring countries just a month after they 
pulled back from the brink of war over the disputed Himalayan 
region of Kashmir.

Pakistan says the aircraft was in its air space when India fired 
air-to-air missiles. It also says Indian helicopters sneaked into 
Pakistan to pick up crash debris in an effort to convince others 
the Atlantique had been in Indian air space. India says the plane 
intruded into its airspace and was fired on after warnings were 
given, so Pakistan is to blame.

The World Court is the main judicial organ of the United Nations 
and settles disputes between states in accordance with 
international law. Its decisions are binding and without appeal.

LONG LEGAL BATTLE AHEAD: However, before the court can rule, it 
must first decide whether it has jurisdiction over the case at all.

India argues the World Court's judges do not have jurisdiction, 
citing a so-called reservation it filed in 1974 to exclude disputes 
between India and other Commonwealth states and disputes related to 
hostilities and armed conflicts.

On Monday, lawyers from Pakistan will open their case, trying to 
convince the judges that these exceptions do not apply to the 
Atlantique incident.

The hearings will last until Thursday, with two rounds of arguments 
from both sides. A ruling could take four months.

Pakistan and India are among 62 countries to have signed up to the 
World Court's jurisdiction.

The court has 24 cases on its docket including a complaint by 
Yugoslavia against NATO states involved in air strikes last year 
and a dispute between Libya and the United States and Britain over 
the Lockerbie airline bombing.-Reuters

Kashmir ruining economy: Pakistan may forego mediation option: CE
JAKARTA, March 30: The Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, 
said on Thursday that the Kashmir conflict was keeping South Asia 
in grinding poverty, and indicated his government would forego 
requests for outside mediation and deal directly with India.

Musharraf, in Indonesia on the third leg of a Southeast Asian tour 
of five nations, reiterated that he was ready to hold direct talks 
with India to resolve the issue of Kashmir.

The chief executive has already visited Malaysia and Singapore 
during the tour and is scheduled to depart Friday for Brunei. It 
was also announced on Thursday that he would visit Thailand over 
the weekend.

"I and my government are for peace in the (South Asia) region for 
the sake of (an) economic uplift of the region," the general said 
during a joint news conference with Indonesian President 
Abdurrahman Wahid.
"I'm prepared to meet anybody at any level at any time to address 
this core issue of Kashmir," Musharraf said.

Asked whether Pakistan would stop requesting mediation by the 
United States or other countries, he said: "I am prepared to 
address the Kashmir issue whether it's through bilateral relations 
(with India), or through mediation, or through facilitation, or 
through whatever word you want to use."

India has rejected outside mediation on the decades-long conflict 
that has sparked three wars with Pakistan. "The main issue is we 
need to talk about Kashmir. We need to initiate the dialogue, 
whatever the methodology," he said.

During a speech in Singapore earlier Thursday, Musharraf said 
Kashmir "cries out for a just and fair solution". But Musharraf 
declined to be drawn on the likely fate of former Prime Minister 
Nawaz Sharif.

"I would not like to put cart before the horse. Let the sentence 
come. I am not a vindictive man. One would like to see what the 
sentence is and then we decide."

Musharraf arrived in Jakarta from Singapore and was welcomed by 
Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid, who said Indonesia had no 
wish to interfere in Pakistan's domestic issues.

"We as a state would not interfere in other country, especially 
with a brother country like Pakistan," Wahid said. "Don't think it 
(the visit) is a legitimisation," he said. "He leads a country, he 
comes to another country. There's no problem with that."

Musharraf will fly to Brunei on Friday, and then onto Thailand, a 
last-minute addition on Thursday to his schedule, according to Thai 
government officials in Bangkok.

PAKISTANI COMMUNITY: "I want a return to civil government as soon 
as possible, but I don't want to bring a system that is going to do 
away with whatever good we have done," General Musharraf told a 
gathering of the Pakistani community on the second day of a two-day 
visit to Singapore.

His comment brought loud applause from the crowd, mostly 
businessmen. Musharraf told the Pakistani community that he was 
determined to reverse the bleak fortunes of the country and make 
them proud of Pakistan.

"When I say something, I am saying it with full conviction ... We 
will turn it around, and with every passing day I am getting 
convinced that we can turn it around," he said as more than 100 
members of the community applauded.

"We want to improve the standard of Pakistan so that every 
Pakistani abroad walks with his chest up, and head up. That is what 
we are trying to achieve," he said. Musharraf also asked the 
Pakistanis to be patient as it takes time to rebuild a country. "It 
is in a pathetic state," he said, before leaving Singapore for 

He said his government was involved in a structural overhaul of the 
economy and society which would take a long time, and until then, 
plans for national elections would have to be put on hold. The 
revival of the moribund economy was a priority and efforts were 
being made on numerous fronts, including correcting trade and 
budget deficits, he said.

"There is no lack of resolve and commitment (to reform) but we have 
a lack of resources to do it," he said. Musharraf said the army 
would be conscripted to help track down commercial criminals and to 
help audit the economy to strengthen the tax net. He said his March 
23 announcement of local elections was a first step. "...then we 
will go to the provinces and national. Then we'll bring back civil 
government. But no dates, no dates will be given," he said.

Musharraf, citing growing press freedom, said there was more 
democracy in Pakistan now than during civilian rule. Musharraf said 
saving Pakistan was more important to him at the moment than 
restoring democracy. "I will do it, and I am committed to bringing 
full democracy to Pakistan," he said. "Pakistan is more important 
to me now than returning to democracy," he said to the enthusiastic 

An unnamed Pakistani businessman, applauding, replied back saying, 
"we don't need" democracy. He later told AFP that he was very happy 
he had come to the function because Musharraf had given him hope 
for his country. "I truly believe he can turn the country around," 
he said.

Members of the Pakistani association here said they were very 
impressed and moved by Musharraf's speech as he brought hope for 
them following many years of a corrupted government. "He spoke from 
his heart, and he really means what he says," Suliman Hamid, 
president of the Pakistani association here, told AFP.

Hamid said he also agreed that this was not the time to be talking 
about democracy. "I want full democracy, yes, sometime, but it is 
not the time now," he said. "Pakistan is more important to me now 
than returning to democracy," he said to the enthusiastic crowd.-

Sindh High Court quashes proceedings against Asif Zardari
KARACHI, March 31: The proceedings in US$84 million corruption case 
against accused/appellant Senator Asif Ali Zardari were quashed on 
Friday by a bench of the High Court of Sindh (SHC), 
comprising Justice Amanullah Abbasi.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Senator Asif Ali Zardari, 
seeking the quashment of the proceedings pending trial before the 
Federal Anti-Corruption Court, Central I.

According to the prosecution, Senator Asif Ali Zardari, the spouse 
of the-then prime minister Benazir Bhutto, using his influence 
forced the KESC's board of directors to award a consultancy 
contract worth US$ 84 million to Messrs Laymayer Consultants for 
consultancy regarding the Sixth Power project.

Farooq H Naek, appearing for the appellant, maintained that the 
accused/appellant was a private person and no state property was 
entrusted to him. Thus, the Anti-Corruption Act is not attracted in 
the matter and the accused cannot be tried for the alleged 

The bench, agreeing with the contentions of the appellants' 
counsel, allowed the appeal.

The co-accused, including Majid Bashir, Ghani Ansari and Javed 
Pasha, will be facing trial after the proceedings against the 
accused senator were quashed.

Pakistan not to conduct more Nuclear tests: envoy

ISLAMABAD, March 27: The Pakistan ambassador to Russia, Mansoor 
Alam, has said Islamabad has already declared that it would not 
conduct any more nuclear tests.

"Pakistan is prepared to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty when a 
consensus is arrived at on it. However, two things have reduced the 
importance of the issue: firstly, US Senate did not endorse the 
CTBT and secondly, we have to keep in view nuclear doctrine of 
India. Our government is in favour of signing the CTBT but it 
cannot ignore these two facts," Mr Alam told Radio Moscow in an 

On the Pakistan-Russia relations, he said the two countries had 
normal relations. They both were working to improve their ties. "We 
admit that there exists differences of opinion between Islamabad 
and Moscow on several issues but it is not a serious thing".

He said it was hardly possible that any two countries held 100 per 
cent identical views on all the issues. The most important thing 
was that the two countries were desirous of promoting cooperation 
and relations.

The ambassador again dismissed the allegations that Pakistanis were 
fighting along side Chechen guerillas and said that so far, there 
had been no evidence of their involvement.

"Pakistan government does not support participation of its citizens 
in such acts. But it is not possible to stop those who want to take 
part in such activities," he said.

Commenting on the visit of the former Chechen president Zelimkhan 
Yanderbayev to Pakistan, Mr Alam said he had arrived in Pakistan on 
a private tour. He was given visa for a brief stay. He started 
anti-Russia activities, therefore, he was asked to stop such acts 
and leave Pakistan. In view of friendly relations with Russia, he 
said, the Pakistan government authorities did not meet him.He said 
there was no change in Pakistan's policy and it still considered 
Chechnya part of Russia like the past. "We believe that Chechnya is 
an internal issue of Russia. However, we have expressed concern 
about humanitarian aspects of this issue".-NNI

Supreme Court directs AG to give legal justification
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, March 30: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed 
Attorney General of Pakistan and advocate generals of the provinces 
to provide legal justification for the ban imposed on political 
activities in the country.

The apex court asked the Attorney General and advocate generals 
"whether ban on political activities has been validly imposed, if 
so under what provision of law; and whether the restrictions are 
ultra vires of the fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 15, 
16, 17 and 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of 
Pakistan, 1973."

The notices were issued when the matter came up for hearing before 
the court in the light of Chief Justice Irshad Hassan Khan's 
remarks that "the Supreme Court is guardian of the fundamental 
rights of the people" and suo moto action taken by the Chief 
Justice on March 20 following the announcement of ban on March 15.

The full bench was headed by Chief Justice Irshad Hassan and 
included Justice Munir A. Sheikh and Justice Nazim Hussain 
Siddiqui. Deputy Attorney General Tanvir Bashir Ansari presented a 
copy of the handout issued by the Press Information Department on 
March 15, 2000, pronouncing ban on all political meetings in public 
places, strikes and processions.

"Restriction on fundamental rights should be put by law and not by 
handouts," Justice Irshad Hassan Khan noted when the handout was 
placed before the court.

Mr Ansari also placed on record a copy of letter issued by Interior 
Secretary on March 29, 2000, in which he had clarified that there 
was no ban on political activities but political meetings at public 
places, strikes and procession.

He further clarified that the indoor meetings were allowed without 
the use of loudspeakers. He contended that in terms of Section 4 of 
Political Parties Act 1962, only lawful political activities were 
permitted for any body of individuals or association of persons to 
form, organize or set up a political party.

He further stated that even holding of lawful political activities 
were subject to Section 3 of the Act, which inter alia, 
contemplates that 'no political party shall be allowed any 
activity, which undermines, or is likely to undermine, the security 
and solidarity of Pakistan.'

Quoting Article 15, he said, every citizen has the right to remain 
in and subject to any reasonable restriction imposed by law in the 
public interest, enter and move freely throughout Pakistan and to 
reside and settle in any part thereof.

The court noted that the deputy attorney general had stated that 
the political activities had not been banned in their entirety but 
in the interest of maintenance of public order, peace and 
tranquillity and only partial restriction had been imposed on all 
political meetings at public places, strikes and processions. 
However the indoor meetings were permitted without the use of loud-

The court also took judicial notice of statements of Governor 
Punjab and other state functionaries and observed that the position 
of the federal government, provincial governments and other state 
functionaries on the issue of ban on political activities seemed to 
be divergent. The date of next hearing would be fixed latter.

Meeting called on April 9: PML strategy after plane case verdict
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, March 30: A joint meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League 
Central Working Committee and parliamentary group in the suspended 
National Assembly will be held on April 9, 
three days after plane conspiracy case verdict.

The convener of the Muslim League Coordination Committee, Raja 
Zafarul Haq, has already convened a meeting of provincial leaders 
of the party on April 3, to formulate an agenda for the meeting to 
be held on April 9.

Mr Haq, who met deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Karachi on 
Wednesday, said they had been directed by the party president to 
accelerate the process of making contacts with other political 

He said that in the light of instructions issued by the party 
chief, they had already set up an eight-member committee headed by 
former speaker Gohar Ayub Khan, which had been contacting other 
political parties and alliances.

Asked whether there was any proposal for launching a campaign in 
case of conviction of Mr Sharif, he said it could be decided only 
after a court verdict.

Regarding the contact being made with other political parties, Mr 
Haq said the Muslim League wanted to develop working relationship 
or an understanding on broader issues with other parties. There was 
no question of forming any alliance, he added.

On the issue of accountability, Mr Haq said it should be a 
continuous process and should be incorporated in the Constitution.

The issue of selecting a president of the PML would also come up at 
April 9 meeting as it was being held as a follow- up to the party 
caucus held at Fakhr Imam's residence earlier this month, a party 
source said.

Some hawks in the party, emboldened by Clinton's criticism of the 
military government were now insisting that PML should launch an 
agitation against the government in order to save its leader and 
the party's image, he said.

The Awami National Party has already announced that it will launch 
a movement against the government with the help of other political 

No alliance with PML: GDA

LAHORE, March 30: Pakistan Awami Tehrik chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri 
on Thursday reiterated that the GDA would never like to forge 
alliance with the PML as it was the party which had destroyed all 
state institutions.

Talking to reporters, he said the alliance might review its stand 
if deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not on the scene and the 
PML elected a new president. "Mr Sharif and his cronies are a 
mafia. We have to get rid of it. Cooperation with them is out of 
question," he said.

Qadri said that the policies of the present government were 
reviving the PML. He said the NGOs representatives inducted in the 
cabinet were not imaginative and they were not supposed to give 
policies to steer the country out of the multiple crises facing it.

Meanwhile, the GDA has set up an eight-member committee to examine 
the new system of local government recently announced by the chief 
executive. The committee will be headed by Dr Qadri. Jehangir 
Badar, Haji Adeel, Nawaz Gondal, Malik Haider Usman, Prof A.K. 
Shams, Khan Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Khwaja Muhammad Jamil are its 

The committee will meet here on April 14 and prepare a package on 
behalf of the GDA. Meanwhile, Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Tahirul 
Qadri on Thursday urged the government to satisfy people and not 
the IMF through its working.

He said in a statement the people were being crushed under the 
burden of ever-increasing inflation and the government must have to 
set its priorities right, paying attention to their welfare. He 
said the people had been given no relief in oil prices and utility 
bills, while the government was continuing with its policy of 

PML opposes proposed LB system
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, March 28: The Pakistan Muslim League, NWFP, has rejected 
the government's proposed local government system declaring that it 
is bound to create a sense of deprivation among districts, 
thereafter, engulfing important national institutions on the 
question of their rights.

Expressing his party's views on the proposed system, Pir Sabir 
Shah, the provincial chief of PML, while speaking at a press 
conference here on Tuesday, said his party rejected the proposed 
plan for it was against the spirit of the constitution.

The press conference was held shortly after a meeting of the 
provincial PML, which was attended by Gohar Ayub Khan, former 
ministers and members of the suspended National Assembly and 

Pir Sabir said the PML felt that the proposed system, if came into 
effect, would cause rift between districts and a sense of 
deprivation, as was the case with the existing federating units.

He said the proposed system could never be an alternative to 
democracy. He said his party was a strong supporter of an effective 
local government system but the proposed system would bring the 
national institutions at odds over the question of rights and 
responsibilities, hence it could not be supported nor accepted.

Throwing light on the outcome of US President Bill Clinton's visit 
to Pakistan, Sabir Shah said it caused more problems for Pakistan 
than helping it out from the increasing isolation at the 
international level.

No timeframe yet, says Musharraf: Malaysia presses for democracy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf 
refused on Tuesday to set a firm date for a return to democracy, 
saying reforms must be introduced beforehand and economic 
objectives met.

"No, we can't give any timeframe," he told reporters in Malaysia on 
the first full day of a Southeast Asian tour to seek economic and 
diplomatic support.

"There are conditions for elections that have to be fulfilled, 
reforms, electoral reforms, delineation of constituencies. These 
are the concrete measures that have to be taken.

"There are also other objectives in the economic field," Musharraf 
said without elaborating.

Asked if Clinton's visit would help solve the dispute with India 
over Kashmir, Musharraf said: "It ought to do. With the passage of 
time we will know."

Malaysia's Commonwealth representative Musa Hitam earlier met 
Musharraf. He said Musharraf told him he could not accept the 
Commonwealth timeframe of a two-year return to democracy following 
the military takeover.

"General Musharraf told us he was unable to give a two-year 
timeframe," Musa told reporters.

"He said giving a timeframe would make him literally a lame duck 
head of government, meaning that a government will be ineffective 
and everyone will jostle for position."

Musa is Malaysia's envoy to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action 
Group which will recommend whether to lift the suspension. Musa 
said he would report to the group in May.

About the fate of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Musa quoted 
Musharraf as saying the matter was for the courts but he was "not a 
vindictive person."

"We are concerned for Nawaz Sharif's welfare, to make sure nothing 
untoward happens to him," Musharraf was quoted as saying.

Malaysian ministers urged Musharraf, who goes on to Singapore, 
Brunei and Indonesia, to return to democracy.

"I think that it is the principle of the Commonwealth that there 
must be democracy and civilian rule," Foreign Minister Syed Hamid 
Albar told AFP.

"We do not generally recognize the replacement of a democratic 
elected government by a military coup, no matter how valid the 

Syed Hamid said Musharraf, in a morning meeting with Prime Minister 
Mahathir Mohamad, explained why he ousted Sharif. The minister did 
not elaborate.

"He says he's not interested to stay forever. He wants to return to 
civilian rule and that he's a soldier. The only thing he can't do 
is to give an exact timeframe," Syed Hamid said.

He said Musharraf told Mahathir he wanted to revive the economy, 
eradicate corruption, introduce more transparency and 
accountability and restore stability before moving to democracy.

"The prime minister told him that while he may have justification 
for doing what he has done, ultimately he has to go back to 
civilian rule and democracy," Syed Hamid said.

"Even with its shortcomings that system must be adopted. There is 
no way in the long run that you can justify the military 

The foreign minister called the 90-minute discussion "productive" 
and added: "As far as we are concerned it's for them to come up 
with a timeframe."

He will also call on the President of the Singapore the same day.-

Musharraf leaves on four-nation visit today
ISLAMABAD, March 26: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf leaves 
here on Monday on a tour of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and 
Brunei, officials said. The tour is aimed at boosting economic 
relations with the Southeast Asian countries.

He will also discuss security in South Asia and the need for an 
early solution to the dispute between Pakistan and India over 
Kashmir, the foreign office said in a statement.

The FO said Gen Musharraf would seek support of Southeast Asian 
states for Pakistan's full dialogue partnership of the Association 
of Southeast Asian Nations and membership of the ASEAN Regional 

"His visit is in pursuit of Pakistan's Look East Policy which is 
meant to enhance bilateral, economic, trade and investment 
relations," the statement said.

In Malaysia, the CE would have talks with Prime Minister Mahathir 
Mohamad, in Singapore with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and in 
Indonesia two MoUs would be signed.-AFP

Ban on political parties ruled out

ISLAMABAD, March 27: Omar Asghar Khan, Federal Minister for Labour, 
Manpower, Overseas Pakistanis, Enviro-nment and Local Government, 
has said the Federal Cabinet will further consider the question 
of whether to allow participation of political parties in local 
government elections.

He said this while speaking at a two-day forum organized by the 
Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNST) of Germany in collaboration 
with the Liberal Forum, Pakistan.

He reiterated that there was no plan to ban the political parties 
but that the government was contemplating the formulation of a code 
of conduct in consultation with them.

The forum's participants expressed many misgivings about the 
viability and appropriateness of the local government scheme.

In his response, the minister said that it was a transitional 
arrangement and we are thinking of replacing the system with 
"entrepreneurial bureaucracy", which would be filled with experts 
on contractual basis.

He was far from forthcoming when the participants called for 
removal of any role for the deputy commissioner who has been re- 
designated in the scheme as "District Coordination Officer". It was 
pointed out that it was the bureaucracy who had not allowed the 
democratic institutions to develop.

"Do you distrust the common man so much that you are foisting the 
bureaucracy again on the elected officials at the risk of 
sabotaging your own scheme," asked a community worker from Sindh.

If at all DCO is to be retained, he should be removable by simple 
majority, it was suggested. The minister merely remarked, "The 
bureaucrats too want to participate in the experiment." Some 
participants wondered whether the scheme was really meant to ensure 
citizens' participation in local government.

He was also evasive when asked, "How are you sure that the new 
experiment would succeed in the presence of the big landlords and 
that it too would not be hijacked by them?"

In response, Mr Khan said that there was many difficulties in the 
way of land reforms. It was also suggested that the powers of local 
bodies to collect octroi snatched by Nawaz Sharif government be 
restored and that the elected district bodies be authorised to levy 
taxes on natural resources including forests, fisheries, minerals 
etc. as well as royalty. 

Valuable items of Surrey Palace can be sold: UK court

LONDON, March 31: Paul Keating, the builder who renovated the 
Rockwood House (Surrey Palace) will be selling the valuable items 
of the house to raise pound sterling 20,000, 
which an appellate court ordered him on Friday to deposit as 
security money to cover the cost of fees of the defendant party.

The appellate court ordered Mr Keating to deposit pound sterling 
20,000 as security for defendant party's cost of fees in case he 
loses his legal battle. The court suggested that he could raise the 
money by selling the valuable items if, as claimed by him (Mr 
Keating), he was entitled to do so.

"I am going to sell those items to raise this money," Mr Keating 
later announced outside the court. "I have many options," he said, 
"One is to sell these valuable goods and I will be going for this 

The Appellate Court also asked Mr Keating to deposit pound sterling 
3,500 plus 17.5 per cent VAT as cost for Friday's hearing as well 
to pay the costs of an earlier hearing, which would be assessed 

Mr Paul Keating is suing Mr Javed Pasha, a former close friend of 
Asif Zardari, to recover pound sterling 353,364 the renovation 
costs, including the interest, which he had spent on renovating the 

However, during the last hearing on November 12, 1999, Mr Pasha's 
lawyers filed an application before the District Judge, who is 
hearing the case, requesting the court to ask Mr Keating to deposit 
a security money of pound sterling 50,000 to ensure that they 
recover their fees in case he loses his legal fight. They claimed 
that the financial position of Mr Keating's company was not sound 
and they need a security to recover the fees. Their request was, 
however, turned down by the District judge.

Mr Pasha's lawyers filed an appeal against that decision before the 
Appellate Court where the issue was decided late Friday afternoon 
after a heated debate.

The Judge agreed with the contention of Mr Pasha's lawyers that 
looking into the balance sheets of the company, the financial 
position of Mr Paul's Company "Grantsbridge Ltd" was not sound and 
there was reason to believe that it would not be able to pay the 
fees of defendant's lawyers if it loses the legal battle. He 
ordered Mr Keating to deposit pound sterling 20,000 security.

When Mr Keating's lawyer requested the court that he should be 
allowed to provide some valuable items of the Surrey Palace as 
security, the judge observed that Mr Keating could take loan over 
those valuable items from a bank or even sell them, if he has the 
permission to do so.

Army officer accused of killing MQM men

LONDON, March 30: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has appealed to the 
government to arrest an army officer who, it alleged, was 
responsible for the extrajudicial killings of its workers.

MQM convener Dr Imran Farooq alleged that the officer had formed 
groups to eliminate the party workers, according to a statement 
issued here on Thursday.

It said, during his posting in Karachi, the officer committed the 
extrajudicial murder of "several dozen MQM workers" in connivance 
with some police officers. The officer was later transferred to 
Hyderabad. Mr Farooq alleged that the officer was now using the 
same tactics in Hyderabad.

Sentence given to child killer un-Islamic, says CII

ISLAMABAD, March 28: The sentence of cutting serial child- murderer 
Javed Iqbal into 100 pieces runs totally counter to Islamic tenets, 
the Council of Islamic Ideology said here on Monday.

The council quoted from Shariat and Ahadith to declare un-Islamic 
the sentence of cutting Javed Iqbal into 100 pieces and throwing 
them in acid, passed by the sessions judge, Lahore.

The council statement was released under the signatures of its 
Director General, Research, Dr Ghulam Murtaza Azad. Javed Iqbal was 
convicted of molesting and then murdering 100 children in Lahore.

The council said the verdict against Javed iqbal could create an 
impression inside and outside the country that it had been passed 
in keeping with Islamic injunctions, thus potentially giving rise 
to misunderstandings about the Shariat.

It said there were categorical commandments in Islam for 
maintaining the dignity of a dead body, including that of a non-

In this connection, it said, that according to Ahadith, the Holy 
Prophet (PBUH) had commanded his followers to stand aside and let 
pass a funeral procession even of a non-Muslim.

It said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had also asked his followers not to 
speak ill of the dead because they had already met their fate.

The council said the cutting of a body into pieces was called 
"Masa'ala" in pre-Islamic terms and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had 
strictly prohibited Muslims from undertaking this practice.-AFP

Institutions asked to avoid savings schemes
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 27: Institutions can no more invest in national 
savings schemes but they will continue to earn profit on previous 
investments. The State Bank of Pakistan has issued a letter to its 
across Pakistan informing them of the government decision to stop 
institutional investment in national savings schemes immediately.

The SBP has directed its offices to ensure compliance not only on 
their part but also on the part of commercial banks functioning 
under their jurisdiction. 

Neither the SBP letter nor the government notification from which 
it has quoted the decision says anything on existing institutional 
investment in national savings schemes.

But senior bankers close to the SBP told Dawn that institutions 
would continue to earn profits on existing investments until 

"What still remains unclear is whether a state-run or private 
company can invest in national savings schemes on behalf of its 
employees," said a worried executive of a state-run organisation.

The ban on institutional investment in national savings schemes has 
won appreciation from banks and financial institutions that now 
hope to get more of institutional savings. But institutional 
investors are bound to feel the pinch of the move as earning a cool 
return of 13-15 per cent would now be difficult for them.

"Institutional investors would now keep their savings in banks and 
other financial institutions," said treasurer of a state-run bank. 
"That will expand the base of long-term deposits and enable us to 
lend more to the private sector."

Banks and other financial institutions lent Rs 28.5 billion to 
private sector in first eight months of this fiscal year against 
full year target of Rs 104.5 billion. One reason for this fall is 
that many banks are less liquid than they used to be in the past.

Five major banks with a market share of more than 75 per cent in 
total bank deposits cut their lending rates by 2 per cent in 
January. Other banks just followed suit. But as a natural outcome 
the rates of return to depositors fell and the savers switched over 
to national savings schemes offering relatively high profits.

This prompted banks to demand that returns on national savings 
schemes be further cut down: they were slashed by 2 per cent in 
December. But State Bank Governor Dr. Ishrat Husain said banks 
should reduce their operational cost to become more competitive.

He also made it clear that further cut in the rates of return on 
national savings schemes was not desirable because investment in 
these schemes were the hard-earned money of retired people and 

Top bankers pointed out that these schemes had become a safe haven 
for investment for state-run and private organisations whose 
investment in the schemes was much larger than that of the 

"The government has apparently realised that our point of view was 
correct," said head of a state-run bank. Bankers reached by Dawn 
said the ban on institutional investment on national savings 
schemes should result in additional monthly inflow of a couple of 
billions of rupees into inter-bank market. Such an inflow cannot be 
estimated exactly because the size of institutional investment in 
national savings schemes is not known.

Government may club taxation stages
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, March 28: The federal government may club taxation 
stages for the 55 services sector items into one before finally 
deciding to separately listing those to be taxed by the provinces.

The listing of taxable items of the services sector for levying by 
the provinces has already initiated and would be incorporated in 
the provincial taxation schedules with the announcement of the next 
federal and provincial budgets, said sources.

However, the proposal that the collection of these listed, 
provincially levied items of the services sector be retained as the 
federal subject, is not being reviewed, they added.

The 55 items from which the listing of the provincially leviable 
services sector items has been initiated, are presently taxable by 
the Income Tax, Sales Tax and Central Excise departments. The items 
to be retained by the federal government both in collection and 
deposits, are now being put onto a separate list.

The estimates of tax amounts to be generated through taxation of 
these items by the IT, ST and Central Excise departments, 
separately, in the financial year 2000-2001, have already been 
sought, ahead of all other estimates through taxation measures viz 
a viz other sectors.

Presently, the IT department collects Withholding Tax from the 
listed items while some of the service sector items are being 
levied by the Sales Tax department, while all such items stand 
taxed by the Central Excise department. Since this multiple 
taxation involves excessive machinery and procedural complexities, 
the number of tax-stages and involvement of the three departments 
is being reduced.

In the strict purview of the military government's policy of 
reducing the taxation stages everywhere on tax schedules, and 
reducing the tax-rates as well, the Central Board of Revenue is 
learnt to have launched the process starting from the services 
sector, said senior CBR officials.

The IT, ST and CE departments are coordinating in the special 
context of drastically reducing and doing away with the tax rate 
and levying of items through the CE department, the size of 
taxation through which is being minimised in the next year's 
federal budget.

The tax estimates for the next year are thus being re-drawn under 
this formula, apart from the one now being laid down for reducing 
the taxation stages and rates under the ST and IT schedules as 

FY 98-99: Budget deficit revised
Haris Anwar

KARACHI, March 28: A joint data reconciliation exercise by the 
government and the IMF has revealed a major discrepancy in the 98-
99 budget deficit figure which has been revised to about six per 
cent from 4.3 per cent of GDP.

Official sources said, the exercise which was in progress for the 
last few weeks, is one of the major obstacles in negotiating a new 
IMF programme with Pakistan.

Budget deficit is a key performance criterion set by donor agencies 
to agree on any balance-of-payment support.

"There was a major misreporting by the Finance Ministry and the 
office of the Accountant-General of Pakistan Revenue, which has 
been detected by the new finance team," the source claimed.

Owing to sustained misreporting under the heads of Non-bank 
borrowing and Expenditure, the budget deficit figure was shown to 
be around Rs 130 billion, while now it has been put at Rs 181.5 
billion, up by over Rs 51 billion.

Government borrows heavily from the national saving schemes, which 
comes under the non-bank borrowing to meet its shortfall on tax 

According to official figures, last year non-bank borrowing was to 
the tune of over Rs 106.8 billion.

"I don't know whether it was a deliberate attempt or just an 
accounting error, but my concern is how they (IMF) will look at 
it," a financial source said.

But another source said misreporting of such an extent could not be 
termed just an error. "You cannot rule out the element of fudging 
because misreporting of such an extent is simply not possible," 
another source said.

According to an agreement with the IMF, Pakistan had to cut its 
budget deficit from 5.5 per cent of GDP in '97-98 to 4.3 per cent 
of GDP in '98-99 and to 3.3 per cent of GDP in '99-2000.

At the time of the release of the last budget in June '99, previous 
government showed the deficit at 3.4 per cent of GDP. It was about 
one percentage point lower than the target set by the IMF.

But later, the State Bank's annual report, released in Dec '99 did 
not agree with the accounting method used by the government, 
stating the actual deficit was at 4.3 per cent of GDP. The current 
figure for the budget deficit is 2.6 percentage points higher than 
the figure given at the time of budget and 1.7 percentage point 
higher if compared with the figure given in the SBP's annual 

Curbs on foreign exchange outflow eased
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 30: The State Bank has restored the freedom of 
foreign portfolio investors to remit funds outside Pakistan without 
its prior approval. The decision is effective from March 30.

The SBP said on Thursday that foreign institutional investors can 
remit funds without its approval through the banks that act as 
their custodian as well as maintain their special convertible rupee 
accounts. The SBP made the announcement through a press release. 
Bankers said they had not received any circular till the close of 
the business on Thursday.

Senior bankers close to SBP said those foreign investors who 
maintain their special convertible rupee accounts with the banks 
other than their custodian banks still need prior SBP approval to 
remit funds outside Pakistan. They say this restriction has been 
kept in place to check misuse of these accounts for flight of 

Only three banks offer custodian services to foreign investors in 
Pakistan. These are: (i) Standard & Chartered Bank (ii) Citibank 
and (iii) Deutsche Bank. These banks also maintain special 
convertible rupee accounts of their customers. These accounts are 
so named as foreign investors use them for keeping sale proceeds or 
profits and dividends on shares in rupees that are converted into 
foreign currency by the State Bank when they want to remit them 
outside Pakistan.

Many other foreign and local banks maintain these accounts but they 
do not offer custodian services. The decision on remittances of 
foreign portfolio investors came within 24 hours after SBP had 
received final recommendations on this subject by a committee 
comprising officials of Karachi Stock Exchange and SBP and 
custodian banks.

"It is a welcome step from the Stock Exchange point of view," said 
KSE Chairman Arif Habib. "It will send a positive signal to 
international investors," he told Dawn.

Pakistan placed restrictions on foreign currency outflow after 
exploding nuclear devices in May 1998. But in January this year it 

lifted curbs on remittances of profits and dividends on foreign 
direct investment as well as payment of private foreign loans.

Tuesday's decision says that banks are also allowed to remit 
outside Pakistan the commission earned by international brokers.

Warns of regulatory steps: SBP chief for merger of small banks

KARACHI, March 25: If banks do not go for mergers on their own the 
State Bank may take regulatory steps to force them to do so.

SBP Governor Dr Ishrat Husain hurled this warning-though in a 
subtle way-here on Saturday while speaking as the chief guest at 
49th annual general meeting of Institute of Bankers, Pakistan.

"I hope that the market players will...carry out voluntary and 
mutually agreeable mergers and consolidations..." he remarked. But 
if this does not happen "I am afraid the regulators will have no 
option but to discharge their fiduciary responsibility through 
appropriate regulations."

Dr Ishrat said it is time for smaller banks to go for mergers 
because "small private banks are too weak either to withstand 
exogenous shocks or to manage risks prudently or to capture the 
market share from large established banks." He said the financial 
sector required mergers and restructuring and infusion of capital 
and human resources and technological upgradation to come up with 
fewer but stronger institutions.

He said the aggregate paid-up capital of all banks and other 
financial institutions minus house financing companies in Pakistan 
was only $1.8 billion. He said that the capital base of National 
Bank of Pakistan is only $326 million whereas the State (National) 
Bank of India has announced plans to raise its capital base by an 
additional $2.5 billion.

"In principle if a private bank fails it should be allowed to die," 
said the SBP chief. But as a matter of fact "the government and the 
central bank cannot afford the collapse of banks because "apart 
from political considerations "systemic risk" is a more serious 
threat associated with bank failures. He said that sudden and 
unexpected demise of one bank could have a domino effect leading to 
collapse of other banks or of the system as a whole. Hence the need 
for mergers.

"The other reason for consolidation and mergers has to do with our 
future strategy of participating in exports of financial services," 
said Dr Husain.

"Although the events of 1998-99 did cause a setback by politicizing 
top bankers in the nationalized banks we still have an impressive 
pool which can be harnessed and mobilised to penetrate the market 
for financial services particularly in the Middle East, Central 
Asia and Africa.

"The governor further said that if Pakistan was able "to make some 
modest progress in Islamic banking instruments and products we 
should be able to find a market niche which will combine the 
particular product with our banking professional expertise." The 
SBP chief also urged the banks to diversify their asset base 

"functionally, sectorally, geographically and by size."

"You have to move away from investing only in government paper or 
public sector securities or other risk-free instruments."

"You have to move away from concentrating simply on textile, sugar, 
cement another saturated industries to finance other new, non-
traditional manufacturing and service industry," he advised.

"Within textiles, in addition to value-added and exportable 
products of good quality, balancing, modernization and replacement 
are needed to improve the productivity of the existing capacity," 
the governor remarked. "For export financing, the banks have to 
develop independent lines of pre-shipment, post -shipment credit 
and assist the indirect exporters and suppliers involved in the 
export value chain."

The SBP chief said there is over banking in Karachi, Lahore and 
Islamabad. "Although other cities do not offer the same attractive 
living conditions we have to expand the network in medium size 
towns, mandi towns and market towns." He said that the banking 
industry could make good profits if banks extended their network to 
other emerging centres of economic activity.

The governor said the repayment record of small and medium 
businesses is much better than that of large borrowers adding that 
the government had committed itself to helping expand small and 
medium enterprises. "We in the financial sector have to align our 
products, services and outreach to unleash these enterprises and 
tap their potential."

"This not only makes good business sense for the banks and non-bank 
financial institutions but also means increased purchasing power in 
the hands of a large segment of population. This purchasing power 
will then translate itself into higher demand for goods and 
services produced in the country."

The governor also informed the audience of the measures that SBP 
has taken to discharge its duties as watchdog of financial sector 
more efficiently. Earlier, he gave out gold medals, prizes and 
certificates and diplomas to successful students of the Institute 
of Bankers, Pakistan.

ADB focus on private sector

MANILA, March 30: Asia's premier development bank on Thursday 
launched a new strategy aimed at strengthening the role of the 
private sector as the driving force to sustain the region's 
recovery from financial crisis.

The new strategy announced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is 
seen as a complement to its main thrust of reducing poverty in the 
region because it would allow much-needed government funds to be 
freed for health services, education and social safety nets.

The strategy consists of a systematic and coherent framework that 
will guide the ADB's activities to promote private sector 
development across the region, the Manila-based regional 
institution said in a statement.

Under the scheme, the ADB will work toward three main aims: 
creating the conditions for business to thrive, generating business 
opportunities and catalyzing private investments.

One major focus is rooting out corruption in order to encourage 

There is no greater disincentive to business than the feeling of 
uncertainty and vulnerability brought about by corruption, abuse of 
discretion and bureaucratic interference, said the bank, which is 
assembling a new anti-corruption squad.

In the private sector, the bank said it aimed to promote good 
governance through various means such as reviews of commercial laws 
and regulations and establishment of credible accounting and 
auditing standards.

Developing a well-functioning financial system was another thrust, 
the bank said.

This would include support for policy reforms, enhancing regulation 
and supervision, establishing sound banking systems and the 
development of a deeper and broader securities market.

To balance development goals with commercial interests, the ADB 
said it will work toward greater involvement of private firms in 
fields such as energy, water, wastewater treatment, transport, 
telecommunications and even in the social sectors.

For example, a private firm could be asked maintain and operate a 
government road network financed by ADB loans.

The ADB will also work to involve the private sector in regional 
projects, saying that regional and subregional cooperation has 
emerged as an increasingly important strategy for development in 

Zero duty on packing bag

ISLAMABAD, March 28: Central Board of Revenue has notified here on 
Tuesday, the zero rating duty on imports of PAT packing bags of 
more than one ton capacity by the ICI Pakistan Ltd.

Through a notification No 6 (25)/97-CB, dated March 28, 2000, the 
CBR has also reduced the duty rates on VCM, a raw material used in 
production of PVC, and on polyester yarn. Duty on these two items 
has been reduced from 25% ad val to 15% ad val.

For this purpose, the notification No 555(I)/98, dated June 12, 
1998, has been amended. The amending notification says that in 
exercise of powers conferred by section 19 of the Customs Act, 
1969, the federal government is pleased to further amend SRO 555 
(I)/98, dated June 12, 1998.

In Table II of the said notification, an induction has been made 
for providing the exemption. 

An additional provision has been created at the end of the Table-II 
for reducing the duty rates. 

The exemption and rate reduction would be valid subject to the 
conditions specified in the notification.

G-77 summit: India-Pakistan contacts likely
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, March 28: The G-77 summit meeting is scheduled to be 
held from April 12 to 15 at Havana providing first ever 
opportunity, in the backdrop of Clinton's visit to South Asia, to 
Pakistan and India 
to establish a contact for the resumption of dialogue.

Diplomatic sources expect that after Clinton's stern warning that 
the two countries should resume the dialogue process for the 
resolution of their outstanding issues, India would now positively 
reciprocate to Pakistan's offer for talks.

Pakistan has been consistently offering India to resume talks. Even 
the military government including the Chief Executive General 
Pervez Musharraf has been offering India since October 12, when the 
army took over, to resume dialogue process to resolve all the 
irritants through peaceful means. New Delhi, however, has always 
turned down these offers under the pretext that it did not want to 
talk to a military ruler.

The foreign ministers of the G-77 countries will meet in Havana on 
April 11, a day prior to the summit meeting, while senior officials 
of the developing nations will gather there on April 10. The 
sources though do not see any chance of Musharraf- Vajpayee meeting 
at Havana, expect an official level contact.

The US President during his visit to Pakistan and India, had asked 
both the countries to resume the dialogue process for the de-
escalation of the tension and to secure peace in the region.

The diplomatic sources said that there was pressure on India, even 
from inside, to re-establish the lost contact. In its editorial on 
the issue of March 27, The Hindu (an Indian newspaper) observed, 
"now that the long awaited Clinton 'mission' is at an end, New 
Delhi must realise the futility of the no-talks-now stance and 
demonstrate the vision to return to enlightened bilateralism."

Last time the two sides met in Lahore during early 1999 when the 
prime ministers of these countries agreed to Lahore Declaration 
which envisaged the solution of all issues, including Kashmir, 
through talks.

The secretary level talks were tentatively scheduled to be held 
between Islamabad and New Delhi sometime in June-July 1999 but 
remained a far cry because of Kargil crisis which rather strained 
their relations and brought them near to an almost full fledge war.

During the Kargil crisis the then foreign minister of Pakistan 
Sartaj Aziz visited New Delhi to de-escalate the increasing tension 
but India reluctantly received him and the two foreign ministers 
met for sometime without any outcome. 

 The secretary level talks as agreed under the Lahore Declaration, 
were to take place in India which had to intimate Pakistan about 
the exact dates for negotiations but it closed all its doors for 

Next year's PSDP estimated at Rs108bn
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, March 27: The government has tentatively determined at 
Rs 108 billion the size of the new Public Sector Development 
Programme (PSDP) for 2000-2001. According to informed sources, 
the government was unable to have even 10 per cent usual increase 
in new PSDP due to its growing financial difficulties.

The size of the current year PSDP had been slashed from Rs 116 
billion to Rs 108 billion and further Rs 7 billion cut was being 

The Priority Committee has been directed to firm up the funding 
requirements of the ministries and divisions for next financial 
year. The finance ministry will finalize these allocations.

The proposed Rs 108 billion size of the new PSDP was subject to 
improved tax recovery by the Central Board of Revenue (CBR).As a 
matter of fact, the sources said, the government has no firm basis 
on which it could determine the size of the next PSDP but it was 
tentatively determined at Rs 108 billion.

The National Economic Council (NEC) will eventually approve the 
size of the new PSDP in early April.

The sources said that the government was just unable to ensure some 
increased funds in the new PSDP even for ministries of information 
and interior. "Both these ministries would perhaps be given 
additional funds from secret funds", a source said.

A total of Rs 102 million has been allocated for the ministry of 
information against Rs 107 million of last year. It included Rs 75 
million for Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation against 20 million of 
the last PSDP. It was done with a view to help replace some of the 
old and ineffective equipment of the PBC. Associated Press of 
Pakistan (APP) will get Rs 7 million in the new PSDP and it was 
being asked to go for self-financing.

Some of the sectors will get increased funds on the cost of other 
sectors. For example, the sources said, railway, water and sewerage 
sector will be offered more funds compared to last year.

 Generally, it was being argued by the Planning Commission that 
social sectors should be offered additional funds in the new PSDP 
so that more matching funds could be collected from the 
international donor agencies. "The World Bank says if the 
government allocates more resources for social sectors in the new 
PSDP, the bank will oblige it by offering more funds", a source 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been approached by the 
government to offer separate funds for poverty alleviation and 
undertaking new development projects. The bank has reportedly 
expressed its willingness to help and its mission was expected to 
arrive here in April to discuss the issue.

Assets, incomes survey in May

ISLAMABAD, March 27: All the income tax regional commissioners have 
been directed by the Central Board of Revenue to launch a door-to-
door and shop-to-shop survey of property in 13 major cities 
as soon as the two-month period for benefiting the Amnesty Scheme 
comes to an end on April 30, 2000.

A meeting of all IT regional commissioners was held here onMonday 
with the Chairman CBR and it was decided that there should be a 
thorough survey for collecting data needed to broaden the net of 
registered IT assessees and for ensuring whether the properties and 
incomes remained untaxed and un-disclosed even after the 60-day 
immunity-offer through 10% IT payment.

Under this scheme, more than 100,000 persons were expected to 
disclose the untaxed property and assets and deposit Rs5-6 billion. 
However, the data computed up to March 15, 2000 suggests that the 
response to the scheme is not as positive as was expected. A sum of 
Rs0.75 million has been reported as received under the scheme in 
the Northern, Eastern and Southern regions. The figures on 
corporate and central regions are awaited.

The data to be collected through the survey is planned mainly to 
form basis for scrutiny of the declarations. It is also meant to 
help assess whether the un-declared (existing) property and 
incomes, which should have been declared as taxable, was in 
violation of the laws applicable for not responding to the scheme.

The official sources said that the survey would be short, brisk and 
thorough, and would be extended beyond the 13 major towns of the 
country as soon as the survey teams complete their work in Karachi, 
Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Multan, 
Sukkur, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur.

Back to the top
The fourth junta
Ayaz Amir

THIS is the fourth junta in the nation's star-crossed and chequered 
history and although I am not foolish enough to say that it is the 
worst - for valour must stop somewhere and discretion begin - it 
certainly is the most precariously placed.

Pakistan's other strongmen lived in simpler times. The follies they 
could get away with is not a luxury afforded to a regime which 
finds itself in an environment infinitely more complicated. Clinton 
rubbed in some of these points. The principal usefulness and not 
the least of the ironies of his brief stopover was that it showed 
us where we stand as a nation. The military government went to 
absurd lengths to play up to the Americans but what it got for its 
pains was a lesson in concentrated humiliation, with the American 
president in effect telling Pakistan to remove the blinkers from 
its eyes.

Some commentators - an over-populated breed in this country - have 
drawn comfort from the fact that General Pervez Musharraf stuck to 
his guns and took no dictation from the American president. Even 
the gods have no remedy for those living in a fool's paradise. 
Clinton did not come here to get anything. Since he had persuaded 
himself to come here for a few hours, he used the opportunity to 
puncture our complacency and tell us a few home truths. This he did 
in a very effective manner.

A country more sure of itself would not have put up with such 
tutoring. But then we do not fall in that category. The afternoon 
of Clinton's visit we handed over the keys of Islamabad's security 
to the American secret service and listened quietly as Clinton told 
us to wake up and enter the real world.

Far from this message grating on patriotic ears, the fact is that 
for the first time in Pakistan's history many Pakistanis find 
themselves in complete agreement with what an American president 
has said. During the cold war Pakistani governments sat in the 
American lap whereas the Pakistani people were swept by 'Ugly 
American' sentiments. Not so on this occasion.

Lest we think Clinton's attitude was unusual, we only have to watch 
the Chief Executive's progress during his South-East Asian tour to 
realize that he has had to hear much the same lectures from his 
hosts in Malaysia and Singapore: return to barracks and restore 
democracy. The wonder is he still gets a kick out of foreign 

Part of the problem of course is that there is a disconnect between 
how we appear to the outside world and how we look at ourselves. 
The world sees us as a problem-ridden country wedded to extremism 
in thought and action. We preen ourselves on our atomic capability 
and what we think is a unique geography which gives us a unique 
strategic importance. From this flows the conviction that whatever 
we might do the world owes us a living and that, in any case, no 
one will allow us to collapse under the weight of our problems. For 
this mindset there is no cure.

While our national condition has been critical for many years, 
three successive blunders have brought us close to the edge of the 
precipice: the nuclear tests of May 1998, the Kargil adventure last 
year and its sequel in the form of the military takeover.

We had nuclear capability and the world knew it. There was no need 
to take our firecrackers out of the closet. But panicked into 
action by a few statements of the Indian home minister, L. K. 
Advani, we fell into what looks increasingly like an Indian trap 
and carried out our tests, without coolly considering the pros and 

If for once we had allowed judgment to prevail over raw emotion, we 
would not have been in the desperate straits in which we find 
ourselves now. Our begging bowl would not have been broken as a 
consequence but some crumbs or morsels would have come our way. Our 
begging bowl is intact; in fact it is about the only sturdy thing 
we have, but nothing can rival its unadorned emptiness.

Kargil was a disaster whichever way we look at it. Forget about 
anything else, it made no military sense because it was not placed 
in any strategic setting. But blinded to common prudence by our 
nuclear tests and the accompanying nonsense that our defence had 
become impregnable, we thought we could get away with a limited 
conventional intrusion without inviting a wider response. As the 
fighting progressed and our international isolation deepened, we 
started getting cold feet. Eventually we had to back-track but the 
damage had been done.

We thought we were reactivating the Kashmir issue. It has been 
reactivated but in a way we never thought of. The growing 
international calls for respecting the Line of Control and 
preventing "cross-border terrorism", a formulation which goes 
against the grain of Pakistan's entire Kashmir strategy in recent 
years, are the foremost fruits of this ill-considered venture.

As for the takeover, for a brief moment after October 12 it was 
seen both here and abroad as an opportunity for national renewal. 
Not any more. If the men on horseback had trimmed their reaction to 
fit Nawaz Sharif's provocation (his attempt to remove the army 
chief in a cavalier manner), if instead of digging in their heels 
they had unfurled a quick plan for civilian restoration, they would 
have earned the nation's thanks and been hailed as heroes.

The reality has been different. As the shadows of military rule 
have lengthened, a sense of dejection has spread in the country. 
The issue is not the army's popularity but the clear-cut 
realization, born of our experience, that there are certain things 
the army can do and others it cannot. When the army stands guard 
over national frontiers, the nation's heart beats with that of its 
soldiers. But when transcending its real duties the army turns the 
national arena into a military parade ground, the nation has reason 
to fear the worst.

It is not as if General Musharraf is a good or bad person. He may 
have a heart of gold (although the jury might be out on this one 
too) but that again is not the question. The agenda he has set for 
himself is unattainable because political and economic revival is 
not the army's cup of tea. The average politico, or indeed any 
politico, cannot command a battleship. The average soldier - that 
is, anyone not Julius Caesar or Akbar the Great - is not up to the 
successful management of politics. At least not in this day and age 
when the cold war has become a nostalgic bit of history and 
military dictators have lost their usefulness as pawns on the 
global stage.

But what to do? General Musharraf is here to stay and even his 
local bodies revival plan, the centrepiece of his democratic 
intentions, comes on a time frame that would put an insomniac to 
sleep. And yet there is no ready instrument which can help change 
General Musharraf's mind or compress his timetable.

The internal political scene is dismal. The Muslim League faces a 
gender crisis. There are more women than men in its upper councils. 
The only men are Kulsoom Nawaz and Tehmina Daultana. The rest are 
women. The PPP does not count. The religious parties have pipe-
dreams of their own. They cannot come to power (and long may it 
remain that way) but they are capable of exercising a negative 
influence. Let us not forget that Talibanism is more a mental than 
a physical phenomenon and the religious parties are helping to warp 
national thinking by reducing national debate and discussion to a 
primitive level.

The chances of any democratic movement arising are therefore nil. 
If the army returns to barracks it will do so on its own and not 
because anyone tells it to. So if things must change and Pakistan 
is to get out of its present abnormal situation, the army has to be 
a party to democratic restoration. But at the moment the present 
crop of military riders are in a conquering mood. They do not like 
being reminded of the past or being told that dark clouds line the 

While Pakistan need not wallow in pessimism, the dangers of 
political militarism cannot be under-estimated. The horsemen 
eventually will go back from where they have come. But how much 
damage to the country and its standing will they have caused in the 

Cost analysis of our Kashmir policy
Irfan Husain

IN his unusually blunt address to the Pakistani nation during his 
brief stopover last week, President Clinton warned us of the 
dangers of "increasing isolation" if we continued with our present 

Although he was stating the obvious, I have little doubt that his 
warning will fall on deaf ears: as it is, we stand isolated to an 
extent that would have been unimaginable even a few months ago. The 
fact that it took much diplomatic effort to persuade the US 
president to spend a few hours on Pakistani soil is a measure of 
our isolation. The Turkish prime minister has refused to include 
Pakistan in his Indian visit this week because he is 'too busy'. 
Considering our strong links with Turkey, and General Musharraf's 
personal admiration for Kemal Attaturk, this is an unprecedented 
snub. We have been suspended from the Commonwealth, and are kept at 
arm's length by most democracies.

So what? ask the many hawks in our establishment and the media. So 
plenty. These snubs add up to a loss in trade, economic ties and 
technical cooperation. During Clinton's visit to India, deals worth 
four billion dollars were announced; during his five-hour visit to 
Pakistan, bilateral trade was not even mentioned. Military 
assistance is a distant memory.

But our isolation is not just diplomatic: most of the major 
airlines no longer stop in Karachi, KLM was the latest one to 
announce that it was shutting down its operations here. Most of 
them pulled out long ago, citing high fuel cost and exorbitant 
Civil Aviation Authority charges. Unofficially, their functionaries 
have complained of the existence of many government agencies 
operating at Karachi airport, all of them demanding some kind of 
gratification whether in the form of upgrades or bottles of booze.

In the old days, these airline operations resulted in considerable 
revenues for businessmen as hundreds of crew members broke their 
journeys in Karachi and were accommodated in local hotels and spent 
money shopping for presents. But one unstated reason why airlines 
no longer let their crew stop in Karachi for any length of time is 
that their safety cannot be ensured.

The instability in the region is another reason why Pakistan is an 
undesirable tourist destination. Until the seventies, buses full of 
tourists would stop in Lahore on their way from Europe to India, 
and bachelor friends would descend on Falleti's Hotel to check out 
the talent. But after the Iranian revolution and the Afghan war, 
this stream of tourists has dried up completely.

Of course, Pakistan's image abroad has not exactly helped in 
attracting visitors: after Zia took over in 1977, photographs of 
public floggings and hangings have made front pages across the 
world. Ethnic and sectarian terrorism has prompted foreign 
ministries to advise their citizens not to travel to Pakistan. 
Upmarket glossy magazines in the West contain dozens of 
advertisements for holidays in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka without a 
single one for similar package tours to Pakistan. The repeated 
violence initiated in Chitral and neighbouring areas in the North 
by fundamentalist groups demanding the imposition of Sharia law 
over the last few years has frightened away those hardy foreign 
trekkers who travelled to such remote valleys.

I have no doubt the "so what?" brigade will immediately declare 
that our national interests outweigh such mundane considerations. 
But this insular approach loses sight of the fact that in today's 
interconnected world, no country can afford to stand in splendid 
isolation. North Korea and Myanmar (earlier known as Burma) are two 
countries that have basically said: "to hell with the rest of the 
world; we will go our own way". Both are basket cases where the 
citizens are suffering for their leaders' egomania and insularity. 
Do we really want to travel down that path?

But isolation is ultimately a state of mind, and individuals can 
cut off contact with society. Thus, hermits and sufis have sought 
solitude to commune with God. But while individuals can afford this 
luxury, nations can't. Trade, finance and technology drive 
development and economic well-being. In today's wired world, 
countries either compete and cooperate, or get left behind. There 
are no prizes for sulking or for being forced to sit in the corner 
with a dunce cap on the head.

If a set of policies gain no results and instead cause a nation to 
be sent to Coventry by the rest of the world, clearly those 
policies need to be re-examined. And if they aren't, then the 
policy-makers need psychiatric help. In our case, our stand on 
Kashmir has led inexorably to unending confrontation with India, 
the militarization of Pakistan together with its political fallout, 
and to the acquisition of nuclear weapons with its international 
ramifications. Along the way, a slew of fanatical militias have 
been encouraged to dictate the nation's agenda.

And what result has our Kashmir policy produced apart from 
thousands of casualties in India, Pakistan and Kashmir itself? For 
a moment, forget about the rights and wrongs of the whole issue, 
and how much India is to blame for the problem. If we do a cost-
benefit analysis of our 50-year old Kashmir policy, we will find 
that it has been a disaster for the people of Pakistan with the 
breakeven point nowhere in sight. Here again, the "so what?" school 
of thought will say this does not matter as long as we continue to 
stand on "principles." Perhaps, but it is a lonely place to be when 
the rest of the world is telling us to grow up, get real and get on 
with life.

One point that is consistently overlooked in discussions about our 
place in the world is that a progressive, modern and forward-
looking Pakistan is much better placed to persuade the 
international community than a mediaeval country full of zealots 
that is seen as supporting terrorism. In the battle for public 
opinion, image is all; the contents of an argument are secondary. 
Despite having a weaker legal case on Kashmir, India is seen as the 
aggrieved party, and Pakistan as the instigator of the violence in 
the Valley. This may seem unfair, but that's life in the real 

If we are to break out of the largely self-imposed isolation we 
find ourselves in today, we need to have a hard, objective look at 
our failed policies that we insist on following. But I doubt if our 
leadership - whether civilian or military - has the imagination and 
courage to act on the results of such a review.

Pakistan clinch Sharjah Cricket Cup
Viren Varma

SHARJAH, March 31: Things didn't come easy. Pakistan needed to 
produce their best to stave off a compelling fightback from South 
Africa before inscribing their name on the Coca-Cola Sharjah Cup 
with an exciting 16-run victory in the final which had all the 
ingredients of a quality match.

South Africa, chasing 264 for victory, were very much in the 
running, scoring 198 for four by the 40th over. But the fall of 
three wickets with the addition of just one run choked them.

One doesn't know what happens to the South Africans when it comes 
to playing the big matches, their invariably tend to falter as they 
did on Friday evening.

The man of triggered the slide was once again Waqar Younis, who 
seems to be getting better and better after every outing. Maybe 
it's the luck of his wife or anything, the guy has developed the 
knack of striking when his team needs the most. With successive 
deliveries in his seventh and the team's 41st over, he removed 
Nicky Boje and dangerman Lance Klusener to firmly swing the match 
in favour of Pakistan.

Shaun Pollock averted the hat trick with a brace, but the 
successive blows took wind out of the sails of South Africa and 
they had no clue how to handle the charged-up Pakistan attack.

Mark Boucher held the faltering South Africa innings together in 
the face of a spiralling required run-rate, but it was Waqar's day 
who sealed a dramatic Pakistan victory by first clean bowling 
Pollock and then shattering the stumps of Boucher (57 off 49 balls 
with three fours and three sixes) to win both the Man-of-the-Final 
and Man-of-the-Series awards. He ended with match figures of four 
for 62 to take his tournament tally of wickets to 13.

South Africa stuttered early in their innings, losing in-form 
Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis by the eighth over with just 30 
runs the board. But skipper Hansie Cronje and Neil McKenzie were in 
no mood to repeat the mistake they did in their previous match on 
Tuesday when they fell flat after Shoaib Akhtar's three-wicket 
burst in one over.

They defied the fiery Pakistan pacers, who charged in with the 
crescendo of the noise from the packed-to-capacity stadium which 
made them look even more threatening. The absence of Shoaib, who 
failed a fitness test, further made things easier for them.
Man of the Match: Waqar Younis
Man of the Series: Waqar Younis
Top Scorer of the Tournament: Inzamamul Haq
Best Bowler: Waqar Younis, Lance Klusener

Pakistan end South African winning spree
Viren Varma

SHARJAH, March 28: One blistering over and it all made the 
difference. It doesn't happen so often. But on Tuesday it did. 
South Africa were cruising when Shoaib Akhtar produced a telling 
burst to swing 
the match in his team's favour from nowhere, leaving the startled 
South Africans biting their nails in disbelief.

Three wickets in one over simply destroyed an under-strength South 
Africa, who thereafter caved in under the intense pressure applied 
by Pakistan. With India out of the way, the match was reduced to a 
dress rehearsal for Friday's final. The only interest left was to 
see whether Pakistan would be able to snap their 14-match losing 
streak against South Africa.

They did and that too in style, unfolding their amazing fighting 
qualities when things were loaded heavily against them. South 
Africa, chasing 169 for victory, were 74 for one when Shoaib, 
bowling with awesome speed and accuracy, began his sensational over 
- his fourth and the team's 17th.

On his second ball he forced an edge from Mark Boucher, then clean 
bowled Dale Benkenstein and Lance Klusener with his fourth and 
sixth deliveries to bring the match alive.

The quick blows reduced South Africa to 74 for four, but Shoaib, 
who bowled the fastest delivery of the day - 156km per hour - 
aggravated his groin injury in the very next over. Still, there was 
no respite for the South Africans, who just failed to figure out 
what was happening out there in the middle. Abdur Razzaq completed 
his over and he was too rewarded with the wicket of Peiter Strydom.

With Pakistan on fire, the proceedings were reduced to a one-sided 

Pakistan fully exploited the utter confusion in the South African 
camp to return home with a grin of pride lighting up their faces. 
They couldn't have asked for a better dose of success before the 

South Africa, who rested five of their regulars including skipper 
Hansie Cronje, were further handicapped by injury to Gary Kirsten 
(back spasm) who had to retire hurt after scoring eight runs. Only 
Herschelle Gibbs stood firm amid the ruins, but his unbeaten 
innings of 59 off 79 balls with nine fours only helped South Africa 
cross the 100-run mark.

Amid Shoaib's exploits, Waqar Younis' feat was almost eclipsed. The 
veteran pacer, playing his 186th one-day international match, 
joined the exclusive 300-wicket club when he removed Neil McKenzie 
for one. The sensational stuff produced by the fiery Pakistan 
bowlers, who shot out South Africa for a 101 in mere 26.5 overs, 
amply made up the inept showing of their batsmen earlier in the 

Shaun Pollock, leading the side for the first, marshalled his 
resources effectively to fire Pakistan out for 168, only Yousuf 
Youhana rose to the challenge with a cultured 65 off 88 balls. Even 
if South Africa had scored all the runs in zero over, Pakistan 
would have still qualified for the final, such was the one-sided 
equation in their favour.

Pollock himself set the tone for pedestrian top order batting, 
claiming young Imran Nazir in the very first over.

Pakistan just failed to recover from the early shock and kept 
losing wickets in quick successions Flamboyant Shahid Afridi, 
though he exhibited to such instinct in this tournament, hung on 
for a while, scoring 26 off 45 balls, life wasn't easy for the 
Pakistan batsmen.

But, in the end, it was Pakistan's compelling fightback that made 
all the difference and it also ended South Africa's eight-match 
victory run at Sharjah.-Dawn/KT Service

Tauqir wants to guide Pakistan cricket to better future

SHARJAH, March 26: New Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lt-Gen 
Tauqir Zia explains a lot of things. He is trying to rein in the 
hitherto unbridled players power in Pakistan cricket team.

"I am determined to root out the menace of so-called players power 
from Pakistan cricket and I'll make sure it never pops its head out 
again by putting in another system in place which my successor will 
find it hard to undo," he said on Sunday at the Sharjah Cricket 

"I want to leave behind a system containing a cohesive set of 
principles to guide the fortunes of Pakistan cricket towards a 
better future," he said.

"True that as along as I am around there will be no politics and no 
groups in the team but at the same time I am going to give a lot 
back to the players. I want them to feel secure to begin with both 
in terms of their places in the team and financially. But after 
providing them with all the facilities, I would like to see them 
perform at their optimum level," the general said.-Dawn/KT-Service

Pakistan hockey team confident after Osaka
Lateef Jafri

Under difficult weather conditions in the Japanese city of Osaka, 
with biting cold and chilly winds dampening the enthusiasm of the 
Pakistani players, it was commendable that they displayed 
effervescence in the competitive format, barring two ties, to 
qualify for the millennium's first Olympics in Sydney.

Had not half-back Irfan Yousuf committed the blunder of missing a 
penalty stroke in the final against Spain, the character of the 
contest may have been transformed and Pakistan, and not the Atlanta 

Olympiad silver medalist, may have run away with the highest prize 
of the tournament. As manager Islahuddin said, "Anything could have 
happened after the conversion of the stroke."

Contrarily the final was played under sunshine on the Nagai 
stadium's astro turf and the Pakistanis fashioned charming sequence 
of moves to enthuse the spectators but regretfully they proved poor 
marksmen or was it that the quick reflexes and anticipation of 
custodian Ramon Jufresa time and again denied them the advantage?

Whatever may have been the mode and method of the Pakistani players 
it were the Spaniards who had their noses in front at the lemon-
time with a lead of 2-0. It was some time after resumption that 
Pakistan got a wake-up call from Sohail Abbas, who successfully 
sounded the boards through a penalty corner hit. However, it was 
too late for they had lost more ground with a third goal by Spain. 
It was only at the fag-end of the match that Sohail sent the ball 
zooming into the net off a penalty corner with a hard grounder to 
reduce the margin.

It is surprising that despite the tips and pep talks given by 
Olympians Islah and Hanif Khan the Pakistanis were invariably late-
starters. Even against a non-entity like Switzerland they had to 
make a leeway after a 0-2 deficit upto the 20th minute of the first 
session. But the management may explain away the early pedestrian 
approach of the game to shivering cold and problems of adjustment 
to the surface. The trainers have to inject vigour and variety in 
the gameplan right from the push-off.

The whole framework for hockey competitions in the pre-independence 
days in South Asia was always set for the wintry season. Whether it 
was Ramlal Shield of Lucknow, the Scindia contest, the Delhi Cloth 
mills, the Beighton and the Aga Khan the wizards of yore viz 
Latifur Rahman, Habibur Rahman, Munir, Shakoor, K.D. Singh Babu, 
Dara, Kishenlal, Balbir (Sr), Udham, Latif Mir and Idris provided 
thrilling moments for the connoisseurs with their excellent pattern 
- weaving. What is wrong with the present breed of players that a 
change of temperature from Kuala Lumpur's Azlan Shah to Japan's 
Osaka makes them phlegmatic and sluggish? May be the old timers 
were more fit. It will be the responsibility of the coaches after 
the camp reassembles for the upcoming contests, perhaps in Europe, 
to make the squad members more enterprising and energetic from the 
opening whistle, whatever may be the nature of the weather and 

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