------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 8 April 2000 Issue : 06/15 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + PML to ask Nawaz to nominate party chief + Shahbaz, three others handed over to NAB + Life sentence for Nawaz Sharif + Nawaz says verdict engineered + Kulsoom terms verdict 'personal revenge' + Verdict a political decision, says Hasan Nawaz + CE rejects Kulsoom's remarks as absurd + 22 PML activists arrested + Abida urges removal of Nawaz as PML chief + 'No harm if cases against Benazir are re-probed' + ICJ to decide Atlantic case in four months + Indian claim on ICJ's jurisdiction opposed + War between Pakistan and India feared + Sultan urges United Nation to hold plebiscite + India makes conditional offer for talks with Mujahideen + Ehtesab court convicts Wattoo + US was forewarned of attack on Sikhs, says JKLF leader + Police on alert after threat to kidnap Americans + Kashmir real cause of tension in S.Asia: CE + Pakistan not behind trouble in Kashmir + One killed, 26 injured in 3 blasts + Akora boat accident toll rises to 23 + Chenab boat tragedy: 26 bodies recovered, 22 still missing + Four die, 50 injured as Shalimar derails + Official says sabotage caused derailment + Afghan governor shot dead in Peshawar + Ties with United States worsening: CE + Reorganization of foreign office likely + High fee of Pakistan origin card criticized + Saudi Arabia introduces new Umrah regulations --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + IMF data on tax revenue for 8 months + Curbs relaxed on bank guarantees + Fresh foreign currency deposits growth halted + Foreign missions can open FCAs + SBP move to stop misuse of FCAs + Pakistan gears up to fight legal battle on Basmati + Permission to lay pipeline refused + Stocks show fractional decline --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Being grateful for small mercies Ayaz Amir + Looking for a scapegoat By Irfan Husain + The verdict + Victory at Sharjah + Clinton's failed odyssey Shameem Akhtar + S. Asia after Clinton's visit Dr Maqbool Ahmad Bhatty ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan makes winning start to Windies tour + Sindh Open squash: Shams shocks Amjad to become new champion

PML to ask Nawaz to nominate party chief

ISLAMABAD, April 7: Power politics in the Pakistan Muslim League 
(PML) will intensify with the conviction of deposed Prime Minister 
Nawaz Sharif as the development poses a question as to who will be 
the acting president of the party.

According to the party constitution, only the president (Nawaz 
Sharif) can nominate one of the eight vice-presidents as acting 
president while the central executive council or the general 
council of the party have no authority to do so.

Senior party leaders told NNI that in the present situation, the 
CEC and parliamentary party would meet on April 9 to pass a 
resolution demanding of Nawaz Sharif to nominate one of the vice-
presidents as the acting president. The vice-presidents are Raja 
Zafrul Haq, Ejazul Haq, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Lt-Gen (retd) Majid 
Malik, Khurshid Kasuri, Illahi Bukhsh Soomro, Subedar Khan 
Mandokhel and Gohar Ayub Khan.

According to party sources Zafrul Haq at the moment enjoys backing 
of Chaudhry brothers (Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Ellahi). Sheikh 
Rashid Ahmed, Lt-Gen (retd) Majeed Malik, Illahi Bukhsh Soomro, and 
Gohar Ayub Khan have also supported his nomination, the sources 

Ejazul Haq, on the other hand, is a strong contender for the top 
slot but some party leaders oppose the idea on account of some of 
his statements after Oct 12 military takeover. He, however, enjoys 
full support of the so-called dissidents, including Mian Mohammad 
Azhar, Abida Hussain, Syed Fakhar Imam and Khurshid Kasuri, the 
sources added.

They said that Nawaz Sharif had a soft corner for Raja Zafrul Haq 
and he had repeatedly thanked him for keeping the party united. 
However, Syed Fakhar Imam has repeatedly said that the new party 
president should be elected through secret ballot in a general 
council meeting.-NNI

Shahbaz, three others handed over to NAB
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, April 7: Four persons acquitted by Anti-Terrorism Court 
No. 1 of Karachi in plane hijacking case were handed over to 
National Accountability Bureau officials for investigation after 
their arrest in corruption cases, Prosecutor General of NAB Farouqe 
Adam confirmed.

Those who were handed over to NAB officials included former Punjab 
chief minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, defunct Ehtesab Bureau chief 
Saifur Rehman, former principal secretary to former prime minister 
Saeed Mehdi and former IG Sindh Police Rana Maqbool. They were 
brought to Rawalpindi from Karachi in an air force plane and later 
produced before an Accountability Court in Rawalpindi. The 
prosecutor general said that warrants of former prime minister 
Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Saifur Rehman were issued in 
November last year but they could not be arrested as they were in 
Landhi jail in connection with the hijacking case.

He said now the case has concluded and those involved in corruption 
cases had to be arrested. After their production before a judge, 
Shahbaz Sharif, Senator Saifur Rehman, Rana Maqbool and Saeed Mehdi 
were shifted to Attock Fort.

Life sentence for Nawaz Sharif
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced 
to two life terms and imposed heavy fines by the Anti-terrorism 
Court No. 1 in the plane hijacking case. The remaining six 
defendants were acquitted of all charges.

The courtroom echoed with the shrieks of Sharif's family members as 
Judge Rahmat Hussain Jafferi announced the verdict around 11:43am, 
also ordering confiscation of the entire property of the former 
prime minister.

The court convicted Nawaz Sharif for hijacking under Section 402-B 
of Pakistan Penal Code and sentenced him to rigorous life 
imprisonment and fined Rs500,000. He will have to undergo an 
additional five-year term if he defaulted on the payment. The court 
also ordered confiscation of his entire property for the same 

The former prime minister was also convicted under section 7 (ii) 
of the A.T. Act for creating terror among the people and sentenced 
to a life term and fined Rs500,000. He will have to undergo an 
additional five-year term in case of default.

The judge also ordered Nawaz Sharif to pay Rs2 million as 
compensation under section 544-A Cr.PC, which would be distributed 
among the passengers of flight PK-805. All the sentences will run 
concurrently, the judge ordered.

The judge acquitted the remaining six defendants - Shahbaz Sharif, 
former Punjab chief minister, Saeed Mehdi, former principal 
secretary to Nawaz Sharif, Saifur Rahmam, former Ehtesab Bureau 
chief, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former PIA chairman, Syed Ghous Ali 
Shah, former adviser to the then prime minister on Sindh affairs, 
and Rana Maqbool Ahmed, former Sindh IGP - of all charges and 
ordered their release if they were not required in any other case.

At the outset of the proceedings the judge asked the seven accused 
to rise and said that the court, after going through the evidence 
of the prosecution witnesses and submissions of the defence, found 
that Section 324 of PPC (attempt to murder) was not attracted in 
this case as the PK-805 was once allowed to land for refuelling.

The judge also exonerated the seven accused of the charge of 
kidnapping the passengers of the PK-805. Then he announced the 
acquittal of Shahbaz Sharif, Saeed Mehdi, Saifur Rehman, Shahid 
Khaqan Abbasi, Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Rana Maqbool Ahmed of the 
charge of hijacking.

Marium Safdar, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, yelled "Have fear of God" 
as Judge Rahmat Hussain Jafferi announced the first sentence 
awarded to the former prime minister on the charge of attempting to 
hijack the plane.

Assigning reasons for lesser sentence to Nawaz Sharif for 
hijacking, the judge, in his order, observed: "It is an admitted 
position that when this offence was committed at that time section 
402-B was not a schedule offence which was included in the schedule 
vide Notification No. F.3 (77) 97 A. III dated 2-12-1999, before 
the submission of challan. As such, now it was to be seen whether 
the amendment had retrospective effect or not. Similar point had 
been decided by the High Court of Sindh reported in 1986 P.Cr.. L. 
J., page 1653. It has been observed at page 1641.

He observed that this was a simple case of attempt to hijack the 
aircraft." The worst possible cases of attempt to hijack can be 
visualized, therefore, the lesser punishment in this case would 
meet the ends of justice.

The judge further observed: "Apart from the above position, the 
offence was committed at the spur of moment and in heat of passion 
when the then prime minister of Pakistan, who was the defence 
minister also, came to know that his authority was eroded by some 
few army soldiers, therefore, he has reacted in this manner.

In view of the above position this court convicts the accused, Mian 
Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, under section 402-B." The judge also ordered 
the superintendent jail to release approver Aminullah Chaudhry if 
he was not required in any other case.

The judge observed: "In this case, the approver Aminullah Chaudhry, 
in accordance with the condition of the agreement, is relieved of 
his obligation as no required certificate has been filed by the 
public prosecutor showing that the approver has failed to fulfil 
the conditions of the pardon, as such, the approver Aminullah 
Chaudhry is released."

The female family members of Sharif chanted slogans in the 
courtroom as the judge rose after announcing the sentences from his 
157-page judgment.

Reacting to the judgment against Nawaz Sharif, Begum Kulsum Nawaz 
said her husband was innocent. "His morale is high despite 
conviction," she added. She rejected the verdict saying the present 
regime could not take the risk of setting Nawaz Sharif free. "He is 
a tiger in cage. How can they set him free," she said. She said the 
judgment was based on the "personal vendetta" against her husband. 
"But we are not afraid of them," she said. When asked whether the 
PML workers could take to the street, she replied: "Anything can 

Marium Safdar, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, said the judgment was "all 
engineered". She said if the situation arose she would lead the 
protest campaign against the verdict.

The family members of Nawaz Sharif present in the courtroom also 
included Asma Nawaz Sharif, Saira Hussain Nawaz, Kauser Yousuf, 
sister of Nawaz Sharif, and wife and sons of Shahbaz Sharif.

Nawaz says verdict engineered

KARACHI, April 6: Nawaz Sharif said the verdict finding him guilty 
was "engineered". "This is most definitely an engineered verdict," 
he said in a statement after being sentenced to life imprisonment. 
"I have full faith in the Almighty and Inshallah all this will be 
behind us," he added.

Mr Sharif said the tactics used against him would neither "serve 
the cause of the future (of the country) nor in any way legitimize 
this illegal government." -NNI

Kulsoom terms verdict 'personal revenge'
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of the deposed prime 
minister, Nawaz Sharif, has termed the plane hijacking case "a 
deceptive case" and the sentence awarded to her husband a "personal 
revenge."We will go in appeal against the verdict and are sure to 
get relief from the high court", she said, adding that the Sharif 
family could not think of leaving Pakistan, they would continue to 
live and die in the country.

She said that the FIR had been lodged after one month and that, 
too, not by any of the PK-805 passengers. Besides, she said, when 
the plane was in the space, the army had already taken over the 
power. Neither any threat was given nor any pressure exercised and 
the court, too, had conceded that Nawaz Sharif had been sentenced 

on the basis of the evidence given by the approver.

She said that under the Shariat an approver's evidence was not 
acceptable and, as such, it was not a hijacking case but a "high-
shocking" case. "Nawaz Sharif took the verdict very bravely and he 
remained composed, she said.

Verdict a political decision, says Hasan Nawaz
Staff Correspondent

LONDON, April 6: The son of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, 
Hasan Nawaz, expressed disappointment over what he termed a 
"political decision" of the Anti-Terrorism Court sentencing his 
father to 25 years' imprisonment. "Fight has just begun, it's (this 
decision is) not the end," he told Dawn. He added that an appeal 
would be filed against the verdict within two days.

He said his family were "totally disappointed" at the decision of 
the court. "I presume the court was under great pressure," he said. 
"How is it possible that only my father was guilty?" he questioned. 
"Suppose I ask someone to shoot a person and he obeys my order and 
kills the person, will he not be convicted along with me?" he 

"Suppose my father had given instructions, then someone, somewhere 
in the PIA or the Civil Aviation Authority must have carried and 
implemented those orders to stop that plane. But no other person 
has been convicted which proves that it was a political decision," 
he said.

Asked whether he was also disappointment at the Pakistan Muslim 
League's decision not to hold any protest demonstration against the 
verdict, he said: "We have stopped banking on people; we have faith 
and trust in God."

Asked if he would say that the trial was fair, Hasan Nawaz said "It 
was not fair in the sense that judges were changed, venue was 
changed, Nawaz Sharif's lawyer Iqbal Raad was killed, a Provisional 
Constitutional Order was brought in to pressurize the courts, Nawaz 
Sharif was brought in armed personnel carriers and intelligence 
people occupied the seats in the court room. So in these respects I 
would say it was not fair." However, he hoped that a trial in the 
High Court would be more open and fair. 

CE rejects Kulsoom's remarks as absurd
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April 6: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf rejected as 
absurd Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's allegation that he had influenced the 
Anti-Terrorism Court trying deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 
the plane hijacking case.

Talking to reporters at the Punjab University, where he was the 
chief guest at the 110th convocation of the country's oldest 
educational institution, he said Begum Kulsoom Nawaz had been 
issuing statements everyday, but he had not consider it dignified 
to comment on them.

He added that on being asked on various occasions about such 
statements he had only explained to various people the legal 
procedure of the trial and that appeals in such cases were referred 
for a final decision to the president. Gen Musharraf said he had 
also made it clear to everybody that he figured nowhere in the 
'chain of command' dealing with such matters.

22 PML activists arrested
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: At least 22 Pakistan Muslim League supporters 
were arrested at a security barricade outside the court premises. 
Those who were whisked away in waiting police vans included a 
former minister of the PML, Tehmina Daultana. Others included Tooba 
Durrani, Nayyar and Imdad Chandio.

Abida urges removal of Nawaz as PML chief

ISLAMABAD, April 2: PML leader Begum Abida Hussain demanded the 
removal of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the party chief 
to pave way for what she called a rapprochement between the party 
and the army. Talking to PPI, she said that only a change of the 
party leadership could lead to conciliation between the PML and the 
army, adding that the party should adopt a "wise approach" by 
removing Nawaz Sharif.

She said the party needed to bring in a new leadership which had 
never been involved in plunder of national assets. She was of the 
view that those who looted the national wealth in their lust for 
self-aggrandizement would neither be acceptable to the people nor 
the state institutions.

'No harm if cases against Benazir are re-probed'
By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, April 2: Begum Kulsoom Nawaz insists that former prime 
minister Benazir Bhutto was convicted on corruption charges on the 
basis of solid proof and not forged documents. However, she says 
there is nothing wrong if the present government agrees to have the 
pending cases against the PPP chairperson re-investigated.

"I don't support the demand for a fresh probe into the corruption 
charges. But if the rulers agree, there is no harm in re-opening 
the matter," she said.

Begum Kulsoom denied that the PML government had victimized the PPP 
leaders or kept them behind bars without any charge against them. 
She said in fact the cases against the PPP leaders had been 
instituted by the then presidents Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Farooq 
Leghari and former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi.

Begum Kulsoom said in case the PML government was restored, it 
would have the pending cases against the PPP leaders probed afresh.

ICJ to decide Atlantic case in four months

THE HAGUE, April 7: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said 
it will decide in three or four months if it has jurisdiction over 
Pakistani claims for compensation after India downed one of its 
planes in August last year.

India claimed it shot down the naval patrol aircraft because it was 
in its airspace, while Pakistan said the plane was on a routine 
training mission in Pakistani airspace. All 16 people on board 

The ICJ finished reviewing the case after four days of arguments by 
both sides, with Pakistan supporting the court's authority to rule 
on a complaint it had filed on September 21.

India, however, said it recognized the tribunal's jurisdiction 
except in cases involving current or former members of the 
Commonwealth of former British colonies, which includes both 

Indian claim on ICJ's jurisdiction opposed

THE HAGUE, April 4: Attorney-General Aziz A. Munshi has opposed the 
Indian claim that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has no 
jurisdiction in the case where India deliberately shot down an 
unarmed naval aircraft inside Pakistan's territory, causing the 
death of 16 young men.

"India could not resile from the compulsory jurisdiction under 
Article 36 of General Act of 1928 and could not be allowed to 
defeat the treaty obligations and international law," Mr Munshi 
argued. Opposing the Commonwealth reservation plea which India 
claims to invoke, he argued that it lied outside the range of 
reservations which were permitted by Article 36(3) of the General 
Act of 1928. He said Pakistan would make further submissions in 
this behalf.

Representing India at the UN court, Soli J. Sorabjee said India 
recognised the ICJ's jurisdiction except in cases involving current 
or former members of the C'wealth. As India and Pakistan were 
C'wealth members, the court was not competent to judge the case, 
which "must be dismissed," he said.-AFP

War between Pakistan and India feared

ISLAMABAD, April 1: The chairman of the external relations 
committee in the suspended Senate, M. Akram Zaki, has expressed 
fears of war between India and Pakistan. "There is an intensified 
danger of war after the rejection of Islamabad's offer for talks by 
New Delhi," he observed.

Talking to PPI on Saturday, the former secretary-general of foreign 
affairs said the United States cannot establish durable peace in 
the region by sacrificing demands for justice. He said India was 
following an expansionist, aggressive and jingoist policy, adding 
that the sudden shift in the American policy had boosted the morale 
of the Indian leaders. He said the way President Clinton had 
supported Indian position and tried to appease Indian leadership 
during his visit had encouraged the India to further stiffen its 
attitude towards Pakistan.

Sultan urges United Nation to hold plebiscite

ISLAMABAD, April 1: The AJK prime minister, Barrister Sultan 
Mahmood, urged the United Nations to take practical steps for 
holding a plebiscite in occupied Kashmir in accordance with the UN 
Security Council's resolutions. In a statement, he also called on 
the world body to pressure India to stop shelling along the Line of 
Control. Condemning the Indian rulers over continued shelling of 
Azad Kashmir's civilians, he urged the UN to play its role in 
resolving the Kashmir dispute.

He said India was targeting the civilian population to achieve its 
nefarious designs. But the people of border areas would foil the 
India's aggressive moves.-APP

India makes conditional offer for talks with Mujahideen

NEW DELHI, April 5: The Indian government is ready to hold talks 
with the Kashmiri freedom-fighters if they abandon violence, the 
country's interior minister was quoted as saying. "If the militant 
outfits lay down arms and leave the path of violence, the 
government would have no hesitation in opening talks with them," 
United News of India (UNI) quoted Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani 
as saying.

In an apparent departure from policy on the Valley, UNI quoted Mr 
Advani as saying that the release of three All Parties Hurriyat 
Conference leaders from prison this week was an effort to open 
dialogue with the Mujahideen's groups.

"The government is willing to hold talks with militants on every 
demand - legitimate or perverse, if they abandon the path of 
violence," Mr Advani elaborated. In the meantime, India's policy 
towards Kashmir freedom struggle would be "firm and nasty," he 

Ehtesab court convicts Wattoo
Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April 4: The former chief minister of Punjab, Mian Manzoor 
Ahmad Wattoo, was convicted in two different cases by an 
accountability court. In a case of illegal allotment of plots to 
110 people in different Lahore Development Authority schemes, he 
was sentenced to four years' rigorous imprisonment and was 
prescribed a fine of Rs4 million. He will undergo a further 
imprisonment of 18 months if he fails to pay the fine. The former 
chief minister was disqualified from being elected or chosen a 
member of parliament or provincial assembly.

US was forewarned of attack on Sikhs, says JKLF leader
By Nasir Malick

LONDON, April 1: A Kashmiri freedom group had forewarned the United 
States that Indian intelligence agencies might cause a 
"catastrophic human tragedy" somewhere in occupied Kashmir to 
malign the Kashmiri freedom fighters and to implicate Pakistan 
during the visit of President Clinton to the South Asian region, it 
has emerged. 

The warning was given to the United States by a five-member 
delegation of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). The 
delegation had met the officials of the US State Department in 
Washington a week before the visit of President Clinton but the 
concern was not conveyed to the White House authorities in time.

Police on alert after threat to kidnap Americans

KARACHI, April 1: Police have been put on alert following a warning 
issued by the U.S. State Department that there was a threat to 
kidnap U.S. citizens in and around Karachi.

The State Department warned Americans in Pakistan, particularly in 
Karachi, that it had intercepted a threat that an American citizen 
would be abducted between March 31 and April 6. "Although, the 
information is unconfirmed, it is prudent for all Americans to 
review their security practices, particularly being aware of their 
surroundings and varying their travel plans, times and routes," the 
statement said. 

"We have taken extra measures for the security of U.S. citizens in 
Karachi and police have been deployed around the residences of the 
Americans," the police official said. "We are aware of the 
situation are taking all measures to ensure security to them," he 

Kashmir real cause of tension in S.Asia: CE

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, April 2: Chief Executive General Pervez 
Musharraf expressed his readiness for resumption of dialogue with 
India, saying the Kashmir dispute remained the major cause of 
tension in South Asia. 

Kashmir problem is the real cause of tension and other issues are 
mere irritants. It needs to be addressed, the chief executive told 
reporters. "I have made my position unambiguously clear that I am 
willing to meet anybody anytime, anywhere," he told a questioner.-

Pakistan not behind trouble in Kashmir
By Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, April 5: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf told the 
cabinet that he had tried to take US President Bill Clinton into 
confidence on the issue of terrorism and told him that Pakistan 
itself had been the worst victim of terrorism in the region.

"The chief executive condemned terrorism in all its forms and said 
that Pakistan was not at all supporting any militant group or party 
to carry out any activity in occupied Kashmir," said a ministerial 

He said that the CE told the cabinet meeting that Pakistan was 
ready to start talks with India anytime and at any place and that 
the US president should force New Delhi to respond to the offer.

The chief executive also told the US president that there was no 
truth in the allegations that Pakistan was involved in cross-border 
terrorism or some people in his government were supporting alleged 
terrorist activities in occupied Kashmir.

One killed, 26 injured in 3 blasts
Dawn Report

LAHORE, April 7: A man was killed and at least 26 people were 
injured in three explosions in Lahore, Kasur and Rawalpindi on 
Friday. Sixteen people were injured, two of them seriously, when a 
high-intensity explosive device went off in front of a cigarette 
kiosk at Badami Bagh general bus stand here while six passengers 
were injured in Kasur blast. The blast took place near the exit of 
the general bus stand, not far from the main operation area of 
crowded wagon and flying coaches stand.

According to Civil Defence's bomb disposal squad, the blast was 
caused by a locally-made time device, weighing over 1.5-kg. The 
police authorities were not clear about the motive of the blast or 
the elements behind it.

Akora boat accident toll rises to 23
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, April 1: The number of those killed in boat accident in 
River Kabul has risen to 23, Akora Khattak police told Dawn. Police 
said nine bodies were recovered so far while efforts were underway 
to search for bodies of those still missing.

Chenab boat tragedy: 26 bodies recovered, 22 still missing
Staff Correspondent

GUJRAT, April 5: Four more bodies were recovered by army divers 
from the Chenab where a boat was capsized seven days ago. The 
number of bodies so far recovered has risen to 26, while 22 persons 
are still missing.

Four die, 50 injured as Shalimar derails

By Sarfaraz Ahmed

JHIMPIR, April 4: Four people died and at least 50 others were 
injured when a Lahore-bound Shalimar Express derailed over a small 
bridge, 29km from Thatta. The railway authorities suspected 
subversion as the cause of the accident which suspended the 
movement of all upcountry and down trains.

The passengers and the railway staff said that nine coaches of the 
17-bogey train, which had left the Karachi Cantonment Station at 
11:30am, derailed at 1.05pm. All the nine bogeys were badly 
damaged; four of them plunged into a ditch, two smashed into each 
other with one resting on the other. The remaining were lying off 
the tracks. The wreckage was found scattered around the steel 
bridge and along the tracks over a radius of one hundred yards.

Official says sabotage caused derailment

KARACHI, April 5: Pakistan Railway refuted reports about derailment 
of Lahore-bound 105-Up Shalimar Express between Buradabad and 
Jhumpir railway stations on Karachi-Kotri section due to collapse 
of some bridge. "Sabotage cannot be ruled out as during initial 
inquiries, three bolts of the fish plates on each side of the Up 
tracks were found missing," Iqbal Samad Khan, general manager of 
the Railways, told APP.

These bolts, he said, hold the tracks together and as a result of 
their removal, the alignment of the rails was disturbed as the 
locomotive along with six coaches passed at this point. By the time 
the seventh coach approached the disturbed alignment, the wheels 
instead of rolling on the correct path, mounted the disturbed rails 
and it was at that time the derailment occurred. Consequently all 
the nine coaches of the train went off the tracks.

He said the damage to the bridge occurred when the derailed coaches 
hit the girders and sleepers of the bridge.-APP

Afghan governor shot dead in Peshawar
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, April 4: The governor of Afghanistan's Kunduz province 
was shot dead along with his bodyguard in a shootout by an unknown 
assailant. Governor Arif Khan was travelling in his car after 
leaving his Hayatabad residence when an armed young man, hiding by 
the roadside, opened indiscriminate firing and killed him on the 

The bodyguard of the deceased, Shah Rahim, was also killed, while 
driver Salim and his three companions, Khudai Noor, Haji Mulazai 
and Sher Khan, were seriously injured and taken to hospital.

Reports indicate that the slain Afghan official was a staunch 
supporter of the Taliban government which could lead to suspect's 
links with the Afghan opposition, police sources revealed.


Ties with United States worsening: CE

BANGKOK, April 3: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf warned that 
the relationship between Washington and Islamabad was 
"deteriorating on dangerous issues". In Thailand on the last leg of 
a tour of Southeast Asia, Gen Musharraf said the United States and 
Pakistan remained deeply divided on key "issues of concern ... and 
tension," including Kashmir, terrorism, nuclear weapons and 
Islamabad's relations with Afghanistan.

"I'm bothered about what Pakistan's relationship with the United 
States is ... the substance of that," said the CE, a week after US 
President Bill Clinton ended a tour of South Asia.-Agencies

Reorganization of foreign office likely
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, April 3: The government is contemplating a thorough 
reorganization of the foreign office to project Pakistan's 
diplomatic, commercial and defence interests in an effective 

The foreign office people were being told that they should not 
highlight Pakistan's national interests as identified by them. 
Instead, they should accommodate the points of view of others, 
including the think tanks and other independent bodies, official 
sources told Dawn.

High fee of Pakistan origin card criticized
Staff Correspondent

LONDON, April 2: The Pakistan Action Committee, an organization 
formed by High Commissioner Akbar Ahmad, has strongly criticized 
Pakistan government for imposing a high fee of pound sterling 200 
per person for Pakistan origin card, which the government wants to 
introduce among expatriate Pakistanis for identification purposes.

The cards for 10-years will be available at a cost of $300 ( pound 
sterling 200) per person. In a press statement PAC Secretary 
General Mansour Malik termed the high fee as a "rip off" and said 
that instead of providing facilities to expatriates, the government 
should try not to rip them off.

Asking the government to reconsider their decision of imposing such 
a high fee, Mr Mansour Malik also called for ending unnecessary 
problem to Pakistanis living there. 

Saudi Arabia introduces new Umrah regulations
By Syed Rashid Husain

RIYADH, April 2: Saudi Arabia has introduced new Umrah regulations 
for the intending pilgrims. Under the new rules, to be effective 
from July, Umrah visas can be obtained from Saudi missions abroad 
through contracted agents of Umrah service companies. These 
companies will be responsible for the movements of the pilgrims in 
the kingdom within the specified period which will also be extended 
from 15 to 30 days. All these companies will be issued licences by 
the Haj ministry.

Pilgrims, applying for Umrah visa, need to fulfil health 
conditions, set by the Saudi health ministry; should also have a 
return ticket with confirmed reservations and a bank draft of the 
Saudi monetary agency-approved banks, drawn in the name of the 

The new regulations are aimed to curtail overstaying of the Umrah 
visitors in the kingdom. It also fulfils a long demand of the 
expatriates to allow their relatives coming for Umrah to visit them 
in other parts of the kingdom. 

IMF data on tax revenue for 8 months: 
By M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, April 5: Preliminary revenue data compiled by the IMF on 
its own has indicated that collection in the first eight months of 
the current financial year amounted to Rs209.3 billion, showing a 
short fall of Rs16.4 billion compared with Fund program´┐Żs target of 
Rs225.7 billion.

This shortfall indicated " a virtual collapse in tax administration 
in most areas, " maintained the Fund in a written communication 
sent to finance minister Shaukat Aziz. The Fund has attributed the 
stagnation in revenue collection to what it called "the 
uncertainties created by massive reshuffling of responsibilities, 
rightsizing of the CBR, and the continuing threat of NAB swords on 
corrupt officials. 

If this situation is allowed to persist and the performance of the 
last few months is not reversed soon, we could be heading for a 
massive shortfall in the range of Rs24-25 billion.," warned the 
Fund letter.

The Fund data for up to February 2000 reveal cumulative shortfall 
in direct taxes (Rs7.2 billion), customs duties (Rs4 billion), 
excise duties (Rs3.7 billion) and sales tax (Rs1.4 billion) 
compared with their respective cumulative Fund program targets for 
the same period.

Conceding that the GST revenue performance had been " impressive" 
in recent months, the Fund expressed its concern at the marked 
slowdown in GST growth (down from 90.6 per cent in the first 
quarter to 74.3 per cent over the eight months period through 

According to the Fund, current direct taxes were running 10.7 per 
cent below the target, compared with 7.6 per cent for the period up 
to January. At this pace up to February, the shortfall on account 
of direct taxes would be Rs13.6 billion (from the target of Rs127 
billion to Rs114 billion) in the current year.

Curbs relaxed on bank guarantees 
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: Banks can now issue open-ended guarantees on case 
by case basis for certain purposes without clearance from the State 
Bank provided such guarantees are fully secured against cash 
collateral or other liquid securities. Open-ended guarantees are 
those which do not contain the specific amount and the date of 

An SBP circular issued to all banks says the SBP has allowed banks 
to issue the following types of guarantees:

(i) Advance payment or bid bond guarantees-guarantees against 
performance of ongoing government/semi government and autonomous 
bodies contracts.

(ii) Guarantees requested by public utility companies such as gas 
and electricity etc. in respect of their customers to cover the 
utility supplied during the period of guarantee.

(iii) Court guarantees.

(iv) Customs/Shipping Guarantees.

(v) Revenue related government departments guarantees.

The circular says the SBP has decided to allow banks to issue open-
ended guarantees in such situations where it is an integral part of 
the business. It says banks can issue such guarantees without its 
clearance only where they have fully secured their interest by cash 
collateral or other liquid securities.

The circular says banks would continue to seek prior approval of 
the State Bank for issuance of open-ended guarantees for the 
purposes other than the ones mentioned above.

In 1983, the SBP had directed the banks that all guarantees issued 
by them must contain specific amount and expiry date and a date by 
which claims are to be lodged. The latest circular lifts this 

Senior bankers say the removal of the restriction would help them 
streamline and improve their business - and also enable them to 
reach out to more customers particularly smaller ones.

Fresh foreign currency deposits growth halted
By Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, April 1: Fresh foreign currency deposits have almost 
stopped growing as resident holders are now supposed to disclose 
the source of income and are required to pay withholding tax on 
these deposits.

Bankers said fresh foreign currency deposits placed with State Bank 
saw a growth of only $20 million in past two months. They said FCDs 
of all banks placed with SBP since June 1999 stood at $327 million 
on March 31 up from $307 million on Jan 31, 2000.

Senior bankers close to SBP said total fresh foreign currency 
deposits including $575 million placed abroad before June 3, 1999 
also reflected sluggish growth at below $880 million on March 31.

Bankers say another thing that impedes growth of FCDs is a low rate 
of return: most banks pay 2.0-3.0 per cent interest on FCDs. They 
cannot offer more because the State Bank in turn pays them a 
maximum return of 4.80 per cent on three-month placement of such 


Foreign missions can open FCAs
By Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, April 4: Foreign diplomatic missions and diplomats as well 
as their home-based staff can now open and maintain fresh foreign 
currency accounts in Pakistan-separate of the special diplomatic 
accounts they are maintaining at present. International 
organizations and their expatriate employees can also enjoy this 
freedom under a State Bank order.

The SBP issued a circular informing all banks that the restrictions 
on foreign currency accounts of foreign diplomatic missions and 
international organizations stood cancelled. The SBP had imposed 
these restrictions in July and September last year mainly to stop 
capital flight.

SBP move to stop misuse of FCAs
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, April 4: The State Bank has separated foreign exchange 
reserves from foreign currency accounts to prevent the misuse of 
the FCAs. SBP Governor Ishrat Hussain told Dawn that the bank would 
never show these FCAs as part of its reserves as was done by 
successive governments.

He said that at present there were $300 million in the FCAs, while 
$500 million had been taken away from the country.  He said gross 
reserves stood at $1.5 billion while net reserves were being 
maintained at $1.2 billion, excluding $300 million relating to the 

Pakistan gears up to fight legal battle on Basmati
By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD, April 2: Pakistan has decided to start legal proceedings 
against M/S Ricetech, a US firm currently marketing "Kasmati and 
Texmati" rice in the US and UK. Sources said the government has 
asked its legal advisors to prepare a case in the light of a report 
prepared by the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) 
Islamabad so that it could be submitted to the US Patent Office.

Sources said the government has also asked its high commissioner in 
New Delhi, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, to immediately send a copy of a 
bill passed by Indian parliament for patenting Basmati rice on the 
basis of geographical appellation.

Sources said, commerce ministry has told Mr Qazi that "Pakistan 
needs to follow up the Indian example as the patent laws in 
Pakistan do not cater to any invention in rice varieties."

Sources said, Mr Qazi has been told that India and Pakistan had 
both conveyed their concerns to the Patent Office of the US on the 
issue and on the basis of a survey carried out by the NARC, 
Islamabad. "Our legal advisors have been asked to prepare the case 
for submission to the US patent office to prove that Basmati rice 
is grown in Kala Shah Kaku (Lahore) which was subsequently taken by 
Indians for local adoption," sources quoted the commerce ministry 
as telling Mr Qazi.

Sources said, Mr Qazi has been further informed that Indian 
government had already passed a bill for patenting Basmati on the 
basis of geographical appellation and Pakistan needs to follow up 
the same example.

Pakistani ambassador was informed that grant of patent to a US 
company could completely jeopardize the exports of rice from India 
and Pakistan to Europe and US.

The letter disclosed that Indian high commissioner in Islamabad had 
contacted joint secretary (export) to suggest that since the grant 
of patent by US government to M/S Ricetech would equally affect the 
rice exports of both India and Pakistan, therefore, legal battle 
could be fought jointly by sharing the information between the two 
governments as well as rice export associations of the tow 

Permission to lay pipeline refused
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 5: The Pak-Arab Refinery has approached the Sindh 
Wildlife Department (SWD) to allow it to lay a pipeline through the 
Khirthar National Park. The department has, however, not given the 
permission to the oil company to lay the pipeline through the park 
as it is a protected area under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Act 
and all such commercial activities are banned there.

The Economic Coordination Committee, which met under the Federal 
Finance Minister, Shaukat Aziz, has, however, given the approval 
for the issuance of the Letter of Support (LoS) to the PARCO and 
had directed it to complete the $600m white oil pipeline project by 

Sindh Wildlife Conservator Mahboob Alam Ansari said that keeping in 
view the importance of the project he had sent the proposal to the 
Sindh Law Department, where it was being reviewed and a final 
decision would be taken after obtaining necessary legal opinion.

The pipeline is expected to lessen the burden of the oil-tankers on 
the national highways and would also lessen the cost of 
transportation of oil.

Stocks show fractional decline
Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 7:The KSE 100-share index showed a modest decline of 
12.22 points at 1,943.21 as compared to 1,955.43 a day earlier.

Trading volume shrank below the 200m share mark. Big gainers were 
led 13th ICP, Al-Faysal Bank, Gadoon Textiles, Sapphire Fibre, 
Dewan Salman, and Pakistan Gum Chemical, which posted gains ranging 
from Rs 1.30 to 1.90. But the largest rise was noted in Shell 
Pakistan and Mehmood Textiles, finishing with extended gains of 
Rs2.70 and 4.00 respectively.

Leading losers were led by Mitchell's Fruits, Pak Guarantee 
Insurance, PIC and lever Brothers, which posted fall to the extent 
of Rs5.50 to 14.00. Other prominent losers were led by Gulistan 

Textiles, Lafeyette, Bawany Sugar, Dawood Hercules, Punjab oil and 
Cherat Paper falling by Rs1.75 to 3.00.

Trading volume fell to 185m shares from the previous 322m shares 
more than 70 per cent of which went to the credit of PTCL, ICI 
Pakistan and Hub-Power. Losers maintained a fair lead over the 
gainers at 132 to 98, with 53 holding on to the last levels.

The most active list was again topped by PTCL, higher by 70 paisa 
at Rs31.85 on 51m shares followed by Hub-Power, up 25 paisa on 37m 
shares, ICI Pakistan, lower 15 paisa at Rs 17.55 on 18m shares, 
PSO, off Rs 1.90 at Rs241.50 on 11m shares and Dhan fibre, up 25 
paisa at Rs 16.15 on 9m shares.

Other actives were led by Ibrahim Fibre, steady five paisa on 8m 
shares, FFC-Jordan Fertiliser lower 25 paisa on 6m shares, Japan 
Power, easy 10 paisa on 5m shares, Sui Northern, off 55 paisa also 
on 5m shares, Engro Chemical, easy five paisa on 4m shares, Adamjee 
Insurance, sharply lower by Rs6.65 also on 4m shares, Dewan Salman, 
up Rs1.70 on 3.551m shares and Lucky Cement,lower 25 paisa on 

DEFAULTER COMPANIES: Shares of over a dozen companies came in for 
trading but the on-balance trend was on the lower side amid slow 

Pak Telephone was traded higher by 15 paisa at Rs2.65 on 6,000 
shares followed by Mehran Jute, easy five paisa at Rs0.50 on 5,500 
shares, Crescent Board and Salman Noman, both unchanged at Rs3.25 
and 2.00 on 5,000 shares each. 

Back to the top
Being grateful for small mercies
By Ayaz Amir

WE had a chance of shooting ourselves in the foot yet again but, 
mercifully, desisted. I do not know who is to be thanked for this, 
Judge Jaffery, General Musharraf or the collective wisdom of the 
military government. But whoever it is deserves the nation's 

If Nawaz Sharif had received the death sentence there would have 
been no end to the blackening of Pakistan's already besmirched 
image. That we have been spared this outcome is no small cause for 

All the others have been acquitted: a smart decision indeed 
although I know of people who would be disappointed at Saifur 
Rehman going scot free. Even if he had no hand in the events of 
October 12, 1999, like Cinna the poet who was strung up for his 
"bad verses" (or so at least Shakespeare assures us), Saifur Rehman 
for the effrontery he displayed when in power deserved to get 

Anyhow, it is good for the country this sorry chapter now comes to 
a close. A death sentence, even if it was never to be carried out, 
would have turned Nawaz Sharif into an instant martyr, the 
continued object of international concern and attention. His party 
also would have felt bound to stick to him in his hour of trouble. 
Life imprisonment changes all this. It has the ring of dullness to 
it and as such robs his cause of any lingering excitement.

Calls to replace Nawaz Sharif as Muslim League head can be expected 
to intensify. Being written off as a thing of the past by 
colleagues who hung on his every word is a more daunting and bitter 
prospect than even the lonely months in prison which stretch ahead. 
Between an imprisoned leader buoyed up by the active sympathy of 
his followers and someone whom people are only waiting to forget 
and cast aside lies a world of difference. 

It was said in a news report that in prison Nawaz Sharif was 
reading Nelson Mandela. Wrong choice of author. He should be 
reading something closer to home.

Sharif of course is paying the price for his foolishness. He may 
have been convicted on the hijacking charge but the fact that this 
charge was brought against him was a consequence of, and not the 
reason for, his dismissal from power. Had the god of foolish things 
smiled on him on October 12 it is not his conduct which would have 
been judged but perhaps someone else's.

Let us not forget that two parallel chain of events were taking 
place on that fateful day. Nawaz Sharif tried to install a 
favourite as army chief and also tried to prevent General 
Musharraf's plane from landing at Karachi or indeed anywhere in 
Pakistan. Because he was oblivious to the 'balance of forces' (a 
late Marxist expression), he failed on both counts. The army 
meanwhile not only tried to remove him and seize power but, being 
the army, it also succeeded. Since to the victor belong the spoils, 
it should not be surprising if in the aftermath of these happenings 
it is only Nawaz Sharif who should have been in the dock for his 
actions and no one else.

This is not to cast any aspersion on Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffery 
who has delivered, on the basis of the evidence presented, a fine 
judgment. A judge sits in judicial not political judgment and as 
such has to focus his eyes narrowly on the precise issue before 
him. Political judgments he has to leave to others.

Nawaz Sharif's real crime was that his hitherto legendary luck ran 
out on October 12. He over-reached himself when he tried to remove 
one army chief too many. 

The army high command was already bitter because of the fallout 
from the Kargil crisis. It also remembered General Jahangir 
Karamat's resignation as army chief which occurred amidst tension 
between him and Nawaz Sharif. Smarting under these injuries, the 
army command was in no mood to be pushed around. Any man would have 
sensed this. Not the king of the heavy mandate who plunged in where 
a Caesar would have feared to tread.

In Pakistan there is a written penal code (largely Macaulay's 
handiwork) and an unwritten political code distilled from the 
experience of the past 52 years. Offences, even serious ones, under 
the written code are open to mitigating circumstances. But for 
serious offences under the political code there is little leniency.

In a country where life is cheap and policemen can get away with 
staged murders, a former prime minister was hanged because he had 
'conspired' to murder a political opponent. Note that he had 
actually pulled no trigger and yet he swung from the gallows. Of 

course, he may have committed a crime under the written code. But 
more serious were his offences falling under the unwritten code and 
it were these which took him to his rendezvous with Tara Masih.

After he was overthrown from power and his popularity, far from 
diminishing, actually soared, General Zia felt threatened: there 
was one rope and two necks. Zia made sure it was not his neck 
around which the noose tightened.

Sharif also committed an offence falling under Pakistan's unwritten 
code of political conduct but there the comparison between him and 
Bhutto ends. Compared to Sharif, Bhutto was a titan, which is why 
the generals who overthrew him were afraid of him. Musharraf has 
said repeatedly he is not a vindictive man. More to the point, he 
does not seem to be a paranoid man. But it is also true that Sharif 
is no threat to anyone. He can come out from prison tomorrow and be 
a threat only to Ijazul Haq and Mian Azhar. He is built altogether 
on a smaller scale.

But built, let us not forget, closer to Pakistan's diminished hopes 
and specifications. In the '70s, despite defeat at the hands of 
India and the loss of East Pakistan, Pakistan marched to a bolder 

In the air was a greater elan and confidence. Pakistan's 
circumstances today are impoverished. The times and the great 
talents of the Muslim League complement each other. In today's 
Pakistan we could only get leaders like Nawaz Sharif, Benazir 
Bhutto and - well, let me go no further.

But if comparisons between Sharif and the original Bhutto are 
unrealistic, a comparison of their respective parties yields 
interesting parallels. Just prior to his hanging Bhutto had gone on 
hunger-strike to protest against something or the other. As a 
result his physical condition, which was already bad, further 

The Central Executive Committee met in solemn session in Islamabad 
with acting secretary-general Yasin Wattoo (now a stalwart of the 
PML) in the chair and issued a solemn appeal to Bhutto to break his 
hunger strike: "Beloved chairman, please eat" being the headline in 
an Urdu newspaper.

When a possible death sentence hung over Nawaz Sharif the 
leadership of the Muslim League declared that they would pray for 
him. Perhaps the Muslim League feels vindicated because its prayers 
have been answered.

Prior to Bhutto's hanging the most fervent wish of senior PPP 
leaders was that their resolve should not be tested. They had no 
stomach to stand up to the army. 

Feelings have been no different in the Muslim League whose top 
leaders repeatedly made it clear that they did not believe in 
confronting the army. 

The PPP at least was honest about its pusillanimity and made no 
attempts to make a virtue of it. The Muslim League has been 
cleverer: its leadership has said that the country cannot afford 
any confrontation between the Muslim League and the army. In 
Pakistan the unforgiving nature of the permanent government is 
matched only by the fecklessness of the political class.

There is another point worth remembering about the unwritten code 
which is the highest law of the land. The most heinous crime in it 
is political overstretch. For a politician stretching out his hand 
too far there is no forgiveness. That is why there is point to the 
demand once voiced by the late Maulana Kausar Niazi that there 
should be a separate graveyard for ex-prime ministers in Islamabad. 
No occupation in Pakistan has proved to be more hazardous. Bhutto 
senior may have been a dangerous creature but it says something for 
our bracing climate that every prime minister to come after him has 
also felt the sword of abrupt dismissal on his or her neck: twice 
Benazir, twice Nawaz Sharif and, long ago, even the vapid Junejo.

While it is true that prime ministers have been strangely 
incompetent commodities, it remains not a little strange that in 
Pakistan wherein the history of folly is long and colourful other 
crimes routinely have gone unquestioned and, of course, unpunished: 
assembly sackings, constitution abrogations, unwanted wars, even 
the country's dismemberment. Over these events which have regularly 
punctuated Pakistan's tempestuous history broods the eternal 
silence of the sphinx.

Looking for a scapegoat
By Irfan Husain

BOTH collectively and individually, we Pakistanis have a truly 
amazing capacity for self-delusion.

A case in point is the recent report published by this newspaper 
containing recommendations for reforms in the foreign office made 
by a number of senior army generals. One of them has written: 
"Today Pakistan is most isolated. China is lukewarm, Iran is not as 
close (as it used to be), Muslim world [sic] lacks desired warmth, 
USA/West [sic] misses no opportunity to show us in bad 
international light, a lot more is to be done in South Asia, 
Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics and Africa. We definitely need 
a breakthrough with Russia."

This analysis displays a disquieting degree of innocence in a 
senior army officer. If, as the author of this report suggests, 
Pakistan is "most isolated", who is to blame? Are not our blind 
support of the Taliban and our aggressive Kashmir posture the main 
causes for our isolation? And who is the architect of these 
policies? Certainly not our politicians or our foreign office 
mandarins. Both may be guilty of much else, but I'm afraid GHQ has 
to accept much of the blame for this isolation: when Benazir Bhutto 
was offered the position of prime minister in 1988, one of the 
conditions imposed by the establishment was that she would not 
tinker with Zia's Afghan policy. She was happy to go along, and 
this has been true of her successor, Nawaz Sharif.

Similarly, the foreign office has very little input in our moral 
and material support of the jihadi groups fighting in Kashmir. 
While officially we deny supplying and training these guerillas, it 
is difficult to believe that they could have carried out the Kargil 
operation alone and unaided. To then expect the foreign office to 
defend this action in capitals abroad, and to blame it for not 
doing so effectively, is both churlish and cynical.

Another general writes: "What is the system of dealing with 
negative news in international news or electronic media? They need 
to have a pre-emptive and, in fact, offensive strategy. Why did we 
not react to the Indian campaign of calling Pakistan a rogue army?"

Having served as the information minister in our embassy in 
Washington ten years ago, I can assure the general that the 
international media does not accept orders as readily as an army 
battalion does. Just getting a denial or a rebuttal printed in the 
letters column can become a major task. Forget about "offensive" or 
"pre-emptive" strategies,it is very difficult for a Third World 
diplomat from a country with a serious image problem to influence a 
newspaper's policies or perceptions. There are 600 press officers 
from countries and organizations around the world based in 
Washington to monitor and influence US media. To expect the 
Pakistani representative to adopt a "pre-emptive" or "offensive" 
strategy in such an environment is to display total ignorance about 
the working of the western media.

And when he asked why our missions abroad did not react to "the 
Indian campaign of calling Pakistan a rogue army", the general 
would do well to remember that the same Pakistan army has staged 
four coups in our 53-year old history, and has interfered 
incessantly in politics even when it was ostensibly in the 
barracks. We have before us the admissions of an army chief and the 
ex-ISI head about the financing of anti-PPP candidates in national 
elections. Against this background, it becomes difficult to defend 
such an institution abroad, especially when the fighting in Kargil 
had reached battlefield proportions, and the prime minister of the 
day had denied giving the orders to launch the attack.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait ten years ago, many people 
wondered why he took that insane step, when we could all foresee 
the consequences. I am convinced he took the gamble because he is 
too unsophisticated to know the dynamics and compulsions of western 
power centres, chiefly the US. Having hardly travelled abroad, he 
sees the world through his narrow vision; and as a dictator, he 
takes all major decisions himself without having to convince his 
colleagues and his country. Thus, his moves are largely divorced 
from global political realities.

Sadly, one is forced to conclude that despite the many differences 
between Pakistan and Iraq, our decision-making process also seems 
to function in isolation. While deciding to first set up and then 
give open-ended support to an obscurantist group like the Taliban, 
the government of the day (led by Benazir Bhutto, incidentally) 
imagined there would be no collateral damage in terms of negative 
publicity abroad and a spillover effect at home.

Similarly, when foreigners and innocent civilians are killed at 
random in Kashmir, Pakistan is held at least partly responsible 
because of the succour we provide to the many militant groups 
operating there. Nobody abroad (and many at home) accepts the 
distinction currently being made between jihad and terrorism: 
random violence targeting innocent civilians is abhorred the world 
over, irrespective of the righteousness of a cause.

The author of one of the recommendations asks: "Does our foreign 
policy have desired linkage [sic] with our national interests and 
aspiration?" Clearly not: any sane foreign policy is directed 
towards enhancing security through improving ties with neighbours 
and favourably influencing major powers where possible. In our 
case, we have antagonized neighbours like Iran by blindly 
supporting the anti-Shia Taliban, while simultaneously allowing 
local Sunni militias free rein to terrorize Shias. Relations with 
India are at their lowest ebb. China is annoyed with the activities 
of Pakistani fundamentalist groups on its soil, and is in any case 
too busy trying to establish itself as a world power to continue 
supporting our activist Kashmir policy.

As to our "national interests", we have yet to define them: do they 
lie exclusively in gaining all of Kashmir and getting control over 
Afghanistan through the Taliban? Or do they consist of aiming for a 
prosperous, peaceful and progressive Pakistan? The latter was 
Jinnah's vision,and the former is the ambition of the 
establishment. Unfortunately, there has been no public debate on 
these vital matters as a small but powerful and articulate section 
of our society has virtually hijacked the national agenda.

A major problem is that while this same lobby would like to see 
Pakistan improve its economy and interact effectively on the world 
stage as an equal, it insists on following narrow, retrogressive 
policies in the region and at home. This has the natural effect of 
isolating Pakistan. Unfortunately, the establishment remains blind 
to this contradiction. Until this contradiction is recognized and 
resolved, it is pointless blaming the foreign office or anybody 

The verdict

MR NAWAZ SHARIF was convicted yesterday to a life term by the anti-
terrorist court in Karachi trying him and six others in what had 
come to be known as the plane hijacking case. His property was also 
ordered to be seized and he was asked to pay compensation to the 
passengers of the PIA flight (PK 805) he was charged with having 
attempted to divert and, in the process, having put their lives at 
grave risk. His co-accused, including his brother, Mr Shahbaz 
Sharif, were let off, although they have many other cases waiting 
for them outside. Mr Nawaz Sharif's lawyers have said they are 
going to appeal in the Sindh High Court against the sentence; the 
state has said it is going to challenge the verdict concerning the 
co-accused. The saga relating to this particular case, therefore, 
seems likely to continue for some more time to come.

Irrespective of the legal interpretation of the matter, there will 
be relief that, in view of Pakistan's delicate internal and 
external situation, the judge has chosen to disregard the 
prosecution's plea for Mr Nawaz Sharif to be awarded the death 
penalty. A state struggling to prevent an economic collapse, and 
with its civil institutions seriously weakened and diminished, 
cannot afford to face further upheavals. Already in the relatively 
brief period of 50 years, we have managed to convict three elected 
prime ministers. Mr Z. A. Bhutto was hanged by the Ziaul Haq 
military government; Ms Benazir Bhutto was convicted by the Lahore 
High Court's Ehtesab Bench during Mr Nawaz Sharif's tenure and now 
lives in exile abroad; and now Mr Sharif himself has been sent to 
prison with another military government in power. Both Ms Bhutto 
and Mr Sharif have to ask themselves how much they contributed to 
their own downfall. The latter has been sentenced by a court set up 
under an ordinance promulgated, and vigorously defended, by his own 
government; in this limited context it can be said that he has been 
hoist with his own petard.

But more than specific instances of transgressions of law or abuse 
of authority by our rulers, we have to consider the inherent 
weakness of our political and democratic system which prevents a 
civilized transfer of power from one government to another and 
which often leads to vindictive actions. Lack of inbuilt 
accountability repeatedly confronts us with the phenomenon of one 
set of rulers slapping charges and hurling accusations at the one 
they have replaced or displaced. Democracy is not merely the name 
of a special way of governance; it cannot work without an attitude 
of mind which is based on integrity, tolerance, norms of 
responsible conduct and reasonable compromises. Nor can the 
disposal of a court case here or there or the conviction of one 
leader or another explain away all the factors that keep the 
country's system of governance vulnerable to non-political 

The plane case was seen as crucial for the present administration 
as providing a moral (not a constitutional) rationale for the 
October 12 takeover, and to that extent General Pervez Musharraf 
and his team will feel that they have been vindicated. But there is 
a whole legal and political morass surrounding it which must await 
the full judgment to be properly unravelled. A question that 
immediately arises is the far lesser quantum of punishment awarded 
to the other co-accused. It will be asked whether those who carry 
out what are deemed to be illegal orders can hide behind the 
concept of diminished responsibility and also, whether, as in the 
case of the director-general of civil aviation, turning approver 
absolves an individual of all culpability. Perhaps the court did 
not find the evidence against the others convincing enough, but 
some will argue that this may be seen as indicating that the main 
case also was not without its weak points. However, it must be 
remembered that Mr Nawaz Sharif and his counsel had time and again 
expressed their full confidence in the trial judge and the 
independent and open manner in which the trial was conducted, and 
they will find it difficult now to cavil at the verdict.

During the hearing of the case, everyone was shaken by the murder 
of the defence counsel, Mr Iqbal Raad, and it was feared that this 
might cast a shadow on the trial. This did not happen, but the 
murder must nevertheless be speedily investigated and every effort 
made to bring the criminals to book.

Victory at Sharjah

BEFORE leaving for Sharjah, the Pakistan captain, Moin Khan, had 
said that despite the heavy defeats in one-day and Test match 
series against Sri Lanka at home, his team was in a positive frame 
of mind but added that the nation should not expect miracles. But a 
miracle it was that he and his boys wrought by winning the Coca-
Cola Cup in. 

The three-nation competition featuring India, South Africa and 
Pakistan on a double-league basis was not roses, roses all the way 
for Pakistan who have had a rotten run since their defeat in the 
World Cup final last June. The start of the tournament was 
inauspicious, however, and Pakistan lost to arch rivals India by 
five wickets, but in the return match, they made more than amends 
with Inzimamul Haq hitting a blistering hundred. This was a must-
win game for Pakistan and they did it in style. Their total of 271 
for three was to remain the highest by any side in the tournament 
which was, until the final, a low-scoring affair. 

In their return match against South Africa to whom they had lost in 
the earlier encounter, Pakistan brought off an amazing win to set 
up the final against the Springboks. Bowled out for 168, Pakistan 
looked clearly out of the game with South Africa cruising along at 
74 for one. It was at this stage that speed super-star Shoaib 
Akhtar bowled the over of his life. He got three wickets in that 
memorable over bowled at incredible speed and that was the end of 

In the final, Pakistan, batting first, began with an opening stand 
of 121 runs between Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi and never looked 
back. South African captain Hansie Cronje threatened to take the 
game away from Pakistan single-handedly but was thwarted by some 
splendid bowling by Waqar Younis and off-spinner Arshad Khan. 
Pakistan's margin of victory - just 16 runs - looks narrow on paper 
but it was not. Cronje was right: Pakistan were out to prove a 
point and they proved it.

Victory is always sweet, especially when it comes at the cost of 
the South Africans after 14 consecutive defeats but there are some 
serious points to ponder here. Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have 
had groin problems and without them Pakistan are not half the side 
they are. Young Imran Nazir is an exciting prospect as an opener 
but Saeed Anwar is on the injured list. Even otherwise too, 
Pakistan are becoming more and more injury prone and that does not 
bode well for the future considering that the next World Cup is due 
in 2003.

Pakistan have a wealth of talented young cricketers but they wilt 
under pressure, not for lack of skill but for want of stamina. 

Something will have to be done to improve their stamina if Pakistan 
want to be serious contenders for the World Cup. As former super-
star Zaheer Abbas said at the end of the Test series against Sri 
Lanka, the last of which was won by Pakistan by a huge margin, all 
is not well that ends well.

Clinton's failed odyssey
By Shameem Akhtar

THERE was a touch of irony in President Clinton's initial 
reluctance to meet General Musharraf, with whom the US had to sort 
out crucial issues of cross-border terrorism and non-proliferation 
and his eagerness to meet Sultan Qaboos of Oman and Hafez-al-Assad 
of Syria both of them having come to power by extra-constitutional 

This is called real politik in international affairs. The US 
president has nonetheless set the precedent for the benefit of his 
Indian hosts that if the leader of a superpower has to meet the 
coup leaders and crowned heads - for such are the compulsions of 
statecraft - why can't the leaders of lesser powers do the same. 
This is the message that President Clinton sought to convey 
personally to the Indian and Pakistani governments and he claims to 
have extorted a no-first-strike promise from both.

But, one may recall that both Vajpayee and Musharraf had already 
declared this even before Clinton's visit in an interview with the 
Newsweek. However, the American leader could not secure a definite 
commitment to sign the CTBT from India and Pakistan, both 
prevaricating over the matter to gain some more time.

President Clinton could not have expected much from Islamabad on 
this score since it would be ridiculous to demand signature from 
the government whose legitimacy his administration seems to 
question. The US has thus missed a great opportunity to get 
Pakistan sign the document by not according full recognition to 
General Musharraf's government. Nor could he get his unacknowledged 
host give a "roadmap" for a return to democracy. By his steadfast 
adherence to his March 23 announcement of devolution of power to 
the grass-roots institutions, the general has gained in stature as 
a national leader who could say 'no' to a superpower.

S. Asia after Clinton's visit
Dr Maqbool Ahmad Bhatty

THE six-day visit of President Clinton to South Asia has ended. One 
cannot but help admiring the finesse and adroitness he displayed in 
handling this landmark visit so that the three countries visited 
are fairly well satisfied with its outcome while the fundamental 
interests which have been served are those of the United States.

This was the first visit of a US president to South Asia in the 
post-cold war period, though it was the first ever visit to 
Bangladesh while India received a presidential visit after twenty-
two years, and Pakistan after thirty-one years. In a manner of 
speaking, the visits to Bangladesh and India, which preceded that 
to Pakistan, were also utilized to convey a message to Pakistan. 
Bangladesh was rewarded with approbation and substantial aid for 
retaining a democratic set-up, and for ratifying the CTBT.

In India , where Clinton spent five days, the democracy connection 
was again emphasized, and the focus was on laying the foundation 
for partnership with the dominant power of the region that also 
offered an attractive market for trade and investment for the US. 
Reservations were expressed over India's nuclear and missile 
program and stress laid on resolving Kashmir through dialogue, 
while the concerns of New Delhi over terrorism were shared. The 
cordiality and warmth displayed during visits to several cities and 
regions reflected a desire to launch a long-term relationship with 

The visit to Pakistan was the shortest in duration, and was kept 
deliberately formal and businesslike, lest any ceremonial touch be 
interpreted as warmth towards a military regime. However, Clinton 
did use his address to the country, which was broadcast on the 
electronic media, to manifest cordiality towards a friend of long 
standing with which a close relationship had developed over the 
years. He specially recalled the role Pakistan had played in 
bringing the US and China together, and more recently during the 
Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He began his speech by quoting 
the Quaid-i-Azam, and ended it with a verse from Iqbal.

He also reminded his Pakistani audience that he was a supporter of 
just causes and had come to the aid of Muslim populations in Bosnia 
and Kosovo. He offered to restore economic and political 
partnership provided Pakistan met the various challenges he had 
enumerated relating to non-proliferation, restoration of democracy, 
fighting terrorism, and pursuit of a peaceful settlement of Kashmir 
through dialogue. He made the special gesture of ending his address 
with "Pakistan Zindabad", to underline his friendly sentiments 
towards the country.

We need to make a careful assessment of the impact of the visit on 
India and Pakistan, and how it would influence their bilateral 
relations. The key items in his agenda for both countries were non-
proliferation, and lessening of tensions over Kashmir, which he had 
repeatedly called "the most dangerous place in the world". The 
latter concern was considered exaggerated by the Indian President 
K. R. Narayanan. The message he conveyed to both India and Pakistan 
was summed up as follows by a foreign news analyst: "Respect the 
Line of Control, show restraint, stand against violence, restore 
the dialogue". He also told both sides that there could be no 
military solution of Kashmir, and, while the US would not mediate, 
it could help them restore the Lahore process that had opened up 
bright prospects for bilateral talks.

The main conclusion drawn by the Indian leadership from the visit 
is that even though there was no give by New Delhi on the main US 
concerns. President Clinton virtually recognized India as the major 
power in the region. Brajesh Mishra, security adviser to the Indian 
prime minister, stated during a panel discussion on India's Zee TV 
in the evening of March 25, after the US President left the 
subcontinent, that the US had conceded a major role for India not 
only in South Asia but also in an Asian and global context.

The view held by most Indian analysts is that the importance 
attached by Washington to India is based on its size, resources and 
ancient civilization as well as its success in operating on the 
basis of the twin foundations of the post-cold war world, namely 
democracy and a market-based economic system. On the other hand, 
Pakistan is perceived by them as meriting attention because while 
it has acquired nuclear teeth, it is plagued by political 
instability and a near bankrupt economy. It is also seen by 
Washington to be involved in terrorism that targets both India and 
the US. The conclusion drawn from this assessment is that India can 
now negotiate from a position of strength, especially on Kashmir, 
because Pakistan would be courting disaster if it enters into an 
arms race with an economically stronger India.

As international observers have pointed out, while making official 
Washington's desire to forge close bilateral relations, Clinton's 
message was not totally supportive of India in the international 
context. An AFP report quoted the prominent Indian daily, the 
Pioneer, which grudgingly acknowledged that Clinton had displayed 
such personal cordiality that "a spirit of celebration had attached 
itself to the visit of a man known to be one of the most hostile 
anti-Indian US presidents". This perception reflected the view held 
by many in the Indian power elite that the importance being 
attached by Clinton to resolving the Kashmir dispute, and his 
warnings about the dangers of a conflict over it were 
"internationalizing" the issue, and indirectly helping Pakistan.

President Clinton arrived in South Asia when its two leading powers 
appeared to be heading towards a conflict over Kashmir that could 
assume nuclear dimensions, which is why he had repeatedly referred 
to it as 'the most dangerous place in the world. Therefore Pakistan 
and India both followed his utterances on the problem during the 
visit with close interest. India appeared to derive satisfaction 
from Clinton's address to the people of Pakistan, which urged 
respect for the Line of Control in Kashmir, and warned against the 
dangers of any effort to change frontiers by force. 

He also made it clear that the US would not mediate and that the 
only feasible approach towards a solution was through dialogue, for 
which the Lahore process offered the best hope. This had led Gen. 
Pervez Musharraf, in his news conference immediately after 
Clinton's departure, to declare that Pakistan was ready to resume a 
dialogue with India, "any time, any place and at any level", 
provided Kashmir was included as the main item.

The response to this from New Delhi has been to reiterate that 
India would agree to the resumption of dialogue only after "cross-
border terrorism" has ceased. This cannot but be seen as a refusal 
to resume the Lahore process and highlights New Delhi's desire to 
prolong the crisis, in which case it somehow feels that the 
pressure will increase on Pakistan. However, two aspects need to be 
highlighted which put the responsibility for maintaining the stand-
off on Kashmir squarely on India:

i) The stand that the violence in Kashmir is being kept alive by 
fundamentalist "terrorists" from Pakistan is being adopted to deny 
that the movement against the Indian occupation is basically 

ii) Even if it were assumed that some of the freedom fighters 
joining the struggle of the Kashmiris, which has been in progress 
since 1989, do enter Kashmir across the Line of Control, how can 
Pakistan be expected to prevent their entry, if the 700,000 Indian 
troops occupying Kashmir cannot do it?

As the Chief Executive underlined in his press conference after 
Clinton's departure, Pakistan cannot assume the responsibility for 
fulfilling any such condition. So far as Clinton's reference to any 
change of borders by force was concerned, he pointed out that the 
Line of Control was not a frontier, but a line which was temporary, 
and its future had to be settled by dialogue. In the meantime, 
Pakistan was showing respect for it, and cooperating with the UN 
observers stationed on it.

The resumption of the Lahore process is what Clinton urged on the 
two adversarial neighbors to help reduce tensions, especially those 
over Kashmir. The massacre of 39 innocent Sikhs in a village near 
Srinagar just as Clinton was starting his visit to India has 
created a situation that has become an embarrassment for India. 
Though the finger of suspicion was expected to point to "Pakistan-
based terrorists", the world remains skeptical that the freedom 
fighters would open themselves to international opprobrium just at 
the time of the Clinton visit. Pakistan has condemned the outrage, 
and called for an impartial inquiry, which India has turned down.

In other respects also, the immediate impact of the visit has been 
to harden perceptions and attitudes on both sides. The Indians are 
convinced that the US has chosen them to be its partner in Asia, 
and that the overall trend resulting from the visit is that 
Washington expects Islamabad to make concessions, so that various 
problems, notably that over Kashmir, would be settled in the light 
of Indian perceptions and interests. Clinton's insistence on the 
bilateral settlement of Kashmir, and the stress placed on 
countering terrorism are seen to reflect a basic convergence of 
views between Washington and New Delhi.

Pakistani reactions to the visit are generally positive as well. 
Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar pointed out that no leader in the 
world had emphasized the need to settle the Kashmir question as the 
US president did and therefore he gave expression to "high 
expectations" in Pakistan about the results of the visit. Pakistan 
ambassador to the US, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, saw some advantage to 
accrue even from the closer US-India relations. They would enable 
Washington to "inject some restraint" into India's behavior towards 
its neighbors.

While India appears to feel encouraged to adopt a tough stance on 
the resumption of the Lahore process, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who 
evaluated the outcome of the visit positively, hinted at 
possibilities of progress from the existing hard-line positions. 
Pakistan might use its influence to moderate the activities of the 
"Jihadis" if India eases its repression inside Kashmir. The Jihadi 
groups themselves regard Clinton's attitude as biased in favor of 
India, and feel that pressure would be brought mainly on Pakistan 
to accept a settlement favorable to India.

While the positions of the two sides appeared to be as far apart as 
ever on Kashmir and related issues, the expectations that Clinton 
expressed of fulfillment of various pledges by Pakistan seemed to 
confirm the impression that he would exercise pressure on Pakistan 
as the weaker party to fulfil various pledges, notably on 
terrorism. Gen. Musharraf reiterated his intention to visit 
Afghanistan to talk to the Taliban on terrorism, and on the problem 
of Osama bin Laden. However, he also insisted that the central 
problem to be addressed in the region was Kashmir.

Any expectations of quick results from the visit of President 
Clinton would be unrealistic. The reiteration of India's conditions 
for the resumption of a bilateral dialogue which New Delhi itself 
insists is the only acceptable mechanism for resolving Kashmir and 
other issues virtually ensures that Clinton would have to resort to 
quiet "persuasion" to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating 
table. Unless he does so, Kashmir will remain "the most dangerous 
place" in the world, and his visit would be seen as a wasted 
effort. Given his awareness of the tensions in South Asia, and his 
record of success in resolving explosive issues in Europe, the 
Middle East and Asia, he will certainly follow up on the visit, to 
apply his "healing touch", and to avert what could escalate into 
nuclear disaster.

Pakistan makes winning start to Windies tour
Monitoring Desk

KARACHI, April 5: Pakistan made a winning start to their tour of 
West Indies when they defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets in the tri-
nation one-day series match at Antigua's Recreation Park.

Chasing a target of 200, Pakistan achieved victory with 17 balls to 
spare. Abdur Razzaq (28 not out) hit the winning boundary. With him 
was Moin Khan (25 not out). Shahid Afridi who blasted two sixes and 
five fours in his breezy run-a-ball 69 put But Pakistan on course 
for a comfortable win. Afridi,adjudged Man-of-the-Match, added 67 
runs for the third wicket with Inzamam-ul-Haq (32). But both the 
batsmen perished in an identical fashion - holing out in the deep 
off Dirk Viljoen.

Pakistan found themselves in some sorts of problems when Yousuf 
Youhana (21) was run-out in a terrible mix-up with Moin Khan.

Sindh Open squash: Shams shocks Amjad to become new champion
By A. Majid Khan

KARACHI, April 7: Fifth seed Shamsul Islam Khan gave an incredible 
performance to record another sensational upset when he defeated 
top seed and title favorite Amjad Khan 3-2 to become the new 
champion of Habib Bank A.G. Zurich Sindh Open Squash Championship 
at the PIA Jahangir Khan Squash Complex.

In the 73-minute closely fought all-PIA final, the 22-year-old 
Quetta-born Shamsul Islam Khan, ranked 68 in the world, turned out 
to be a better tactician in controlling the rallies to record a 15-
13, 7-15, 15-12, 14-17, 15-11 triumph over world No 17 Amjad Khan, 
the 1998 Pakistan Open champion.

In the 16-minute opener Amjad Khan gained a 5-4 lead after getting 
a stroke following the longest rally. Amjad went 6-4 ahead but 
Shams came back with a series of drops and nick to go 10-9 up after 
leveling 6-6.

At 12-12 another 45-stroke rally ended in stroke for Amjad and he 
was 13-12 but the top seed turned frustratingly erratic when he 
thrice hit the board and Shams was the winner at 15-13.

Amjad Khan was more steady in the second game when he controlled 
the short rallies as Shams lost his concentration. Amjad looked in 
command of the proceedings as he led 9-4 with a brace of backhand 
drives and crosscourt to win the second game 15-7 in only nine 

The third game was a close affair in the initial stages and after 
seven-all Shams exerted pressure when he drove hard and fast, 
forcing Amjad to commit mistakes from the back of the court. Shams 
was 12-10 in front before winning at 15-12.

Amjad Khan led the fourth game 10-7 and 14-12 but at the game ball 
he hit the board but made the score two-all when Shams hit the 
board three successive times. Amjad triumphed 17-14.

In the decisive game, Shams played a superb aggressive game to lead 
10-8 as Amjad was struggling to regain his rhythm and touch by 
uncharacteristically committing errors. Shams looked a certain 
winner when he was 14-11 ahead and won the title with a backhand 
drop to clinch the final game at 15-11.

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