------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 16 December 2000 Issue : 06/48 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + President pardons Nawaz; entire Sharif family exiled + Major changes in setup likely: Late night commanders meeting + Revival of assemblies ruled out: Polls in 2002, says Qureshi + Pakistan hopes ties with US will improve + Sharifs lose 80pc of assets, says Qureshi + Govt may reverse devolution scheme: Constitutional changes needed + Diplomat's expulsion by Dhaka regretted + Nawaz pardoned on Saudi Arabia's request, says CE + US to target Pakistan in 'terrorism' campaign + Cabinet had no idea of exile deal + Japan to resume aid in farm sector + Pakistan to suffer Rs2.8bn loss over F-16s deal + Former FIA official gets 14-year RI for corruption --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + HUBCO team arrives to discuss tariff issue + Lack of funds to hit police reforms: Act being changed + New setup by Jan 25 likely: Commanders discuss options + ADB okays $350m loan + Pakistan may sell power to India + Default risk is over, says SBP report + IMF for fiscal transparency + CE okays duty free import of tractors + Gold prices up by 7pc in five months + SBP starts buying dollar from banks: Rupee falls further --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + The frog croaks... - 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee + The moral imperative Irfan Husain + Hilarity or what? Ayaz Amir ----------- SPORTS + PCB calls off Indian team's tour + Miandad denies allegations over time-wasting + Home team's 34-match unbeaten record shattered

President pardons Nawaz; entire Sharif family exiled
Nasir Malick and Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9: President Rafiq Tarar has pardoned former prime 
minister Nawaz Sharif's 25-year jail sentence but exiled the former 
prime minister and his family, a government announcement said in 
the wee hours of Sunday.

"On the advice of the chief executive, the president of Pakistan, 
according to law has pardoned Nawaz Sharif's remaining jail 
sentence while the rest of the punishment awarded by the honourable 
courts, which includes fine, forfeiture of property and 
disqualification from public office would remain in place," the 
announcement said.

"Nawaz Sharif and family have been exiled to Saudi Arabia. This 
decision has been taken in the best interest of the country and the 
people of Pakistan," it said.

The former prime minister was awarded 14 years' imprisonment on 
corruption charges, fined Rs20 million and disqualified from 
contesting election for 21 years. Mr Sharif, who was removed by the 
army in a bloodless coup, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 
charges of hijacking the plane in which General Pervez Musharraf 
was travelling. He had appealed in the high court, which had 
rejected the plea. He was fined Rs500,000 and forfeiture of 
property worth Rs500 million.

The official announcement said that Nawaz Sharif and his family had 
been appealing to the chief executive and the president of Pakistan 
requesting clemency. They had also filed a petition requesting for 
waiver of punishment awarded by the Sindh High Court and the 
accountability court in the helicopter case.

"Nawaz Sharif and his family had pleaded his falling health and 
need of specialist medical care urgently requesting that he may be 
allowed to proceed abroad for treatment. The Sharif family had also 
submitted that they be allowed to accompany him," the announcement 

SAUDI ROLE: Indirectly admitting that the deal had been brokered by 
Saudi Arabia, the announcement said that recently, Pakistan's 
closest friend Saudi Arabia offered the Government of Pakistan to 
accept the Sharif family for medical treatment on humanitarian 
grounds if exiled to their country.

Sources said that Saudi defence minister and former intelligence 
chief Prince Turki Al Faisal, arrived in Islamabad "this morning on 
a special plane and held detailed talks with the military 
government officials as well as with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz at the 
residence of Saudi ambassador to Pakistan.

The Saudi prince, according to Raja Zafarul Haq, also met Nawaz 
Sharif in Attock jail this afternoon along with Begum Kulsoom 
Nawaz, to give final touches to the deal. Nawaz Sharif, according 
to latest reports, has been brought from Attock Fort and admitted 
to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi.

Sources in the Pakistan Muslim League claimed that Nawaz Sharif was 
averse to leaving the country but his son Hasan Nawaz, who is now 
in London, has played a decisive role in convincing his father to 
accept the deal.

These sources said that under the deal, Nawaz Sharif and his family 
would not return to Pakistan for 10 years. The deal has fuelled 
speculations about the restoration of the suspended assemblies.

However, some political analysts believe that an interim political 
structure will be established in the country and the army will step 
down after ensuring "due share" in the new political structure.

Major changes in setup likely: Late night commanders meeting
Nasir Malick and Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: A late-night unscheduled meeting of the army top 
brass at the Army House has fuelled speculations in the federal 
capital about a possible change in the government setup.

"I can confirm that the army leadership is holding a meeting at 
this moment but I haven't a clue about its purpose," a senior 
government official told Dawn around midnight.

Army spokesman Maj-Gen Raashid Qureshi was not available on phone 
to comment on the urgency of the meeting.

A source said that the army generals began the meeting soon after 
Iftar and were still deliberating even after midnight.

Political analysts believe that the army was considering various 
options, which include restoration of suspended assemblies, interim 
setup in which General Musharraf would be moved to the position of 
president, or to expand the existing setup by inducting political 
figures in the cabinet.

Sources said that the Pakistan People's Party, which is one of the 
largest political parties, is opposed to the restoration of 
parliament or expanding of the existing setup. It has been 
demanding holding of transparent elections and return of army to 

Other political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, Tehrik-i- 
Insaf, Awami National Party, MQM and Chattha's Muslim League are 
also opposed to the restoration of assemblies.

However, the PML (N), which has been disintegrated after the exile 
of Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia and has little chance of winning 
the election, supports restoration of assemblies.

Political analysts believe that after pardoning Nawaz Sharif, the 
military government is under intense pressure as it has lost moral 
ground to remaining in power.

Revival of assemblies ruled out: Polls in 2002, says Qureshi
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 11: There is no plan to revive assemblies after the 
exile of Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia, says a government spokesman.

"This is all kite flying that with the exile of Nawaz Sharif the 
government will consider or is considering the restoration of 
assemblies", the chief executive's press secretary Maj-Gen Rashid 
Qureshi, told Dawn here on Monday.

He said general elections would be held in 2002 as were planned and 
that the first step towards establishing real democracy was being 
taken by holding local bodies polls on December 31.

"There is no such thing like restoring assemblies on the cards", he 
said adding that the nation was prepared to take part in the 2002 
elections and that there was no need to even think about 
restoration of the assemblies as had been demanded by some 
political elements.

The ISPR director-general told PPI news agency that the government 
had not entered into any deal with Nawaz Sharif.

Gen Qureshi said all the legal requirements had been fulfilled 
while releasing Mr Sharif and sending him to exile.

He said that the government confiscated Nawaz Sharif's property and 
released him after he tendered apology.

Answering a question, Gen Qureshi said the written apology tendered 
by Mr Sharif could be made public when it was required.

Pakistan hopes ties with US will improve

ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on 
Thursday felicitated the newly elected US president, George W Bush 
and said he was looking forward to working with him, to enhance 
traditionally close and friendly bilateral ties.

He made these remarks in a message to Mr Bush on his victory in the 
US presidential elections.

The CE said Pakistan-US relations were marked by friendship and 
understanding and have greatly contributed to regional peace and 
stability at all times.

"The relationship has, over the years, retained its inherent 
strength and resilience. On its part, Pakistan attaches the highest 
importance to further building and consolidating its relations with 
the United States on the basis of shared interests and values."

The chief executive also congratulated Mrs Bush and prayed for the 
progress and prosperity of the US and the American people.

TARAR: President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar felicitated the newly 
elected US president and hoped for further consolidation of the 
positive trends in the relations between Islamabad and Washington.-

Sharifs lose 80pc of assets, says Qureshi
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10: The exile of the Sharif family to Saudi Arabia 
following the pardon announcement by the government, has deprived 
the Raiwind dwellers of their 15 assets, worth billions of rupees.

A spokesman for the government, Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi, told Dawn 
on Monday that almost 80 per cent of the Sharifs' property had been 
"taken over" by the government.

According to Mr Qureshi, the 15 assets that have been taken over by 
the government in return for providing a safe "exit" to the Sharif 
family include Rs300 million in cash; industrial assets including 
Brother Steel Mills; Ilyas Enterprises; Hudaybia Paper Mill; 
Hudaybia Engineering Company; Hamza Spinning Mills; residential 
property including the Model Town bungalow; three houses at Mall 
Road Murree; property at 135 Upper Mall Lahore; a plot at Model 
Town Lahore; a plot at Upper Mall, Lahore; agricultural property 
including 10.2 kanals of land at Khanpur Sheikhupura Road Lahore; 
41 acres and 7 kanals of land at Sheikhupura; 14.2 kanals of land 
and another 35 kanals at Bhaipharu in Chunnian and 88 kanals of 
land at Raiwind.

The Raiwind palace of the Sharif family, which ruled the country 
for almost 15 years, has however not been confiscated by the 

Mr Qureshi dispelled the impression that there had been any 
underhand deal between the government and the Sharif family. He 
said the government had simply responded to the repeated mercy 
petitions filed by the Sharifs.

Contrary to what the Sharifs were pretending before the public and 
in their statements to the media, Mr Qureshi said they had been 
writing to the government including the chief executive and the 
president, appealing for pardon.

"We were receiving their requests for mercy in the past three to 
four months particularly after the courts handed over decisions 
against Nawaz Sharif," he said.

These requests were renewed recently following Nawaz Sharif's 
reported ailment. Mr Qureshi stated that since the chief executive 
had repeatedly said that he was not vindictive so he recommended to 
President Tarar that the imprisonment of the Sharifs be pardoned 
and turned into exile while the rest of the punishments including 
fines, forfeiture of property and disqualification should stay.

When told that the people in streets felt as if they had been 
betrayed by the government for allowing a safe exit to the Sharifs, 
the government spokesman said, "the government has actually taken a 
compassionate view of the situation and converted the imprisonment 
into exile."

Qureshi dispelled the impression that a "deal" was 'brokered' 
either by a Saudi prince or was the exit the consequence of Saudi 
Arabia's pressure.

Govt may reverse devolution scheme: Constitutional changes needed
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: The government's devolution plan has hit a major 
constitutional snag threatening the reversal of the scheme, it is 

"The implementation of the plan would require a fundamental 
amendment in the constitution to devolve the law and order 
responsibility of the provinces to the proposed district 
governments," a source said, adding such an amendment would deface 
the existing provinces.

The source in the national reconstruction bureau (NRB), which 
conceived the much-publicized devolution plan, confided to Dawn 
that the plan unveiled on Aug 14 could not be implemented through 
an ordinance proposed by the NRB.

The provinces on the other hand, according to sources, are also not 
ready to sacrifice their major responsibility for the maintenance 
law and order.

The NRB has engaged some constitutional lawyers to find a solution 
to the problem.

Zila nazims would require powers of a chief executive to exercise 
authority in the district and in fulfilling their responsibility 
towards the maintenance of law and order. The NRB wanted to 
delegate these powers through an ordinance, but it is not so 

The transfer of province's authority over matters of law and order, 
to the district government is only be possible through a 
constitutional amendment. "But such an amendment will be of 
fundamental nature and would change the face of the provinces," the 
NRB was told.

Sources said it was proposed that the said amendment could be 
avoided if zila nazim was made subordinate to the provincial chief 
executive. But the authors of the devolution plan were not ready to 
accept this. In their view, this would weaken the office of zila 

Diplomat's expulsion by Dhaka regretted
Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: Pakistan "deeply regretted" the Bangladesh 
decision to declare its deputy high commissioner in Dhaka, Irfan 
Raja, persona non grata, asking him to leave the country by Friday.

In a statement on Friday, the foreign ministry spokesman said the 
Pakistan government also rejected the "baseless allegation made by 
the Bangladesh government that the deputy high commissioner had 
carried out activities incompatible with his status as diplomat".

The expulsion decision, Pakistan stated, was "not in keeping with 
the spirit of friendly relations between the two countries."

Islamabad's rejection of the diplomat's expulsion was conveyed on 
Friday morning in Dhaka by the Pakistan high commissioner to 
Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary.

The statement said the Bangladesh foreign ministry had already been 
informed that in view of the unfortunate controversy surrounding 
remarks by the DHC at a seminar on Nov 27, he had been transferred 
from Dhaka and was preparing to leave in the next few days.

The Bangladesh government decision requiring the deputy high 
commissioner to leave by Friday was "therefore, surprising and 
unjustified", the spokesman stated.

The deputy high commissioner's remarks at the seminar concerning 
the tragic military conflict of 1971 had sparked strong 
denunciation and demonstrations in Dhaka.

Nawaz pardoned on Saudi Arabia's request, says CE
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has 
said that the decision to pardon Nawaz Sharif has been taken in the 
larger national interest and in consideration of a request made by 
Pakistan's closest and brotherly country Saudi Arabia.

He expressed these views on Wednesday while briefing the federal 
cabinet on the government action of pardoning the former Prime 
Minister. Official sources said that the CE defended his decision 
and said that time had come to bring to an end the politics of 
revenge and confrontation. He said he did not have anything 
personal against anybody and that the nation should be saved from 
the confrontational course.

Official sources said that most members of the federal cabinet 
requested the chief executive to make public Mr Sharif's request 
for pardon.

However, these members endorsed the government decision on the 
matter and felt that the move would reduce polarization and bring 
about harmony on the political scene. The chief executive, who 
presided over the meeting, said though the presidential pardon 
remitted the former prime minister's rigorous imprisonment, it did 
not waive off his disqualification from holding political office 
and the imposition of fines.

The sources said that Gen Musharraf pointed out that now the 
economy of the country would improve, bringing relief to the common 

He said the action would boost the stock market which otherwise had 
been showing a downward trend for the last many months.

He said he had earlier briefed the corps commanders on the release 
of Mr Sharif and told them that his decision would improve 
political climate in the country.

The sources said that CE told the meeting that it was wrong to say 
that Mr Sharif did not seek pardon as had been claimed by some 
members of his family. He agreed with the cabinet members that the 
deal should be made public to dispel such an impression.

He said the government was considering making the deal public, 
adding that the action had been taken with good intentions and he 
had full support of his senior military colleagues. The sources 
said that the CE told the meeting that his military colleagues had 
endorsed his views that the country needed to be rid of the 
politics of confrontation.

The chief executive said those who thought that the government had 
lost its credibility or become weak because of the action were 
wrong. The CE assured the cabinet members that he would continue to 
take them into confidence on all major national and international 

The cabinet approved ratification of the agreement establishing an 
Advisory Centre on the WTO law.

The cabinet kept in pending the issue of eight to 10 per cent 
increase in the prices of petroleum products and the matter would 
now be discussed in the next meeting.

US to target Pakistan in 'terrorism' campaign

WASHINGTON, Dec 15: The United States is preparing a new publicity 
drive as part of its terrorism prevention and rewards campaign, and 
Pakistan will be one of the major target areas of the new drive.

The US has always praised the cooperation extended by Pakistan in 
its efforts to contain terrorism, according to officials.

A State Department official concerned with America's counter-
terrorism rewards programme said at a briefing on Thursday the 
response from Pakistanis to previous rewards campaign had been 
significant. The programme had received 600 letters last year from 
informants, 42pc of which were terrorism related and of the latter, 
67pc were from Pakistan. There had also been some response from 
within Afghanistan.

Nearly 12 per cent of all information provided concerned Osama bin 
Laden, the official said. Mr bin Laden has been much in the news 
here since the attack on the USS Cole, and his name continues to 
figure in reports relating to investigations into the destroyer 

The State Department has so far said no direct link between the 
Cole incident and Mr bin Laden has been established. But the 
department's counter-terrorism chief, Mr Michael Sheehan, only on 
Wednesday informed a House committee of an all-out diplomatic, 
economic and political pressure campaign against the Taliban 
government, which the US accuses of providing shelter to Mr bin 

The rewards programme official who briefed reporters on Thursday 
said advertisements released in Pakistan for information and leads 
provided as a result of that information had played an important 
role in the arrest of Ramdi Yusuf, who was alleged to be involved 
in the World Trade Centre bombing in New York and who was arrested 
in Pakistan on Feb 8, 1995. He is currently in jail.

Cabinet had no idea of exile deal
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 12: The government did not consult the cabinet but 
took into confidence the military elite while granting pardon to 
Nawaz Sharif and sending the family into exile.

A well-placed government source confided to Dawn that the dramatic 
decision had been taken purely by the men in uniform.

The matter was discussed in the closed circles of the military 
before being put to the corps commanders at their two-day meeting 
last week.

Asked whether the matter was placed before the cabinet, the source 
said: "No". It was too sensitive a matter to be discussed by the 
cabinet, he added.

The military elite's support to the idea came when it was explained 
that the pardon and the exile was being allowed following Saudi 
Arabia's request.

It was said that the Saudi government had given assurance that the 
Sharifs would not take part in politics "for quite some time".

"Besides, the Sharifs, too, had given the undertaking in writing 
not to take part in politics," the source said.

Asked how Saudi Arabia would prevent any of the Sharifs to travel 
to London and issue political statements from there against the 
military regime, the source said: "If the Saudis can get the 
Sharifs freed, they can also make them behave accordingly. They 
(the Saudis) are very strict in their commitments."

The source, however, refused to accept that there was any Saudi 
"pressure" on the government to get the Sharifs off the hook.

In reply to a question, the source said that those exiled to Saudi 
Arabia would remain there. "If anyone of them goes to some other 
country he would be bound to come back to the country of exile," 
the source said.

"We have the best example of Idi Amin who lives in Saudi Arabia 
with his 19 wives but as a completely non-political entity."

Persuading the government for pardon, the Saudi authorities had 
said that not only would it be an Islamic act to set Nawaz Sharif 
free after the payment of Qisas but it would also be politically 
helpful to the military regime.

"We were told by the Saudis that they had also tried to get 
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto freed but Pakistan's response in negative had 
plunged the country in an unending political turmoil," the source 

He stated that the military government was expecting that the 
departure of Sharifs' from politics would set things, particularly 
economic situation, right for the country. The government, he said, 
hoped that the present state of "shock" and "uncertainty" would not 
last long.

"Don't you agree with the idea of throwing the dirt out to get the 
house in order," the source commented.

Japan to resume aid in farm sector
Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: Japan has agreed to resume financial and 
technical assistance to Pakistan, in order to help the country in 
developing its agriculture sector on modern lines, despite 
Islamabad's refusal to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 

Official sources told Dawn that the Japanese ambassador to 
Pakistan, Saddali Numata, informed Pakistan of his government's 
decision to resume the assistance - which was suspended in May 1998 
after Pakistan conducted a series of nuclear tests - during his 
meeting with Federal Agriculture Minister, Khair Mohammad Junejo, 
on Thursday.

Secretary Agriculture, Dr Zafar Altaf, also attended the meeting.

Sources said, Mr Numata told Mr Junejo that the CTBT was a great 
obstacle in the way of resuming Japan's financial assistance to 
Pakistan as it (Japan) cannot extend its full cooperation unless 
Islamabad decides to sign the treaty.

However, he informed the agriculture minister that despite this 
serious constraint the Japanese government had decided to continue 
helping Pakistan in the field of agriculture as 70pc of the 
country's population was fully dependent on this sector.

Sources said that the Japanese ambassador also informed Mr Junejo 
that his country would continue to assist the drought- affected 
people of Sindh and Balochistan on a sustainable basis. In this 
regard, he added, the Japanese government would provide water pumps 
to the people of the affected areas.

He also informed the minister that the Japanese government would 
send a team of farm experts to help Pakistan in bringing about 
improvements in its agriculture sector.

Pakistan to suffer Rs2.8 billion loss over F-16s deal

ISLAMABAD, Dec 12: Pakistan will suffer another loss of Rs2.8 
billion on account of import of soyabean and soyabean oil from the 
United States under the F-16 money deal, an official report 

The economic affairs division had submitted the report to the 
government before signing of a revised agreement with the US 
government in September last for import of soyabean oil and seed, 
worth $80 million, to settle the F-16 issue.

It had sought the comments from Pakistan Oilseed Development Board 
on the issue.

The PODB in its comments had said that the US soyabean and soyabean 
oil prices were much higher than the prevailing market rates and 
theirdisposal in Pakistan would become a problem. But the EAD did 
not give any heed to this warning and went ahead to sign the 
agreement on the dotted lines of the US government.

The government had also formed a working group on the F-16 issue, 
which met in August to review the soyabeen import under PL 416(b).

During the meeting, it was pointed out that the US had offered 
125,000 tons of soyabean at $269 (Rs14,795) per ton. Thus the total 
cost was worked out at $33 million or Rs1.8 billion.

The price for 96,420 tons of soyabean oil was calculated at $486 or 
Rs26,730 per ton. The total cost worked out was $46 million or 
Rs2.5 billion.

Former FIA official gets 14-year RI for corruption

KARACHI, Dec 12: An Accountability court on Tuesday sentenced a 
former deputy director of the Federal Investigation Agency to 14-
year rigorous imprisonment with Rs100 million fine for corruption.

Judge Dr Qamaruddin Bohra also convicted co-accused Mohammed Hanif, 
an FIA constable, and Mukhtar Ahmad, a servant of the principal 
accused Chaudhry Mohammed Sharif. Both the co-accused were awarded 
14-year RI with Rs10 million each.

Chaudhry Sharif would have to suffer an additional RI for seven 
years in case he failed to make the payment. The additional terms 
for the co-accused were set five years each in case of default.

The judge ordered the forfeiture of the entire movable and 
immovable property of the accused to the government. All the three 
were disqualified from holding any public office for 21 years.

Chaudhry Sharif, who was arrested after the military takeover, was 
prosecuted for amassing huge wealth "through illegal and corrupt 
means and beyond his known and declared sources".

HUBCO team arrives to discuss tariff issue
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: A five-member HUBCO delegation, led by Sheikh 
Ali Reza, arrived here on Wednesday to resolve the three-year long 
tariff row with WAPDA.

"We have come on the special invitation of chief executive Gen 
Pervez Musharraf," Mr Reza, who had refused to visit Pakistan 
earlier this year, told Dawn on his arrival in Islamabad.

Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh had extended the invitation to HUBCO's 
chief on behalf of the chief executive. Also, HUBCO received a 
letter from Gen Musharraf inviting them for talks.

HUBCO's delegation comprising Ashraf Tumbi of Xenel (a Saudi 
company), Peter Giller of National Power, David Jones of CGC, and 
Najam Farooqui, who is representing Brain Chang a stake-holder, 
will begin talks with the government on Thursday.

Finance minister Shaukat Aziz, secretary general finance Moin 
Afzal, secretary Water and Power Zafar-ullah Khan, and chairman 
WAPDA Lt. Gen Zulfikar will represent the government.

A government official said that chief executive earlier today asked 
the government team to chalk out a strategy for holding 
negotiations with HUBCO.

The chief executive, during his visit to Washington last year, had 
offered HUBCO 5.5 cents per unit - the same tariff which had been 
given to AES power company. HUBCO had rejected the offer and 
insisted on 6.2 cents per unit.

Lack of funds to hit police reforms: Act being changed, says Moin
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: The government is working on a plan to improve 
the working of the police and make it more responsive to the 
situation prevailing in the country.

"Police reforms currently being finalised will be implemented in 
phases due to financial constraints," said Interior Minister Lt Gen 
Moinuddin Haider while talking to Dawn here.

He said that 99 per cent work on the plan has been completed which 
is being prepared with the help of National Reconstruction Bureau 

He said the Police Act of 1861 was being changed. He claimed there 
were no differences between the ministry of interior and NRB on the 
formulation of a new plan to reform working of the police.

"The plan seeks to have another 1,000 vehicles for Punjab province 
in 2001. The other provinces will be given new vehicles in 2002," 
he said.

In the initial phase, he said, new Assistant Superintendent of 
Police (ASPs), Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASIs) and constables will 
be inducted in the police.

Responding to a question Mr Haider said police will be raised and 
trained on modern lines and the major thrust will be to have 
educated people in the police force.

He said both short and long term measures were being considered to 
improve the law and order situation. Those areas, he said, which do 
not require finances were being looked into on priority basis.

He said police reforms will make it possible that police is kept 
under control and they do not misuse their power. "All those things 
which do not require legislation are being done in the first phase 
to reform the police".

Answering a question Lt Gen Moinuddin Haider claimed that law and 
order situation was not that bad. "Apparently things are O.K. but 
when we see any incident of sectarian killing or bomb blast, we get 
worried," and pointed out that "law and order situation could not 
be improved overnight."

New setup by Jan 25 likely: Commanders discuss options
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: Army top brass remained in session on Friday for 
the second consecutive day, supposedly chalking out a strategy for 
a new governmental setup, reliable sources told Dawn.

However, it is still not clear whether the new arrangement will be 
a revival of the assemblies or an interim arrangement.

Asked about the sudden marathon sessions of the army top brass, the 
source said the process of consultation has been triggered by the 
formation of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy, of which 
PPP and PML are major components.

Sources in Pakistan Muslim League confirmed that speaker of the 
suspended national assembly Illahi Buksh Soomro has been tipped by 
the "authorities" to prove his strength. He has already convened a 
meeting of the parliamentary party on December 20 at Islamabad for 
the purpose.

The new setup, is believed will be headed by a leader from Sindh, 
though other names, including PPP's Amin Fahim, are also being 

PPP sources said that the authorities were in touch with the PPP 
leadership indirectly.

He said that at least two or three Corp Commanders would be 
replaced. It is evident that they would be taken into confidence 
before any possible change in the government.

"You can expect a change in the government setup by January 25, 
2001," the source added.

The army top brass want to see the PPP and the PML as an 
alternative and not leave the field open to the fundamentalists, he 

ADB okays $350m loan
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: The Asian Development Bank's board of directors 
at its meeting in Manila on Thursday approved a $350 million loan 
for Pakistan's energy sector.

"We have been officially informed that the ADB has approved $350 
million energy sector loan which includes $250 million for the 
restructuring of the Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation," 
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said.

Talking to Dawn, he said the loan would particularly help in 
achieving the long-awaited restructuring of the Karachi Electric 
Supply Corporation with a view to reducing its line and 
distribution losses and improving its services.

"The KESC is so important to us that the chief executive held an 
important meeting on it two days ago," said the minister.

Pakistan may sell power to India
Monitoring Desk

NEW DELHI, Dec 13: Pakistan has confirmed the availability of 300MW 
of power for export to India, for 10 years, which could be further 
increased to 600 MW depending on the availability, the Rajya Sabha 
was informed today.

Minister of State for Power, Jayawanti Mehta, told Brahmakumar 
Bhatt in a written reply that two rounds of discussions had been 
held on power supply from Pakistan.

The methodology for arriving at tariff rates and operating 
agreements for the purchase of power was also discussed with the 
Pakistani officials, the minister said.

Default risk is over, says SBP report

KARACHI, Dec 11: The risk of defaulting on external debt is over 
but Pakistan must meet tough IMF conditions to keep the economy on 
track, says State Bank.

In its report on the first quarter of the current fiscal year 
(July-September), the SBP warns economic managers to contain 
deficit, enhance exports and limit non-concessional external 
borrowing to manage the risks, associated with the IMF conditions.

The report, released here on Monday, says "establishing a track 
record of meeting these (IMF) criteria is essential to enhance 
Pakistan's credibility both domestically and internationally," says 
the report.

It says implementation of the IMF programme will enhance utility 
and gas prices, allow exchange rates to be determined by market 
forces alone and reduce job-generating capacity of public sector 
organizations. The IMF programme will also render many employees 
jobless in the state-owned organizations that are to be privatized.

"However, these costs will ultimately benefit the economy at large 
and bring about the desired change," the report maintains.

"But for those public sector employees who are likely to be 
rendered surplus, businessmen who have to pay taxes in full, 
consumers who have to pay higher utility bills and for fresh 
graduates who remain unemployed, these real and onerous costs are 
likely to become apparent with immediate effect."

The report says the country is currently paying the price for 
avoiding "politically sensitive decisions and opting for softer 
options." But it does not elaborate on this point.

IMF for fiscal transparency
M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9: The International Monetary Fund has asked 
Pakistan to immediately strengthen its core fiscal reporting 
system, and suggested a range of measures to improve fiscal 

In a report on the observance of standard and codes (ROCS) in 
Pakistan prepared by the Fund's staff, the whole range of 
accounting systems in the country has been subjected to scathing 

The 15-page report released on the IMF website this week has made 
three major proposals to widen the range and improve the quality of 
fiscal data.

These proposals include publication of a statement on contingent 
liabilities; development of a report on tax expenditure, including 
all donor-financed expenditures in the budget and annual accounts; 
and incorporating quasi-fiscal activity carried out through credit 
funds in the State Bank of Pakistan in the budget.

The report, which was actually submitted to the Fund's executive 
board the day before it approved the standby arrangement for 
Pakistan, has also stressed the need to develop a medium-term 
budget framework to identify continuing costs of government 
policies more clearly.

According to the report, in terms of fiscal data the boundaries 
between the government and the rest of the economy have become 

Discussing privatization, the report attributed the current slow 
down in the process to lengthy procedures and delays and lack of an 
effective regulatory environment.

The report said non-performing loans remained a serious issue for 
the developmental financial institutions (DFIs) and that no 
comprehensive overview of the government's public enterprise 
borrowing or assets and other equity holdings were being 

While all taxes were under the authority of a law, many 
opportunities existed for discretionary application and the Income 
Tax Ordinance, according to the report, was over complex and more 
than a third of the text was taken up by exemptions.

CE okays duty free import of tractors
Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has agreed 
to agriculture ministry's proposal to allow duty free import of 
tractors for farm purpose, as they were more cheaper than the 
locally manufactured.

Sources said on Friday that Gen Musharraf agreed to this proposal 
of duty free import of tractors only to modernize the farm sector.

Sources told Dawn that in this regard, Gen Musharraf had also asked 
the commerce ministry to look into the proposal and immediately 
submit a summary to him so that a formal decision could be taken.

Sources said, earlier, the issue of import of tractors was raised 
by the federal Agriculture Minister Khair Mohammad Junejo during a 
briefing on agriculture strategies here last week, which was 
attended by the provincial governors, Finance Minister Shaukat 
Aziz, Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to CE on 
Agriculture M. Shafi Niaz, Secretary Agriculture Dr Zafar Altaf and 

Sources said, during the briefing, Junejo informed the CE that farm 
machinery had become old and obsolete which needed immediate 
replacement. He said it was only possible when the federal 
government would give incentives to the farmers and importers.

The minister was of the view that to facilitate the rapid 
mechanization of farm sector, it was required that the duty 
exemption on their import should be allowed.

Junejo pointed out that since the imported tractor was much cheaper 
compared with the price of locally produced, therefore, its duty 
free import could help the farmers to get tractors at reduced 

Gold prices up by 7% in five months
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 9: A ten per cent fall in the rupee value against the 
US dollar since July 20 has raised gold prices by more than seven 
per cent.

On Saturday 24-carat gold closed at Rs 5365 and Rs 5401 per 10 gram 
respectively in Karachi and Lahore markets up from Rs 4980 and Rs 
5040 per 10 gm on July 20.

The State Bank had removed an unofficial cap on exchange rates on 
July 20: Since then the rupee has fallen by around 10 per cent in 
the open and inter-bank market.

Traders say gold prices went up by more than seven per cent in less 
than five months mainly because of the rupee depreciation.

Since traders purchase dollars from the open market to finance gold 
any change in exchange rates has an impact on local prices of gold.

This correlation is so strong that gold prices moved up in the 
country despite a fall in international prices of this precious 
metal. Gold prices came down to $273 per ounce in world markets 
this week from $281 in mid July.

High prices of raw gold plus higher than normal making charges make 
gold ornaments costlier. 

 But jewellers say demand for gold ornaments this year has not 
peaked so far. "Normally demand for gold and gold ornaments rise 
manifold in Ramazan (ahead of Eid festival) but we have not seen 
any big jump in demand this year," said a leading jeweller in 
Karachi. Publicity banners fluttering across Zaibunnisa Street 
announcing huge prizes in cash and gold for ornaments buyers are a 
proof to it. 

"These colourful banners are attracting people but not many of them 
really make big purchases," said owner of a shop on Zaibunnisa 
street that is a key market of gems and jewellery.

Analysts say the demand for gold and jewellery is not picking up as 
the financial crisis that engulfed the country after its 1998 
nuclear blasts and the consequent slowdown in the economy is far 
from over. They say that the drive launched to broaden tax net has 
also led to flight of capital reducing private investment in gold 
and jewellery and real estate.

Pakistan imports a small percentage of its estimated demand of 120 
tonnes of gold every year: the bulk of the yellow metal comes in 
through smuggling-in the shape of undeclared personal baggage and 
misdeclared Afghan transit cargo.

Of late the country has started exporting jewellery and Export 
Promotion Bureau says it has plans to raise it substantially in 

SBP starts buying dollar from banks: Rupee falls further
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 13: The State Bank on Wednesday purchased dollars from 
banks in one-month swap with rupee funds in a two-pronged strategy 
to keep banks liquid and reduce its net domestic assets.

Bankers said SBP swapped $10-$15 million at 30 paisa above the spot 
price. But SBP officials neither confirmed nor contradicted the 
figure. Sources close to SBP said the central bank would swap $250-
$300 million in next few days to keep banks liquid enough to 
refrain from overnight borrowing from SBP against treasury bills.

Bankers said the swap would save banks from being stripped off 
liquidity in the face of outflows of rupee funds falling due next 
week. This in turn will stop banks from borrowing overnight funds 
from the State Bank and that will help SBP keep its net domestic 
assets from moving up.

Net domestic assets or NDA of SBP goes up with its lending to banks 
if there is no matching increase in its net foreign assets.

Normally banks borrow overnight funds from the central bank at the 
year-end in an effort to strengthen their balance sheets. But that 
raises net domestic assets of SBP. But this time SBP cannot afford 
it. Because under the IMF standby loan programme it is supposed to 
keep the expansion in NDA at minus Rs 26.3 billion by end of 
December 2000.

This is one of several key conditions Pakistan has to meet not only 
to remain on track with the $596 million 10-month standby but also 
to qualify for a larger long-term poverty reduction and growth 

RUPEE: Meanwhile the rupee lost 26 paisa in inter-bank market on 
Wednesday and finished at 58.19 to a dollar against 57.93 on 

Bankers said the rupee declined on debt payments and corporate 
dollar buyings. The dollar rose past Rs 58 after several weeks. In 
the first week of October it had risen to Rs 59.95.

But an immediate tightening of monetary measures including an 
increase in cash reserves of banks and hiking of SBP overnight 
lending rates kept the rupee stable in November. Bankers say the 
rupee may remain under pressure on debt payments and corporate 
demand for dollar in the remaining part of this month. They say as 
the rupee has begun to fall the inflow of export dollar has also 
slowed because exporters are waiting for more depreciation of the 
local currency.

That in turn is due to weaken the rupee further.

In the kerb market the rupee shed 10 paisa to close at 60.80/60.85 
to a dollar against the previous close of 60.70/60.75.

The frog croaks... - 2 
Ardeshir Cowasjee

FRAUDS! That is what we are. We are large frogs in small ponds, or 
small frogs in large ponds. This column continues on the subject of 
the Objectives Resolution, debated and approved by our elected 
Constituent Assembly on March 7, 1949. Read on.

Additional excerpts from the speech made that day by our first 
prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan:

"The greatest proof of the tolerance of Muslim peoples lies in the 
fact that there is no Muslim country where strong minorities do not 
exist, and where they have not been able to preserve their religion 
and culture. Most of all, in this subcontinent of India, where the 
Muslims wielded unlimited authority, the rights of non-Muslims were 
cherished and protected... It is this tolerance which is envisaged 
by Islam, wherein a minority does not live on sufferance, but is 
respected and given every opportunity to develop its own thought 
and culture, so that it may contribute to the greater glory of the 
entire nation....

"In our desire to build up an Islamic society we have not ignored 
the rights of the non-Muslims. Indeed, it would have been un-
Islamic to do so and we would have been guilty of transgressing the 
dictates of our religion if we had tried to impinge upon the 
freedom of the minorities. In no way will they be hindered from 
professing or protecting their religion or developing their 

"Mr President, it has become fashionable to guarantee certain 
fundamental rights, but I assure you that it is not our intention 
to give these rights with one hand and take them away with the 
other. I have said enough to show that we want to build up a truly 
liberal government where the greatest amount of freedom will be 
given to all its members. Everyone will be equal before the law, 
but this does not mean that his personal law will not be protected. 
We believe in the equality of status and justice."

During the debate, our foreign minister, Sir Mohammed Zafrullah 
Khan, spoke up:

"The point to stress in this connection is that while the 
Resolution requires that under the Pakistan constitution Muslims 
shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and 
collective spheres in accord with the teachings and requirements of 
Islam, it lays no such compulsion, burden or obligation upon non-
Muslims. In their view the spheres of politics and religion are 
distinct and apart, and can remain so. The constitution shall make 
adequate provision for them in the very words of the Resolution: 
"freely to profess and practice their religion and develop their 
cultures." Their legitimate interests shall be safeguarded and they 
shall in common with all the citizens of Pakistan be guaranteed all 
fundamental human rights, 'including equality of status, of 
opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, 
and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and 
association, subject to law and public morality.' They will also, 
along with other citizens of Pakistan, be entitled to enjoy the 
benefits of a constitution 'wherein the principles of democracy, 
freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by 
Islam shall be fully observed.' What more could any minority or any 
section of the people of Pakistan desire?

"There shall be no compulsion in matters of faith." An alternative 
rendering can also be: 'There can be no compulsion in matters of 
faith', inasmuch as faith is a matter of conscience, and conscience 
cannot be compelled; it also signifies there need be no compulsion 
in matters of faith. 'Guidance has been made manifest from error; 
let him therefore who wills believe and let him who wills deny.'

"There are other injunctions contained in the Quran from which the 
same conclusion may be drawn, but I shall go on to mention one 
incident from the life of the Holy Prophet as illustrating the 
actual practice of tolerance in these matters. A Christian 
deputation was waiting on the Holy Prophet and had carried on 
exchange of views with him for some days. One day they intimated 
that they would have to absent themselves the next day. The Prophet 
enquired the reason for this and they explained that the following 
day was their sabbath and that they must withdraw some distance 
from Madina to perform their worship in their own fashion.

"The Prophet told them that there was no need for them to withdraw 
from Madina for that purpose. They were welcome to perform their 
worship in his mosque. I might explain that the Prophet used to 
carry on all his public activities in the mosque. In that simple 
structure he received emissaries, he received deputations, he 
instructed his followers, he led the services and prayers, and all 
his public activities were performed there. It is recorded that the 
following day when the time came, the Christians took out their 
crosses and images and placing them in front of them in the 
Prophet's mosque performed their worship in their own fashion."

Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, that renowned scholar elected from East 
Bengal, had this to add:

"If anybody were to say that religious prejudice should not be 
permitted to affect our relationship with humanity, I would 
certainly say 'yes.' But, then, I should submit that the Resolution 
does lay down that so far as relations with non-Muslims are 
concerned, they will be based upon the utmost tolerance, not only 
on tolerance but also on the appreciation of their culture and on 
all that liberty and fraternity imply."

And from Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Osmani, also elected from East 
Bengal, a great scholar of religion, came these wise words:

"Here it should be remembered that an Islamic state does not mean 
the 'Government of the Ordained Priests'. How could Islam 
countenance the false idea which the Quran so emphatically 
repudiated in the following words: 'Ittakhazoo ahbarahum wa 
ruhbanahum arbabam min doonil-lah.' (The Quran, X, Ta'uba 5) 'They 
(the Jews and the Christians) took their priest and their 
anchorites to be their lords in derogation to God'."

To end, a passage from a judgment written by Chief Justice Hamoodur 
Rahman in the matter of the State versus Zia-ur-Rahman and Others 
(PLD 1973 Supreme Court 49):

"Therefore, in my view, however solemn or sacrosanct a document, if 
it is not incorporated in the Constitution or does not form a part 
thereof it cannot control the Constitution. At any rate, the courts 
created under the Constitution will not have the power to declare 
any provision of the Constitution itself as being in violation of 
such a document.

"If in fact that document contains the expression of the will of 
the vast majority of the people, then the remedy for correcting 
such a violation will lie with the people and not with the 
judiciary. It follows from this that under our own system too the 
Objectives Resolution of 1949, even though it is a document which 
has been generally accepted and has never been repealed of 
renounced, will not have the same status or authority as the 
Constitution itself until it is incorporated within it or made part 
of it.

"If it appears only as a preamble to the Constitution, then it will 
serve the same purpose as any other preamble serves, namely, that 
in the case of any doubt as to the intent of the law-maker, it may 
be looked at to ascertain the true intent, but it cannot control 
the substantive provisions thereof."

And so, Zia-ul-Haq by his Presidential Order No 14 of 1985 added 
Article 2A to the 1973 Constitution making the Objectives 
Resolution a substantive part of that Constitution. However, the 
Objectives Resolution decreed that: "Whereas adequate provision 
shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise 
their religions and develop their cultures..." Zia's reproduction 
deliberately deleted the word 'freely" from this proclamation. No 
one claims credit for committing this mischief.

It is now up to General Pervez Musharraf to undo this wilful 
damage. His new-found flip-flop minister for religious affairs, Dr 
Mahmud Ahmad Ghazi, can indeed help him and for support he can 
depend on our constitutional wizard, Jadoogar Sharifuddin Pirzada, 
who claims he had no hand in the commitment of the original sin.

The moral imperative
Irfan Husain

ALTHOUGH rulers in Pakistan have seldom been overburdened with 
moral considerations as they stumble, wheel and deal in the 
discharge of their responsibilities, there comes a point in their 
tenure when they forfeit the right to govern. They may hang on, but 
the remainder of their legal or illegal term of office is one long 
downhill slide.

This government reached this point when they released Nawaz Sharif 
in the dead of night and put him on a plane to Jeddah. Here is a 
man who is arguably the biggest single crook Pakistan has produced, 
and this is saying a lot. Thanks to his uniform mentors, he rose 
from obscurity to become finance minister of Punjab first, then the 
province's chief minister, and finally served two abbreviated 
stints as the country's prime minister. Along the way, he parlayed 
his clout and connections into an industrial empire of 51 units. 
Apart from his vast assets in Pakistan, he controls properties 
worth hundreds of millions of dollars abroad.

Had his greed been limited to acquiring factories as though they 
were tokens on a board game of Monopoly, this long suffering nation 
might have shrugged it off as the acts of yet another crooked 
politician. But to protect these assets, he tried to corrupt the 
entire system, buying journalists, judges and generals and smashing 
any institutional and constitutional obstacles that stood in his 
destructive path.

So when the army staged a coup to topple Nawaz Sharif's government 
last year, many of us heaved a sigh of relief not because we were 
delighted by yet another military takeover, but because we honestly 
did not think there was any other way of getting rid of the man. 
And I still believe Pakistan could not have survived the remainder 
of his term. When the wheels of accountability began to grind the 
PML leader into the dust, there was no initial sympathy, although 
there was little credibility in the hijacking case conveniently 
proved against him. Had the army focused on straight corruption, 
all of us would have readily believed the charges.

When Nawaz Sharif was let off the hook last week in the murkiest 
circumstances, he had another 81 cases against him waiting to be 
heard by various courts. Details of his obscenely extensive 
holdings here and abroad made nauseating reading. Although the 
public reaction to his surreptitious and unconstitutional release 
varied, the common theme was of disbelief over the continuing 
accountability process. How on earth, people wanted to know, can 
this government possibly go on trying and punishing corrupt 
bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen (no judges or generals 
though!) when it had released the biggest crook of them all?

Another common strand, at least in the smaller provinces, is the 
provincial aspect of this scandal: a Sindhi prime minister can be 
removed and hanged by the army; politicians from the NWFP and 
Balochistan can be tried and sentenced for corruption; but a 
thoroughly venal prime minister from Punjab can be put on the plane 
with his family and allowed to leave to enjoy his fabulous wealth 

Whatever else the quid pro quo might have been, on the face of it 
Nawaz Sharif has bought himself a very good deal. In return for a 
couple of houses (probably pledged to the banks against his 
billions in loans) and a few debt-ridden factories, he and his 
family have managed to get a clean chit from the president on the 
advice of General Musharraf. His offshore accounts and his many 
assets abroad (including four flats in Park Lane) remain his to 
retire on.

Whatever else he may be, he is a much sharper card player than the 
generals he has cleaned out in political poker.

In his defence of this under-hand deal, a government spokesman made 
much of the intercession of a Saudi prince. Considering this 
government has successfully resisted pressure from the World Bank, 
the IMF, the US government and Saudi business interests to come to 
a settlement with the private power project, Hubco, it is difficult 
to see why it should cave in now and release a convicted criminal. 
The government spokesman has said this step was taken "in the 
national interest". Who has defined this, and how is it in our 
interest to exile known crooks? While signing the CTBT is clearly 
in our national interest, this government has so far resisted all 
threats and blandishments to do so.

There has been some talk of the harm Nawaz Sharif's exit will cause 
the Muslim League. Frankly, any collateral damage will be purely 
temporary, as the party is known to be composed largely of 
carpetbaggers with few ideals or principles to slow them down as 
they claw their way up the social and financial ladder. And despite 
the fact that many PML leaders are loaded ("from behind" in the 
vernacular), they have had no compunctions about accepting tainted 
money from the ISI to fight elections.

It will be a cold day in hell before such a party is embarrassed 
because its leader has fled the country. Ever since Pakistan was 
founded and Mr Jinnah died in 1948, this party has served as a fig-
leaf for successive juntas who have resurrected it as they felt the 
need for legitimacy, and then cast it aside when it had served 
their purpose. The history of Pakistan is littered with different 
versions of the Muslim League.

Leaders and politicians in and out of uniform in this part of the 
world feel that once they are in power, nobody can dislodge them 
and they have the right to break every rule in the book to get what 
they want. And since all they seem to want is to remain in power 
indefinitely, their moral compass (if they started out with one) 
shrinks rapidly. They are willing to sup with the devil if that's 
what it takes to keep them in power. But at the back of their 
minds, they know their acts will never be overlooked or forgiven, 
and this knowledge gives them further motivation to cling on at all 

Benazir Bhutto reached the end of her moral tether in her second 
stint when it was established beyond reasonable doubt that her 
husband had acquired a multi-million pound property in England 
known here as "Surrey Palace". She compounded her moral dilemma by 
first denying the purchase and then taking a "so what?" attitude. 
Nawaz Sharif's end was in sight when the Kargil operation was 
launched and he was perceived as being unable to order either the 
start or the end of the incursion. In his earlier stint, multiple 
scams such as the motorway, the yellow cab scheme and sundry 
crooked bank loans combined to make his continuation in office 

It may well be that Nawaz Sharif's unprincipled and morally 
unacceptable release may be the turning point in this government's 
tenure because it has lost the moral authority to govern.

Hilarity or what?
Ayaz Amir

MORAL outrage and high dudgeon. There has been much of this flying 
around since the strategic escape of Pakistan's once-upon-a-time 
saviour, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. But if things be considered 
calmly this indignation is a bit funny and entirely misplaced.

An angry army of punditry is saying that the military government 
has compromised itself and lost some of its moral standing by 
letting an accredited robber baron go off into comfortable exile. 
As P. G. Wodehouse might have said, this is rather rum. Where's the 
question of morality in all this? And since when did military 
regimes operate from moral pedestals?

True, the government's own protestations about what accountability 
was meant to be do not quite square with this Hollywood departure 
to the Holy Land. The Sharifs were supposed to be the biggest 
robbers of them all. And here because of their connections and 
looted money they have bought their freedom. But then it takes 
hardened fools to take any government's declarations at face value.

 All politics is a partisan undertaking, its foremost purpose being 
self-aggrandizement and the crushing of one's enemies (democracy or 
not making no difference to this equation). It follows then that a 
government-driven accountability drive (as opposed to one carried 
out by an impartial institution) will always be selective and 
partisan. Why should it have been any different with General 
Musharraf and his generals?

If they started their accountability drive to assuage public 
opinion, score political points and make an example of their 
principal enemies they were only doing what came naturally to them. 
They never set out to hold evenly the scales of justice. If they 
had any such pretensions they would have investigated the Mehran 
Bank scandal in which the ISI used secret money to influence the 
outcome of the 1990 elections. But since they were innocent of such 
pretensions there is little reason to get upset if in the release 
of the Sharifs the nation has been presented with another example 
of selective justice.

Still more ridiculous than the moral outrage is the feverish 
calculation of how much in confiscated property and money the 
government has gained from the Sharifs. Political advantage and 
monetary gain are two different things and should not be confused. 
The surrendered property is just a salve to the conscience of the 
great Pakistani public so that ordinary people do not think that 
the Sharifs have been allowed to go scot-free.   
Let us be clear about one thing. Governments are concerned with 
power and not morality. So their actions should be judged or 
measured by how effective or striking their actions are and not 
according to the collected works of St Augustine. Is the departure 
of the Sharifs to the government's benefit or not? This is the only 
relevant question in the present circumstances.  

The Sharifs have stabbed their own party in the back, making their 
diehard supporters look like so many inveterate fools. If anything, 
the Muslim League will now fall to the lot of the anti-Nawaz camp, 
the Shujaats, Mian Azhars, etc. Just a week ago all the worthwhile 
political parties in the country were coalescing on a single 
platform to press for the end of military rule and the revival of 
democracy. Now thanks to the Sharifs and their underhand dealings 
with the military, the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy 
has been made to look like a troupe of monkeys.

Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan may keep his sang-froid in public, he 
after all being an old hand at such things. But how embarrassed 
must he be at what the Sharifs have done to him. Even as Begum 
Kulsoom Nawaz, who used to give the impression that butter would 
not melt in her mouth, was visiting the Nawabzada and putting the 
final touches to what was billed as the mother of all alliances, 
the Sharifs were cutting a deal with their captors. This is the 
stuff of hilarity. The nation should be grateful to the Sharifs for 
giving it something to laugh at after a long time.  
Now if the discomfiture of whatever political opposition there is 
in the country be not to the military's advantage, then it is hard 
to figure out what advantage means. Who is down-and-out and who on 
the upswing? General Musharraf's principal rival has begged to be 
let out of the country and has now gone, his political standing 
discredited for all time. Who gains by this? If not the military, 
then who?  
But what about the perceived loss of innocence on the military's 
part? To repeat the earlier point, this is a quaint notion. About a 
military government, or indeed any government, can it be said that 
it has forfeited the moral high ground? This is a phrase which in 
any case makes me want to reach for my boot. Governments are 
supposed to strengthen their grip on power and then, if the gods be 
kind, deliver. Occupying the moral high ground is a business best 
left to mahatmas and bishops.  

So, then, where do we stand? In truth, the first remotely sensible 
thing this government has done has been to heed Saudi advice (or 
pressure) to let Sharif go and allow the Sandow of Pakistani 
politics to stew in his own juice. Field Marshal Idi Amin who also 
lives in Jeddah has the consolation of an extended harem. What 
consolation will Nawaz Sharif have? The constant company of his 
father and only wife? It is a prospect to make the stoutest heart 
quail. The deposed emperor Shahjehan endured the long years of his 
imprisonment in Agra Fort because his son Aurangzeb did not take 
away his Moorish slave-girls from him. Comparing Shahjehan with our 
ersatz version is to insult the original. Still, we shall have to 
wait and see how the erstwhile Shahjehan of Pakistan copes with his 

It is another matter of course if the military government is unable 
to profit from the advantage it has gained. To be fair to it, it 
has done nothing right, lacking vision and even basic political 
sense and giving the overriding impression of a bunch of (well-
meaning) amateurs swimming against the tide. No one should be 
surprised then if, in keeping with these decisive traits, the 
government fritters away the tiny advantage it has reaped.  
After all, the departure of the Sharifs means nothing by itself 
unless it becomes the centrepiece of a new political opening - an 
initiative which buys more political space for the government and 
brings it greater political support. But can the amateurs running 
this show bring this about? Just consider. Anyone in General 
Musharraf's place would have captured the airwaves at once and 
taken the nation into confidence about Sharif's precipitate 
departure. But it is only today (Thursday) that I read in the 
papers that the General may be addressing the nation. The 
conclusion is plain: the remotest conception of intelligent public 
relations this government lacks.  

As for the Sharifs, the tears shed in some quarters about their 
betrayal and treachery are also a bit out of place. The wonder is 
not that the Sharifs no longer could take the strain. The wonder is 
how they took it for so long. Thirteen months after all is not a 
short period and would test the fortitude of souls far hardier than 
them. In any event it is easy setting standards of sacrifice for 
other people and somewhat more difficult doing the sacrificing 
oneself. Nevertheless, the Sharifs could have been a bit more 
graceful in defeat. If nothing else, they could have spared their 
party the ordeal of false defiance they put it through. Even as 
they were negotiating their own safety they were telling their 
followers to stand tall and be counted. This more than their actual 
flight was a dishonourable thing to do.  

But then let us not forget who Nawaz Sharif really was: a product 
of accident and military patronage and not someone cut in the mould 
of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. So in the end when the crunch came he could 
only be true to himself and from where he came.  
Even so, if anyone should do any soul-searching, it is the people 
of Pakistan and their great armed forces. How could the people of 
Pakistan ever take someone like the Sharifs seriously? And how 
could the political wizards of the Pakistan army (and their 
bureaucratic henchmen like Ghulam Ishaq Khan and others of his ilk) 
prime the Sharifs as their political favourites? 

How small Pakistani leaders? But how much smaller and small-minded 
their shadowy creators?

PCB calls off Indian team's tour

LAHORE, Dec 15: The PCB advisory council has officially decided to 
call off the Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan which was due 
next month.

The decision was taken by the council which met at the Qadhafi 
Stadium on Friday. India, despite repeated requests from the PCB 
refused to send its team to Pakistan and finally announced its 
decision early this month of not reviving cricket activity with 
Pakistan. Now the PCB has also closed this chapter.

The meeting decided to hold a national cricket camp in mid- 
February for preparations of the Pakistan team for the tour of New 

 In all, 45 probables will attend the camp out of whom the team for 
the tour Down Under will be selected. The meeting was presided over 
by the PCB chairman Lt-Gen Tauqir Zia.

The national selection committee submitted the names of the 45 
probables for the camp but the PCB has decided not to make the 
names of the players public for some unknown reasons. 

The venue of the camp will be announced later. The PCB has kept 
open the option of the Pakistan's participation in a tri-nation 
cricket series in Malaysia. 

Miandad denies allegations over time-wasting

KARACHI, Dec 13: Pakistan cricket coach Javed Miandad on Wednesday 
rejected allegations of time-wasting by his team at the climax of 
the third and final Test against England on Monday.

"We were almost up to the mark. If we had wanted, we could have 
really slowed down the over rate," Miandad said two days after his 
team lost in near darkness to England, whose victory by six wickets 
gave them the series 1-0.

"The most the match referee could have done was to fine us for a 
slow over rate," Miandad added.

Pakistan captain Moin Khan said: "The umpires gave us a warning for 
a slow over rate. But I think we bowled right on time as we were 
required to bowl 44 overs in two-and-a-half hours and we were 
almost there."

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb on 
Monday hit out over Pakistani time-wasting tactics while calling 
for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to look at the issue 

Miandad said: "Ranjan Madugalle is one of the best match referees. 
At the end of the day, he didn't impose any fines (for slow over 
rate) which confirms we were almost there.

"But I am not sure if many teams would have done the same had 
Pakistan been in England's place," said Miandad, who lost his third 
home series as coach.

He said England claims of time-wasting were a case of sour grapes 
as they had themselves rejected the proposal of playing under 
lights in order to get the minimum 90 overs in a day completed.

"We wanted to play under lights but England didn't. They rejected 
the proposal which was presented prior to the start of the series," 
Miandad said.

"Had they agreed, we would not only have had a fair ending to the 
third Test, (and) overs would not have been lost in the first Test 
at Lahore."

Miandad recalled that Pakistan accepted the proposal of playing 
under lights in South Africa in 1998. "Though we didn't have 
floodlight facilities then, we agreed because we believed in fair-
play," he said.

Pakistan won the Durban Test but lost at Port Elizabeth where the 
Test continued under lights after almost the entire first day's 
play was washed out.

Miandad said instead of engaging in the time-wasting controversy, 
the tour should be remembered for the excellent cricket the two 
teams played.

"England won the third Test because they were a better side and 
deserved to win."

It was England's first tour of Pakistan for 13 years, and their 
first Test series win in the country for 39 years. They are next 
scheduled to tour Pakistan in 2005.-Reuters

Home team's 34-match unbeaten record shattered
Samiul Hasan

KARACHI, Dec 11: Pakistan plunged to depths of despair under 
darkness when England earned a hard fought six-wicket victory in 
the third and final cricket Test to clinch the three-match series 
1-0 and a cash award of $10,000.

Under extremely poor light with street lamps on, England achieved 
the victory target of 176 with six wickets and 15 balls of the 
mandatory overs remaining.

Earlier, Pakistan resuming on the final morning at 71 for three 
were bundled out for 158 with the last six wickets falling for a 
mere 30 runs.

Pakistan captain Moin Khan made several valient attempts to appeal 
against poor light and in the process received an official warning 
by West Indian Steve Bucknor as the match finished at 5.55pm and 
before an empty stadium as the handful of spectators had left the 
venue for Iftar (time for breaking fast).

Moin argued with the Jamaician, Buknor, that the fielders were 
unable to pick the ball due to poor visibility though the batsmen 
continued to throw the bat around and much to their luck, always 
connected them properly.

The victory ended Pakistan's 34-match unbeaten record at the 
National Stadium and five-series winning sequence against the 
Englishmen. For the proud Nasser Hussain's men, it was their first 
series triumph over Pakistan in Pakistan since 1961 when Ted 
Dexter's party defeated Imtiaz Ahmad's men 1-0.

It was also Pakistan's fourth defeat in a trot on home surface 
after they lost to Australia and Zimbabwe in 1998 and then to Sri 
Lanka earlier this year in February-March.

The man who made the difference in the end was 32-year-old Graham 
Thorpe who played the innings of his life while scoring a match-
winning unbeaten 64 from 97 balls with the aid of four boundaries.

Together with Worcestershire's Graeme Hick, Thorpe feature in a 91-
run fourth wicket partnership in 102 minutes after Saqlain Mushtaq 
had struck thrice in quick succession to leave England reeling at 
65 for three in 17 overs.

Hick, whose previous best in the series was 18, scored a rapid 65-
ball 40 before he was castled by Waqar Younis. Nevertheless, the 
batsman might have just managed to save his sinking career and 
convince the selectors to retain him for the series against Sri 
Lanka for which the England team arrives there in February next 

The two batsmen worked the ball in gaps and kept the scoreboard 
ticking with ones and twos. There was no urgency in their batting 
as they chalked out their strategy to perfection and stuck to it. 
For a second it looked England had lost their way when they could 
score only 40 from 15 overs between overs 15 and 30 before 
accelerating the scoring rate.

It was also an excellent bit of captaincy by Nasser Hussain when he 
promoted an out-of-form Hick ahead of him. It was a gamble not many 
captains would have played. But for the confidence the captain has 
in the abilities of the Zimbabwe-born batsman, it worked.

There can't be any two opinions that England were a much better 
team than Pakistan who did nothing but tried to play game of words 
by making big claims. The tourists were composed, united, ambitious 
and determined and continued the good work they had started back 
home five months ago while defeating the West Indies 3-1 for the 
first time in 31 years.

The biggest strength of the Englishmen was their conviction that 
they could do the impossible this time. On alien conditions and 
playing against a much talented opposition, the tourists played the 
entire series without shuffling their team while Pakistan made 
mind-boggling and ill-planned changes after changes in persuit of 
finding a winning combination.

It can't be more embarrassing and humiliating for the Pakistanis to 
suffer defeat when they prepared wickets supportive for the 
spinners in an effort to exploit England's vulerability. In the 
end, it was Pakistan that was left needing to carry out soul-
searching and probably an overhauling because some of the players 
just don't deserve to be in this trade.

It is also a moment of concern and requires indepth ananlysis as to 
why the Pakistan team is lion aboard and lamb at home.

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