------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 30 December 2000 Issue : 06/50 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Country needs sincere leadership, say Tarar, Musharraf + Advani sees possibility of talks with Pakistan + 54 injured as bomb blasts rock four cities + Mushahid freed: Aims to unite PML + Dismissal of army officers: Dawn's view + Anti-Nawaz group to fight loyalists + Cabinet to discuss pact with IMF + Reforms to stay even after govt goes + Ikhwan withdraws march call + Islamabad wants fugitives' back + 3,480 contesting in four NWFP districts: Union council election + UAE bans import of cattle from Pakistan + Singing legend Noor Jehan is dead + Guns fall silent in Siachen --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Petroleum prices to go up after Eid + Report on Pakistan: IMF wants three-year rolling budget + Smuggled, reclaimed oil hit OMCs + IMF arrangement ignores ground realities + Defence ties with Iran to get a boost + January rates announced: SBP wants banks to place FCY deposits + Money market tight, rupee stable + Economy sees slump in first five months + NWFP cuts Rs1bn from ADP + PAP funds not utilized fully --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + 'Jungle ka badshah' Ardeshir Cowasjee + The messiah Chakwal chooses to ignore Ayaz Amir ----------- SPORTS + India not reviewing tour decision

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NATIONAL NEWS
20001225
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Country needs sincere leadership, say Tarar, Musharraf
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ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar and Chief
Executive General Pervez Musharraf have stressed the need for a
sincere leadership which could revive the spirit of the
independence movement and lead the country towards the path of
progress and development.

The President and the Chief Executive expressed these views in
their separate messages to the nation on the occasion of the birth
anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The President urged the people to pledge to turn the country into
an Islamic welfare state which was the dream of the Muslims of
South Asia, who fought for the independence of Pakistan.

He said it was imperative to discharge our individual and
collective responsibilities to the best of our abilities.

The President prayed to Allah Almighty "to guide us in our
endeavours and bless us with a leadership which is able to revive
the spirit of the independence movement to make Pakistan stronger
and prosperous."

CE'S MESSAGE:The Chief Executive said that the country needed a
leadership having the spirit to serve the country and make it a
strong and stable nation and accelerate the pace of progress and
development.

He said Pakistan needed a leadership of impeccable character which
could be fully trusted, and we can achieve it by following the
brilliant model of Quaid- i-Azam and by focussing our attention on
collective interests instead of personal ends.

Reiterating his resolve to abide by the Government's Seven- Point
Agenda, the Chief Executive asked the people to make a pledge to
work unitedly for the progress, welfare and stability of Pakistan
by following the Quaid-i-Azam's motto of 'Unity, Faith and
Discipline' and that "we will devote all our individual and
collective energies for the task of nation-building."

December 25, he said, was the day to celebrate the birthday of the
great leader and to enliven the spirit of the unprecedented
struggle launched under his leadership.-APP

BENAZIR: PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto has warned that unless the
rule of law is established and everyone is treated equally, the
future of our country will be exposed to internal and external
threats, adds our Islamabad correspondent.

 She expressed these views in a message issued by the PPP Media
Cell here on Sunday in connection with the birth anniversary of
Quaid-i-Azam.

She felicitated the nation on the Quaid's birth anniversary , and
urged the people forge unity in their ranks, to restore democracy
in the country.

 She condemned the politics of blackmail and victimization being
pursued and which has been rejected by the people of Pakistan. She
also asked the people to "get united and not allow anyone to foist
a totalitarian and dictatorial regime on the country."

JAVED HASHMI: Pakistan Muslim League on Sunday said that Pakistan
was the fruit of the indefatigable efforts of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad
Ali Jinnah, who had united the disarrayed Muslims of the
subcontinent on one platform and redeemed them from the collective
yoke of British-Hindu imperialism.

In a message to the nation on the occasion of the 125th birth
anniversary of the Quaid, acting president Pakistan Muslim League,
Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said, being the founder of the motherland,
Quaid-i-Azam chose democracy as the system to run the country and
started making legislations to save the country from any military
adventurism.

He said, the Quaid had determined the role of the armed forces soon
after the country came into being and had announced in no uncertain
terms, on a number of occasions, that the country would be a
democratic state.

But, Hashmi regretted, the military adventurers propagated the
concept of military rule in flagrant violation of the principles
laid down by the Quaid, derailing democracy time and again, to
achieve their ulterior motives.

He said, frequent martial laws had brought a bad name to the
country at the international level but the military had not learnt
any lesson from its mistakes.

He urged the people to continue their struggle for liberating the
country from military rule and assured that they would emerge as
the ultimate winners.

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20001225
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Advani sees possibility of talks with Pakistan
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Monitoring Desk

NEW DELHI, Dec 24: Indian Home Minister L KAdvani on Sunday
indicated the possibility of talks with freedom fighters groups
such as Hizbul Mujahideen and did not rule out dialogue with
Pakistan after an "assessment" of its behaviour during the extended
ceasefire peace initiative in occupied Kashmir.

"That possibility is there," he said when asked about the chances
of the Centre starting a dialogue with freedom fighter groups in
occupied Kashmir in the wake of its bold peace measures.

In an interview to PTI, the minister said the situation with regard
to the ceasefire would be reviewed after the Republic Day when the
extension is set to end.

On the possibility of talks with the Mujahideen groups, Advani said
"I would like to emphasise that dialogue with our people in Jammu
and Kashmir would naturally have to include all sections like the
ruling National Conference, the main opposition Congress, BJP and
leftists and representatives from Jammu and Laddakh."

 "And if militant organizations like the Hizbul Mujahideen are
prepared to lay down arms and become part of the dialogue, they are
also welcome," the home minister said.

Hurriyat Conference on Sunday denied playing any "mediatory role"
between India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir issue but said
it wants to apply the "keys with a purpose of unlocking the doors
of goodwill and understanding."

 "I do not agree (to the role of mediator), we are a party to a
dispute and no party to a dispute can pass for a mediator. We
would, however, as the principal party choose to apply keys with a
purpose to unlocking the doors of goodwill and understanding,"
Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said.

HIGH ALERT: Indian airports were put on high alert on Sunday to
guard against strikes by freedom fighters who stunned the nation
with a shock attack on New Delhi's historic Red Fort, agencies add.

A spokesman at India's Bureau of Civil Aviation Security said 15
airports across eastern India including Calcutta international were
on their "highest state of alert" after Friday night's shooting, in
which Mujahideen killed three people.

"The home ministry has asked us to maintain 'all-out vigilance',"
he said, adding that a security cordon has also been put in place
at all domestic and international airports.

The Red Fort attack sent a message to Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee that his Kashmir ceasefire initiative held little meaning
for freedom fighters.

Abu Usama, commander of the Lashkar-i-Toiba which staged the attack
at Red Fort, summarised the Mujahideen's position in an interview
to The Pioneer newspaper on Sunday.

"It is immaterial whether Pakistan, India or Kashmir have
appreciated the Indian prime minister's ceasefire gesture. We are
working for the freedom of Kashmir from Indian security forces,"
Usama said.

Asked if groups such as his would face difficulties if Pakistan
changed tack on Kashmir and came down on the militants, Usama said:
"I really do not see it happening."

Lashker-i-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed on Saturday told India to expect
more attacks. "There will be more (attacks) on soldiers, army
installations but not civilians," Saeed said.

On Friday night, two Lashkar gunmen killed a soldier, an army
barber and a civilian as the military garrison held a party at the
Mughal-built fort.

Red Fort is the venue from where prime ministers address the nation
on India's annual independence day celebrations on Aug 15. It has
also housed hundreds of captured Kashmiri freedom fighters.

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20001227
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54 injured as bomb blasts rock four cities
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Dawn Report

LAHORE, Dec 26: Fifty-four people were injured in four powerful
bomb explosions in Lahore, Hyderabad, Faisalabad and Kharian on
Monday.

In Lahore the blast occurred in a roadside stall at the busy Lunda
Bazaar, adjacent to the CIA Kotwali building. Placed beneath the
second-hand clothes, the device went off at 2.20pm, leaving more
than 40 people injured. Three women, five teenaged boys and a six-
year-old were among the victims.

Officials of the bomb disposal squad said it was a locally made
device. The low-intensity, half-kilogram explosive had been wrapped
in a polythene bag with a timer.

Thirty-three of the injured were admitted to the Mayo Hospital.
Others were taken to the Nawaz Sharif Hospital as well as some
private clinics.

Doctors said that at least nine of the injured were in a critical
condition. All of the victims had suffered multiple injuries and
burns, and legs of three had been blown away, they added.

The victims included Mohammad Sajid, Atia Iqbal, Alamgir, Mohammad
Rashid, Abdul Jalil, Feroz, Shahnawaz, Ahmad Nadeem, Sabir,
Mohammad Hanif, Abdul Ghaffar, his father Mohammad Akram,
Asadullah, Arshad, Habibur Rehman, Wasif Raza, Mohammad Ishfaq,
Mohammad Saleem, Jugni, Zubair, Khattak Khan, Mushtaq, Humayun,
Taza Gul Khan, Ashraf, Mukhtaran, Mohammad Akram, Makhoo, Azam
Khan, Maqsood Ahmad and Abdul Sajid.

Later, the authorities "beefed up" security in the city by
deploying police teams at various places.

Some police officials termed the blast a "retaliation of some
incidents in India."

FAISALABAD: The half-kg, locally-made device was planted in an
electric water cooler on platform No 1 of the railway station,
according to experts. It went off at 8:38am.

Some passengers and the railway employees (six in all) were hit by
flying splinters. They were taken to the adjacent divisional
headquarters hospital. They were identified as Ghulam Murtaza,
Mohammad Aslam, Mohammad Bashir, Amir Mohammad, Mohammad Yaqoob and
Iftikhar Hussain, a tea-stall owner. Doctors described their
condition as stable.

HYDERABAD: Six people, including three minors, were injured when
the bomb exploded in a bus at the Latifabad railway crossing.

The bus (JE-2588) was going from Qasimabad to Latifabad. It was
waiting the gate at the railway crossing to open when the blast
occurred shattering its window panes.

Officials said the device, hidden in a cardboard box, had been
placed under seat numbers 13 and 14. They recovered the timer
device and battery cells.

The injured were taken to the Bhittai Hospital where two boys,
Saeed and Shoban Malik, were admitted and the rest - Faqir
Mohammad, Nauman, Mairajuddin and Abdul Waheed - discharged after
first-aid.

KHARIAN: The explosion occurred on a ground outside the assistant
commissioner's courts.

Some persons, according to the police, had set heaps of garbage on
fire. There was a big bang when some firecrackers lying under the
trash, exploded.

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Mushahid freed: aims to unite PML
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Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 26: Former information minister and PML leader
Mushahid Hussain Syed was released after 14 months and 14 days of
detention, here on Monday.

Mushahid had initially been kept in a solitary confinement in the
Punjab House for about two weeks. Later, he was allowed to live in
his own house but with no permission to receive visitors other than
his family members. He was among those PML leaders who had been
arrested immediately after the military takeover on Oct 12, 1999.

Mushahid told reporters on Tuesday that he had no plan to give up
politics and that he was very much in politics. "I intend to work
for the unity of the Muslim League but I will not work for
personalities," he elaborated.

He claimed that he had never taken any loan or misused the secret
funds of the government. Every thing was documented and "therefore,
I'm not afraid of any thing," he said, adding that he had worked
for the PML media centre without getting any thing and that he had
been earning his bread and butter by writing for local and
international newspapers and magazines.

When reminded that he was very close to Nawaz Sharif, the former
information minister said he never took part in talks with the army
or the United States. "On both these issues Shahbaz Sharif and
Chaudhry Nisar used to talk and advise Nawaz Sharif and I had
nothing to do with that."

"The time has now come to bury the politics of vendetta and revenge
and to harness energies for nation building. Pakistan today needs a
healing touch," said a statement issued after his release.

Another close compatriot of Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
is expected to be released soon because of a compromise he had
reportedly reached with the military authorities. Chaudhry Nisar,
who is under house arrest, is said to be enjoying the facility of
visiting the city late at night. People close to him claim that he
had distanced himself with Nawaz Sharif to have his freedom soon.

"My release in Ramazan is a vindication of my faith that truth
ultimately prevails. The holy Quran sustained and strengthened me
in my 440 days incommunicado detention during which I only bowed
before Allah," Mushahid stated.

He termed his detention a "character building experience" and said
he had emerged with a larger heart. "One lesson that I have learnt
is that you may be deprived of your physical freedom but no one can
take custody of your soil," his statement said.

Mushahid vowed to continue fighting for Pakistan and its people. He
said he had entered the public life as a duty and an obligation to
serve and not to use it for personal enrichment or advancement.

During the detention, he said, his wife had been a great source of
inspiration and satisfaction for him. "She is an iron lady and I am
proud of her".

The former minister thanked those who had stood by him and prayed
for him, including human rights organizations, particularly Amnesty
International "where I was honoured by being declared as a prisoner
of conscience. My family, friends and well-wishers, plus the media,
were sources of tremendous strength."

People from all walks of life visited the residence of Mushahid
Hussain and congratulated him on his release.

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Dismissal of army officers: Dawn's view
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Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 26: The clarification issued by the Inter-Services
Public Relations, describing as exaggerated a report in Dawn on Dec
25, has, in fact, confirmed the report by accepting that six army
personnel have been dismissed.

In the news item "Many army officers dismissed", appearing on Dec
23, Dawn correspondent Ansar Abbasi had reported the dismissal of
"an unusual number of army officers" for tampering with their
service record.

The ISPR clarification gave an impression as if Dawn had reported
the dismissal of 15 officers, despite the fact that no figure had
been mentioned in the report.

Before filing the report the correspondent had waited for three
days for the ISPR (through Colonel Saulat) to confirm or deny the
dismissals but it did not come up with any reply.

Finally, ISPR chief Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi and the Adjutant-General
of GHQ, Lt-Gen Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai, were contacted for the
army's version, and their comments were duly accommodated in the
report.

Dawn stands by its report.

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Anti-Nawaz group to fight loyalists
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Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Dec 26: Anti-Nawaz PML leaders have worked out a two-
pronged strategy to 'demoralize' loyalists of the deposed prime
minister by reducing their level of support in the suspended
national assembly parliamentary party, and then by removing Mr
Javed Hashmi as acting party president through the general council.

Some Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leaders have started to to use
the PPP's influence to have the PML (N) expelled from the Alliance
for Restoration of Democracy to pave the way for cooperation
between the ARD and the GDA.

The PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto has reportedly been asked to
work to replace Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan as ARD president.

"New political alignments will take place during the next few
months", an important GDA leader said, expressing his optimism that
the GDA and ARD would soon join hands.

Some PML leaders have decided that if Illahi Bux Soomro, speaker of
the suspended national assembly should be asked to call a
parliamentary party meeting. It is being argued that since Mr
Soomro is supposedly an 'impartial' person, attendance at the
proposed meeting would be encouraging.

The leaders admit that being a custodian of the entire house, Mr
Soomro should avoid calling a meeting of only the PML parliamentary
party. But a precedent was set when a provincial PML parliamentary
party was convened by the suspended speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

Anti-Nawaz leaders claim that their support is growing. A few
months ago, some 38 suspended MNAs had turned up at their meeting
in Islamabad. The number almost doubled (71) at a meeting hosted by
former governor Mian Muhammad Azhar.

Any increase in the number of anti-Sharif elements, one leader
said, meant that the deposed prime minister was losing support in
the parliamentary party.

(The PML had joined the ARD after abandoning their demand for the
revival of the assemblies and adding their voice to the call for
fresh elections).

According to an anti-Nawaz MNA, efforts are also being made to
elect a new parliamentary party leader as a substitute for Mr
Sharif, who, with his family, was already sitting in Saudi Arabia.

The election of a new parliamentary party leader, he argued,would
let the party as well as the government know as to who enjoys the
confidence of the suspended legislators.

There are indications that more parliamentary party meetings would
be held to 'corner' the Sharif loyalists.

Almost all anti-Nawaz elements are opposed to the appointment of Mr
Javed Hashmi as acting president of the party. It is also being
thought to challenge his nomination in a court of law on the ground
that having been convicted by a court, Mr Sharif was not eligible
to appoint his substitute.

At the same time, the possibility of a general council meeting is
also being considered to have the former health minister ousted as
party chief.

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20001224
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Cabinet to discuss pact with IMF
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Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Mushsrraf has asked
senior officials of the ministry of finance to brief the federal
cabinet on agreement with the IMF and its consequences.

Official sources said that another briefing will be given to the
cabinet on unemployment. Both the issues would be separately
discussed by the cabinet shortly, they added.

The sources said the briefing on the IMF was being held in the
backdrop of various reports that the Fund authorities had set tough
conditionalities for resuming Pakistan's assistance, including 5.2
per cent GDP budget deficit, which was still a difficult target
although it was originally set at 4.6 per cent in the budget for
2000-2001.

The sources said the cabinet would be told that the government had
no option but to accept what was termed a"harsh recipe" to qualify
for 595 million dollar standby loan which, in fact, would help
acquire an overall 3.5 billion dollar bailout package from the
international donors.

The sources said the government had received an upfront tranche of
190million dollars, out of 595 million dollar loan, while its
remaining three instalments had been subjected to clearance by the
IMF executive board. The cabinet would be told that the IMF was
expected to extend the second tranche in March next year.

The sources said the cabinet would be further informed that the
agreement with the IMF hasd paved the way for the resumption of
assistance by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank( ADB).

They said the ADB had just approved $707million for seven projects,
including $350 million for energy sector, and $150 million for the
Microfinance Bank to finance $1.6 million small- income generating
activities.

The sources said the World Bank was now expected to offer $500
million, including $350 million structural adjustment loan.

The cabinet would discuss threadbare all the aspects of the IMF
agreement, they said and added that it was necessary to take all
members of the cabinet into confidence.

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20001225
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All promises being fulfilled: Reforms to stay even after govt goes
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Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI, Dec 24: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that
the process of reforms and restructuring initiated by the present
government cannot be reversed.

"Let me tell you today that even after 2002 there will be checks
and balances and nobody can reverse the process of reforms and
restructuring."

Gen Musharraf was talking to newsmen after declaring open Bagh-i-
Quaid-i-Azam in the premises of the mausoleum of the Father of the
Nation here on Sunday evening where earlier he offered Maghrib
prayers along with governors, ministers and civil and military
officials.

When asked whether he would fulfil his promise for restoration of
democracy in the county, he said all promises he had made so far
had been honoured. Giving example, he said he had promised to give
devolution plan on March 23, which had been fulfilled. Likewise, he
said, the promise to announce local bodies election process on Aug
14, had been made public as promised.

Referring to some newspaper reports, Gen Musharraf said that some
press report stated that an interim government was being installed,
while some said that he (CE) was going to step down. "All this is
absurd. We have never thought about it. We will not go without
accomplishing our mission," he declared.

KASHMIR: Replying to a question about Kashmir, the chief executive
said that we had taken a number of initiatives and India had also
taken some initiatives for which he would give credit to the Indian
government.

But, he said, these initiatives were not enough and India had to
show that it was sincere not only to hold talks but also for the
resolution of the Kashmir issue. India ought to come forward and
Insha Allah the process of resolving Kashmir dispute would make
progress.

When asked if he intended to visit India, the chief executive said
at present there was no programme, pointing out that he could not
undertake the Indian visit without any invitation.

About terms of reference for talks with the delegation of All
Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Gen Musharraf said that there
were three parties to the Kashmir dispute - Pakistan,India and
Kashmiris. Pakistan, India and the APHC should sit and hold talks
for resolving the Kashmir dispute. He said Pakistan has invited the
APHC delegation and we have asked India to also talk to the APHC to
be followed by negotiations between Pakistan and India.

RED FORT INCIDENT: The chief executive refused to make any comment
on the attack by Mujahideen on the Red Fort saying that it was a
matter of law and order and an internal affair of India.

To another question, he said the freedom struggle in the occupied
Kashmir has its own dynamics and mechanism while on the other hand
the Indian occupation forces were resorting to atrocities on
Kashmiris, they should also be stopped.

He said Pakistan has strengthened the ceasefire on the line of
control and has also withdrawn troops from the LoC. When asked if
India had also withdrawn its forces from the LoC, he said, "not as
yet."

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20001225
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Ikhwan withdraws march call
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Staff Reporter

LAHORE, Dec 24: Senior government officials on Sunday met Tanzimul
Ikhwan Amir Maulana Mohammad Akram Awan who withdrew his
announcement to march to Islamabad with his supporters on December
26 to force the government to implement Shariat in the country.

This was claimed in an official handout issued here. It said the
meeting decided to constitute a Qaumi Ulema Council to frame
infrastructure for the implementation of Islamic order in the
country.

According to the handout, Punjab home secretary Brig Ejaz Ahmad
Shah, IGP Malik Asif Hayat and representatives of the federal
government held talks with Maulana Awan and other leaders of his
party at Darul Irfan Minara.

It was decided that in order to frame the basic infrastructure, the
Qaumi Ulema Council would be constituted which would take necessary
steps for enforcement of Shariat at national level by evolving a
strategy in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

 Our Islamabad Bureau adds: The Tanzeemul Ikhwan has once again
postponed its call of storming the federal capital up to March 1,
after the army high command agreed to accept their demand of
forming a committee of Ulema to implement Islamic system in the
country.

"We were given assurances by the corps commander, Rawalpindi, and
other generals in the GHQ, as well as the interior and religious
affairs ministers, on telephone today (Sunday) that the government
has agreed to form a committee of Ulema to suggest and
simultaneously implement Islamic laws," Maulana Saqib, a spokesman
for Ikhwan, told Dawn on telephone.

The organization had earlier threatened the government that it
would storm the federal capital on December 26 with trained people,
mostly ex-armymen, to force the government to implement Islamic
system in the country. Maulana Saqib said the Punjab home secretary
and IG police arrived at Ikhwan's headquarters early this morning
and held talks with the organization's chief, Maulana Akram Awan.

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20001225
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Islamabad wants fugitives´┐Ż back
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KABUL, Dec 24: Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider will ask the
Taliban to hand over around 60 people wanted by Islamabad during a
visit there next month, officials said on Sunday.

"This issue will top the agenda," Pakistan's ambassador to
Afghanistan Arif Ayub said.

The Taliban has not responded positively to several Pakistani
requests to deport Pakistani nationals wanted for sectarian
killings and other crimes, the envoy told journalists.

"The lists we have given includes roughly 60 people. Most of them
have killed Shias and some policemen," Ayub said.

"We have received no replies yet," he said, adding talks with
Taliban Interior Minister Mawlawi Abdur Razaq during his trip to
Islamabad earlier this year and subsequent contacts were yet to
bear fruit.

The ambassador added he was not optimistic about a breakthrough
this time either. A Taliban Interior Ministry official Saturday
hinted the militia would not hand over the fugitives.

Pakistan was the first country to recongize the mainly Sunni Muslim
Taliban regime and remains only one of three countries to do so.-
dpa

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3,480 contesting in four NWFP districts: Union council election
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Intikhab Amir

PESHAWAR, Dec 26: Some 3,480 candidates will be contesting the
1,600 seats in the four districts of NWFP in the union council
elections to be held on Dec 31, according to sources.

In all 5,219 candidates had initially filed nomination papers for
2,835 seats (all five categories) in four districts of NWFP -
Bannu, Lakki Marwat, D.I. Khan and Tank - which comprise 135 union
councils.

"One third of the candidates got elected unopposed," said a
Peshawar-based senior official of the election commission.

For the 270 nazim and naib-nazim seats, some 526 nominations were
filed. Some 387 candidates are in the run for the nazims and naib-
nazims seats which means more than 60 candidates got elected
unopposed.

There are well over a hundred seats for which not a single
candidate filed nomination papers.

Of all the 135 reserved minorities seats (one seat per union
council) 31 papers were rejected, only nine will be contesting.
Almost 120 seats would remain uncontested.

A total of 1,889 will contest the general (Muslim) seats in the
four districts. And, 853 (men) and 77 (women) will contest for the
seats reserved for peasants/workers; 265 for the seats reserved for
women, and nine for minority seats.

The four districts have 1,080 general seats, 540 peasants/workers
(men) - 270 women; 540 seats reserved for women; 135 for
minorities, and 270 for nazims and naib-nazim seats.

Bannu district: Has 272,567 registered voters which include 120,306
women. Some 421 candidates will contest the general seats; 200 for
the peasants/workers (men) seats - eight women; 26 for the reserved
seats for women, two for minority seats; 127 for the 80 nazim and
naib-nazim seats.

Bannu has 40 union councils with 320 general seats, 160 reserved
for women; 160 for peasants/workers (men) - 80 for women, 40
minorities, and 80 for nazim and naib-nazim seats.

Lakki Marwat: Has 215,647 registered voters. In this district 504
candidates will contest general seats; 142 peasants/workers (men)
seats - 12 women; 59 reserved women; 89 will contest 66 nazim and
naib-nazim seats.

Lakki Marwat comprises 33 union councils with 264general seats; 132
reserved for women; 132 for peasants/workers (men) - 80 women; 33
minority seats, and 66 nazim and naib-nazim seats.

D.I.Khan: Has 363,577 registered voters including 162,688 women
voters; some 751 candidates will contest the general seats; 420 for
reserved peasants/workers seats (men) - 45 women; 174 women seats;
seven minority seats; and 133 for 92 nazim and naib-nazim seats.

The district comprises 46 union councils with 368 general seats;
184 women seats, 184 seats for peasants/workers (men) - 92 women;
46 minority seats; and 92 nazim and naib-nazim seats.

Tank: Has 96,146 registered voters including 44,540 women. A total
of 213 candidates will contest general seats; 91 reserved for
peasants/workers (men) - 12 women; six women seats; and 38 will
contest the 32 nazim and naib-nazim seats.

With a total of 16 union councils, the Tank district comprises 128
general seats; 64 seats for women and, as many seats for
peasants/workers (men) - 32 women;, 16 minority seats; and 32 nazim
and naib-nazim seats.

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20001227
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UAE bans import of cattle from Pakistan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

DUBAI, Dec 26: The United Arab Emirates imposed a three-month ban
on Monday on the import of cattle from Pakistan.

The decision was taken unanimously at a meeting of the joint
technical committee of the ministry of agriculture and fisheries
and the general secretariat of the UAE municipalities.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Saeed Mohammad al- Raghabani
described the decision as a precautionary move.

A statement issued by the Dubai municipality on Tuesday said the
decision had been taken by the joint committee to protect public
health and safeguard UAE livestock. It said the suspension of the
imports would continue till the implementation of measures to stop
the foot-and-mouth disease was ensured by the Pakistani
authorities.

The import of cattle from Pakistan was allowed last year after a
ban since 1993 aimed at preventing bovine diseases.

The Dubai municipality had banned the import of cattle in November
after two shiploads of cows were returned to Pakistan since the
animals had been proved to be suffering from foot-and- mouth
disease.

The largest number of cattle are brought into the country through
the ports and other entry points of Dubai.

Earlier this month, the municipality of the neighbouring emirate,
Sharjah, said its inspectors had found the cows from Pakistan to be
free from any disease; therefore, it had continued to allow the
import of cattle from Pakistan through its ports.

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20001224
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Singing legend Noor Jehan is dead
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sarfaraz Ahmed

KARACHI, Dec 23: Legendary singer Madam Noor Jehan died on Saturday
afternoon after a protracted illness, bringing eternal silence to a
melo-dious voice, which enthralled both the young and old for over
half a century. She was 75.

She is survived by sons Akbar Husain Rizvi, Syed Asghar Husain
Rizvi and daughter Zil-i-Huma from her first marriage with the late
director-producer Syed Shaukat Husain Rizvi and daughters Shazia
(alias Mina), Hina and Nazia (Tina) from her second marriage with
filmstar Ejaz Durrani.

Her death has been mourned by people from all walks of life from
across the world, particularly the subcontinent. They include great
artists such as filmstars Dilip Kumar, Nadeem, singers Lata
Mangeshkar, Aasha Bhonsle and Farida Khanum, music director Naushad
and director-musician-storywriter Gulzar.

Noor Jehan, who started as a child artist and immediately won
accolades for her versatile talent in early 40s in India and became
an instant hit both as a singer and an actress, remained Pakistan's
most popular singer for around half a century and sang around
20,000 songs for Urdu and Punjabi language films in both Pakistan
and India.

Family sources said Noor Jehan, who captured the spotlight of film
world of Bombay with one of the most memorable songs in South Asian
history in the form of "Awaaz Day Tu Kahan Hai, Dunyia Meri Jawan
Hai," stopped singing for films after she suffered from cancer in
1989.

Noor Jehan also had earned reputation of inspiring the soldiers and
citizens alike in times of challenges to the security of the
country.

Her funeral prayers were attended by a number of film and TV stars.

According to family sources, Noor Jehan had been suffering from
various ailments and was also on dialysis for the past many months.

Her condition deteriorated at the residence of her son-in-law,
former Pakistan hockey captain Hasan Sardar, in the afternoon and
she died on her way to a nearby hospital.

A wave of gloom pervaded at 46, Khayaban-i-Bahria residence of her
daughter where Noor Jehan, who sang thousands of songs for well
over five decades in both Urdu and Punjabi and made herself an all-
time most popular singer of the century, had been staying.

All of her wailing daughters moved out of the house amid loud
shrieks when the body was taken out from the house for funeral
prayers at the mosque.

Their shrieks could be heard by a milling crowd that continued to
swell with the movement of the procession, which made a stop before
the nearby mosque situated hardly 50 yards from the house for
funeral prayers.

The size of crowd further grew with the conclusion of Taraweeh
prayers at the mosque with people joining prayers for her.

In a caravan of vehicles she was taken to Defence graveyard where
her burial could not take place till our going to the press as the
family waited for the arrival of her sons from Lahore amid
unconfirmed reports about a dispute over the place of her burial-
Karachi or Lahore.

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20001227
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Guns fall silent in Siachen
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, Dec 26: Guns have fallen silent in Siachen, the world's
highest battlefield, after 16 years of relentless firing between
Indian and Pakistani troops, but Mujahideen groups still deeply
suspicious of New Delhi's peace initiatives have stepped up their
armed campaign - stretching from the heart of the Indian capital to
the heart of the matter, in Kashmir, officials and news reports
said on Tuesday.

"There are claims by the media and the government that people in
Kashmir are tired of fighting - that they want peace," Syed Ali
Shah Gilani, a senior leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference
(APHC) told the Dawn. "These attacks serve to remind all concerned
that Kashmiris have little or no interest in the peace of the
grave. There is no constituency for a ceasefire in Kashmir. There
is a struggle on for a just solution."

At least 10 people, most of them army personnel, were killed in
Srinagar on Monday when a suicide car bomber blew himself up near
the army's heavily guarded headquarters.

Another audacious attack was carried out on Friday night right
inside Delhi's Red Fort, now serving partly as a high security army
interrogation centre, when two Lashkar-i-Taiba Mujahideen killed
three army personnel there.

The Jamiatul Mujahideen and the Jaish-i-Mohammad, the outfit which
Maulana Masood Azhar currently heads, have both claimed
responsibility for the Srinagar blast. The latter identified the
bomber as Abdullahbhai, a resident of Birmingham in the United
Kingdom.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes was visiting Srinagar on
Monday, but he did not go to the blast site.

Fernandes earlier in the day flew over the Siachen glacier where
more Indian and Pakistani troops have died from frost bite than
howitzer firings that began in 1985.

The NDTV news channel, whose correspondent apparently travelled
with Fernandes, said: "The firing had come to a complete halt.

"The Ramazan ceasefire has had a lot of impact on the ground," NDTV
correspondent Sanjay Ahirwal reported. "For the first time in 16
years, guns are silent at Siachen. In the last one month, there has
not been any firing from the Indian side. Firing from the Pakistani
side has also been negligible."

He quoted Fernandes as saying that talks with Pakistan appeared to
be a distinct possibility. "Whatever indications we have received
till now, it appears that Pakistan is also stepping towards peace,"
Fernandes said.

Pakistan had responded recently to Indian Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayee's announcement of a ceasefire in occupied Kashmir
first with an order to its troops to observe maximum restraint on
the Line of Control and later by announcing a partial withdrawal of
its forces.

The NDTV quoted a senior Indian army official on Tuesday as
questioning the veracity of Pakistan's move.

It quoted Major General Sheru Thapliyal, GOC, Northern Command, as
saying: "Troop withdrawal is not as simple a thing as telling your
people, 'Just go back'. It takes time and it has to be planned as
to who will move, from which area, how many. So it is a complex
problem. It is not so simple that he tells his people, 'pack up and
move out'. We have not seen any withdrawal."


BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20001228
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleum prices to go up after Eid
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 27: The government has decided to increase petroleum
rates immediately after Eid to cover the Rs7 billion deficit,
anticipated at the end of the year because of the volatility of
world oil prices during the current fiscal year. This was stated by
Secretary Petroleum, Abdullah Yousef.

"Despite recent reduction in the international oil prices, we will
have to revise upward these prices to remove the consistent gap of
about Rs7 billion," he further stated. This gap, he said, had
widened because domestic oil prices were not revised in line with
the fluctuations in the world oil prices as and when they occurred.

Talking to Dawn here on Wednesday, he said that review of the
petroleum prices had been completed which will be announced
immediately after Eid.

This review, he pointed out, had been conducted for the quarter
relating to the months of September, October and November, 2000
during which the international prices continued to increase in the
world market.

He agreed that the international prices had gone down to 20 dollars
a barrel whose positive effect would definitely be passed on to the
people in March next when the government will have another
quarterly review of the oil prices.

Responding to a question he said that this would unfortunately be a
fifth increase in the oil prices since December last year. "Yes
there had been a 40 per cent increase in oil prices in one year,"
he admitted, adding that since the oil prices had been linked with
the international prices, the government was constrained to adjust
these prices accordingly. "We will have to follow the system of
reviewing oil prices after every quarter and furnace oil prices
after ever month", he said.

Asked for his comment on the reports that the expected increase in
the oil prices would be in the range of eight to 10 per cent, the
secretary petroleum said that price increase would vary from
product to product. "It is difficult at this stage to give a firm
figure, you will have to wait for the final announcement", he
added.

To a question he said that the government could not avoid
increasing oil prices due to international prices."And then the
agreement with IMF does not allow us not to increase oil prices
when they have already gone up in the international market",
Abdullah Yousef said.

However, he said that the rates of furnace oil were likely to go
down further.

But informed sources maintained that the proposed increase in oil
prices at this stage was not justified specially when the
government was importing a significant amount of oil on deferred
payments from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

They claimed that Pakistan did not pay anything to Saudi Arabia and
UAE for importing oil after May 28, 1998 when Islamabad decided to
go nuclear.

"This is high time the government should tell the nation about the
windfall gains it is making by not paying anything on the import of
oil and still planning to increase these prices for the fifth time
in 12 months," a source said.

He said the decision of the government to increase oil rates would
not go well with the public which was already burdened with acute
price hike.

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20001228
-------------------------------------------------------------------
IMF wants three-year rolling budget: Report on Pakistan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, Dec 27: The IMF has asked Pakistan to prepare a three-
year rolling budget from the next year by costing the existing
policies for at least two years beyond the budget year.

The Pakistan Report on the observation of standards and codes
(ROSC), prepared by the IMF fiscal affairs department, in its
recommendations has asked the government to develop revenue
forecasts as a baseline forecast assuming no change in revenue
policies for the next two years.

And at the same time the government is obliged to ask all
ministries to extend their budget forecasts, including identified
additional costs that arise from implemented projects, beyond the
budget year by two years.

The report has advised the finance ministry to use current wage and
price assumption and any parameter changes applied on an aggregate
basis for the purpose.

Along with this exercise the government has been asked to initiate
a formal review process to improve efficiency and /or reduce
permanent budget costs as well as strengthen coordination with the
planning commission to establish an integrated process for
examining and setting priorities among all forms of new
expenditure.

The report has also urged the government to initiate a detailed
review of long-term sustainability of fiscal policy with particular
emphasis on the ratio of debt-to-GDP and an examination of all
future liabilities, including pension liabilities to civil and
defence personnel, and contingent liabilities.

It has also asked the government to strengthen the core fiscal
accounting and reporting process; widen and deepen fiscal
information provided in the budget process and; define more clearly
the roles of different levels of government and the relationship
between government and commercial activities.

The government is also obliged to give immediate priority to
consolidating improvements in fiscal reporting and re- establishing
control process.

In order to sustain and develop the improvements achieved, the
government has been advised to take following actions:

When satisfactory standard of reliability and timeliness of monthly
fiscal reports has been attained, the finance ministry should make
a quarterly (and eventually monthly) fiscal bulletins available to
public showing the status of the budget relative to original
estimates.

Similar processes should be promoted at provincial level in
consultation with their authorities.

Internal audit and control processes should be improved with
particular emphasis on control of staff strength, establishment of
effective internal audit, and development of a general procurement
law and an effective administration to oversee compliance with
procurement.

The federal and provincial legislatures should establish effective
and timely public accounts committee processes on priority basis.

Accounting training, development of improved government accounting
standards and explicit policies like policy on disclosure of
contingent liabilities should be particularly emphasized as part of
the IMF-funded project to improve fiscal reporting and auditing.

The range and quality of information provided in budget and
accounts documents should be progressively improved.

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20001227
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Smuggled, reclaimed oil hit OMCs
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Aamir Shafaat Khan

KARACHI, Dec 26: Smuggled petroleum products and reclaimed
lubricants are rapidly improving their market share in Pakistan as
rising prices of imported POL products have forced many buyers to
hook on them.

Oil industry sources and officials in oil marketing companies
(OMCs) told Dawn on Tuesday that the smuggled lubricant products
(mainly from Far East) and reclaimed lubricants had captured 30- 40
per cent share of the market.

The sources say several things are giving crippling blow to the
genuine POL producers and OMCs - which include smuggling of petrol
and diesel in NWFP and Balochistan from Iran, influx of lubricants
from illegal channel and availability of locally-made sub-standard
lubricants.

The World Bank Mission, in its recent report on oil sector
presented to the government also noted growing incidence of
smuggling. It said: "although it is accepted that part of the
increased demand is being met through smuggled gasoline, the
magnitudes are difficult to quantify."

The report said that the overall consumption of petroleum had grown
by 4 to 5 per cent per annum in recent years. Consumption of diesel
and motor gasoline was also fairly robust - 3.5 per cent per annum
and 2.5 per cent per annum, respectively.

During 1995-99, the number of vehicles on road had grown up by
about eight per cent per annum and it is estimated that an average
usage (km) per vehicle had also increased. The petroleum
consumption in the transport sector had risen by only 4.2 per cent.

"We have informed the government that smuggled petrol and diesel
are cheaper by 30-40 per cent in parts of Balochistan," Chairman
Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA), Abdul Sami Khan
said. He said most of the smuggled POL products are coming in from
Iran.

In case of locally-manufactured lubricants, he said sales are not
picking up due to influx of sub-standard lubricants from Far
Eastern countries that find their way into Pakistan through Iran
and Afghanistan.

Quite a number of people also use discarded oil (i.e. oil discarded
by motorbike and car users after a specific period and sold to
unregistered producers of reclaimed lubricants.) These producers,
after adding some acids and chemicals, heat up the used oil at a
certain temperature until it becomes viscous and changes its colour
from black to light golden.

Another sub-standard quality is also being produced. Specific used
tyres and rubbers are being melted down after severe heating and
then remixed with some colours in order to sell in the local
markets as engine oils. Besides, some producers purchase lube base
oil from the refinery and directly fill it in tin cans bearing
different names without blending it.

Majority of autos (two-wheelers) sell sub-standard lubricants in
loose quantity which are cheaper by Rs20-30 per litre as compared
to branded lubricants. Vehicles owners, having no knowledge, easily
fall prey to the sellers of inferior quality lubricants.

An official in Pakistan State Oil (PSO) said that the share of
smuggled and spurious lubricants range between 30-40 per cent. An
official of Shell Pakistan also shared the same view.

An official in National Refinery Limited (NRL), producer of lube
base oil, said the company in 1999-2000, could not sell lube base
oil in the market at higher prices since it was facing severe
competition from foreign lube base oils, which were available in
the country at lower prices. The sale of lube base oil fell to
152,916 tons compared to 176,172 tons in 1998-99. Production of
lube base oils was kept lower at 176,596 tons as compared to
177,751 tons. The official said that the demand of lube base oil is
220,000 tons per annum.

Substandard oil is disastrous for vehicle engines and affects their
durability and quality.

Pakistan is highly dependent on the imports of POL products for
meeting domestic petroleum needs. Pakistan's economy is highly
vulnerable to international movements in petroleum prices, mainly
due to high dependence on imports of petroleum products.

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20001227
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IMF arrangement ignores ground realities
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jawaid Bokhari

KARACHI, Dec 26: Studies carried out by foreign banks and domestic
security houses indicate that IMF mandate under Stand-By
Arrangement (SBA) is too ambitious. It ignores ground realities and
was formulated against the background of Pakistan's failure to
adhere to its conditionalities.

Financial analysts at a brokerage house question as to "exactly how
feasible the IMF prescription is in the stipulated time framework."
"Too much is expected in too short a time of 10 months for which
the SBA is valid," says a senior economist.

A foreign bank research report points out that the "agreed actions
go beyond the nature of traditional Stand-By Arrangement, designed
to provide short-term balance of payments support."

Under the current SBA, there are a total of 31 required policy
actions plus 12 prior actions. In the SBA 1995-96, only five
performance criteria were stipulated.

A detailed financial analysis by Taurus Securities indicates that
economic targets are fairly out of reach, given the performance of
the economy so far this year. It would not because of absence of
corrective policies but because of short period that would keep
indicators below the set targets.

 On an optimistic note, the security house study arrives at the
conclusion that as long as overall policies are in the envisioned
direction and economic indicators move towards their targets, the
IMF should refrain from suspending the SBA programme.

 The optimism in the financial market is also shared by a leading
foreign bank ABN-AMRO. While the degree of conditionality
associated with the current SBA appears imposing, the bank study
says, "prior actions already undertaken, indicate striking "extent
of forward movement that has already taken place over the last one
year". The principal achievements are substantial exchange rate
adjustments and quarterly adjustment of domestic petroleum prices
in response to international oil prices.

 Dispelling erroneous impressions, the bank's research study
clarifies that under any IMF programme, the required policy
measures are characterized as either performance criteria,
indicative targets or as benchmarks. Performance criteria
represents the most binding set of targets/conditions, before the
Fund makes the disbursement.

 Non-compliance, therefore, results in the automatic shut-down of
the disbursement pipeline, until and unless a specific waiver, is
approved by the IMF executive board.

 Indicative targets and benchmarks are less binding with a great
in-built tolerance for deviations from agreed levels. Any inability
to meet them, does not necessarily disrupt the schedule of
disbursement.

 Financial analysts say that the most important targets under the
IMF programme are GDP growth at 4.5 per cent, inflation at six per
cent, forex reserves at $1.7 billion and a fiscal deficit at 5.2
per cent of GDP. All these have to be in place by June 2001. These
four targets will be drivers of monetary and fiscal policies.

 The GDP growth target will not be easy to achieve. Both the wheat
and cotton crops for fiscal 2001 are estimated below last year; so
the thrust of growth is expected to come from manufacturing.
Setback to sugar industry reduced industrial expansion to 0.7 per
cent last year. Sugar production is not expected to show any
dramatic turnaround this year due to water shortage. Textile
indicates strong growth but other sectors are not that promising.
Enhanced investors' confidence outside the value addition textile
sector remains a question mark. Taurus Securities estimates the GDP
growth rate at around 3.7 per cent for fiscal 2001.

 The fiscal deficit target at 5.2 per cent will be a formidable
task to accomplish. The State Bank quarterly report shows revenues
trailing behind set targets. In the first quarter, the total tax
collection was Rs6.7 billion short of Rs87 billion. Financial
analysts forecast revenues at Rs375 billion, Rs55 billion short of
the year's target.

 Economists say that the elevated target for the CBR revenue is
surprising and questionable especially in the light of IMF's own
observation that "significant uncertainty surrounds the short-term
impact of revenue measures on the budget position. "Instead of
setting revenue target, it would have been more prudent to
designate policy action relating to widening tax base, as a
structural performance criterion." The IMF is aware that the target
cannot be met. It has identified expenditure cuts in the region of
Rs7 billion in case of shortfall in revenue.

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20001225
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Defence ties with Iran to get a boost
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: Iran and Pakistan are keen to cooperate in
defence sector, particularly in naval field.

In an interview with IRNA, Naval Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza
said Pakistan had been desirous of enhancing cooperation between
the armed forces of the two countries and the Iranian authorities
had also been laying stress on their desire to expand defence ties
with Pakistan.

Admiral Mirza, who at the head of a high-powered military
delegation, had recently visited Tehran, termed his meetings with
the Iranian authorities successful. -NNI

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20001224
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January rates announced: SBP wants banks to place FCY deposits
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Dec 23: The State Bank made desperate moves on Friday and
Saturday seeking fresh foreign currency deposits from banks
immediately after selling about $250 million to them in one-month
swap against rupee.

"We are receiving frantic calls from the State Bank seeking an
immediate placement of foreign currency deposits with them," said
treasurer of a foreign bank. Several other banks confirmed this to
Dawn. They said a number of banks had already placed less than a
hundred million dollars with SBP in two days and a few others are
to follow suit.

That explains why the State Bank announced on Friday the rates of
return on placement of foreign currency deposits for the month of
January. Normally, SBP announces the rates on the last working day
of the month.

Bankers said SBP had told them that they would continue to get 4.0
per cent return on foreign currency deposits for one week; 4.25 per
cent for one month and 4.50 per cent for three months in January.

Bankers said SBP was seeking foreign currency deposits to keep
their net foreign assets within the limits set by the IMF. Under
the conditions of $596 million IMF standby credit, the SBP is to
keep its NFA at minus Rs8.2 billion at end-December 2000: the
central bank is to keep its net domestic assets at minus Rs26.3
billion.

SBP has been making moves to meet the twin targets, but lately its
efforts have remained focussed on containing NDA. Bankers say the
SBP decision to sell dollars to banks in one-month swap for rupees
was aimed at easing off the liquidity crunch in the market to avoid
a rush of banks on its discount window that could have increased
its NDA. But bankers say by selling the dollars the SBP had in its
accounts in the shape of foreign currency deposits of banks it also
reduced its liabilities frustrating its own efforts to contain NDA.

SBP officials seem to have realised this. That is why they are
asking banks to place more of the foreign currency deposits with
SBP.

Bankers say the $250 million swap made by the SBP in the past one
week or so is also creating problems for the central bank in
meeting its target of net foreign assets. That provides the SBP
another reason for bringing back into its books a major chunk of
the $250 million it has sold to banks in one-month swap for rupees.

INSTITUTIONAL FCY DEPOSITS: Meanwhile, bankers say they find it
less profitable to buy two-week special treasury bills out of the
rupee equivalent of institutional foreign currency swap deposits.

On Friday, SBP had asked banks to purchase two-week T-bills out of
their special rupee deposits, equivalent of institutional swap
funds. The central bank wanted banks to do this to reduce its own
stocks of T bills and bring its NDA down to targeted level at the
year-end. It had told the banks that they would get the same
interest rates on the T bills, so purchased that they were getting
on the rupee equivalent of swap funds.

But, bankers say they need a higher interest as they will have to
keep five per cent of the treasury bills purchased under this
arrangement as cash reserves and will also have to pay more in
withholding tax.

On their rupee deposits equivalent to the institutional swap funds,
banks are getting around 15 per cent return: They are also not
keeping five per cent of these deposits as cash reserves and are
paying only 10 per cent withholding tax. They will have to pay 30
per cent withholding tax on the treasury bills purchased out of
these deposits. Sources close to SBP said it might enhance the
interest on the T bills purchased out of the rupee equivalent of
institutional swap funds, keeping these factors in mind.

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20001224
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Money market tight, rupee stable
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, Dec 23: The ongoing liquidity crunch intensified in the
inter-bank market on Saturday and banks had to resort to
discounting from the State Bank. Bankers said Rs8-10 billion worth
of discounting was reported at the close of the day. They said
overnight call rates hovered around 13 per cent whereas two-week
term call rates oscillated between 16-18 per cent.

Banks have been short of liquidity at the year-end due to pre- Eid
and year-end withdrawal of deposits, particularly from the state-
run banks.

Both public sector organizations as well as private companies are
paying monthly salary for December before the close of the month
due to Eid. Individuals and companies have also withdrawn and are
still withdrawing money from banks to meet year-end and pre-Eid
expenses. All this is resulting in a draw down on bank deposits
intensifying an ongoing liquidity crunch in the market.

But the liquidity crisis has kept the rupee stable. Bankers said
the rupee traded around 57.70 to a dollar for some time on Saturday
showing 30 paisa gain over the previous close of 58 to a dollar.
But it closed almost at the same level at the day-end. Tight money
market conditions force banks to sell dollars to generate rupee
funds. That in turn stabilizes the local currency.

The liquidity crunch in the inter-bank market has been so severe
these days that forward premiums on rupee-dollar swaps rose to 60
paisa per dollar a coupleof days ago. Bankers say the market may
remain tight in the days to come as more withdrawals from deposits
are expected.

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20001224
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Economy sees slump in first five months
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23: The Central Board of Revenue has informed Chief
Executive General Pervez Musharraf that there has been a slump in
the economy and slow-down in certain tax-generating sectors
resulting in poor collection of tax revenues in July- November.

In a briefing to the CE held here on Saturday, CBR Chairman Riaz
Hussain Naqvi explained that all the economic indicators related to
the generation of tax revenues had shown a downward trend in this
period, hence a shortfall of revenues.

However, the achievement of tax receipts of Rs141 billion, against
a target of Rs149 billion, was no mean accomplishment, in the
circumstances, the Chairman informed the CE.

He reportedly claimed that the shortfall occurred basically due to
poor imports of major customs revenue-earning items, which also
helped increase the sales tax and income tax at import stage and
gave an impetus to the locally generated sales tax, income tax and
central excise duty receipts.

There were a few other factors which frustrated the plan to collect
Rs6.5 billion in July-November 2000 through additional GST
measures. Only Rs800 million were collected as GST against a target
of Rs3.6 billion from retailers, distributors, wholesalers, dealers
and non-regular suppliers of taxable goods. Another Rs2.9 billion
that were estimated to be received from the Services sector could
not be received.

Sales tax received from the cotton and sugar sectors was Rs4.05
billion, against Rs5.67 billion collected last year (July-
November). The actual receipts for cement and electricity sectors
were Rs1.76 billion as GST against a target of Rs2.32 billion.

Due to these failures, the CBR recorded an overall shortfall of
Rs5.1 billion in the GST collection as Rs55.3 billion were
collected during this period against the target of Rs60.4 billion.
However, the collection recorded slump basically due to late start
of the cotton season, poor imports and the financial constraints of
the utilities sector preventing it from paying its tax dues.

Apart from these factors, delay in realization of tax on the basis
of stocks-in-trade also caused the slump on tax receipts. The
stocks-in-trade were basically to be documented through Tax Survey,
but section 13 of the Survey relating to the stocks was removed,
and the stocks were to be mentioned through the income tax returns
for assessment year 2000, the last date for which was extended up
to November 30. The CBR staff is now visiting the business premises
in 13 major cities for physical verification of stocks in the light
of IT declarations.

The Tax Survey was meant to bring at least Rs20 billion in the
July-August period, but the data collected on its basis was
processed in November, and the income concealers were duly sent
letters to explain and pay taxes, the results of which would appear
only in January 2001.

The CBR also explained to the CE its position on exporters' claims
for sales tax refunds. It was brought to the notice of the CE that
in two major Sales Tax collectorates of Karachi and Lahore, 4,104
export refund claims are pending with an unpaid amount of Rs8.67
billion on account of incomplete supportive documents with claims
to be filed in the light of conditions of notification No SRO 417
(Refund Rules 2000).

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20001228
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NWFP cuts Rs1bn from ADP
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Intikhab Amir

PESHAWAR, Dec 27: NWFP government has readjusted its Annual
Development Programme (ADP) for the current financial year in line
with a Rs1 bn reduction in the ADP's size, official sources told
Dawn.

Failing to raise enough funds, as surplus from its current revenue
account, to support the on-going fiscal year's ADP the NWFP
government introduced a cut of Rs1bn in the provincial
contribution's component of the ADP.

"Reduction in the ADP's size and the subsequent readjustment of the
development programme was necessitated on the part of the
provincial government, after it raised just Rs600 million for the
ADP during the first six months of the current financial year,"
said a well-placed official of the provincial government.

The NWFP government had projected a Rs9.2 billion ADP for the
current financial year of which an amount of Rs3.3bn was to be
raised through external resources, Rs2.3bn was to be provided by
the federal government for its Poverty Alleviation Programme.

Whereas, the province was to raise, for the first time as support
to its ADP, a total of Rs3.15bn from its internal resources. Of the
provincial contribution, a sum of Rs550m was to be diverted to the
federal government's Poverty Alleviation Programme, whereas the
remaining of the Rs3.15bn, which was to be raised as surplus on
revenue account, was to be spent on ADP schemes.

Whereas, Rs550m have been released as the provincial share in the
poverty alleviation programme, the resource crunch did not allow
the government to save enough from the revenue account and it could
only specify a total of Rs600m for the ADP. "Out of the Rs2.6bn
amount, which had been anticipated as provincial contribution to
the ADP, the province should have raised at least Rs1 bn during the
first six months of the current fiscal against which only Rs600m
was specified, affecting the execution plan of the ADP," said the
official.

Disbursement of funds much less than the stipulated plan, said the
sources, had seriously affected the execution of several ADP
schemes, rendering slow down pace of almost all the development
schemes, being executed presently.

Non-availability of funds, as a result of reduced payments from the
federal divisible pool and shortfall recorded under the net hydel
profit releases by WAPDA during the first half of the current
financial, incapacitated the provincial government to specify any
thing for the ADP during the second quarter of the fiscal.

"During the first quarter of current fiscal, Rs600m was released to
fund the ADP from the provincial resources, whereas the resource
crunch did not allow the government to allocate anything during the
second quarter," said the official sources.

In the wake of Rs1 billion cut, the government readjusted the ADP
thereby execution of schemes would be done on priority basis during
the second half of the fiscal.

The foreign funded projects would be given the first preference in
releasing funds to them as local component, whereas schemes near
completion would get second preference in resource allocation
during the second half of the fiscal. Similarly, the on-going
schemes - at any completion stage - would come third in the
priority list. "After meeting all these obligations, there would be
left around Rs800 m from the slashed ADP account. The money would
be utilized in line with the priority areas to be listed out by
every provincial minister in his/her sector," said the official
sources.

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20001228
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PAP funds not utilized fully
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, Dec 27: The NWFP is not likely to fully utilize the
Rs2.8bn funds of the poverty alleviation programme (PAP), during
the current financial year, sources told Dawn.

Almost six months of the current fiscal have passed and the
concerned PAP execution agencies have not been able to fully
utilize the Rs550 m funds, the provincial government had allocated
from its own resources, according to sources.

"The pace of execution of PAP schemes is slow, so much so, that
even Rs600 m funds, which the federal government had released to
the province for the execution of these schemes before June 30,
2000 were not utilized fully till yet," a senior official of the
provincial government said on request of anonymity.

Federal government had released Rs600 m amount to Peshawar in May,
last. The same was supposed to be utilized 100 per cent before June
30, 2000 in line with the chief executive General Pervez
Musharraf's directives.

However, the amount was carried forward to the current financial
year's account after the PAP could not take off before the June 30
deadline because of non finalization of the programme's details.

Of the Rs1.15bn total amount, placed for the PAP schemes' execution
in NWFP [including Rs600 m carried forward funds], not more than
half of the amount could be utilized since the PAP was launched six
months ago.

A total of 836 small developmental schemes, in different sectors,
had been identified for execution under PAP in the NWFP. Of these
276 were completed, whereas work on some 560 schemes is under
progress at different stages of completion.

In view of the funds utilized so far and the original size of the
PAP designed for the 2000-2001 financial year, the development
planners of the provincial government appeared skeptic about the
100 per cent utilization of the total PAP funds.

In addition to Rs600 m PAP funds carried forward from the last
financial year, provincial government has designed a Rs2.84 bn
poverty alleviation programme for the current financial year.

Apart from Rs550 m provincial share, which has already been
released, a sum of Rs1.9 bn would come from the federal government
as its share whereas an amount of Rs395 m would come as grants,
which would also be arranged by the federal government.

However, the slow pace of PAP's execution in the last six months
left serious doubts about the PAP executing agencies' ability to
achieve what they had been set for the current financial year.

According to sources, federal government, at the start of December,
transferred Rs750 m PAP funds to NWFP government's account, but the
same was not placed with the local government department for its
onward disbursement among different PAP executing agencies.

"The Rs750 m funds may not have been released to the local
government department - which coordinates the efforts of different
PAP executing agencies - because there are ample funds with the
executing agencies, which are not yet utilized," said a senior
official of the provincial government.

Non utilization of Rs1.15 bn funds, so far allocated for PAP
schemes, was attributed to slow identification of developmental
schemes, procedural delays and several tiers of monitoring.

Back to the top
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20001224
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'Jungle ka badshah'
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ardeshir Cowasjee

WE don't learn from history, we don't learn from experience, we
don't learn from our elders, we don't learn from what we were
taught at school. And to boot, we are led by the corrupt and the
ignorant.

This generation may well say they had no elders to teach them to
differentiate wrong from right. And right now, most of the eight
citizens of this country born each minute have no schools to which
they can go to be taught. A few fortunate ones do have parents to
teach them, and even teachers, and friends to encourage and help.

The world's sole superpower, the US, goes to war and kills millions
when it wishes to while at the same time preaching and upholding
the concept of human rights, tolerance, and democracy. Such is the
privilege of the Jungle ka badshah.

For the uninitiated : a child once asked his father how the lion,
the king of the jungle, produces its young. The wise father
answered : Sher, jungle ka badshah hai, Marzi ka malik hai. Kabhi
anda daita hai, kabhi bachcha daita hai.'

For the foreseeable future, the US will dominate the world. It has
the good sense to listen to and heed the intelligent and the
hardworking. It has made an industry out of education and earns $13
billion per year through educating students from other countries.
It has sound work ethics. The first traffic jam of the day on many
a highway leading to the large cities is recorded at 0600 hours.
All this is sustained by a sense of justice and fair play. In the
recent election crisis it was the judges of the Federal Supreme
Court who said what they had to say and settled the issue. The
loser did not storm the court, he did not even complain; he gave in
with considerable grace. The winner did not crow; he acknowledged
his victory with humility.

We move to the other badshah we must live with, our good friend and
ally, the inscrutable one who rules over a land replete with black
gold. He has helped us, but does not wish us to make known how or
why. Today, newspapers carried a statement issued by the Saudi
information ministry on the alleged payment of millions of dollars
to obtain the release of Nawaz Sharif: "Pakistan is far above
compromising on its values, dignity and magnanimity and the Kingdom
does not underestimate the history and nobility of Pakistan and
will not accept any slur on the dignity of Pakistan ..... The
Kingdom has never needed to adopt a posture such as this to offer
help to its Arab and Muslim brothers.... The reports are devoid of
any truth.

 The Kingdom has always responded without any hesitation to its
humanitarian commitments toward the ex-Pakistani prime minister
with a view to finding a solution to the crisis .... The response
of Pakistan to a demand by the Kingdom is only in conformity with
the ideals of the Islamic and historic relations between the two
countries."

The king has spoken. He has demanded. The sovereign state of
Pakistan has acquiesced. Subject closed.

Throughout history there have been many exiles, perhaps the most
famous being that of 1815, the case of the Emperor Napoleon of
France, who, after his defeat at Waterloo and capture by the allies
was sent in exile to the remote lonely island of St Helena.. Nawaz
Sharif's sole resemblance to Boney is in height and posture; the
corporal-turned-emperor brought glory to his country through his
conquests, he brought it gains and riches. He gave it a code of law
which exists to this day.

A meticulous man whom no detail escaped, whilst in exile he had
more than time enough to reflect upon his past, its triumphs and
its failures. His attention span was remarkable as can be gauged
from the following list attached to his Will, made at Longwood, St
Helena, April 15, 1821 :

I. 1) The sacred vessels used in my chapel at Longwood. 2) I
entrust them to Abbe Vignali, who is to give them to my son when he
is sixteen.

II. 1) My weapons, namely : my sword, the one I carried at
Austerlitz; Sobieski's sabre; my dagger; my sword; my hunting
knife, my two pairs of Versailles pistols. 2) My golden toilet
case, which I used on the moorings of Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau,
Friedland, the island of Lobau, the Moscowa, Montmirail. It is for
this reason that I want my son to hold it dear. Count Bertrand has
had charge of it since 1814. 3) I charge Count Bertand to care for
and preserve these items and give them to my son when he is
sixteen.

III. 1) Three little ebony chests : the first contains thirty-three
snuff boxes, or bonbonnieres; the second, twelve boxes with the
imperial arms, two small spyglasses and four boxes found upon Louis
XVIII's table in the Tuileries, March 20, 1815; the third, three
snuff boxes decorated with silver medals, for the emperor's use,
and sundry pieces of toiletry, according to the inventories
numbered I, II, and III. 2) My camp beds, which I used in all my
campaigns. 3) My campaign telescope. 4) My silver toilet cases, one
of each of my uniforms, a dozen shirts, and a complete set of each
of my sets of clothes, and generally of everything I used for my
toilet. 5) My washbasin. 6) A little clock which is in my
bedchamber at Longwood. 7) My two watches, and the chain made of
the empress's hair. 8) I charge Marchand, my head valet, to keep
these items and give them to my son when he is sixteen.

IV. 1) My collection of decorations. 2) My silverware and the
Sevres porcelain I have used on St Helena (lists B and C). I charge
Count Montholon to keep these items and give them to my son when he
is sixteen.

V. 1) My three saddles and bridles, and the spurs I have used on St
Helena. 2) My five sporting guns. 3) I charge my huntsman Noverraz
to keep these items and give them to my son when he is sixteen.

VI. 1) Four hundred volumes selected from those I made most use of
in my library. 2) I charge St Denis to keep them and give them to
my son when he is sixteen.

He then wrote his 'Advice to My Son' :

"My son must not think of avenging my death; he should rather learn
a lesson from it. He must always bear in mind the remembrance of
what I have accomplished. He is always to remain, like myself,
every inch a Frenchman. He must strive to rule in peace. If he were
to try to begin my wars all over again out of a mere desire to
imitate me, and without the absolute necessity for it, he would be
nothing but an ape. To begin my work over again would be to assume
that I had accomplished nothing. To complete it, on the other hand,
will be to prove the strength of its foundations, to explain the
complete plan of the edifice begun. Such work as mine is not done
twice in a century. I have been compelled to restrain and tame
Europe with arms; today it must be convinced. I have saved the
Revolution as it lay dying. I have inspired France and Europe with
new ideas which will never be forgotten. May my son make everything
blossom that I have sown. May he develop further all the elements
of prosperity which lie hidden in French soil."

Napoleon died less than a month later, on May 5.

His son, Napoleon-Francois-Charles-Joseph Bonaparte, King of Rome
(the traditional title of the heir to the Holy Roman Empire) and
L'Aiglon (the young eagle), was born in 1811 at the height of his
father's power and glory. His mother, the Empress of France, was
Marie Louise of Austria, eldest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor
Francis I. After Napoleon's capture and exile in 1815 he was
rechristened Duke of Reichstadt and kept at the court of Vienna
under constant tutelage in Hapsburg traditions, though he remained
faithful to the memory of his father. He suffered from repeated
illnesses and died of pulmonary tuberculosis in the Palace of
Schonbrunn, Vienna, on July 22, 1832, at the age of twenty-one.
Napoleon's hopes came to naught.

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20001228
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The messiah Chakwal chooses to ignore
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ayaz Amir

WHEN a fellow-Chakwali makes it big I feel happy and bask
vicariously in his glory. When he makes it big on the strength of
what someone versed in the military arts might call bluff and
bluster I feel happier still because straight virtue I have always
found boring. It is the buccaneering spirit which catches my fancy.

I write all this after not knowing whether to laugh or to cry at
the splash in the papers made by Maulana Muhammad Akram Awan's
'threat' to march on Islamabad with lakhs of his followers to press
for the promulgation of Islamic laws in the country. With such
consummate skill and exquisite sense of public relations has the
Maulana orchestrated this threat from his stronghold of Munara
(which is at one end of Chakwal tehsil) that he has had the
puissant government of Punjab reeling on its feet. It was not
surprising therefore if it sent two of its most important officials
- Home Secretary Brig Ejaz Shah and Inspector-General of Police
Malik Asif Hayat to parley with him. After protracted negotiations
a nation caught in suspense was informed that the Maulana had
graciously agreed to defer storming the capital till early March
pending the acceptance of his demands.

Nor was this all. Dr Mahmood Ghazi, General Musharraf's in-house
bishop, also travelled to Munara to talk to the Amir of the
Tanzeemul Akhwan, an organization which (you will have to take my
word for it) has less of a presence in Chakwal than on the front
pages of the national press. Thus it is that what might suitably
have been handled by the In-charge Police Post Buchaal (which is
next to Munara) or at most by the Station House Officer, Kalar
Kallar, had to be settled by powerful emissaries from Lahore and
Islamabad. When the Maulana issues his next threat of an assault on
the capital will he be satisfied with lowlier ambassadors?

When I was MPA in the era of the Heavy Mandate, an occasion arose
when the local Pasbaan, an auxiliary wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami,
threatened to take matters into its own hands if there was any
dancing at the annual urs of the Karsal Darbar, a village not far
from my own village. Administrative officers even remotely
competent would have known how to deal with this threat. But at the
time there were posted in Chakwal two of the most useless officers
I have ever had the misfortune to encounter: Deputy Commissioner
Rauf Khan and Superintendent of Police Saleem Asghar. Thrown into a
panic, they summoned what looked like the entire police reserve of
Rawalpindi Division to maintain order in Karsal. I told them that
by overreacting to a non-existent threat they were merely providing
a handle to bigoted elements to make a similar nuisance of
themselves in future. But they would not listen and so the Karsal
mela (since restored to its original state) that year became a
police tamasha.

Hardly a fortnight later what was sowed in Karsal was reaped in
Chakwal. A group of people wanted to hold a devotional qawwali in
one of the city's main graveyards. Getting wind of this, a local
religious organization issued a warning that there should be no
music at the qawwali and if there was any every musical instrument
would be smashed. The frightened organizers ran to the DC (the same
Rauf Khan) for protection but the DC, instead of taking adequate
steps to ensure that no breach of the peace took place, asked the
organizers to go and talk to the very maulana who was threatening
to disrupt their qawwali.

Till nightfall the hapless organizers kept beseeching the maulana
to relent but to no avail. When the qawwali began some of the
maulana's supporters, armed with sticks and rods, stormed the
venue. During the ensuing melee a shot was fired and a deputy
superintendent of police fell to the ground, dying on his way to
the hospital. Firmness would have averted this incident;
vacillation and weakness only encouraged it. But then if the DC and
SP had panicked in Karsal, it is hard to think how, only a
fortnight later, they could have behaved with any more valour in
Chakwal.

Maulana Akram must be laughing up his sleeve. He sure has his
followers (mostly from outside Chakwal) a few thousand of whom were
camped in Munara. But knowing something about Maulana Akram I can
say with some surety that he was as likely to march on Islamabad as
I am to march on Moscow. Yet he has managed to build quite a
reputation for himself and, to read some of the front-page stories
during the last ten days, it almost looked as if the most
redoubtable army of holy warriors that ever collected in these
parts was just waiting for the Maulana's signal to lay siege to
Islamabad. What can I say? Maulana Akram in any case has a
following of sorts. There are jokers who have none but who get a
regular build-up in the press because they know how to go about the
subtle art of cultivating the press. The late Shorish Malik (also
from Chakwal) had a name for this: he used to call it balti-gosht
journalism.

Even so, to be fair to the Maulana, knowing how to play the press
is not the sole reason for his formidable reputation in some
quarters. Some time ago at lunch with the French ambassador (no, I
am not name-dropping, only illustrating my argument) I was solemnly
informed by his political counsellor who was also in attendance
that one Maulana Akram had a lot of influence among middle-ranking
officers in the army. I have heard this line from other sources as
well. Whence does it come?

If the Pakistan army of today is anything like the institution I
served 30 years ago, then I say in all seriousness that it deserves
to be disbanded if the Tanzeemul Akhwan has any sort of ideological
influence in its ranks. To be sure, the Pakistan army is not famous
for turning out intellectuals. But to come down to this? Since the
dark days of Ziaul Haq the Jamaat-i-Islami is supposed to have made
ideological inroads into the officer corps. Now on the strength of
a spurious reputation, spread in no small measure by a section of
the press, there is no shortage of gullible souls who take this
proud son of Chakwal, Maulana Akram, to be some kind of an
ideological anchor in the armed forces.

Munara where Maulana Akram's spiritual headquarters are located was
part of my provincial assembly constituency in 1997. With a tough
fight on my hands, I went from village to village and even to
remote hamlets to beg for votes. But I do not remember going to
Maulana Akram's Dar-ul-Irfan for his support. This does not mean
the Maulana is a man of no consequence. In the eyes of his many
followers he is a great man. How shall I put it? It never crossed
my mind to seek his support.

Indeed after the elections one of the Maulana's sons with whom I am
on friendly terms said that I should meet the Maulana. My answer
was that a confirmed sinner like me did not deserve to enter the
presence of such a holy personage. There the matter rested.

None of this is to say I do not admire the Maulana. He is a man of
many qualities, having risen from obscurity to a position where the
home secretary, Punjab, and inspector-general of police negotiate
with him in order to assure him of the government's Islamic
intentions. No ordinary man can do this. How I wish I could ride
the vehicles he does and have the armed guards he has or use the
finances he commands. Anyone can have worldly ambition. It is not
given to everyone to realize it.

So my cavil, believe me, is not against the Maulana. Indeed, if
guaranteed safety, I will wait upon him not so much to seek his
blessings (although I stand in need of those as well) as to try to
figure out the secret of his undoubted success. My grouse is
against the proud and powerful Republic of Pakistan. Why is it fair
game for every mountebank or adventurer who happens to cross its
path?


SPORTS
20001225
-------------------------------------------------------------------
India not reviewing tour decision
-------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW DELHI, Dec 26: The Indian government has no plans to review its
decision to cancel a cricket tour of Pakistan, an external affairs
ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

"There is no proposal at present to review the decision regarding
our cricket team visiting Pakistan," Raminder Singh Jassal told a
news conference in New Delhi.

Last month the Indian government cancelled the tour scheduled from
December to February. India were to have played three Tests and
five one-day internationals in Pakistan.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia had
said on Monday he had received positive signals that the Indian
team will undertake a short tour of Pakistan next month.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had last week
urged the government to review the cancellation of the tour.

Pakistan's cricket board stands to lose millions of dollars in
sponsorship money if the Indian tour does not materialize. No
Indian team has visited Pakistan for a full Test tour since 1989-
90.

Sachin Tendulkar led an Indian team to play three limited over
games in Pakistan in 1997. Pakistan played three Tests and a
triangular series in India last year despite threats from Hindu
fundamentalists to disrupt the tour. The two countries have few
sporting contacts because of strained relations.

India had pulled out its cricket team from the five-match Toronto
series against Pakistan in 1999 and 2000. It also refused to send
entrants for the South Asian Federation shooting contest in
November and declined visas to Pakistani rowers earlier this month.
However, Pakistan sent its football team to India in July and two
snooker players took part in an invitational tournament in the
neighboring country last month.-Reuters/AFP

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