------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 17 June 2000 Issue : 06/23 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + GST at all costs, reaffirms cabinet + Shops closed as survey team arrives + 35 names removed from ECL + Sindh High Court restrains shifting of Nawaz till 18th + Nawaz vows to expose Kargil "debacle" + Information Technology policy to allow voice, video transmission + Pakistan, Oman sign maritime border pact + Body on IT law reforms soon + '3 years not enough for Ehtesab' + SC bars Hubco from approaching International Chamber of Commerce + 100 children's murder: HRCP blames society for tragedy + Pakistan Okays gas pipeline for India + Sailya suspends strike for 15 days --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Tax Amnesty scheme extended to 30th June + Rs770 billion budget likely: Govt pins hope on increased revenue + '3,100 Pakistan Steel workers accept VRF' + Liquidity crunch: 18 housing projects held up + Budget on 17th June + State Bank buys $ from inter-bank market + GST compliance: CBR devising new formula + CBR reforms to update wage structure + Economic Survey shows 4.5% growth + GST dues: CBR asks Wapda to pay Rs2 billion + Systems being changed: Ishrat + Govt borrowed $500m from ARY gold + Privatization law in next budget + Smart rally in textiles on expected fiscal incentives + Banks to Open Internet Merchant Accounts --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Misguided zeal Ardeshir Cowasjee + How one man can make a difference Ayaz Amir ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan retain boxing title + Pakistan aim to upset Sri Lankan party + Tauqir terms charge as 'rubbish' + Lt Gen Aziz to take over as PHF chief + Inzamam 5th, Saeed 6th, Wasim 8th in Test rankings

GST at all costs, reaffirms cabinet
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The cabinet on Wednesday approved a number of 
proposals to effectively impose GST from July 1, for substantially 
increasing revenue, especially by plugging leakages.

Presided over by the chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, the 
meeting discussed budgetary proposals to be incorporated in the 
coming budget, informed sources said.

The cabinet was told that GST - also called as Value Added Tax - 
would be the "future tax" which would be recovered at all costs 
with the tax on agriculture income. Since both taxes were part of 
an agreement with the IMF, the meeting was told that "no opposition 
by any segment of society would be tolerated in this behalf".

Although new taxes were inevitable to lower the budget deficit, the 
meeting was told that special efforts would be made not to burden 
the common man.

The cabinet was apprised about the agreement reached with the 
traders to end their two-week-long strike. The CE told the meeting 
that he was not against extending genuine concessions to 
businessmen and traders. But he made it clear that no section of 
the society would be exempted from paying taxes, and that gone were 
the days when people used to evade taxes. He then sounded a strict 
warning to the tax collection machinery to enhance taxes without 
indulging in corrupt practices.

The cabinet reviewed the pace of tax survey and observed that it 
was progressing satisfactorily and that people were forthcoming in 
making it a success. The apprehensions of the traders had been 
removed following their meetings with the provincial governors and 
the finance minister.

The CE briefed the cabinet about his visits to Iran for attending 
the ECO summit and Oman. He termed his meetings with the ECO heads 
of governments useful and productive. He particularly mentioned his 
meeting with Iranian President Khatami, which, he said, was very 

He directed the Export Promotion Bureau to intensify efforts for 
enhancing economic cooperation with Iran and Oman. The cabinet was 
informed that Sultan Qaboos had accepted the invitation to visit 

The cabinet was informed that the government was pursuing a 
transparent policy of deregulation with a view to moving away from 
a controlled economy towards a free market economy in order to 
attract foreign investment in the oil and gas sector. It directed 
the ministry to prepare a strategy and an action plan for the 
development of gas pipeline so that the dependence on furnace oil 
for power generation and other industries could be reduced.

To develop commercial capabilities of Pakistan Aeronautical 
Complex, Kamra, and provide it with autonomy and to make it 
operational to facilitate its re-built and production programmes, 
the cabinet approved the establishment of "Pakistan Aeronautical 
Complex Board". It also approved, in principle, a proposal for the 
construction of Haji Camps in Quetta and Peshawar to facilitate 
intending pilgrims at those stations.

Shops closed as survey team arrives

KARACHI, June 13: A large number of shopkeepers in Saddar area 
pulled their shutters down on Tuesday when a survey team arrived to 
distribute the tax survey forms.

Shopkeepers at Zaibunnisa Street closed their shops and staged a 
sit-in as a protest against arrivals of the tax survey teams.

Chairman All Pakistan Orgnaization of Small Traders and Cottage 
Industries (APOSTCI), Umer Sailya said he was not allowed to reach 
Saddar in the evening to participate in the sit-in by traders.

In a statement he claimed there has been exchange of strong words 
between traders and the survey team officials and as a result 
traders decided to stage a sit-in at the main road of Saddar. He 
asked traders not to receive the tax survey forms.

Sailya said that in case the government fails to solve the traders' 
problems, the Association will decide its future course of action 
after the budget by arranging all Pakistan Tajir Convention.

He said, we are only against officials who are conducting tax 
survey. The survey should be conducted by students of universities 
and colleges instead of corrupt CBR officials.

Meanwhile, Karachi Tajir Action Committee (KTAC), in a statement, 
said that the government is yet to issue a notification regarding 
scrapping of clauses in the survey form which were agreed in 
traders-government meeting in Islamabad few days back.

On Tuesday, the city's main markets remained open. However, some 
associations have asked their members to receive forms but do not 
return them until all traders reach an understanding among 

35 names removed from ECL

ISLAMABAD, June 13: Only 35 names have been removed from the ECL 
out of 187 listed tax evaders over the past two months, who paid up 
30 per cent of the taxes and duties which they had previously 
refused to pay.

Other 152, who reportedly hold Rs10 million and above, did not 
approach the authorities for getting their names off the ECL. The 
listing of tax-evaders who had not cleared their dues after the 
military government had set a deadline for them to do so, number 
more than 1000. Others hold less than Rs10 million each.

There are about 50 such evaders who owe more than Rs25 million and 
10 are those who have been listed for not paying duties and taxes 
after first notices of compliance and, later, not availing the 
benefit of the scheme for clearance.

Under this scheme names of only those tax evaders would be removed 
from the ECL, who pay at least 30 per cent of the taxes and duties 
payable by them.

They said about 200 listed tax evaders still remained on the ECL by 
December 1999. They had been asked to clear their dues up to 30 per 
cent of the claimed duties and taxes if they wished to travel 
abroad. The offer has been operative from Dec 17, 1999, and all 
sales tax, customs, central excise collectorates and Income Tax 
commissionerates had been instructed to issue receipts of clearance 
of dues up to 30 per cent to those listed evaders who approached 
them with the bank receipts of such deposits.

The CBR had warned that the listed evaders should not be awaiting 
any more liberal offers in this connection and should take it for 
final that their names would not be struck out of the ECL until and 
unless they paid up 30 per cent of the tax/duty dues the CBR had 
calculated as dues from them but remained unpaid as per demand.

Sindh High Court restrains shifting of Nawaz till 18th
Shujaat Ali Khan

KARACHI, June 13: Nawaz Sharif has challenged the constitution of a 
three-member Sindh High Court bench to hear his appeal in the 
hijacking case to prepare grounds for boycotting the proceedings, 
Sindh Advocate-General Raja Qureshi said in a rejoinder on Tuesday. 
The bench adjourned the hearing till June 20.

Besides the former premier's counsel, Azizullah K. Shaikh, the 
bench comprising Chief Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad and Justices 
Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Wahid Bux Brohi heard former Punjab chief 
minister Shahbaz Sharif. The order of the day directed the 
prosecution to extend all facilities permissible under the Prison 
Rules to all the accused in Landhi Jail. Notwithstanding any 
accountability court proceedings at Attock, they will not be 
shifted till June 18 afternoon so as to enable them to engage 
counsel for 'post-admission hearing' of the state appeals against 

Overruling the AG's objection that according to a letter sent by 
him from Attock, the ex-PM has already appointed his counsel and 
that he did not want to travel to Karachi, the bench ordered that 
the prospective counsel and family members be allowed two- hour 
meetings with all accused every day from Tuesday to Saturday. It 
accepted Shahbaz Sharif's plea for medical examination by an 
orthopaedic surgeon at PNS Shifa. The ex-CM complained of relapse 
into disc prolapse, his chronic ailment.

The bench took a serious view of handcuffing, chaining and alleged 
maltreatment of the accused during their transportation from Attock 
to Karachi. Warning against recurrence, it asked the AG to identify 
the agency responsible for alleged misconduct. The AG also 
undertook to convey the court's concern to the authorities.

The court declined to pass any order on the ex-CM's plea that he be 
allowed to travel aboard an ordinary plane at his own expense as 
the army propeller aircraft takes six hours to fly from Rawalpindi 
to Karachi. The AG said the government could not take any security 
risk. The CJ observed that his health condition be kept in mind 
while moving him from one place to another.

The bench also declined a formal ban on press statements by the 
accused but said it would take a serious notice of any breach of 
decorum. The AG complained that the accused were exploiting and 
misusing the judicial process and fora for political ends. They be 
barred from talking to the media in the courtroom. The accused 
were, however, allowed to have snacks in the courtroom in the 
presence of their advocates and relatives.

The hearing started at 11-40 am due to the late arrival of the 
accused lodged in Attock Fort and jail. The AG submitted his 
rejoinder to Nawaz Sharif's application instead of filing it in 
office and the proceedings were further delayed as the members of 
the bench went through it.

Advocate Shaikh commenced his arguments by relating what he called 
the ordeal of the accused due their urgent shifting. The CJ pointed 
out that defence counsel, who said that the accused might engage 
new lawyers for post-admission stage and also protested against 
their non-production on Monday despite issuance of non-bailable 
warrants, were partly to blame. Timely arrangements should have 
been made for execution of th warrants issued on June 2, he said.

Nawaz vows to expose Kargil "debacle"

KARACHI, June 13: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday 
vowed to expose the Kargil "debacle" and launched another broadside 
on the military from the sidelines of his appeal against a 
terrorism conviction.

Mr Sharif said he would name those responsible for the bloody 
border conflict with India last year if he was allowed to testify 
before a military commission.

He described the Kargil conflict in Kashmir as one of the biggest 
debacles in the country's history and again called for an official 

"Kargil was the biggest debacle after the 1971 war with India" 
which led to the dismemberment of Pakistan, Mr Sharif said as he 
arrived at the start of an ongoing appeal against his life sentence 
for terrorism and hijacking. He repeated his calls for a high-
powered military commission or a panel of independent judges to 
investigate the Kargil conflict.

"I know the people who were behind this conflict but I will reveal 
their names at the commission," he said. He said he had a "lot more 
to say" once the commission was set up.

Military officials dismissed the allegations as shameful attempts 
to distract attention from his alleged crimes, according to local 
press reports on Tuesday.

The military government has repeatedly denied organizing the 

Mr Sharif said the Kargil operation was planned secretly by the 
military and he was not aware of it until after the fighting 
erupted in May.

"As prime minister I was not taken into confidence over the 
conflict," he said.

"I salute the soldiers who were killed during the conflict. I went 
to their homes because it was not their fault," he added.

The 10-week May to August battle left more than a thousand dead on 
both sides and brought the two nuclear states to the verge of an 
all out war.

The conflict ended when Mr Sharif ordered the withdrawal of the 
Islamic fighters amid US-led international pressure, a move which 
dismayed the military and triggered widespread protests by 
religious parties.

Military officials and key Islamic groups have rejected Mr Sharif's 
claims as absurd.-AFP

Information Technology policy to allow voice, video transmission
Omar R. Quraishi

LAHORE, June 12: The federal government plans to deregulate the 
Internet market and allow voice and video transmissions over the 
Internet as part of its proposed (and yet-to-be-released) 
information technology (IT) policy.

Currently, the latter (also referred to as telephony) is banned but 
many net users nonetheless use popular websites to talk to their 
relatives in foreign countries. The policy also seeks to exempt 
experienced local and overseas IT professionals (at least 5 years' 
experience in the related field) from paying income tax.

Drawn up by the Information Technology Commission (part of the Tax 
Revenue Wing of the Ministry of Finance), the IT policy (currently 
with the Ministry of Law and Justice for final vetting) says that 
"from time to time" rates and tariffs for "all telecommunications 
services" should be revised down so that the "cost is reasonable 
and consistent with the economic realities of the country". The 
tariff structure should be such that the rates are on a par with 
charges prevalent in the regional and international markets. The 
policy seeks to end cross-subsidies by organizations that provide 
Internet and other services and this is likely to affect the way 
PTCL subsidizes it's Paknet service. It wants IT to be included in 
the country's definition of infrastructure so that priority can 
then be given to its development.

The policy seeks the establishment of an Electronic Commerce 
Council, headed by the minister of commerce, to govern all the e-
commerce affairs. It envisages the creation of a human resource 
development fund to improve the quality of personnel involved in 
the IT industry. The policy also seeks to include a required 
computer literacy course or 'module' in the matric syllabus and to 
make training in the use of IT applications compulsory for all 
degree courses within the next three years. Civil and military 
officials of the government will also be required to have some 
level of proficiency in computers and IT literacy will be a 
"prerequisite" for induction into gazetted positions. The policy 
also says that the ACR (annual confidential report) of government 
servants should have a new column inserted assessing the officer's 
IT proficiency.

A copy of the proposed information technology, which contains these 
measures, is available on the Internet at www.itcomm.gov.pk and a 
formal announcement of the policy, according to the secretary of 
the ministry of science and technology, is due to be made by the 
chief executive before the end of this month.

The government proposal on deregulation says that "three general" 
principles should be adopted if the Internet is to grow in 
Pakistan. These are: the existing regulatory structures should not 
be forced on the net industry; competition in Internet growth 
should be encouraged; and unnecessary regulations should be 

The policy seeks to create a "regulatory environment that allows 
for as much competition as possible". It says that 
telecommunications operators that also function as ISPs should do 
so through a subsidiary company. In addition, the Internet services 
provided by such subsidiary companies should be cost based. Income 
derived from other services of the carriers should not be used to 
cross-subsidise their Internet services (something that PTCL does 
with Paknet) and tax deduction at source for bandwidth purchase by 
ISPs, PTCL and other telecommunications service providers should be 

To facilitate growth in and the speed of Internet connectivity the 
policy seeks to investigate the possibility of using an electricity 
grid (because electricity also reaches the remote and rural areas) 
and satellites. Cable TV operators that come up through the 
government's licensing policy should also be allowed to offer 
Internet services.

To improve the quality of skills in the IT field, the policy seeks 
to set up a human resource development fund to train would-be IT 
professionals, and to provide incentives to financial institutions 
to support IT education. To streamline and regulate IT institutions 
in the country the policy asks for an accreditation council, whose 
job will be to collect data on educational institutions, rate them, 
and disseminate information regarding various courses and 
institutes. The council will also devise a standard curriculum and 
set standards for all IT schools to follow. The IT departments of 
government-owned universities will be given administrative autonomy 
so that they can have greater control in the recruitment of 
teaching staff.

INVESTMENT, EXPORTS: To get more investment, the policy sets the 
setting up of technology parks to provide one-window services to 
domestic and foreign investors interested in putting their money 
into Pakistan's IT market. In addition, the establishment of 
venture capital funds has been suggested so that investors can be 
attracted to the industry with the knowledge that however much they 
invest will be matched by the joint venture partner.

To increase software exports the policy says that large government 
projects that require services from IT firms like data entry work, 
or the digitization and computerization of ministries should be 
contracted out to local companies. It says private software firms 
should also be given work on non-classified defence projects.

To increase the potential of software exports, like India has done, 
the policy seeks the creation of a software development fund. 
Countries to where Pakistan can have such exports should have IT 
specialists at the Pakistani missions. If such people are not 
available, the policy says, commercial counsellors should be 
trained to do the job. For markets like the US and the European 
Union, the government should hire consultants to manage the effort.

Software exports can also be given a boost by encouraging firms to 
participate in the provision of IT-related services (advantage 
being that this can be done with current levels of skills) like 
work for banks and airlines offices, medical and legal encryption, 
data entry, data conversion, data warehousing, and call centres. 
The policy also says that the huge potential of women should be 
tapped into because they remain largely unrepresented in the 
current IT demographics.

Pakistan, Oman sign maritime border pact

MUSCAT, June 12: Oman and Pakistan signed a maritime border accord 
on Monday during a visit by the chief executive, Gen Pervez 
Musharraf, in a bid to avoid disputes over fishing rights or 

Oman's minister in charge of foreign affairs Yussef bin Alawi 
signed the agreement with Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar.

"This accord will resolve many problems concerning fishing zones 
and marine resources and allow us to exploit its riches," Mr bin 
Alawi said after the signing ceremony attended by Gen Musharraf.

"We have had no problem drawing the maritime line on the basis of 
the international law of the sea," he said of the 270-km line 
across the Arabian Sea.

The Omani minister said his country had now concluded border 
accords with all its neighbours: Iran in 1974, Saudi Arabia in 
1990, Yemen in 1992, and the United Arab Emirates last year.

On his arrival on Sunday, the CE said Pakistan aimed to step up 
economic cooperation with Oman.-AFP

Body on IT law reforms soon
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The government has decided to set up a high-
powered committee to propose changes in the income tax laws to 
restore the confidence of the taxpayers.

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf assured a delegation of All 
Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) here on Wednesday that 
the committee will be constituted soon after the national budget.

"This committee which is expected to give its findings within 90 
days will include businessmen, traders, tax collectors, eminent 
lawyers and other concerned professionals", said APTMA chairman 
Mohsin Aziz.

He told Dawn that the meeting with the chief executive lasted for 
about 90 minutes during which a number of important issues were 
discussed threadbare. Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz and 
Minister for Commerce Razak Dawood were also present on the 

He termed the meeting with the chief executive as fruitful and said 
that APTMA would support the government to document the economy.

Mohsin Aziz said that the chief executive appreciated the problems 
the people were facing due to defective tax system. "The chief 
executive says that all possible changes will be introduced not 
only to increase revenues but also to restore the confidence of the 
investors", he added.

He said issues concerning Tax Amnesty Scheme also came under 
discussion and, "hopefully its date will be extended from June 15 
to June 28". He said since there were strikes during the last two 
weeks, many people could not avail of the scheme for which the 
government looked favourable to extend its date.

The APTMA chairman said that Gen Musharraf also agreed to provide 
all possible support for Balancing, Modernization and Replacement 
(BMR) for textile industry. The chief executive directed the State 
Bank and the president of commercial banks to look into the 
problems of the textile industry specially funding of BMR.

"The chief executive said that he cannot force banks to lend money 
for BMR but has said that he would ask the State Bank governor to 
facilitate the matter specially to have value addition", Mohsin 
Aziz said. The issue of 15 per cent sales tax, he said, also came 
under discussion during the meeting.

Another participant of the meeting - Chairman Islamabad chapter of 
APTMA, Mian Habibullah told this correspondent that issues relating 
to Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) were also discussed during 
the meeting, with the chief executive asking the commerce minister 
to remove the cotton crisis.

Mian Habibullah, who has once been the chairman of the Export 
Promotion Bureau (EPB) with a status of state minister said that 
there was a shortage of cotton for which about two million bales 
will have to be imported.

"The CE was told that at present TCP and ginners were having two 
million cotton bales separately (total 4 million) while there is a 
demand of 6/7 million bales", he said adding that the commerce 
minister will make sure that there was no shortage of cotton to 
avoid importing it by paying 15 per cent duty.

According to a press release issued by the Chief Executive 
Secretariat, Gen Musharraf said that textile industry and cotton 
growers should work hand in hand for the development of the country 
and that the interest of the small farmers should not be 
compromised in any way.

APTMA delegation also presented a cheque for Rs35 million to the CE 
for the drought victims of Balochistan and Sindh. Mian Habibullah 
said that APTMA would give another cheque for Rs15 million soon.

'3 years not enough for Ehtesab'
Shujaat Ali Khan

KARACHI, June 14: Going by the fate of the first-ever reference 
filed under the current series of accountability laws, NAB Chairman 
Lt General Syed Amjad's concern that three years is too short a 
period to cleanse the body-politic of corruption is not entirely 

In its anxiety to pursue high-profile cases, particularly those 
involving the ousted premier and his relations as accused, the 
prosecution has all but forgotten the Ehtesab Reference No 1, filed 
in November 1996 under the first Ehtesab Ordinance promulgated by 
the caretaker regime of president Farooq Khan Leghari. The 
reference was assigned to a three-member ehtesab bench of the 
Lahore High Court comprising Justices Ihsanul Haq Chaudhry, 
Mohammad Aqil Mirza and Abdul Hafeez Cheema (since removed or 

So great was the public pressure for accountability after the 
dismissal of elected governments and dissolution of assemblies on 
Nov 5, 1996, that the caretaker regime issued a stringent law soon 
after assuming office. The judiciary also took up the first 
reference filed under it in right earnest. The accused or 
respondents engaged senior lawyers like Ijaz Hussain Batalvi, Raja 
Mohammad Anwar, Khwaja Sultan Ahmad, Malik Saeed Hassan, Ziaullah 
Sheikh, Mian Najamuzzaman (since elevated) and, above all, the 
Peshawar-based Farooq Adam Khan assisted by Miss Najma Khatoon. 
Mian Nusratullah, a former judge of a speedy trials court, was the 
sole prosecutor.

The crux of the charge was that the Oil and Gas Development 
Corporation split a contract in 1995 for procurement of tubing 
heads or 'Xmas Trees' to accommodate the highest bidder alongside 
the lowest. M/s ABB Vetco Grey of Singapore should have been 
awarded the entire contract on merit. But the tender was bifurcated 
to oblige M/s ADOS of Islamabad. A loss of $195,433.89 was thereby 
alleged to have been caused to OGDC.

SC bars Hubco from approaching International Chamber of Commerce
Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Hubco 
had no right to take its dispute with Wapda for arbitration before 
the International Chamber of Commerce as amendments to the Power 
Purchase Agreement required examination by a court of law.

By a majority decision of 3-2, the court upheld the view of Wapda 
that amendments to the PPA had been obtained through misuse of 
power by public functionaries for extraneous consideration.

The court restrained Hubco from taking the matter to the ICC's 
arbitration tribunal in London.

It held: "These circumstances, prima facie, do establish the case 
of misuse of power by public functionaries for extraneous 
considerations requiring detailed examination and decision by a 
court of law after full-fledged trial."

Authored by Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad, and endorsed by Justice 
Sheikh Ijaz Nisar and Justice Munir A. Sheikh, the majority 
judgment held that the supplemental deed, the first amendment and 
the second amendment to the PPA were not arbitrable and should be 
decided by a court of law.

Justice Bashir Jehangiri and Justice Abdur Rehman in their minority 
judgment held that proper law of arbitration agreement between the 
parties was applicable and Hubco had a right to take the matter 
before the arbitration tribunal.

They, however, said that the award by the ICC tribunal be brought 
to Pakistan for execution and it would then be challengeable in a 
court here.

The Hub Power Company was represented by a team of 10 lawyers 
headed by Barrister Hafiz Pirzada.

Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim and Umar Ata Bandial defended Wapda.

100 children's murder: HRCP blames society for tragedy

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 
holding the society's indifference also responsible for the tragedy 
of 100 children who were killed in Lahore by a self- confessed 
criminal,  has called for legislation to check the exploitation of 
missing/runaway children.

The Commission's conclusion is based on a survey it conducted of 
the victims' families who flocked to Lahore after Javed Iqbal 
Mughal revealed to a newspaper how he killed the children and 
dissolved their bodies in acid. The objective of the survey, which 
covered 48 victims, was to ascertain the socio-economic factors 
that could have contributed to this ghastly episode.

It showed that one person alone could not be blamed for the 
liquidation of scores of young lives. It was also a fact that the 
"parents and families of the victims too did not make or were 
unable to make adequate efforts to trace the runaway children, the 
educational institutions failed to win the confidence of the pupils 
who disappeared during enrolment at schools/madaris or after giving 
up their studies, and the police took little interest in tracing 
the missing children."

While Javed Iqbal was making the headlines in the press, the 
Commission recalled, the fate of over 6,000 missing children in 
Punjab alone was not known. This list may have grown longer over 
the past few months covering the entire country.

Expecting that these revelations would shake the administration and 
the public of their negligence in dealing with such children, the 
HRCP stressed the urgent need to create a system under which 
missing/runaway children can be traced with the determination that 
the matter merits.

Noting that there is no specific law to cover the exploitation of 
missing/runaway children, the HRCP urged the government to explore 
seriously the possibility of devising adequate legislation on the 
subject and tightening the existing laws on child abuse, 
trafficking and exploitation. It further proposed that:

Pakistan okays gas pipeline for India

TEHRAN, June 10: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf gave his 
blessing on Saturday to a major gas line connecting Iran and India 
that would cross Pakistan, according to Iran's official news 

"We are hoping for perfect understanding among the countries" of 
the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Musharraf was quoted 
as saying by IRNA. "That's why we recently signed a document giving 
our agreement to the gas-line project linking Iran, Pakistan and 

Iran and India have already met to start technical studies on the 
project, which would transport Iranian natural gas to India.

Pakistan previously said it was supportive of the project but had 
not given its formal agreement.-AFP

Sailya suspends strike for 15 days

KARACHI, June 11: The chairman, All Pakistan Organization of Small 
Traders and Cottage Industries (APOSTCI), Umer Sailya announced on 
Sunday to suspend for 15 days the ongoing country-wide strike 
observed by traders for the last 18 days.

"In view of holy month of Rabiul Awwal and in the larger interest 
of the country, particularly the problems being faced by the people 
the strike is being suspended for 15 days", he said.

However, he added, if the government failed in taking cognizance of 
their problems then after the presentation of the federal budget, a 
countrywide traders' convention would be called to chalk out future 
line of action.

Speaking at a press conference here Mr Sailya said by observing 
strike for 18 days the business community and the people had 
clearly shown their resentment against the inapt and anti-traders 
policies pursued by CBR and the finance ministry.

Distribution of tax survey forms, envisioned by the finance 
minister at the behest of the IMF, has failed to take off and in 
this regard all success stories projected by CBR officials carry no 
substance, he observed.

Mr Sailya said that the move of the bureaucracy and the finance 
minister to create rift between the armed forces and the traders 
had failed.

He dispelled the impression that the traders were against paying 
taxes, saying since the inception of the country they always 
fulfilled their obligations by paying regular taxes. Currently they 
were paying 22 kinds of taxes, Sailya added.

He made it categorically clear that the business community was 
under no obligation to pay huge amounts to the government for 
maintaining opulent life style of corrupt bureaucracy, which was 
responsible for propelling the country towards present morass.

He also offered that the business community was ready to pay 50 per 
cent of the total foreign debts, but before taking this step it 
would have to be ensured that the funds would be used for the 
specific purpose.

He also urged the business community not to offer any resistance to 
the army team if they came to their shops for distribution of tax 
forms. Sailya asked the traders to accept the forms and after 
filing the same hand them over to him, so that he could present 
them to the chief executive.

Mr Sailya criticized the Punjab government for its alleged buying 
loyalties of 14 businessmen on Thursday and for holding emergency 
press conference at the governor house at 2.30a.m and said such 
moves could not "browbeat our spirits as parting of few persons 
from the ongoing movement can not dent the spirit of the traders."

To a question he said that the civil bureaucracy, judiciary and 
army officials should also fill the tax form.-PPI

Tax Amnesty scheme extended to 30th June
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, June 15: The government has extended the tax amnesty 
scheme to June 30, with a view to allowing more people to whiten 
their assets. "Since there has been a strike for about two weeks, 
many people could not opt for the tax amnesty scheme for which its 
date has now been extended from June 15 to 30," Finance Minister 
Shaukat Aziz told reporters at the launching of the Riba-free Al-
Meezan Investment Bank on Thursday.

He, however, made it clear that there would be no further extension 
and the new deadline should be considered final.

The minister said the scheme was progressing well as assets worth 
over Rs5 billion had already been declared. "I do not have the 
latest figures which might be higher".

He further said that a decision had been taken under which people 
could declare their 50 per cent assets by paying upfront cash, 
while the remaining assets could be declared in three equal 
instalments for which they would have to pay 1.5 per cent extra on 
each instalment.

The government had announced the scheme on March 1, to allow the 
holders of black money to whiten their assets by paying 10pc income 
tax. Earlier in the Nawaz Sharif government, this scheme was 
offered on 7pc tax, but the response was not encouraging.

"We hope that on June 30 a large number of people would have opted 
for the scheme which would help them undertake their normal 
business activities without any fear," he added.

In reply to a question, he said that an agreement with the traders 
had reached according to which the government would not re-open 
their cases relating to the tax returns of 1999-98. He, however, 
added that the government was still holding negotiations with the 
traders community to sort out some other issues.

He clarified that all non-National Taxation Number holders would 
have to fill in tax survey forms and give their stock positions. In 
this regard, he revealed, certain amendments to the Income Tax 
Ordinance would be made and announced shortly.

He said that over 200,000 forms had so far been distributed and the 
process of collecting the forms had started.

Responding to another question, the minister said the traders had 
accepted his proposal that in future a group of 26 
businessmen/traders would meet him to settle any dispute. If there 
was any procedural problem or any confusion about any thing this 
group would be invited for settlement, he added.

He told a questioner that he would present the budget on radio on 
TV at 6pm on Saturday. He claimed that he had with him a "very 
able" team of professionals that would be producing a well-thought-
out budget.

Rs770 billion budget likely: Govt pins hope on increased revenue
M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, June 11: With a proposed outlay of Rs770 billion against 
current year's expenditure of nearly Rs700 billion, the next year's 
budget is being prepared on the basis of highly ambitious revenue 
and development targets and a desire to give the overall economy a 
new direction and thrust.

 From indications it appears that the government will make all out 
efforts to collect as much as Rs450 billion of tax revenue next 
year against the current year's revised target of Rs357 billion.

The jump of almost Rs93 billion in the CBR collection in the next 
12 months against an achievement of an additional income of only 
Rs50 billion this year against the total collection of Rs308 
billion last year appears rather highly optimistic and seems to be 
based on the hope that the ongoing income tax survey and other 
reforms would broaden the tax base significantly.

The imposition of 02 per cent turnover tax in place of GST on the 
retail trade is expected to bring in an additional revenue of about 
Rs10 billion. The imposition of GST on agricultural inputs on the 
other hand is likely to yield an additional income of Rs5 billion.

However, in most countries where VAT-mode-GST is in operation, the 
GST is not imposed on agricultural inputs for economic reasons and 
the buyers of agricultural products are allowed to presume a 
portion of the price they paid as GST, and get the deduction when 
they sold the commodity upstream after value addition.

The extension of GST to services and professions is expected to 
yield another Rs20 billion. The tax on agricultural income which 
from the indications appears a certainty next year, is expected to 
bring in as much as Rs10 billion in the first year. This is, 
however, a provincial tax and its yield would therefore depend on 
the ability of the provincial tax collectors to enforce the law 

The ongoing survey is expected also to enhance income from property 
tax as currently it is being grossly under declared. One estimate 
puts the income from this source at around Rs8 billion.

On the expenditure side, the government plans to bring down the 
interest rates further, including on the national saving schemes, 
thus bringing down the allocations for debt servicing. The 
downsizing of the government as a whole is also expected to yield 
significant savings but at the cost of increased unemployment.

The government is also planning withdrawal of all the food 
subsidies from next year but to protect the really poor and 
indigent, well-focused poverty alleviation programmes are being 

Perhaps emboldened by this hopeful scenario, the government 
proposes next year to spend as much as Rs150 billion on public 
sector development projects - a hefty 45 per cent increase over 
what is expected (Rs90 billion) to be spent under this head this 

However, despite the expectation of a nearly 25 per cent increase 
in the tax collection and the proposed plans to keep the 
expenditure on defence and other such non-development heads under 
control, the overall deficit next year because of the proposed 
massive increase in the development expenditure, is being seen to 
expand to Rs180 billion - almost the same level as in the current 
year at Rs183 billion, or 5.50 per cent of GDP.

This would mean the overall budgetary deficit next year would be 
nearly 05pc of the GDP. It is not certain whether this would be 
acceptable to the IMF with whom Pakistan is negotiating a 
concessional assistance package amounting to nearly $2 billion over 
the next three years from the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth 

However, the choice before the government is very limited: if it 
cuts the next year's development budget to the current year's level 
in order to reduce the budgetary deficit to the IMF's prescribed 
level (04pc) then it would only reinforce the elements of recession 
causing further stagnation of the economy and more unemployment. 
And if it does not do this then, it will have to make a successful 
pitch at the next round of meetings with the IMF and win its 
approval for its budget, otherwise the country will face the threat 
of certain default.

'3,100 Pakistan Steel workers accept VRF'
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, June 13: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has 
approved the plan of financial and manpower restructuring of the 
Pakistan Steel Mills in order to make the organisation fully 

Official sources said here on Tuesday that a decision had been 
taken to offload 5533 employees of the Mills under Voluntary 
Retirement Facility (VRF) by offering them one plus two formula. 
The response to the VRF has been good as so far 3100 employees have 
opted for the scheme.

The chief executive had approved the restructuring plan on May 20 
after having a detailed meeting with the members of the 
Restructuring Committee, which was set up last year. It has been 
decided that the manpower strength of the Mills be brought down 
from the existing 20533 regular employees to 15000, as proposed by 
the Russian consultants.

Some of the directors and officers of the Mills, sources said, had 
opposed the launching of VRF scheme but the management decided to 
go ahead with the programme as has been approved by the chief 
executive. Those who were opposing VRF scheme were told "not" to do 
sowith a view to making the organisation financially viable by 
cutting its huge losses in a record period of time.

The loans of Pakistan Steel Mills had reached to the level of Rs 
19.11 billion as on June 30, 1999. It has now been decided that 
these loans would be converted into two programmes for their 
repayment to five commercial banks of the country.

The sources said that Rs 11.35 billion had been previously 
converted into mid-term loan and participatory redeemable term 
certificates at a mark up of 11 per cent. "And the amount of mark 
up was reached to Rs 2 billion annually and despite making 13/14 
per cent profit, the Mills was unable to pay that mark up with the 
result that the liability continued to increase", a source said.

But now a formula has been developed with the approval of the State 
Bank of Pakistan, under which an amount of Rs 11.35 billion which 
was the principal amount, would be paid off in 12 equal instalments 
from July 2000 at 11 per cent mark up rate or at the rate of 7 per 
cent treasury bills. As regard the remaining Rs 7.767 billion, the 
decision has been taken that it will be called a subordinated loan 
which too will be paid back in 12 equal instalments. The ministry 
of finance will pay off both these loans on behalf of the Pakistan 
Steel Mills. And after 13 years the Mills will start picking up the 
job of repayment of next seven installments.

Nevertheless, the sources said that the ministry of finance has 
asked the management of the Mills to share 50 per cent of the 
expenses for the first year of the programme. The mills has 
accepted to do so.

The financial cost of offloading 5533 employees was estimated to be 
Rs 3.7 billion and its additional cost was Rs 1.4 billion because 
of offering retirement under one plus two formula which was meant 
to give two additional gratuities for each completed year of 
service plus normal retirement benefits.

The sources said that the chief executive had agreed with Chairman 
Pakistan Steel Mills. Col.(retd) Afzal that competent and honest 
officers should be retained so that the Mills could stop incurring 

When the chairman of the Mills was contacted on phone,he confirmed 
that the chief executive has approved the new financial and 
manpower restructuring of the mills.

He said that the Mills has achieve 100 % production capacity and 
that things were improving to have more profits.

Liquidity crunch: 18 housing projects held up 
Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, June 13: The fate of 18 housing projects approved by the 
government out of a total of 42 awarded by the previous government 
under 'Mera Ghar,' scheme hangs in balance with no funds disbursed 
for their execution.

These projects were approved by the Cabinet in March this year. 
After the lapse of three months the stalled work at the project 
sites since Oct 12, '99, could not re-start because the promised 
seed money has not been given to the contractors.

Under a new setup, the scheme was renamed as 'Pakistan Housing 
Scheme' to be looked after by the Ministry of Housing and Works and 
a sum of rupee one billion as a seed money was to be provided from 
the Ministry of Finance.

It was decided by the government that those contractors who were 
allowed to continue with their projects will be given funds at the 
earliest for reviving projects, economic activity as well as 
generating employment. Others were asked to submit claims against 
their jobs done for the settlement of their cases. However, uptil 
now none of them have received any funds, All Pakistan Contractors 
Association (APCA) sources said.

The APCA members who were allowed to continue with their job work 
at 18 sites located in urban areas of the four provinces had been 
for the last three months approaching different authorities, 
including the Ministry of Housing and PHA, but to no avail.

"Our members have already invested billions of rupees in 
mobilization as well as on plinth level work in most of projects 
awarded to us by previous government during Sept-Oct '99," APCA 
secretary Mohammad Younus Khan told Dawn on telephone from Lahore.

The affected persons, he said, feel that the government should 
expedite the implementation of its decision as the delay has caused 
loss of million of rupees, both to the government as well as to 

He said that with the delay in implementation of the scheme the 
prices of building material and overheads of contractors are 
continuously on the rise and ultimately it will be a burden the 
national exchequer as under a provision, an eight per cent interest 
will have to be paid by Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA).

Meanwhile, a nine-member APCA delegation on Tuesday met Chief 
Executive's principal secretary, Tariq Aziz and apprised him about 
the apathy of different government departments towards the scheme, 
particularly the long delay in providing funds by the Ministry of 

Tariq Aziz immediately has arranged a meeting of APCA delegation 
with secretary, Ministry of Housing. But as usual, the secretary 
shifted the burden on Ministry of Finance for not providing funds 
to be given as a seed money to contractors.

Other issues raised by APCA delegation before the Principal 
Secretary to CE were in connection with awarding of contracts to 
NLC and FWO without issuing tenders.

The APCA members claimed that all big contracts like coastal 
highway are being awarded through negotiations and not by inviting 
tenders and this was against the accepted norms of contracting.

Budget on 17th June
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, June 13: Minister for Finance Mr Shaukat Aziz will 
announce the budget for 2000-2001 on radio and television on June 
17 at 6.30pm.

Informed sources said that the budget speech of the finance 
minister has been planned to be telecast live at 6.30pm. However, 
there was also a possibility that it may be recorded at 3pm, after 
the approval of the budget by a joint meeting of the federal 
cabinet and the National Security Council (NSC) earlier in the day, 
they added.

The budget, which was largely said to be a welfare oriented one, 
may also contain proposals to increase the salaries of the 
government employees, sources said. They said there was a 10 per 
cent increase likely in the salaries. This was yet to be approved 
by the Chief Executive. Also substantial funding for social sectors 
was proposed by the ministry of finance.

The sources said that budget deficit of Rs 180 billion was a cause 
of real concern for the budget planners. In this regard the sources 
said that levy of additional taxes to the tune of Rs 25 billion 
could not been ruled out.

Also there was no hope for reducing petroleum prices in the next 
quarter of the year. However, planners were thinking not to 
increase electricity and gas charges for domestic consumers.

State Bank buys $ from inter-bank market
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, June 12: The State Bank on Monday sucked in some $60- $65 
million in one-month swap from banks to prop up the foreign 
exchange reserves and inject local currency funds into liquidity -
starved money market.

Net liquid foreign exchange reserves have fallen to about $900 
million. The inter-bank money market is so short of liquidity that 
call rates have remained almost pegged at 10.90 per cent in past 
two weeks with banks borrowing up to 10 billion of rupees from the 
State Bank as a routine to cover their daily positions.

Bankers said the SBP entered into one-month rupee/dollar with half 
a dozen foreign and local private banks. They said the SBP struck 
the deals with the banks at a premium of five paisa over the spot 
price of the US dollar-or 1.14 per cent.

Bankers said three European banks and some private local banks 
provided dollars to the State Bank against rupees out of their 
fresh foreign currency (F.E. 25) deposits mobilized before June 3, 
1999. Banks have already placed with the SBP more than $300 million 
worth of such deposits raised afterwards.

Bankers say total fresh foreign currency deposits of the banks -
including $65-$65 million swapped on Monday-stand over $500 

The SBP made no official statement. Sources close to the SBP would 
not say whether the swap would be a permanent feature. But bankers 
reached by Dawn said the SBP was likely to continue this practice 
off and on.

They said so because they felt that intermittent swaps would best 
help the central bank in meeting all external liabilities in the 
weeks to come without any funds flowing in from IMF or World Bank.

Bankers said the $60-$65 million swap on Monday helped the SBP pay 
the first coupon of $31 million on rescheduled Pakistan sovereign 
bonds immediately. Had there been no swap a $31 million outflow 
would have been difficult.

Bankers said a total outflow of around $200-$250 million was due in 
the current month on account of debt payment-of public and private 
sector-and outward remittance of the stock market funds.

This is a very sizable outflow in present circumstances marked by 
the absence of any foreign funds from multilateral agencies and a 
widening trade deficit: the deficit stood at $1.6 billion by the 
end of last month.

The situation becomes more precarious as panic-driven buying of 
dollars continues from the open market as the annual budget draws 
nearer and the tax survey continues. Bankers said since the dollar 
had already been under pressure in the kerb market the SBP acted 
wisely by not entering into that market to buy greenbacks for 
meeting external foreign exchange obligations. This explains the 
need of the swap also.

The swap not only kept the inter-bank exchange rate between 
Rs52.01- Rs52.03 to a dollar it also brought down the kerb market 
rates to Rs54.35-Rs54.45. On top of all the $60-$65 million swap 
resulted in inflow of Rs312-Rs338 million in the inter-bank money 
This partly offset the two-week long liquidity crunch in the market 
where banks have been borrowing heavily from the SBP everyday. 
Bankers said though the injection of fund into money market was 
smaller in size it did some morale boosting and led the market to 
believe that the liquidity crisis might not persist for too long.

But the tiny injection could not stop banks from resorting to heavy 
discounting from the State Bank to cover their positions.

Bankers said if the SBP continued the dollar/rupee swap it would 
also lead to faster realisation of export proceeds: The swap has 
already depressed forward buying of dollars by importers. Bankers 
said the premiums on forward buying fell to about a rupee over the 
spot price on Monday from Rs 1.25-Rs 1.40 on Friday; 56-58 paisa on 
three months from 70-80 paisa and 14-17 paisa on one month from 36-
38 paisa.

GST compliance: CBR devising new formula

ISLAMABAD, June 12: The CBR is devising a formula to ensure maximum 
GST coverage of all those manufacturing sectors which have 
reputation of poor compliance despite being registered.

Dawn was informed here on Monday by relevant officials that "right 
from the launch of budgetary exercise in mid-April, 2000, we took 
up hundreds of cases of non-compliant sub-sectors of electronics, 
textile and electrical goods manufacturers. We are under 
instructions that strict compliance be ensured by devising a 
formula to discourage evasion."

The formula worked out to ensure compliance requires fresh item-
wise study of each of non-compliant manufacture sector's capacity 
to produce, utilities consumption and input utilization/waste in 
the production process. 

  Having determined afresh these aspects, the CBR would be indexing 
each unit as a GST-compliant under normal sales tax regime.

CBR officials revealed that out of currently registered 72,000 GST-
paying regular non-filers and under-assessees, about 90% belong to 
the manufacturing sub-sectors of electric/electronic goods, textile 
and about 30 other items where the compliance has remained 
"extremely poor over the past four years.

The new formula for ensuring maximum compliance on GST-assessment 
basically aims at scrapping all capacity-based and fixed-amount 
based assessment modes which remained operative in the past for 
various manufacturing sectors.

The recent revenue performance appraisal conducted by an IMF team 
also pointed out that the non-performing manufacturing sub-sectors 
have "caused distortions and prevented other sectors from 
maintaining VAT-mode documentation".

Under this mode of documentation, the tax-assessment is allowed 
only on value of inputs acquired for production, and the sales 

  This mode does not allow determination of production volume on the 
basis of capacity of the GST-registered units determined on 
consumption of electricity etc, or payment of a fixed amount of 
sales tax on the basis of an assumed turnover determined on the 
basis of sales/production in that particular sub-sector.

Under the new formula, which is likely to be operative under the 
Finance Ordinance 2000, all the manufacturing sectors and sub-
sectors would be submitting for audit all details with regard to 
input-output and waste of raw materials, and would be required to 
assess their tax accordingly.

A proposal has reportedly been approved by the CBR and its GST Wing 
has been processing a formula for ensuring maximum compliance by 
various sectors ever since the introduction of sales tax regime.

Once implemented, "it will pave theway for bringing more than 32 
manufacturing sectors into the ambit of input/output mode of 
assessing GST", said a senior CBR official.

He explained that from the very inception, the GST mode was to be 
implemented in phases, keeping in view the capacity of each sector 
to maintain documentation and submitting input/output details for 

  The sub-sectors which were found most reluctant during 1994-99 to 
come into this ambit, were offered different kinds of methods to 
assess their production and sales, and, tax amount, accordingly.

This was part of a strategy to first create a culture of 
documentation in the manufacturing sectors, and then demand 100% 
compliance, he said.

CBR reforms to update wage structure
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, June 12: The government plans to push up its spending in 
the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) from hardly one per cent of the 
total collection of taxes at present to about 1.5% to two per cent 
in next three years.

This increase in the CBR spending would be both by way of improving 
the wage structure of employees as well as investment in 
technological upgrading of the income tax, sales tax and customs.

A broad hint in this regard was dropped by the finance minister 
Shaukat Aziz on Saturday during his meeting with local businessmen 
at Karachi at a pre-budget seminar in which he said the next budget 
would incorporate administrative measures to improve the efficiency 
of the CBR and other government agencies.

Tax experts say that in Pakistan, the total expenditure in the CBR 
is less than one per cent of the total revenue collection as 
against a rough average of 2% in South and East Asian countries and 
4% in the developed countries.

Yet the tax collection agencies of the South Asian, East Asian and 
the developed countries have much lesser number of employees as 
compared to that of Pakistan. In these countries the tax officials 
are paid higher salaries, attractive perks and given rewards on 
their performance. Tax officials of these countries have immense 
powers and authorities including to raid the office and residential 
premises. But there is hardly any case of abuse of power and 
authority in these South and East Asian countries where tax 
officials are reported to have raided the residences and offices of 
high and mighty political figures, big business houses and the 
corrupt bureaucrats and have got them convicted in the courts of 

With an estimated workforce of 33,000, experts say the average per 
employee expenditure in the CBR comes to hardly over one lakh 
rupees a year or about Rs 9,000 a month. Considering the wide 
disparity in the wage scales of the bottom and the top grade of the 
government employees, the average take home of the majority of 
these employees is even less than Rs 4,000 a month.

A retired vice president of the World Bank had already prepared a 
report on improving the efficiency of the CBR. He has now been 
asked to update his report and tax experts expect that the 
recommendations proposed by the World Bank official would be 
included in the coming budget.

Independent economists including Dr Hafiz A Pasha who had been 
associated with three governments in Pakistan have been pleading 
for a new wage structure for the government employees. His proposal 
is to offer a consolidated package to the government employee which 
should be more than five times what he gets now as salary. But then 
the government should stop providing all the facilities of 
unlimited telephone calls, a fleet of cars, personal servants and 
drivers and a big house to live.

With a pay scale of Rs 20,000 a month or Rs 240 thousand a year, 
the total expenses of the government on the upkeep of a federal 
secretary amounts to well over five million rupees annually.

Obviously, the bureaucrats are resisting all such moves which 
propose to change their salary structures. The existing arrangement 
suits them as it offers them vast and unlimited benefits and that 
too all concealed.

Shaukat Aziz in his speech before the local businessmen last 
Saturday hinted at further purges in the CBR and other government 
departments. He said more than one thousand employees have already 
been suspended.

This list of over one thousand suspended employees in the CBR has 
already become a controversial issue and there are many stories 
circulating in the government circles of how the list was prepared 
and who targeted whom.

Economic Survey shows 4.5% growth
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, June 12: The Economic Survey for 1999-2000 is being 
released on June 15, showing a GDP growth rate of 4.5% against the 
target of 5%.

Though the survey to concede a half percentage point less than the 
target, it will be higher than the previous year by 1.4 percentage 
point, informed sources said.

The achievement of 4.5pc GDP growth rate has been mainly attributed 
to better performance of the agricultural sector, specially by 
producing 21 million ton wheat out of which 01 million ton would be 

The survey has termed the 4.5pc growth rate for the current fiscal 
an achievement. This combines an impressive growth rate in major 
crops, construction, electricity/gas distribution, and banking and 
insurance on the one hand and stagnation in large-scale 
manufacturing on the other.

The economy was projected to grow by 5pc in 1999-2000, comprising 
4.3pc growth in agriculture, 5.5pc in industry (4.3pc in large-
scale manufacturing) and 5.1pc in other sectors.

Inflation rate was estimated to be 6pc in the current financial 
year. A slight slippage in the area of overall growth rate was 
mentioned in the survey.

The agriculture output grew by 4.3pc in 1999-2000; it comprises 
growth rate of 5.4pc in major crops, 3pc in livestock and 4pc in 

  The growth rate in major crops was assumed on the production of 
cotton which would be shown in survey as 11.2 million bales. "The 
survey is still being finalized and the final figure could go 
little higher," said a source.

GST dues: CBR asks Wapda to pay Rs2 billion

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The CBR has informed the finance ministry that 
failure in getting Rs2 billion deposits of GST dues from Wapda 
would render its collection in crunch, and that measures be taken 
to ensure that at least a quarter of this amount is deposited 
before June 20, 2000.

A meeting between Wapda, the CBR and MoF senior officials took up 
the issue here on Tuesday at a meeting held at the ministry of 
water and power. The meeting decided that the amount due from Wapda 
in GST be split into major instalments and a major portion of the 
amount be paid within the current financial year.

The CBR had asked the ministry of finance in March 2000 to 
intervene and mediate for ensuring payment of these dues. Senior 
Wapda officials told the MoF and CBR senior officials here that the 
federal government should first ensure payment of dues payable by 
the federal and provincial government departments and organization.

Wapda had agreed to pay GST under the formula which provides that 
it would pay tax from the amount deducted from the consumers of 
more than 500 units per month, and that it would not be charging 
the sales tax from this 40% domestic and commercial clientele not 
using .

Later, finding that its revenues from the GST-deduction from the 
targeted clientele were not proving substantial enough to pay the 
CBR, it placed its case of non-payment of GST with MoF.

The authorities argued that it would not be paying the tax without 
being compensated, especially in view of the rising rates of 
furnace oil (used in power generation) and due to high rates of 
power acquired for distribution from the PPIs.

Wapda was to pay Rs2.53 billion in GST by March 15, and also file a 
GST return with the CBR on this count as a registered assessee. It 
did pay Rs1 billion but did not file its GST return for March 2000 
(due on April 2000) and is asking the MoF to first settle the issue 
of over-priced electricity generation inputs.

The CBR, again in the last week of May 2000, asked MoF to come to 
the help of the former for ensuring expeditious release of tax 
money from Wapda. Its plea was based on the CBR-Wapda agreement for 
payment of GST by not passing on the burden to 40% domestic and 
small-use commercial consumers. 

The Tuesday meeting reportedly ended with a decision that the Wapda 
authorities would be informing the CBR by the end of the current 
week as to how much amount in the first instalment of the GST due 
they would be able to pay before the end of the current financial 

The Wapda authorities had previously not responded positively to 
the repeated reminders of CBR for deposit of Rs 1.35 billion due in 
GST on March 15 (last date) 2000. This amount was due for the month 
of February 2000, deductible as per the GST procedure on 
electricity. Wapda having agreed to the formula for depositing this 
amount through a single return form, had delayed payment despite 
the mediation of MoF in April 2000 in this connection.

Wapda has already been placed on top of the Sales Tax defaulters' 
list. Wapda had demanded a Rs2.5 billion compensation from the 
ministry of finance for paying Rs1.253 billion sales tax. This 
compensation was demanded by Wapda authorities for the losses 
incurred due to its liability under the GST formula, not to charge 
the tax from the 40% of the domestic and commercial consumers who 
are not using electricity above 500 units a month.

Systems being changed: Ishrat
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, June 14: Income tax and Sales tax laws are being changed 
to improve the tax collection and to weed out corruption rooted in 
the systems, governor State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain said on 

"The menace of corruption would not end unless the system is 
completely changed," said Dr Ishrat, adding "the income tax and 
sales tax ordinances are being replaced to end discretion and 
contact with tax payers which provides opportunities for 

He made these remarks while talking to a group of local traders and 
industrialists on Wednesday.

Admitting that by suspending 1000 CBR officials improvement could 
not ensured, he said that corruption would not be eliminated even 
if the entire CBR staff was to be removed.

"There is a need for inducting young blood, increasing salaries of 
the CBR's staff and vital changes in the income tax and sales tax 
laws their and penalty clauses and procedures to put the things 
straight," said the SBP governor.

The number of federal taxes would be brought down to three, namely 
customs duty, income tax and sales tax whereas the provincial taxes 
would be brought down to five or six from the existing over 25.

Reduction in the number of taxes, said the SBP governor, was a part 
of the government's anticipated move to bring about improvements in 
the taxation laws.

"This is a ridiculous law which we inherited. It would be changed 
to facilitate tax payers and to restore private sector's confidence 
in the government," said Dr Ishrat.

Aa for the investment climate he said: "We did every thing possible 
during the last six to seven months to ensure conducive climate by 
ensuring consistency in policies, doing away with restrictions on 
the stock exchange, but except for the textile no other sector 
showed confidence".

Govt borrowed $500m from ARY gold 
M. Ziauddin

ISLAMABAD, June 14: Pakistan has borrowed nearly as much as 500 
million dollars from Dubai based gold trading company ARY under 
swap arrangement in the last ten years.

Islamabad still owes nearly 200 million dollars to this company as 
the swap under which this amount was borrowed will extend up to 
2003. The ARY Trading Company, according to newspaper reports, has 
recently been made a member of London Bullion Market Association.

In a series of letters sent to the Chief Executive, General Pervez 
Musharraf, since late last year, the chief executive and managing 
director of ARY, Haji Abdul Razzak has claimed that he has also 
invested more than 50 million dollars in various industrial 
projects in Pakistan.

In one of these letters, copies of which have been obtained by 
Dawn, Haji Razzak has claimed that despite its best efforts the 
previous government could not prove that his company was granted 
monopolistic license for the import of gold and silver into the 
country, or that the import at the 'lower' rates of duties and 
taxes by the ARY resulted in a loss of nearly Rs 2billion to the 
government or that Asif Ali Zardari was paid $10 million dollars 
for granting the favour.

The fact that the license of the ARY traders had not been cancelled 
till today has been quoted by Haji Razzak as evidence of his 

He also claimed that while at the time of granting of license, the 
customs duty was fixed at the rate of 1.40 dollar per tola, the 
same was reduced to 1 dollar in 1998-99 by the very government 
which had accused him of making windfall gains by getting undue 
duty concessions.

In another letter dated April 2000 which Haji Razzak had addressed 
to Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, he had offered to sponsor a 
scheme to promote home remittances.

His proposed scheme has two elements: 1. Rationalize the exchange 
rate (to Rs. 54 to a dollar buying and Rs. 54.40 to a dollar 
selling from the present Rs. 51.40 to a dollar buying and Rs. 51.90 
selling). 2. One company in collaboration with some security 
management firm be authroized to collect all home remittances and 
then send the amount to Pakistan for onward delivery at the door 
steps of beneficiaries all over the country.

There are according to Haji Razzak 1.5 million Pakistani workers in 
Gulf countries and if each one of them sent home 150 dollars a 
month on an average through legal channels Pakistan would earn over 
$2 billion a year. And this can be doubled if efforts were made to 
send more trained people to Gulf and organize their home 
remittances on scientific lines, he added.

Privatization law in next budget

KARACHI, June 10: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that a 
privatization law will be announced in the budget to ensure that 
the sell-off of public sector enterprizes is transparent and free 
of influence.

He invited private sector entrepreneurs to form groups to 
participate in the privatization of banks and public sector 
corporations like Pakistan Insurance Corporation, National 
Insurance Corporation and State Life Insurance Corporation so that 
they are taken over by the local parties instead of their going 
into foreign hands.

At a largely attended meeting at the Federation of Pakistan 
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on macro policies which 
will be pursued in the budget, he said studies are being carried 
out for corporatization of National Bank, KPT and PQA to free them 
from the bureaucratic control.

To restore investors' confidence, he said it has been decided that 
the banks will not institute any case of bank default against 
businessmen without the approval of the State Bank. He said that 
committee has been constituted under his chairmanship to scrutinise 
cases involving businessmen before referring to the National 
Accountability Bureau (NAB).

According to a FPCCI's press release, he said the establishment of 
corporate industrial restructuring corporation which will take over 
the sick units from the banks will be announced in the budget.

According to sources in the meeting, the finance minister said the 
government will consider to cut mark up rate by two per cent in the 
budget 2000-2001. He assured the businessmen that the taxes would 
be reduced in the budget while as per plan the rate of wealth tax 
would be cut in phases.

Later talking to newsmen, he showed his ignorance about the closure 
of 50 per cent markets in Karachi on Saturday after a successful 
negotiations with traders on Friday.

He was satisfied over the talks with traders on Friday which led to 
removal of misunderstandings of the small traders. The response to 
the outcome of the meeting was good and business activity is being 
restored. He added that businessmen in the meeting have welcomed 
the economic policies as well as changes in tax survey forms.

He said he had seen the budget proposals of the FPCCI, saying that 
these are very useful and have been given due consideration. He 
added that most of the FPCCI's budget proposals would be 
incorporated in the up-coming budget.

The government has planned to give its monthly or quarterly expense 
details on website in order to inform the tax payers how their 
taxes are being spent by the government, he said. He assured that 
the problems being faced by the insurance sector relating to 
management expenses, presumptive tax, capital gain tax and the 
central excise duty on insurance policies, created by the finance 
act 1999-2000 would be removed. He said if any issue arises from 
the forthcoming Insurance Ordinance 2000 would be redressed after 
the federal budget.

Earlier, FPCCI president, Fazal ur Rahman Dittu welcomed the 
promise of the finance minister to reform the tax system and 
reiterated the long standing demand of the business community for 
withdrawal of wealth tax, the merger of labour-related levies and 
the separation of judicial and executive arms of the tax 
administration system.

Smart rally in textiles on expected fiscal incentives

KARACHI, June 15: Shares on Thursday maintained their upward drive 
followed by strong selective support aided partly by reports of 
positive pre-budget economic indicators. 
The KSE 100-share index recovered another 33.43 points at 1,492.35.

The day's limelight was, however, stolen by the textile sector as 
most of the leading shares came in for active pre-budget short-
covering, finishing with smart rallies ranging from Rs4.00 to 7.00 
without matching selling.

"Market talk that the textile industry could be the chief 
beneficiary of the fiscal incentives due to be announced in the 
budget was said to be the main force behind the current run-up", 
said a stock analyst.

Being the largest export earner, the army led government seems to 
have decided to give it the needed push to allow it to play its due 
role in the revival of national economy, he added.

But it was pretty difficult to find evidence of speculative buying 
on any of the counters as leading bulls stayed on the sidelines 
awaiting the fiscal steps in the next budget due to be announced on 
June 17.

"Unlike previous years, there are no pre-budget rumours as the 
national budget remained a sacred document until it was officially 
presented to the nation as well as the trade and industry", said a 
leading broker.

The KSE 100-share index rose by 33.43 points at 1,49.35 points as 
compared to 1,458.92 a day earlier, indicating it may breach the 
barrier of 1,500 point in the post-budget sessions during the next 
week if investor perceptions about the new national budget prove 

"I don't call it a big pre-budget event as the market essentially 
responded to its technical demands rather than any budgetary 
leaks", analysts at the KASB & Co said.

But unlike the previous pre-budget sessions, the situation is a bit 
different this year as early June default of some of the members 
and consequent massive losses suffered by the general investors, 
has taken steam out of the market, they added.

"Low daily traded volumes reflect that investors are not inclined 
to make pre-budget short-covering even on the safe havens as the 
direction of the market is still unclear", most floor brokers 

They said the direction of the market will be clear during the 
post-budget sessions based largely on the fiscal steps to boost 
stock trading.

However, smart rallies in most of the textile and synthetic shares 
indicate that some of the leading brokers have found cue about some 
of the fiscal steps being announced in the budget for the export-
oriented industries.

Wednesday's meeting of the APTMA delegation led by its chief Mohsin 
Aziz with the chief executive and his assurance to give needed 
incentives to the textile sector seems to have triggered buystops 
on most of the low-priced as well as some blue chips for capital 

Energy sector also attracted good support followed by reports that 
there will be no change in the retail prices till the next quarter 
ending Sept 1, 2000.

Blue chips on other counters, notably in the chemical and cement 
sectors where rumours of some incentives are due also attracted 
good support.

Barring textile shares, which showed general run-up, leading shares 
on other counters also showed good gains under the lead of 8th ICP, 
English Leasing, Adamjee Insurance, Jamal Din Wali Sugar, Al-Ghazi 
Tractors, Millat Tractors, Lever Brothers and PIC, rising by Rs2.00 
to 45.00.

Losses on the other hand were mostly fractional barring Ellcot 
Textiles, Fazal textiles, Bolan Casting, Century Paper and Artistic 
Denim, which fell by Rs2.00 to 7.00.

But largest decline of Rs7.00 and 25.00 were noted in Attock 
Refinery, Shell Gas and Knoll Pharma, which fell by Rs7.00.10.0 and 
25.00 respectively.

Trading volume did not show any significant change owing to lack of 
speculative buying and fell to 139m shares from the overnight's 
143m shares. Advancing issues held a strong lead over the losers at 
120 to 73, with 35 shares holding on to the last levels.

PTCL again topped the list of most actives modestly higher by 80 
paisa at Rs26.65 on 49m shares followed by Hub-power firm 20 paisa 
at Rs15.40 on 20m shares, PSO higher, up Rs3.80 at Rs 158.00 on 18m 
shares, ICI Pakistan, firm 30 paisa at Rs13.15 on 9m shares and Sui 
Northern, higher 65 paisa at Rs13.40 on 9m shares.

Other actives were led by FFC-Jordan Fertiliser, easy five paisa on 
7m shares, Dewan Salman, up Rs1.55 on 6m shares, Dhan Fibre, steady 
15 paisa on 4m shares, Ibrahim Fibre, firm 10 paisa on 3m shares 
and Lucky Cement, up 25 paisa on 2m shares.

DEFAULTING COMPANIES: Allied Motors came in for active selling and 
was marked down by 10 paisa at Rs1.50 on 13,000 shares followed by 
Gammon Pakistan, easy 15 paisa at Rs9.35 on 5,000 shares, and Hakim 
Textiles, unchanged at 0.50 on 2,500 shares. 

Banks to Open Internet Merchant Accounts

KARACHI, June 15: The State Bank on Thursday allowed banks to open 
Internet Merchant Accounts to regularise the activities of business 
houses already engaged in e-commerce and to bring others into this 

A SBP circular (F.E. 6) says Internet Merchant Accounts can be 
opened either in local currency or in US dollar. It says that those 
desiring to open these accounts will have to submit a copy of their 
national tax number (NTN) certificates to their bank.

The circular says that the accounts can be opened only by the 
people who have a registered place of business in Pakistan. It says 
that those intending to export goods or services must also provide 
a copy of export registration certificate from Export Promotion 

The SBP circular says that such holders of internet merchant 
accounts who want to transact business outside Pakistan would 
submit E-forms worth less than US$ 500 each to their respective 
bank. The bank would submit the same in a consolidated form to SBP 
every month.

Senior bankers say this particular clause of the circular is aimed 
at facilitating software exporters.

The circular says banks shall recover charges on the Internet 
Merchant Accounts in accordance with Prudential Regulations. It 
says any clarification in this regard could be obtained from 
Banking Policy and Regulation Department.

The circular says banks shall be responsible for reporting business 
through these accounts to Foreign Exchange Department of State 
Bank. Banks will be responsible also for reporting any suspected 
transactions against the laws of the country.

Earlier this month the State Bank had asked all banks to set up 
separate units in their offices to ensure proper credit flow 
towards software exporters. It had also asked banks to provide 
export finance to these exporters against the collateral of LCs or 
confirmed orders.

Back to the top
Misguided zeal
Ardeshir Cowasjee

"ALL bigotry is blind and stupid and savage. Sectarian bigotry is 
as bad as inter-religious bigotry. Bigotry stifles reason and the 
bigot in his frenzy is out to force all to believe what he 

This is what we were taught at school in Karachi not very long ago. 
But then our teacher was not a preacher. He was a Dasturan Dastur, 
a Shams-ul-Ulema, a Ph.D. from Colombia (1908), and in 1929 was 
given an honorary D.Litt. from the same university when it 
celebrated its 175th anniversary and honoured its alumni. His name 
was Maneckji Nusserwanjee Dhalla. He died in May 1956.

To move on to what is being taught to the children of today in our 
government schools and colleges and to quote from a recent report 
entitled 'The Menace of Education' written by Pervez Hoodbhoy, a 
member of the Education Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of 
Education, an MIT man, who has managed to remain 'educated' in 
Pakistan. He teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad 
and each year is invited to lecture at MIT and the University of 

"So what are the values currently being transmitted and 
communicated in Pakistan's schools? Obviously there is some 
variation across rich and poor schools, between villages and 
cities, and across provinces. But the basic road-map is provided by 
the school curriculum. Lest there be any confusion the reader 
should know that, by an act of Parliament passed in 1976, there is 
one and only one allowed road-map, prepared by the curriculim wing 
of the federal ministry of education, Government of Pakistan.

"The usefulness of having a national curriculum was soon recognized 
by Gen Zia-ul-Haq. In 1981 he decreed that henceforth Pakistani 
education was to be totally redefined and history rewritten 
according to his vision of Pakistan. From now on the struggle for 
Pakistan was no longer to be shown as a victorious struggle for a 
Muslim homeland. Instead, it was to be depicted as the movement for 
an Islamic state run according to Islamic law. Even if it 
conflicted with reality, the heroes of the Pakistan movement - 
Jinnah, Iqbal, Syed Ahmed Khan - were to be projected as Islamic 
heroes. Furthermore all subjects, including the sciences, were to 
be speedily Islamized."

Consider the impact of the national curriculum objectives on the 
mind of a 12-year old child in his last year at primary school. He 
is not taught to hope for a joyous future, a good life in a peace 
loving country in which goodwill towards man and the well being of 
its citizens prevails. The child is told that life is all about 
battling invisible enemies and that fear is to be feared.

The kindergarten to class v curriculum adopted by the ministry of 
education in 1995 is, to say the least, a bizarre piece of work. At 
the completion of Class V the child has to be able to - 1) explain 
the importance of the work of past heroes of Pakistan. 2) identify 
the great personalities who contributed to the making of Pakistan. 
3) demonstrate an appreciation for the work of Muslim heroes. 4) 
demonstrate respect and reverence for the founder of Pakistan. 5) 
demonstrate respect for the leaders of Pakistan.

How is a child meant to do all this? In fact, how can any sensible 
adult be expected to respect, lumped together, a group consisting 
of, inter alia, Ghulam Mohammed, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq, 
Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto?

Amongst the objectives to be achieved is the ability to - 1) 
understand the Hindu and Muslim differences and the resultant need 
for Pakistan; 2) know all about India's evil designs against 
Pakistan; 3) acknowledge and identify forces that may be working 
against Pakistan; 4) demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of 
Allah; 5) demonstrate the desire to preserve the ideology, 
integrity and security of Pakistan; 6) make speeches on jihad and 
shahadat; 7) guard against rumor mongers who spread false news and 
to stage dramas signifying the evils of rumors; 8) understand the 
Kashmir problem; 9) collect pictures of policemen, soldiers and 
National Guards.

How can a child be expected to preserve ideology of Pakistan? And 
how on earth is a 12-year old expected to understand and know all 
about the 'Kashmir problem'? As for the speechifying, one is 
rendered speechless.

He must also know - 1) the place of Pakistan in world affairs; 2) 
the importance of the location of Pakistan in the world and 
specifically to other Islamic countries; 3) the role of the Defence 
Forces of Pakistan; 4) the functions of the Supreme Court of 
Pakistan; 5) the problems of Pakistan.

He is expected to - 1) discuss electric load-shedding; 2) visit 
garbage dumps and police stations [presumably to define the basic 
differences between the two].

Now to quote from a textbook entitled 'Pakistan Studies' published 
by the government to be taught in Classes IX and X : "After the 
death of Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707 AD his successors could not 
control the vast Moghul Empire and as a result South Asia gradually 
fell prey to the forces of anarchy."One reason given is "the 
spirit of holy struggle and war (Jihad) which was the fountainhead 
of power of Muslim kingdoms faded gradually. Thus the military 
power became weak. Ease and laziness blunted the military prowess."

For some unknown reason, when the story of Pakistan catches up with 
the 20th century and the 1980s, there is a lacuna as to the 
departure of Zia-ul-Haq from the national scene : "Unfortunately 
the Junejo government was dismissed on May 29 1988 after it 
remained in power for three years and two months. The National 
Assembly and the provincial assemblies were dissolved by the 
president. In November 1988, general elections were held on a party 

Discussing factors that lead to the high birth rate in Pakistan, 
the book teaches that the primary factor is the "hot climate of the 
country."And on the secession of East Pakistan, all that the book 
has to say is : "Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan and became 
an independent country in 1971."

Compulsory reading for BA, B.Com, MBBS, and B.Sc Engineering is 
another book entitled 'Pakistan Studies' which attempts to explain 
the ideology of Pakistan : "What does Pakistan mean? It means there 
is no God but Allah."Dr Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi defines it further 
: "Thus the Pakistan ideology is the guiding principle of the 
Muslim majority regions of the South Asian subcontinent for 
obtaining an ideal Muslim state, Pakistan which has been chosen as 
a keynote for passing life, both individually and collectively, 
according to the Islamic conception of life and for resurgence of 
Muslim society."

In the year 2000, we finally have a government which acknowledges 
that education is a most vital sphere of national development : "A 
comprehensive review of the education sector is in progress with 
the aim of identifying specific strategies and actions to ensure 
fundamental and purposeful improvements in every sector of this 
most vital sphere."

The Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, has chosen well as 
far as his education ministers are concerned. Dr Zubeida Jalal, the 
federal minister of education, is a liberal well-qualified woman, 
approved of by all our known and able educationists who in the past 
have had to cope with men such as Ghous Ali Shah. Professor Anita 
Ghulam Ali, the provincial minister in Sindh, has mobilized a team 
of twenty English-speaking university teachers and engaged them in 
rewriting the English text for the Sindh Textbook Board of books 
taught from Class I to Class XII. The minister in Punjab, Akhtar 
Saeed, is also reputed to be liberally educated as is the able and 
indefatigable literacy minister Shaheen Attiqur Rahman. In 
Balochistan, Dr Razia Babar is a Ph.D. in Geography; and in NWFP, 
we also have a liberal man in Imtiaz Gilani.

The six in charge of the country's education, with four women in 
the majority, get on well and form a competent team. They are keen 
to revise the curriculum and with the generals, the mullahs, and 
the politicians busy elsewhere, they should be able to get on with 
the job undisturbed. Cleaning up the curriculum is a must if there 
is to be any worthwhile education imparted to our citizens of the 

How one man can make a difference
Ayaz Amir

Hafez al-Assad never allowed the least hint of unseemly compromise 
to stain either his dignity or his country's. On matters of 
principle he stood like a rock defying both Israel and the United 
States. No chauvinist or mindless gunslinger like his troublesome 
neighbor, Saddam Hussein, he yet went to war when he had to but 
after weighing the odds and calculating the risks at stake. He was 
a thinking man, cerebral and astute. Combined with steadfastness 
and devotion these qualities turned him into a formidable ruler.

Syria before Assad seized total power in 1970 was known for its 
coups, its internecine conflicts and unions and breakups with 
Nasser's Egypt. Assad was no lily-livered democrat and indeed had 
he been one he would not have survived in the Byzantine maze of 
Syrian politics. Dissent therefore had no place in his lexicon. 
When what can loosely be termed as the Muslim brotherhood raised 
the banner of revolt in the city of Hama in 1983, artillery, no 
less, was used to crush them, leaving about 10,000 dead. At home no 
one dared challenge him again. With Assad 'iron hand' was no empty 
metaphor as it has been with successive Pakistani strongmen. When 
it came down on anyone no illusions were left about its weight.

Either through war or peace Assad was not able to wrest the Golan 
back from Israel. This remained a disappointment with him till the 
end. But he gave his country and his people something which, if 
measured in any true scales of justice, was taller than the Golan 
Heights: self-respect. Where other Arab countries were treated (as 
they still are) patronisingly or with derision by Israel and its 
patrons, Syria was not. Assad stood up to Israel and did not barter 
his country's honor for any burlesque peace as the other Arab 
frontline entities did one by one: Egypt, Jordan and finally a 
discredited PLO.

In many of Assad's obituaries it has been said that he gave Syria, 
with its 17 million people, an importance far outweighing its 
military strength. All too true and not without a hard lesson for a 
country such as ours. Assad never 'proclaimed' his country's 
importance or stressed its strategic location. He conducted himself 
with firmness and dignity, stood up to his enemies and stuck by his 
principles. Automatically, as the years rolled by, Syria's 
importance and the reputation of its ruler grew. Contrast this with 
Pakistan. A nation of 140 million souls with a huge military, a 
nation possessed now of nuclear weapons, its leaders forever 
mounting the parapets and proclaiming their country's strategic 
importance, indeed almost beseeching the world to be taken 
seriously, and yet, for all this chest-thumping, treated with scant 

Assad turned the few chips his country had into great and enduring 
advantages. Pursued by God knows what winds of ill fortune we have 
reduced comparatively greater advantages into things of no value. 
Assad was more of a warrior than all the tinpot figures we have had 
put together. But he never went into a war foolishly or without a 
clear recognition of the strategic objectives he wanted to attain.

Along with Sadat he plotted the 1973 war against Israel with the 
aim of breaking the stalemate gripping the Middle East since the 
great debacle of Arab arms in 1967. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 
1982 Assad felt Syria's interests to be threatened and therefore 
fought back by mounting an indirect assault (with the help of 
Lebanese auxiliaries) on the Israeli army. Ultimately Israel had to 
give up the occupation of Beirut and retreat to south Lebanon. In 
the Gulf War Assad sided with the Allied coalition not out of any 
love for the US but because Saddam's occupation of Kuwait posed a 
threat to Syria and the regional balance of power.

Consider the mess we have made of our wars. The 1965 we triggered 
without a clear conception of what we were trying to gain. The 1971 
war was imposed on us as a consequence of our own follies. In 
Afghanistan we got involved for a few pieces of silver. The silver 
has long since gone, the wreckage and detritus of that thoughtless 
involvement remain. And in Kargil.... But let Kargil be for this 
was a piece of folly which only a Homer writing of another Trojan 
War can do full justice to. Would an Assad ever have contemplated 
such an ill-conceived adventure?

Each of Assad's conflicts reinforced his country's claim to be 
taken seriously. Each of our wars has dealt a blow to our self-
confidence and diminished our importance in the world's eyes. No 
one had the gumption to tell Assad that Syria should forget about 
the Golan Heights. Everyone is telling us to forget Kashmir and get 
on with life. This has less to do with the merits of the dispute, 
or indeed with anything India might have done, than with our 
diminished standing in the world. It is true Kashmir is disputed 
territory while the Golan is a slice of the Syrian fatherland. But 
then if Syria had been weak Israel and the US would have treated 
even this fact with contempt.

No fiction is more misleading than the one which claims that Kargil 
highlighted the importance of the Kashmir dispute. A few more such 
high-lightings and we can say goodbye to Kashmir, even its memory 
wiped clean from the international slate. But as if enough is not 
enough, consider the fresh pantomime being performed, with a former 
prime minister putting blame for the Kargil fiasco on the army high 
command and the high command, through its professional surrogates, 
calling the former prime minister's action shameful and an act of 

To begin with, Kargil was not our finest hour. If ever there was a 
shambles we walked into with our eyes open it was that. Of course 
our men fought valiantly. There is no question about it. But that 
is the whole point. What were their heroic and great sacrifices 
for? In the pursuit of what clear-sighted aim did they lay down 
their lives? Our soldiers and young officers fought no less 
gallantly in the great encounters of 1965 and 1971. But to what 
end? There has never been a shortage of bravery in the Pakistan 
army. But what about shortsightedness and lack of strategic 
brilliance at the highest levels? There has been no shortage of 
that either.

Nawaz Sharif disclaims responsibility for the Kargil fiasco. That's 
a lie. He and the then army command were equally responsible for it 
or else what was he doing as prime minister? The full story of 
Kargil from our side will never be written because revealing the 
truth about our past has never been our forte. If heavy curtains of 
silence are drawn around other shabby episodes in our history why 
should Kargil be any different? Still, if the truth is too painful 
why fall back on fantasies? By exonerating himself of all blame 
Nawaz Sharif is weaving a fantasy. By giving full vent to a 
misplaced indignation, the government is trying to weave a counter-
fantasy. Both are doing no service to the country.

Actually, the prosecutor general on the accountability front, 
Farooq Adam, is greatly to blame for all this fuss. Why did he 
allow Nawaz Sharif to make statements to the press? By allowing 
Nawaz Sharif to meet newsmen freely, Farooq Adam must have thought 
he was being a gentleman. Nawaz Sharif, being who he is, took full 
advantage of the fact. Why should anyone be surprised? If Nawaz 
Sharif made a career out of taking advantage of other people, 
especially his benefactors, can he change his spots now?

Still, since the issue is once more fresh, a few more words about 
Kargil may be in order. If it was a blunder, the humiliation of the 
Washington Declaration flowed inexorably from it. Why blame Nawaz 
Sharif alone for this blow to what remained of Pakistani pride? 
After all he was only being himself and not Hafez al-Assad for he 
was no Hafez al-Assad. The best thing we can do therefore is to 
forget that Kargil and the Washington climbdown ever happened. We 
have never been at a loss for inventing myths. In the highest 
national interest let us invent another one.

Let the Chief Executive also abide by this myth and not keep 
exhuming the corpse of the Kargil operation as he has done again in 
a newspaper interview by saying that India had suffered huge 
casualties in the Kargil fighting. If what we ultimately suffered 
was a defeat in every sense of the word, of what consolation to us 
can be the extent of Indian casualties? It is like Germany saying 
that it lost the war but inflicted huge casualties on the Russians.

Another thing. In all the heat of official indignation in response 
to Nawaz Sharif's Kargil revelations not a word has been uttered 
about one telling revelation: that we lost more officers and men in 
Kargil than in the whole of the 1965 war. Shattering if true. 
Despicable on Nawaz Sharif's part if false. In any case, the nation 
deserves to know.

But I have digressed. In countries like ours where institutions are 
weak individuals matter enormously. Someone like Assad can bring 
honour even to a small country. Marionettes and dummies can bring 
disgrace to even bigger ones. Syria was lucky to have someone like 
Assad for 30 years. It has been our misfortune to have a string of 
windbags and empty vessels for much longer than that.

Pakistan retain boxing title
Shazad Ali

  KARACHI, June 13: Pakistan retained the Green Hill Cup 
international boxing title after capturing six gold, five silver 
and seven bronze on the last day here at the UBL Sports Complex on 

Thailand, previous championship's runners-up, finished second with 
three gold medals and 18 points. However, Thais earned an 
additional reward when their lightweight Somchai Nakbaree was 
adjudged as the best boxer of the Tournament.

The federal minister for sports, Derek Cyprian gave the winning 
trophy to the Pakistan Greens manager Major Zubair and coach Juan 
Heredia Dussace.

Pakistan Greens' featherweight Haider Ali bagged the gold in style 
when he outpunched Japan's Yasunati Yashimura 13-4.

Haider displayed fine boxing tactics while the Japanese remained 
unimpressive in the second round. Haider continued his magical form 
in the third round without facing any significant resistance from 
the Japanese to win the bout without being made to sweat.

Welterweight Usmanullah Khan reigned supreme against his Pakistan 
Whites' compatriot Kashif Mumtaz who lost with a slim margin of 12-

Though Kashif was energetic, he failed to land his punches on 
target while seasoned Usman kept on scoring points.

Kashif retaliated in the final round and fought well but to no 

Manon Boon Jumnong of Thailand, in the welterweight category, 
defeated Pakistan Greens Ghulam Shabbir 14-8 for gold. After an 
evenly contested first two rounds, Ghulam inflicted a few upper 
cuts on Jumnong in the third round but failed to match his rivals 
aggressiveness in the fourth to settle for silver medal.

Olympic qualifier Riaz Durganed of Mauritius, in the bantamweight 
final, made a cautious start against Pakistan Whites' Sohail Baloch 
before displaying his true skills to punish the local boy which 
forced the jury stopped the contest in the final round.

Sohail had a tough time and could not face the hard-hitting 
Durganed who used his upper cuts and swings to subdue the 

In the lightweight final fracas, Thailand's Somchai Nakbaree did 
not have any difficulty in thrashing Hirama Naoto of Japan 17-5.

Somchai judged his rival in the first round and unleased some 
ferocious power punches in the second and third rounds. The 
Japanese, however, fought courageously in the final round but it 
was all over as Somchai utilized every ounce of his energy to 
defeat the Japanese.

Another light middleweight Thai clasped the gold as he beat Iranian 
Olympic qualifier Babak Moghimi 12-8 with ease. The Iranian, 
though, was not disgraced as he put up a good show.

Pakistan aim to upset Sri Lankan party

COLOMBO, June 13: Pakistan aim to dampen Sri Lanka's centenary 
celebrations when they meet in the home side's 100th Test match 
starting on Wednesday here at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) 

Pakistan's only objective is to beat the Sri Lankans to make up for 
the defeats they suffered at home earlier this year.

Pakistan lost a Test series 2-1 and one-dayers 3-0 to Sri Lanka but 
since then have shown a marked improvement under the leadership of 
Moin Khan.

"We have a defeat by the Sri Lankans at home in our minds. The boys 
are focussed on it now. If the weather permits, I can assure that 
it will have great significance. We are keen to put the record 
straight,"Moin told reporters on Tuesday.

Although Pakistan's two-day tour opener against a Board XI was 
washed out without a ball bowled due to rain, Moin said that his 
boys were in good touch and they didn't need much practice.

"We are ready for the Test matches,"said Moin.

Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga will be leading the 
celebrations, his inclusion in Wednesday's game making him the 
first cricketer to appear in his country's inaugural and 100th 

Left-hander Ranatunga was an 18-year-old schoolboy when he played 
in Sri Lanka's first Test against England in Colombo in February 
1982. He has represented his country in 87 Tests and is currently 
the world's longest serving Test cricketer.

It will be a memorable occasion for him if he can celebrate his 
country's 100th Test with a good knock on his home ground.

"It is a big occasion for Sri Lanka cricket playing the 100th Test 
match. I am very happy to be the captain of such an occasion. 
Everybody is keen to play in this Test especially Arjuna,"said Sri 
Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya.

"Everyone is happy for him and the entire team is supporting him 
and wish him good luck,"Jayasuriya said.

He said the loss in the Asia Cup final to Pakistan in Dhaka was 
only a temporary setback and it was excusable because his team had 
been playing so well for the past ten months.

"We want to continue playing the way we have been doing by 
supporting each other. Pakistan are anyway a tough side whether 
they play at home or away. But if we stick to our basics instead of 
trying to do too much, we can do well against them,"said 

Another player who will be looking for a personal milestone is 
former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram.

Wasim Akram, who arrived here on Tuesday for the tour, requires 
only two wickets to become only the fourth bowler in Test history 
to take 400 wickets.

Akram, who is the only bowler to take over 400 wickets in One-day 
Internationals, goes into the Test against Sri Lanka with 398 
wickets from 95 Tests.

He has a very good chance of joining the elite company of West 
Indian Courtney Walsh (449), India's Kapil Dev (434) and New 
Zealand's Sir Richard Hadlee (431) as the only four bowlers to 
cross the mark at the highest level of the game.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will have to decide whether to play newcomer 
paceman Dilhara Fernando or left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

Pakistan will name their side on the morning of the Test after 
seeing the condition of the pitch following the heavy rain of the 
last few weeks.-Reuters/AFP

Tauqir terms charge as 'rubbish'

KARACHI, June 12: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) described Ali 
Bacher's allegations as "rubbish"and "far from truth". Lt Gen 
Tauqir Zia, chairman of the PCB, said from Mangla that it was 
Bacher's attempt to on fuse the issue. He questioned that if Bacher 
knew that match-fixing had been taking place for a long time, why 
he chose to reveal the details now.

"Has Bacher ever told any PCB official? Bob Woolmer is on record to 
have said that he informed Bacher about his suspicion of match-
fixing in South African team but he turned a blind eye to the 
issue. Now how can he be believed,"the general said.

The PCB chief said That Bacher did not make any revelations about 
the fixed matches at at the ICC meeting at Lord's last month which 
was specifically called to consider the crisis having emerged after 
Cronje's confession.

Zia said the board will not initiate any inquiry to investigate the 
claims of Bacher. "The onus is now on Bacher. If he comes up with 
evidence, I will be the first one to support him and reopen the 

"But until he substantiates the allegations, against whom would I 
conduct an inquiry.

"We will consult our legal advisors and seek advice how to go about 
this issue,"the PCB boss said.

He, however, revealed that Ali Bacher formally informed Ehsan Mani, 
PCB's representative in International Cricket Council (ICC), on 
Sunday that he would be informing Justice Edwin King about 
information that Pakistan played two fixed matches in the World 

"Our reaction was very straight and clear: `go ahead but provide 
the evidence also'. I know that He said Yawar Saeed called Majid 
and inquired whether he had tipped Bacher off.

Zia said Majid claimed that since he was a former cricketer, he 
could figure it out what was wrong, and was it being done 
deliberately or unintentionally. "This is insufficient evidence.

"Besides, why Majid didn't inform the present PCB. 

He didn't talk to us. Had he passed on some information to us, we 
might have considered our options because he is such a great 
statured cricketer whose credibility can not be doubted."

Zia said there seems to be no end to the issue because any cricket 
board official can stand up and accuse two teams of being involved 
in fixing a match.

"If accusations are to be levelled without any evidence, I can 
stand up and say South Africa fixed a match with Zimbabwe in the 
World Cup or South Africa allowed England to win the Test by two 
wickets after both the sides had forfeited their innings."

Lt Gen Aziz to take over as PHF chief
Farhana Ayaz

ISLAMABAD, June 14: The crisis in Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) 
ten weeks before the Sydney Olympics is set to come to an end with 
Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aziz Khan replacing Arif Abbasi as 
president, highly placed sources disclosed here on Wednesday.

Hectic meetings took place at Rawalpindi and Islamabad before the 
decision was finalised, it was learnt. Abbasi has been asked to 
resign in view of the prevailing scenario which has adversely 
affected Pakistan's Olympic campaign apart from causing 
embarrassment to the country at international level.

The authorities, however, were also not keen on retaining Brig 
(Retd) M. Atif as secretary and he too is expected to be replaced, 
it was learnt.

Inzamam 5th, Saeed 6th, Wasim 8th in Test rankings

LONDON, June 14: Brian Lara has lost his top spot in the Price 
water house Coopers Test rankings to India's Sachin Tendulkar. The 
former West Indies captain, holder of both the world record first-
class score and test score, makes a return to the international 
arena in the first test against England on Thursday after taking a 
three-month break from the game.

Pakistan vice-captain improved his ranking to fifth while replacing 
compatriot Saeed Anwar who slipped to sixth after missing the Test-
series in the West Indies.

South African Shaun Pollock retains the top bowling spot in the 

However, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram improved three places 
when he finished at eighth after being 11th in the previous 
ratings. He is the only Pakistani in the top 10.

Batsmen (previous position in brackets) (tabulated under player, 
team, points, career average)

1. (2) Sachin Tendulkar India 863 55.37; 2. (1) Brian Lara West 
Indies 856 51.60; 3. (3) Steve Waugh Australia 841 50.43; 4. (4) 
Ricky Ponting Australia 804 47.51; 5. (6) Inzamam-ul-Haq Pakistan 
788 45.48; 6. (5) Saeed Anwar Pakistan 778 46.53; 7. (7) Aravinda 
de Silva Sri Lanka 775 43.89; 8. (8) Justin Langer Australia 767 
41.75; 9. (12) Alec Stewart England 760 41.19; 10.(11) Jacques 
Kallis South Africa 747 43.16

Bowlers (tabulated under player, team, points, career average):

1. (1) Shaun Pollock South Africa 905 20.33; 2. (2) Glenn McGrath 
Australia 896 22.42; 3. (3) Allan Donald South Africa 877 21.59; 4. 
(4) Curtly Ambrose West Indies 824 21.09; 5. (5) Muttiah 
Muralitharan Sri Lanka 763 26.30; 6. (6) Brett Lee Australia 735 
16.06; 7. (8) Courtney Walsh West Indies 733 25.12; 8. (11) Wasim 
Akram Pakistan 726 22.91; 9. (7) Anil Kumble India 722 28.01; 10. 
(10) Heath Streak Zimbabwe 701 23.06-Reuters

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