------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 11 November 2000 Issue : 06/43 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Tarar to inaugurate IDEAS-2000: 160 foreign firms to take part + General Pervez Musharraf to attend Doha summit + Govt to complete tenure: ISPR + Musharraf, Nazarbayev hold talks + CE pledges to change police character + Al-Khalid tank production to begin soon + New plane, radar system to be displayed + Law soon to dismiss 'corrupt' officials + Pakistan says DPs create problems: Closure of Borders + Pakistan supports India-Iran pipeline + Govt-traders talks inconclusive + Benazir urges European Union pressure on Govt + Kuwait refuses to lift ban on Pakistanis + Pakistan facing expanding deserts, warns UN --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Foreign loans stand at $32.7bn: Deficit may not be contained + ECOtalks end with accord on energy + World Bank brokers talks with HUBCO + South Africa levies dumping duty on Bed-linen import + Pakistan exports reach $2.9 billion during July-Oct + Islamic Development Bank to disburse $150m soon + Star TV secures licence in Pakistan + Islamabad pushes for oil, gas from Central Asia + State Bank report hints at IMF accord by month-end --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Laughing at ourselves Ardeshir Cowasjee + The suave and the cheerless Ayaz Amir + The deepening contradiction Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Probables named for Test camp

160 foreign firms to take part: Tarar to inaugurate IDEAS-2000

ISLAMABAD, Nov 4: President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar will be the chief 
guest at the international defence exhibition "IDEAS-2000" being 
organised in Karachi from Nov 14.

Indigenously produced, upgraded and improved conventional weapons, 
besides defence equipments, uniform and machinery would be 
displayed at the exhibition that will conclude on Nov 17.

It is hoped that the country would be able to make a major 
breakthrough in the competitive international weapon market by 
organizing such a high profile event.

Though the defence production is being exhibited for the 
attraction of the buyer for the first time this year, it will be a 
permanent feature in the future thus enabling the country to earn 
foreign exchange in a bid to restrengthen the national economy.

Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf is taking keen interest 
in the Defence Exhibition, which is evident from the fact that he 
himself has extended invitations to the leaders of different 
countries and recently visited the site of the Exhibition to 
remain abreast of the progress of the project.

Over 1,000 foreign guests from around 41 countries all over the 
globe have confirmed their joining the moot.

The countries like France, Italy, China, Romania, Malaysia, 
Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey beside Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Syria, 
Palestine have confirmed their participation.

Seven defence ministers, six chairmen/chiefs of defence staff and 
seven chiefs of staff are among the delegates who are arriving to 
attend the exhibition.

A comprehensive plan has been chalked out to introduce these 
delegates to foreign and domestic exhibitors besides their 
meetings with the president, chief executive and other high 
ranking officials have also been planned. All activities regarding 
the guests arrival and their visits have been worked out.

A mobility display at the exhibition venue and PN Show at the 
Naval Dockyard will begin the same day besides the Governor's 
reception in honour of the delegates would be among the highlights 
of the first day events.

The next day, apart from the exhibition at Expo Centre the 
delegates, high ranking officials, corporate executives and 
prominent citizens have also been invited to a gala evening while 
the last day features include live firing, aerial display by PAF 
fighter planes at PAF firing range Sonmiani.

In the firing display two F-6 will perform a fly past, one Super 
Mushak and one K-8 will perform Solo Aerobatics while a Mirage 
will carry out a supersonic run. Two F-16 with two MK-84 bombs, 
four F-7 with 25, 30MM ammo will undertake strafing attack while 
two Mirages with two MK-82 pre-frag bombs, two Mirages with 1 PSD-
1 and two F-16s with 12 KM-82 bombs will perform through Air 

Tank T-59 MII, Baktar Shikan, Tank T-85 will perform the "Static 
Firing" and "Firing on the Move" along with Anza and TAM display 
with live mines.

The HQ 5 Corps has been given the responsibility of the security, 
local coordination, communication and traffic control while HQ 
Commander Karachi will receive the delegates besides arranging the 
Naval display. HQ Southern Air Command is looking after the firing 
display whereas the provincial home secretary is looking after the 
coordination with local civic agencies, he added.

In the exhibition 40 companies are representing Pakistan out of a 
total of 200 companies, 20 countries altogether have around 100 
stalls while Pakistan, China, Turkey, Romania and Italy have their 
separate pavilions.-APP

General Pervez Musharraf to attend Doha summit

ISLAMABAD, Nov 10: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf will 
lead Pakistan delegation to the Ninth Islamic Summit being held in 
Doha from Nov 12 to 14.

In view of the current grave situation in the occupied Arab 
territories, the issue of Palestine is expected to occupy centre- 
stage at the Summit.

The Foreign Office said on Friday that the Ninth Islamic Summit 
will also focus on the Kashmir issue and is expected to consider 
two separate draft resolutions on "The Jammu and Kashmir dispute" 
and "The escalation of tensions in Jammu and Kashmir."

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir will also be extensively 
discussed in the meetings of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and 

Representatives of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) from 
both sides of the Line of Control and the Prime Minster of Azad 
Jammu and Kashmir are also expected to attend these meetings.

Pakistan delegation will actively participate in a number of 
issues of importance to Pakistan including, Afghanistan, Bosnia 
Herzegovina and Kosovo, the question of reform and expansion of 
the Security Council, and security and solidarity of Islamic 

As in the past, Pakistan will present a number of proposals in the 
field of security and disarmament for endorsement by the Summit.-

Govt to complete tenure: ISPR

WASHINGTON, Nov 5: Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi, press secretary to the 
chief executive and head of ISPR, has told the Washington Post 
that there is no question of any civilian setup as the Musharraf 
government will continue till it completes the task undertaken by 

The Washington Post quoted him on Sunday as saying: "There is no 
question of deviating from the objectives. There is no thought of 
any change or any civilian setup. We will continue and complete 
the task we have undertaken."

In a dispatch from Islamabad, the newspaper's correspondent said 
that while there had been reports in the Pakistani media recently 
about Gen Pervez Musharraf meeting an array of political leaders 
and was said to be considering their recommendations to move up 
the elections, establish a semi-civilian or caretaker government 
or even restore the National Assembly, "military officials denied 
that any such changes are being contemplated".

They said the chief executive was determined to continue with his 
reforms and hand over political power on schedule.

Gen Qureshi told the newspaper, "there has been a little 
frustration and bewilderment about why the Pakistani media is not 
giving the government a fair chance."

The report said the chief executive was concentrating on improving 
tax collection, pursuing financial corruption and decentralizing 
political power by holding non-partisan elections, starting at the 
grassroots level.-APP

Musharraf, Nazarbayev hold talks 

ASTANA, Nov 6: Kazakhstan pushed for a role as peacemaker in the 
ongoing Afghan civil war on Monday during a two-day visit by the 
Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.

The brutal Afghan conflict between the Taliban and opposition 
Northern Alliance was a key theme in talks between Gen Musharraf 
and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president's press 
office said.

Nazarbayev told Gen Musharraf that Kazakhstan was prepared to 
"regulate contacts and hold talks with representatives of all 
movements and groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban," 
according to the press office.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov stressed the need for all 
warring factions to reach a truce.

"Even if one of the groups... gains complete power in the country 
it is not a path to peace. We think the path to peace can be 
decided through a wide consensus of all participants of the 
situation in Afghanistan," Idrisov said.

"Kazakhstan has no allergy towards any single group...in 
Afghanistan. All we want to see is a government which...can bring 
the country to peace and bring it into the international community 
as a fully fledged member," he said.

Gen Musharraf, meanwhile, welcomed Astana's "readiness to enable 
an inter-Afghan settlement in the name of lasting peace", the 
press office said.

Gen Musharraf's visit follows hot on the heels of that of Saudi 
Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. Saudi Arabia also 
recognizes the Taliban.-AFP/Reuters

CE pledges to change police character

SIHALA, Nov 10: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Friday 
called upon the police to establish the writ of the state by 
ensuring supremacy of the law of the land, and provide justice to 
the poor across the country.

He was addressing police officers and men at the Police Training 
College Sihala on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, here on Friday. 
"Police must establish the writ of the government, ensure law and 
order, and provide justice to the common man," he exhorted the 
police officials.

The police should step forward to change the current image of 
Pakistan that, "it is a soft state where laws are not adhered to 
and law enforcing agencies do not check it."

"People have lost trust of the police, it must be restored as 
police is not to rule but to serve the people," said Gen 

The government, he said, was committed to providing Rs 40 billion 
for introducing police reforms and to ensure the requisite 
facilities to it, before pinning hopes on it to improve its 

The Chief Executive said the police should never maltreat the 
poor, rather it should not allow the influential to do injustice 
to the common man.

Police should treat the masses in a polite way and should not try 
to subjugate them, he added.

General Musharraf said he did not hold police responsible for the 
present state of affairs prevalent in this force because its 
politicization during past decades had affected its performance.

The merit and the requisite training for the police were ignored. 
Those who joined police on the basis of merit and those who were 
recruited without any calibre became equal. This has affected its 
performance as a law enforcing agency.

Sharing the common perception prevalent among the masses, he said, 
the poor suffered because the police took side of the affluent or 
those with resources. It really pained him when police resorted to 
be harsh with the poor who is already perturbed owing to many 
other tribulations. This should not be done. Rather police must 
help change the present culture of the police stations across the 

Gen. Musharraf said the government would provide accommodation, 
transport to the police stations and would also revise pay 
structure of all the employees once the needed funds were 
available. He said that he was cognizant of the requirements.

He said once all the needed facilities are available to the police 
only then he would have expectations from police to deliver the 
goods and prove itself to be the custodian of the law.

He lamented that unfortunately there were some people who take 
pride in breaking the law or violating the traffic signal. On the 
other hand, the credibility of law enforcing agencies had touched 
the lowest ebb as they would not check the influential but would 
apprehend the poor who had no clout.

The Chief Executive said he considered army and police as sister 
organizations as they were men in uniform and had almost similar 
thinking. There are good or bad people in every department, he 

Referring to the use of teargas and baton charge during one day 
match between Pakistan and England at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium 
recently, he said, people without tickets, managed to enter while 
those with tickets were standing outside. He lamented "why cannot 
we organise anything in a proper way."

This is an unfortunate situation and if it is not checked, the 
prevalent conditions of the country would not improve, he said.-

Al-Khalid tank production to begin soon

ISLAMABAD, Nov 6: Pakistan is all set to start serial production 
of its main battle tank Al-Khalid.

Al-Khalid, developed by Pakistan, underwent extended and extensive 
tests and trials by the army before it was approved for pilot 

The chairman of Heavy Industry, Taxila, Lt-Gen Hamid Javaid, said 
on Monday:"For its design Pakistan has collaborated with major 
tank designers of the world, including China,the United Kingdom, 
France, Ukraine and a number of other countries."

Project director Brig Asaad said:"The tank is equipped with a 
modern weapons system. Al-Khalid is a result of the advanced 
technology that is available in the world today.-APP

New plane, radar system to be displayed

KARACHI, Nov 10: A four-day international defence exhibition, 
which will begin here on Tuesday, will mark the launching of 
Pakistan-built Super Mashak aircraft and Grifo-7 radar system, 
besides exposing the indigenously-built tanks
 and other military hardware to an international military 
audience, sources said on Friday.

The aircraft and the radar system had been developed by the Kamra 
aeronautical complex, they added.

The sources said Grifo-7 radar was a coherent fire control system, 
designed to fit into the cockpit nose of F-7P aircraft, and added 
that the system had been developed in collaboration with an 
Italian company.

The Super Mashak was a single-piston engine aircraft, with a 
seating capacity of three, the sources said.

The only Mirage rebuild factory in the world was located at Kamra 
whereas about 2,500 Mirages were flying the world over. To draw 
buyers' interest to Kamra rebuild capabilities, a Mirage aircraft 
would also be on display in the "Ideas 2000 Pakistan, arms for 
peace,"the sources said.

In addition, the locally-developed Al-Khalid and Al-Zarar tanks, 
which represented upgradation of T-59 tanks, with a 125mm smooth 
bore gun and 700 HP engine; plus armoured personnel carriers, 
tank-crossing bridges, missiles and communication systems, 
developed in the country, would also be on display, the sources 

Law soon to dismiss 'corrupt' officials
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Nov 9: The government is currently busy in finalising a 
draft law that will equip the government with the power of 
summarily dismissing "corrupt" and "inefficient" bureaucrats.

Official sources told Dawn here on Thursday that the draft being 
discussed by the authorities, suggested the removal of "known 
corrupt" by merely issuing the show-cause notice.

The authorities intend to avoid being dragged into normal 
disciplinary proceedings which include holding of proper inquiry 
to judge whether the accused officer is really involved in the 
charges he is facing.

Sources said that the draft law had already been discussed at the 
highest level during the last week. A high-level committee headed 
by law minister Aziz A Munshi and comprising Tariq Aziz, principal 
secretary to the chief executive and secretaries of the law, 
cabinet and establishment divisions as members is assigned by the 
CE to evolve the strategy for getting rid of known corrupt who are 
otherwise untouchable owing to non-availability of concrete 
documentary evidence.

The military government is reportedly finding its hands legally 
tied up in tightening the noose around the corrupt officials. The 
authorities admit that the government is facing a dilemma - it 
knows the bureaucracy contains corrupt officials but cannot remove 
them owing to the non-availability of the evidence.

The new legislation, according to a source, was being contemplated 
to get a solution to this problem. The draft law, which was not 
yet final, suggested that the corrupt officials should be removed 
from service merely by issuing a show-cause notice, the source 

Pakistan says DPs create problems: Closure of Borders 

ISLAMABAD, Nov 10: "There has to be an end to the influx of 
foreigners, Afghan refugees, into Pakistan," Hasan Raza Pasha, 
secretary of the Interior Ministry, said on Friday.

Talking to Reuters, he said: "It has created all sorts of 
problems, not just economic." The move, foreshadowed by growing 
complaints about the burden of sheltering millions of Afghans, 
comes as the number of refugees has been rising again because of 
severe drought and a upsurge in the civil war in Afghanistan.

The United Nations, while expressing understanding for Pakistan, 
appealed for it to drop the closure and admit those who have 
legitimate reasons to leave Afghanistan.

"I think it is fair to say that Pakistan cannot afford any more 
Afghan refugees; it has been more than 20 years," said Ahmed Said 
Farah, the Islamabad-based head of the UN High Commissioner for 
Refugees programme for Afghanistan.

"However, we would prefer to see a continuation, particularly with 
this new group," he said in an interview with Reuters television.

"If the border is closed we can never tell who is coming here on 
the basis of conflict, who is coming on the basis of drought. I am 
sure it will create further difficulties."

Khalid Mansour, spokesman for the UN's World Food Programme said 
2,500 families - 15,000 individuals - had arrived and sought 
assistance in the past three months. An unknown number did not 
need help and were outside the refugee camps.

"We had discussions with the Afghan government back in May that we 
would require valid travel documents for all who wish to cross 
over," Pasha said. "There has to be an end to this open-door 
situation so we have asked the provincial governments to enforce 
the decision."

STRAINS ON PAKISTAN: Pasha said the move had been prompted mainly 
by the economic and social strains of hosting millions of Afghans. 
Officially there are some 1.2 million refugees - down from a peak 
during the fighting against Soviet occupation in the 1980s - but 
the undocumented numbers in Pakistani cities put the total above 
two million.

Pasha said a secondary reason for the closure was security 
concerns, following a series of unexplained bombings in cities in 
recent months.

Pakistan told Sadako Ogata, then the UN High Commissioner for 
Refugees, during a visit in September that it wanted Afghans to go 
home - a view also expressed by Iran, which has been forcing out 
some Afghan refugees. Pakistan has also accused the West of losing 
interest in the problems created for Pakistan by the Afghan 
fighting once Soviet troops were driven out a decade ago.

Pakistan supports India-Iran pipeline: Tarar opens ECO energy moot
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Nov 8: President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar said on Wednesday 
that Pakistan's backing to the Iran-India gas pipeline project 
showed its commitment to closer regional economic ties.

Inaugurating the ECO Energy\Petroleum Ministers Meeting held under 
the auspices of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, the 
president said that Pakistan-Turkmenistan gas pipeline project 
with possible extension to India was another example of sector 
cooperation between ECO member states. The project, he said, had 
run into some difficulties due to the reasons beyond Pakistan's 
control, but it was still a viable venture.

The president said that the ECO should pool its capabilities and 
resources for the mutual benefit. He said that the ECO region, 
with its vast human and natural resources, had the potential of 
emerging into an effective international economic force.

Out of total ten members of ECO, three deputy ministers of Turkey, 
Iran and Turkmenistan participated in the conference. Afghanistan 
was not invited to attend the conference as most of the members do 
not recognise the Taliban government.

The president said that one of the biggest challenges being faced 
by the ECO region was the attainment of sustainable economic 
growth through peaceful co-existence and global political 

Success in meeting these challenges, he said, lied in putting up a 
united front through greater regional cooperation. The president 
said that common cultural heritage of ECO countries provided a 
fundamental basis for a long-lasting bond.

Govt-traders talks inconclusive
Ahmad Hassan

PESHAWAR, Nov 7: The meeting between traders and a government team 
held in Islamabad on Tuesday remained inconclusive owing to non-
release of the traders detained by the local administration in 
three days of clashes with the police last week.

A traders delegation had left for Islamabad in the hope that their 
colleagues would be released by the time the talks began. However, 
that could not happen due to out-of-Peshawar engagements of NWFP 
Governor Syed Iftikhar.

Sources told Dawn that there was a difference of opinion between 
the traders and the administration over the commitment made with 
them during their meeting with the governor.

According to traders, it was agreed that all the detainees would 
be released as a gesture of goodwill. The government side, 
however, insisted that the "proved miscreants" would have to 
undergo interrogation and trial.

The deputy commissioner of Peshawar told this correspondent that 
51 traders had so far been released, leaving 33 others behind and 
none of them was likely to be released on Tuesday.

Haji Haleem Jan, president of the Peshawar Traders Action 
Committee and member of the delegation that attended the meeting 
in Islamabad, told Dawn by telephone that the trade leaders during 
a "brief" meeting with the government team headed by Privatisation 
Commission chairman Salim Altaf and chief executive's principal 
secretary Tariq Aziz had clarified that no talks could prove 
fruitful until all the traders were released.

"Hence, today's meeting was postponed and next meeting was fixed 
for Saturday on 11.30am," he said.

Ihtashamul Haque adds from Islamabad: The government accepted a 
major demand of traders for inducting their nominees in the CBR 
teams that would scrutinize income tax returns filed under the 
self-assessment scheme.

The representatives of the traders met Mr Saleem and Mr Aziz and 
discussed with them the implementation of the agreement reached 
with the government on Aug 27. Mr Saleem told Dawn that the 
purpose of the meeting was to solve the traders' problems relating 
to income tax, turn over tax, stocks, etc.

He pointed out that now there had been left no major contentious 
issues that needed clarification to have a better government-
trader relationship.

Benazir urges European Union pressure on Govt
Shadaba Islam

BRUSSELS, Nov 10: Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto 
on Wednesday urged European Union governments to step up pressure 
on Pakistan's rulers to steer the country back to democratic rule.

The appeal comes only days before EU governments send a high-level 
mission to Islamabad to resume political contacts with Pakistan 
after a year-long freeze in relations following the military take-

The EU delegation is expected in Pakistan on November 21-22.

Speaking to Dawn while on a brief visit to Brussels, Ms Bhutto 
said the EU must understand that only democratic rule could ensure 
the "stability and unity" of Pakistan.

"Pakistan is drifting in a sea of violence and conflict" that 
could only be ended through a return to democratic rule, the 
former premier claimed. "Pakistan's unity and integrity can best 
be generated by democratic government," she stressed.

The EU and the United States must therefore increase pressure for 
a return to democracy and work to reschedule Pakistan's foreign 
debt burden, Bhutto added.

The PPP leader claimed she saw no proof of Western support for 
General Pervez Musharraf. "I find the international community has 
serious reservations about the military junta but wants to engage 
in dialogue to address its concerns about certain issues." "There 
is total lack of backing for the junta," she maintained.

Kuwait refuses to lift ban on Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD, Nov 9: Kuwait has refused to lift ban imposed on the 
issuance of work permits and visas to Pakistanis saying they were 
involved in drug trafficking and pose a security risk.

The refusal has been communicated to Islamabad through a letter 
sent by Kuwait government recently.

The Kuwait government imposed restrictions on the issuance of new 
work permits and visas for Pakistani workers suspecting them of 
being involved in drug trafficking.

Kuwait's response has come in the wake of Islamabad's request to 
lift restrictions imposed by Kuwaiti immigration authorities on 
the issuance of work permits and visas to Pakistanis.

Pakistan Labour and Overseas Pakistanis Minister Omar Asghar Khan 
last month visited Kuwait where he met Kuwaiti Minister for Social 
Affairs and Labour Abdul Wahab Al Wazzan and discussed this 

In its letter, the Kuwait government has formally turned down 
Pakistan's request and told Islamabad that another reason to 
impose restrictions on Pakistani nationals along with national of 
some other countries is that Pakistanis are also a "risk to its 
national security". 

The Kuwait government said that before taking a final decision 
regarding lifting restrictions on Pakistani workers, the Pakistani 
and Kuwait interior ministries need to hold a meeting to evolve a 
mechanism to stop the unwanted practice of drug smuggling.

Pakistan facing expanding deserts, warns UN

BANGKOK, Nov 8: Widespread desertification is threatening large 
swaths of land in India, China and Pakistan and could have 
catastrophic consequences on human and animal populations, the 
United Nations said here on Wednesday.

"The desert is encroaching on massive areas in western China, 
affecting areas containing 400 million people," Hama Arba Diallo, 
Executive Secretary to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification 

"The desert has moved to within 100 miles of Beijing, and in the 
long-term this desertification will have serious effects on food 
scarcity and people's health and will force more people to 
migrate," he said.

Chinese officials earlier this year said their country was losing 
2,460 square kilometres of land per year to desertification.

Diallo, who was attending a conference in Bangkok on combating 
desertification, told AFP that Pakistan and India also are 
beginning to suffer the same fate as China.

"We are seeing climate changes and similar encroachments of the 
desert in Rajasthan and parts of Pakistan," he said.

And dust from Asian deserts is blowing into the Korean peninsula 
and even Japan, decreasing air quality, Diallo said.

Much of the desertification is caused by overgrazing, the hacking 
down of forests for timber and fuel, climate change, slash-and-
burn agriculture and erosion.

UN officials were hopeful that Asian countries would be able to 
halt desertification but warned that they would need assistance 
and funding.

"China and India have made strides on this issue, but these are 
not countries that have all the resources of their own to address 
all the problems they are facing," Diallo said.

Asian states must develop alternative energy sources and cut down 
on logging and overcultivation in order to roll back the deserts, 
he said.

The Asian Development Bank and other multinational organisations 
must provide loans to help China, India and Pakistan address the 
desert problem, he said.

Chinese officials earlier this year said the government had 
launched an emergency campaign to prevent the capital Beijing from 
being engulfed by the encroaching deserts of inner Mongolia.

Officials reportedly had been unnerved by the record 12 major dust 
storms that had hammered northern China this year, adding that the 
desert was moving towards Beijing at 1.8 kilometres per year.

Deserts currently make up 27 per cent of China's land, mostly in 
the northern areas.

Foreign loans stand at $32.7bn: Deficit may not be contained
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Nov 6: Pakistan had to sail through troubled waters for 
the second consecutive year in 1999-2000 and despite a 4.8 per 
cent growth in the economy average income of each Pakistani stood 
below Rs2000 per month.

The State Bank of Pakistan annual report, released here on Monday 
said that the GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 4.8 per cent 
mainly due to a 7.2 per cent growth in agriculture sector. The 
report for the last fiscal revealed that the growth was far higher 
than 3.1 per cent in 1998-99 but fell slightly short of targeted 5 
per cent.

Whereas major crops recorded an impressive growth of 13.1 per cent 
against targeted 3.2 per cent, manufacturing sector saw a nominal 
growth of 1.1 per cent against the targeted 6.2 per cent. Within 
that large manufacturing sector recorded a regression of 0.7 per 
cent. The services sector grew by 4.5 per cent against the target 
of 5.2 per cent.

The country avoided to default on foreign debts. It managed 
somehow to pay $3.7 billion to foreign creditors - and deferred 
payments of $3.9 billion through reschedulings and roll-overs.

The report says that in the current fiscal the country may have to 
defer foreign debt payments of $2.2 billion - through 
reschedulings and roll-overs.

The report says that at the end of June 2000, total foreign 
exchange liabilities stood at $37.3 billion or 61.3 per cent of 
GDP including foreign debts of $32.7 billion or 53.8 per cent of 

The total debt including domestic and foreign debts stood at 
Rs30.95 trillion or 97.5 per cent of GDP in 1999-2000, up in 
volume from Rs29 trillion in the preceding year but down in terms 
of GDP percentage. In 1998-99, the total debt of the country was 
almost equal to the GDP.

Commenting on debt servicing in the current and next fiscal years 
the report says that "actual repayments on commercial credit will 
dominate debt payments." That will be the case "as rescheduling of 
commercial credit has been done over a much shorter time frame 
than the terms of the Paris Club agreement."

The report says that in 1999-2000, Pakistan managed to cut its 
current account deficit to $1 billion from $2.2 billion in 1998-
99. What made it possible was a reduction in trade deficit and the 
State Bank buying of $1.6 billion from the open currency market.

The report says the SBP would continue to buy dollars from the 
open market to finance the external deficit but it admits that 
"this is not a sustainable avenue to procure foreign exchange."

It says three steps must be taken to rectify the structural 
external imbalances that compel the country to buy dollars from 
the kerb: (i) official remittances should be increased from those 
countries that are showing a significant decline in the same (ii) 
imports should be contained particularly of edible items and 
import of consumer/luxury items be discouraged and (iii) export 
sector should be placed onto a different trajectory with focuses 
on value-added cotton items and non-traditional exports.

The report calls for special attention to a declining flow of 
workers remittances from the Gulf region and attributes this fall 
mainly to the Hundi network operating there.

The report says that in 1999-2000 the government was supposed to 
retire Rs7 billion of bank credit but net government sector 
borrowing shot up to Rs78 billion. This was in a sharp contrast to 
1998-99 when the government had retired Rs74.5 billion bank 

The report says the government had little choice but to increase 
its bank borrowing in the face of limited external finance and 
lower volumes of non-bank resources.

On the other hand non-government sector borrowing fell sharply to 
Rs26.2 billion in 1999-2000 from Rs118.8 billion a year ago. The 
borrowing of the private sector declined to a paltry Rs15.4 
billion from Rs68.9 billion.

The report says that consumer inflation fell to about 3.6 per cent 
in 1999-2000 - the lowest in three decades - mainly due to 
improved availability of agricultural and food products. But 
inflation is likely to go up this year due to higher oil prices 
coupled with increased domestic interest rates and a sharp 
depreciation in the rupee value.

Future outlook: The report says preliminary projection for GDP 
growth is 4.5 per cent for the current fiscal year - down from 4.8 
per cent in 1999-2000. That is so because "the impressive growth 
rate attained by the agriculture sector in 1999-2000 is unlikely 
to repeat itself as the base has already risen significantly."

It says consumer inflation is projected around 6-7 per cent for 
this fiscal whereas current account deficit is expected to slide 
further to 1 per cent of GDP.

Economic Cooperation Organization talks end with accord on energy

ISLAMABAD, Nov 10: The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) 
members states have agreed to cooperate in the area of sustainable 
development and use of all forms of energy.

An agreement to this effect was made in the form of a unanimous 
joint statement at the concluding session of the first Energy \ 
Petroleum Ministerial Meeting of the ECO here.

The ECO members states agreed that the range of cooperation will 
span planning, development, human resources training, information 
exchange, trade and transportation, and encouraging private sector 
participation, where appropriate, including but not limited to, 
the following energy areas:

i) Resource investigation, exploration, assessment, planning and 
development; ii) Scientific and technological research, 
development and demonstration; iii) Transfer of technology; iv) 
Energy efficiency and conservation techniques; v) Upgrading of 
environmental impact assessments resulting from different 
activities in energy production, processing, handling, transport 
and utilization; vi) Standardization of energy related facilities; 
vii) Human resources development and safety promotion programmes 
in various energy fields, including production, processing, 
handling, transport and utilization; viii) Energy security 
arrangements for emergency situations; ix) Exchange of information 
of technical exports, technology transfer, operational experience, 
research and technical publications as well as energy strategies, 
programmes, policy and implementation experiences; x) Maintenance 
of conducive environment for trade and investment opportunities in 
relation to energy resources, materials and equipment; xi) Safety 
programmes in the entire chain from exploration, development, 
production and distribution of various energy products; xii) 
Promoting a more conducive environment for commercial and 
investment opportunities in all aspects of the energy sector; 
xiii) Energy policy and planning; xiv) Transit, transportation and 
trade of oil, gas and power within and outside the ECO region; xv) 
Utilization of available transportation infrastructure in the ECO 
Member States for energy resources supply to other ECO Member 
States and international markets.

It was also agreed that the Member States and the ECO Secretariat 
shall endeavour to make optimum utilization of latest tools of 
information technologies for facilitating cooperation as envisaged 
in this Joint Statement.

Recognizing that energy planning is an instrument to strengthen 
each country's capability to optimize energy resources 
development, allocation and utilization, it was agreed the Member 
States shall endeavour to cooperate in the sharing of information 
on standards, methodologies, techniques, technology, skills and 
experiences in national energy planning,conducting regional 
studies on energy as and when the Member States desire,developing 
strategies to promote energy-related trade within and outside the 
ECO region; and developing strategies to promote energy and 
environmental planning as well as environmental impact assessment 
and mitigation plans/measures.

In the field of cooperation in Energy Development, the Member 
States shall endeavour to cooperate in studies on various energy 
development management measures; and expediting the facilitating 
energy development schemes of common interest.

Recognizing that improving energy efficiency is of concern to all 
the Member States, the meeting agreed to cooperate in pursuing 
energy conservation measures of common interest, undertaking 
various energy management and conservation activities, and sharing 
information on energy conservation studies and activities of their 
own countries.

The ECO Member States, in the light of their mutual interests and 
long-term objectives to improve indigenous capabilities, also 
agreed to cooperate in Research and Development (R&D) and Human 
Resource Development (HRD) activities in all fields of energy.-APP

World Bank brokers talks with HUBCO
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Nov 10: The World Bank has arranged a meeting between 
Pakistan and Hub Power Company (HUBCO) in Dubai on 15th to sort 
out their differences on tariff issue with a view to ensuring 
future foreign investment 
in the country.

Official sources told Dawn here on Friday that the World Bank 
President, James D Wolfenson, had written a letter to Finance 
Minister Shaukat Aziz requesting him to meet HUBCO directors in 
Dubai on Nov 15 to discuss and remove over the three-year-old 
differences on the tariff issue.

The meeting has been arranged by the World Bank in Dubai on the 
request of HUBCO due to various legal difficulties being faced by 
the directors of the company in their travel to Islamabad. 

Earlier, this meeting was scheduled for Oct 6 in Islamabad which 
could not be held due to the inability of the finance minister to 
confirm through a letter to HUBCO Chairman Sheikh Mohammad Alireza 
that the tentative agreement reached in New York on Sept 10 in the 
presence of Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf was acceptable to 
the government of Pakistan.

The sources said that a senior official of the World Bank would 
also participate in the talks. The government, the sources said, 
had welcomed the mediation by the World Bank specially after it 
concluded that HUBCO's tariff was still higher than that of M/s 
AES of the United States.

The sources said that some senior officials of the World Bank were 
expected to meet HUBCO board of directors in Dubai to convince 
them to further lower their tariff rates as was being demanded by 
Wapda chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Zulfikar Ali Khan.

South Africa levies dumping duty on Bed-linen import
Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, Nov 10: South Africa has imposed 13.57 per cent anti-
dumping duty on imports of bedlinen from Pakistan. The official 
regulatory body, BTT has taken this action on its findings that 
during 1998 material injury was caused to their textile industry.

According to reports coming from Johannesburg, the Board of Trade 
and Tariff (BTT), South Africa has with immediate effect imposed 
provisional anti-dumping duties on bedlinen imports from Pakistan.

In consequence to BTT action, Pakistani companies who have 
exported during investigation period i.e. 1998, will have to wait 
for a year, from the date of imposition of final duty before they 
can apply for a normal review.

About two months back as a follow-up of investigation initiated in 
December last year, a team from Johannesburg also visited Pakistan 
to have on-spot physical inspection of manufacturing facilities of 
exporters. This is the second time that South African has imposed 
punitive duty on imports of bedlinen from Pakistan because about 
six years back a similar duty was imposed but was withdrawn only 
five months later.

Exports of bedlinen are already under tough competition from other 
countries and have registered a fall of about 20 per cent in the 
month of September. Exporters fear that this development will 
further give an edge to their competitors over their exports, 
particularly when there is no response from the government.

Since the anti-dumping has been imposed across the board the new 
shippers will also have to submit review application after the BTT 
has made its final determination. Under the law all aggrieved 
parties could submit their review application within 30 days which 
gives them Dec 10, 2000, as a cut-off date.

This will mean that the BTT would only be able to publish their 
final finding early next year, since the last date for government 
Gazette publications is Dec 15, 2000.

Meanwhile, some importers are looking into the possibility of 
taking legal action because they have some reservations about the 
BTT's injury analysis. Legal action is being deemed necessary as 
only few companies can be excluded from the duty as new shippers.

Exporters are highly critical of Export Promotion Bureau's (EPB) 
role and feel that it has been not been giving due attention to 
problems facing exporters. Citing an example an exporters said 
there is hardly any progress with regard to sales tax refunds, 
which was put before the EPB chairman in a meeting, held a month 

"We will suggest to government to take the issue at diplomatic 
level so that the matter could be sorted out at the earliest, if 
the country desires to achieve $10 billion export target," a 
leading bedlinen exporter said.

Presently, South Africa is also holding countervailing 
investigation against bedlinen exports from Pakistan, but not much 
progress has been reported in this regard.

Pakistan exports reach $2.9bn during July-Oct
>From Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, Nov 9: Pakistan's merchandise exports totalled $2.97 
billion during the period July-October 2000, showing an increase 
of 13.36 per cent over the corresponding period of previous year.

The imports also soared by 14.95 per cent to $3.69 billion during 
the same period, cancelling the positive effect of impressive rise 
in exports on the balance of payments situation, according to the 
aggregate trade figures made available by the ministry of 

Consequently, the trade deficit rose to $720 million in the first 
four months of 2000-01. This is 22 per cent more than that in the 
corresponding period of previous year. The government had 
announced that the trade deficit during 2000-01 would be reduced 
to $800 million.

The target for exports set out in the trade policy for the current 
fiscal is $10 billion. The statistics showed that the country has 
achieved only 29.7 per cent of that target. This means that the 
country has to cover over 70 per cent of the target in the 
remaining 66 per cent of the year.

As a result of huge jump in imports during the period under 
review, the proportion covered by exports also registered a sharp 
decrease. Whereas in July-October 1999, exports had accounted for 
81.62 per cent, their ratio to imports dropped to 80.49 per cent 
this year.

Merchandise exports during the month of October 2000, amounted to 
$744 million, which is 9.9 per cent more than the figure for 
October 1999. It also showed an increase of 6.29 per cent over the 
exports during September 2000.

Further analysis of the foreign trade statistics showed that in 
the single month of October 2000, the export-import gap at $216 
million was double than that in the corresponding month of last 

Islamic Development Bank to disburse $150m soon

BEIRUT, Nov 8: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to 
expedite disbursement of $150 million to Pakistan under the trade 
financing schemes.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz met the Vice President (Operations) 
of the IDB, Ousmane Seck, here on Wednesday to hold discussion in 
this regard. Secretary Economic Affairs, Naveed Ahsan also 
attended the meeting.

Ahsan, later told APP that during the meeting Pakistan asked the 
IDB to speed up the disbursement of fund amounting to $150 
million, being extended under the trade financing schemes.

"The IDB has agreed to our request to speed up disbursement of 
funds," he said while adding that the agreement has been signed in 
this respect and will soon be sent to Islamabad.

The total allocation for Pakistan for the year, under the trade 
financing schemes of the Bank, is to the tune of $350 million. 
Pakistan has already received $200 million out of it which was 
utilized on the import of petroleum products.

The Bank has now agreed to expedite disbursement of the remaining 
amount, which included $70 million under the Export Financing 
Scheme and another $80 million under the Import Financing Scheme, 
the secretary economic affairs said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz met his counterparts of 
the various Islamic countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and 
Malaysia, who were here to attend the 25th annual meeting of the 
Board of Governors of the IDB.

He discussed with them matters of bilateral interest and means to 
further enhancing economic ties between Pakistan and other Muslim 

The minister told them that Pakistan government was pursuing a 
comprehensive policy to revive the economy and place it on sound 

"The primary objective of revival strategy is to unleash growth 
from sectors where its benefits would quickly accrue to the poor," 
he said.

He also informed that the performance of the present government in 
the first year in office is quite encouraging. Both the 
agriculture and industry have performed remarkably well.-APP

Star TV secures licence in Pakistan

HONG KONG, Nov 9: Hong Kong-based Star TV said on Thursday it has 
been granted the first pay TV licence by the Pakistan 
Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The licence permits Star to distribute its pay TV to Pakistan 
viewers and enables local cable operators to redistribute Star TV 
channels legally.

Star chairman and chief executive James Murdoch said in a 
statement the granting of the licence presented a "unique 
opportunity to meet the burgeoning demand for pay TV services in 

Pakistan has some 8,000 cable operators across 49 cities with more 
than 1.5 million households connected to cable television.-AFP 

Islamabad pushes for oil, gas from Central Asia

ASTANA, Nov 7: The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, voiced 
strong support on Tuesday for developing new oil and gas pipeline 
projects with resource-rich Central Asia.

"We would like to be part of the arrangements for gas from 
Turkmenistan and eventually oil from Kazakhstan," said Foreign 
Minister Abdul Sattar, who accompanied Gen Musharraf.

His comments came after Gen Musharraf revealed he had made a brief 
stopover in Turkmenistan, during which he discussed bilateral 
relations with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov.

Mr Sattar said talks had again focused on the multi-billion 
dollar, 1,600-km gas pipeline proposal from Turkmenistan through 
Afghanistan to Pakistan.

The project was suspended in 1998 due to the Afghan civil war.

"We continue to hope we can build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan 
to Pakistan," said Mr Sattar.

"Both of us recognize that the instability and the strife in 
Afghanistan is a major hurdle (to the project) and therefore 
Pakistan and Turkmenistan lose more than any other set of 
countries from the Afghan conflict," said Sattar.

Mr Sattar said energy issues had also been discussed in 
Kazakhstan, which recently announced the discovery of what could 
be one of the world's largest offshore oil fields on its sector of 
the Caspian sea.

Mr Sattar said Kazakhstan was also interested in exploring a 
pipeline via Iran and then also via Pakistan.-AFP

State Bank report hints at IMF accord by month-end
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Nov 7: The State Bank of Pakistan expects the country to 
reach a 10-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the International 
Monetary Fund before the end of this month.

In its annual report for the year 1999-2000 released on Monday, 
the SBP has devoted considerable space to Pakistan's "chequered 
record" with IMF, particularly during nineties when there were 
frequent changes of the government, the nuclear blasts in May 
1998, the military takeover in October last year and finally the 
detection of data irregularities in December 1999.

The report refers to the discussions held between Pakistan and IMF 
in March this year after the change of guards in Islamabad on 
October 12 last year. It hopes that these negotiations would lead 
to a Stand-By Arrangement which would enable Pakistan to 
reschedule its debts with official and commercial creditors from 
January next.

"This will also trigger fresh inflows of concessional assistance 
from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank", the report 
expects and further hopes the "Export Credit Agencies of the OECD 
may also consider favourably providing cover to Pakistani risk".

All these expectations in SBP's report are being made in the 
context of difficulties the country had to endure in the last 
fiscal year when in the absence of flow of any assistance (with 
the exception of $120 million inflow from the ADB in end June), 
Pakistan was a net supplier of funds to the international 
financial institutions (IFIs).

Simultaneously, the escalation in international oil prices (from 
$16.3 a barrel in June 1999 to $31.6 in June 2000) and the slump 
in world cotton prices had an impact of a double-edged sword.

"The urgency to have the IMF on board is not so much in terms of 
financing a difficult external sector, but to get the needed 
rescheduling after the consolidation period ends in December 
2000", says the report.

State Bank is more than confident that a successful implementation 
of the proposed 10-month Stand-By Arrangement with IMF should lead 
to a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGC) which 
it hopes, "may consolidate the gains of macroeconomic stability 
and accelerate the economic revival".

The proposed PRGC, it says, will mainly focus on five points which 
are (i) a further reduction in fiscal deficit by raising the tax-
GDP ratio (ii) increase in development and social sector spending 
(iii) a sharp decline in the ratio of interest payments to the GDP 
(iv) improvement in exports to generate a current account surplus 
and (v) a modest increase in investment rate.

The report traces Pakistan's relations with IMF since 1988, when 
the first three-year Structural Adjustment Facility involving 
$516m was launched and completed after a year's delay.

Since 1988, Pakistan has obtained 13 different fund facilities 
from the IMF. Of these seven were suspended for one reason or the 
other. The last such arrangement an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) 
covering period 1998-2001 was suspended after the May 1998 nuclear 
blasts. This programme was reactivated in January 1999 but was 
suspended again in September that year, according to the SBP 

Back to the top
Laughing at ourselves 
Ardeshir Cowasjee

BY God's grace, day follows night despite whoever in Islamabad may 
be responsible for our destiny in Karachi. The sun rises each 
morning and each evening it sets, and the tides meticulously rise 
and fall.

Our last two prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who 
drained the nation as they did, impoverishing the already 
impoverished of their country, were each allowed a second round in 
power, a repeat performance. Neither has denied they were corrupt, 
nor that they robbed and plundered. They justified their actions 
by informing the world that they were 'freely and fairly elected' 
and were deposed by force of one sort or another. When the end 
finally came, rather than hiding their faces in shame, and 
disappearing into the wide world to live off their spoils, they 
are both attempting a comeback. Upholding the old tradition of 
honour amongst thieves, they are now trying to form an alliance.

Benazir Bhutto spoke to the BBC in London on Friday. She was asked 
how come, with the mutual loathing she and Nawaz have for each 
other, she is now in the throes of forming an alliance with his 
party. Well, she said, there is a hope that the Generals are 
looking for an exit point and if they are, we, the PPP, will do 
all we can to help them find a point from which they may exit 
gracefully. On the other hand, if they are not seeking an exit 
point and intend to entrench themselves, then in the interests of 
democracy and our beloved people the only way left to us is to all 
get together and form a force of sufficient strength to remove the 
generals. All is in the larger national interest.

This grand alliance is being formed under the tattered old 
umbrella of the Hookahmaster, well described by a perceptive 
correspondent to this newspaper whose letter was published 
yesterday. "Who is this great man?" he asked. From childhood we 
have been incessantly listening to and reading and watching an 
old, fragile looking but hookah-bearing mystery man. No matter 
what is the political situation of the country, which political 
party is in power, who is heading the government, what is the form 
of government, he always remains very much on the negative side of 
affairs ..... "Who is this great man, what are his qualifications, 
what are his services to Pakistan and the masses? Can somebody 
enlighten the new generation about the background of this asset of 
this unfortunate country.S Well said, young Mahmood of Sarghoda!

As my late lamented friend Pandit Abu Kureshi used to say, a 
politician in this country never dies. Even if you go to his 
funeral and see the body interred safely six feet under, never be 
sure that he truly is dead until you have attended the Chehlum. 
Justice being what justice is, we Pakistanis being what we are, 
allies and enemies being who they are, I am not willing to lay one 
rupee against the possibility of either of the two champions of 
democracy, Benazir and Nawaz, being 'freely and fairly' elected 
once again to occupy the Islamabad hot seat for the third time.

And justice being what justice is, both candidates are now 
claiming they are all in favour of an independent judiciary, that 
they worked their fingers to the bone to ensure that the 
honourable judiciary not only remained independent but was, under 
their great legislative abilities, assured even more independence. 
This, of course, is to be expected, now that both are out of 

Nawaz Sharif, being an honourable man, has never claimed that it 
was not he who engineered the November 1997 storming of the 
Supreme Court. He has never formally denied that in order to save 
his own skin he did not suggest a handy way out.

In December 1997, the new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Ajmal Mian, 
in an attempt to redeem the honour of his court, and prodded by 
protests by the people, ordered an enquiry into the storming. 
Justice Abdur Rahman Khan of the Supreme Court was appointed to 
head it. He got nowhere. Then a Bench was formed to further 
enquire. On the Bench sat Supreme Court Justices Nasir Aslam 
Zahid, Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan. They enquired, and 
then initiated contempt proceedings against seven PML minnows. It 
took them almost a year and a half to conclude that no one had 
committed contempt as no one was responsible for the storming, 
that in fact it was doubtful if the storming had even taken place, 
since no alleged stormer could be identified even on Supreme 
Court's own CCTV cameras (which cameras were removed during the 
enquiry proceedings.) There had been no plan, no order ordering 
disorder, no storming, no contempt.

Earlier this year, with Nawaz deposed and safely incarcerated in 
an ancient Northern fort, the present Chief Justice of Pakistan, 
Irshad Hassan Khan, in the face of much public outrage at the 
outcome of the initial enquiry, and in another attempt to redeem 
the honour of his court, formed a Bench to hear an appeal filed 
praying for initiating de novo proceedings in respect of the 1997 
storming of the Court. The Chief Justice headed the Bench, with 
Justices Muhammad Jehangir Bashiri, Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, Chaudhri 
Mohammad Arif, and Munir A Shaikh sitting with him. The formerly 
acquitted minnows were found to actually be guilty of contempt and 
were sent to jail for a month.

The Bench also ordered that the IGP Islamabad institute a further 
enquiry to be conducted by an SP 'to identify the miscreants 
involved in this incident and thereafter proceed in accordance 
with the law.' The people understand this to mean that not only 
should additional stormers be brought to book but that the 
planners of the operation should also be nabbed. A superintendent 
of police is now expected to do what a Supreme Court judge, with 
the power he had, failed to do.

In deference to the Supreme Court order, the IGP Islamabad has 
appointed SP Khalid Mahmud to further enquire into the storming. 
And where is Khalid Mahmud now stationed? In the Aiwan-i-Sadar, in 
charge of the security of the President of Pakistan, Rafiq Ahmad 
Tarar. And what was Rafiq Ahmad Tarar on the day the Supreme Court 
was stormed in 1997? He was an honourable Senator, installed in 
the honourable Senate by Nawaz Sharif. And to where did Tarar 
journey a couple of days before the eventful day the Supreme Court 
was stormed, the same day on which the Quetta Bench of the Supreme 
Court headed by Justice Irshad Hassan Khan (the present Chief 
Justice of Pakistan) and the Peshawar Bench of the Supreme Court 
(headed by Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, who succeeded Ajmal Mian 
as Chief Justice of Pakistan) handed down their orders against 
their then sitting Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah? He went to 
Quetta, secretly, in the dark.

To quote Benazir Bhutto, from her speech entitled "Guaranteeing 
the Rule of Law and Independence of the Judiciary in Pakistan", 
delivered in London to the Commonwealth Ethnic Bar Association, 
reproduced in the national press on November 1: "A judge [Tarar] 
who dishonestly legitimized the overthrow of my first government 
was elected President of Pakistan. This same man stands accused by 
a former President [Leghari] of "taking briefcases of money" to 
bribe other judges in the famous 1997 case. The Election 
Commission rejected Justice Tarar's nomination for the presidency. 
Justice Qayyum, on leave for his mother's funeral, rushed back to 
grant a stay. And Tarar was elected. As for the bribery charges, 
Tarar, as a former judge, like former generals, is immune to 
prosecution in real terms."

We laugh a bit more. Tarar was despatched to Quetta by Nawaz 
Sharif in a special flight which landed at Quetta at night. Now, 
the Quetta airfield is not normally lit up after nightfall as no 
flights land. The runway was specially lit up for Tarar and the 
security man on duty is reported to have noted in his log: 
"Instructions have been received from Islamabad that the details 
the special flight carrying the visiting dignitary, senator Rafiq 
Ahmad Tarar, must be kept confidential and not reported" (or words 
to this effect).

Now poor SP Khalid Mahmud will also have to question the present 
Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant General Rana, who 
on the day the Supreme Court was raided in 1997, headed the ISI 
spooks. He reported the then COAS, General Jehangir Karamat, at 
the dawning of November 27, that Nawaz's cohorts were to raid the 
Supreme Court in the morning.

All this is written in jest, in an effort to alleviate the 
pervading atmosphere of gloom and doom.

The suave and the cheerless
Ayaz Amir

As I watched on Wednesday morning the BBC coverage of the American 
presidential elections, I found myself caught between easy suavity 
on one side and plodding gloom on the other.

On the TV screen was the BBC anchor, David Dimbleby, smooth, suave 
and very competent (I quite envied him). By my side were that 
morning's newspapers with President Rafiq Tarar solemnly warning 
the nation to be prepared for more bomb attacks and saying that 
the recent wave of bomb blasts was linked to the forthcoming 
defence exhibition in Karachi. A day before, the interior 
minister, Lt Gen Moinuddin Haider - surely Pakistan's answer to 
Saatchi and Saatchi - had said the same thing.

The defence exhibition in Karachi? It requires imagination and 
audacity for such a brainwave. Is the defence exhibition being 
read as a mortal threat by anyone? Is India scared of its regional 
impact and therefore bent upon sabotaging it? Is anyone even 
bothered by it? Of all the likely explanations for the sporadic 
bomb blasts taking place in the country this has to be the most 

Yet nothing really should be surprising in Pakistan any more, 
certainly not with the kind of helmsmanship we have had since the 
October Revolution. Pakistan was always known for some element of 
confusion and avoidable errors in its higher politics. 

 But the kind of confusion we have had these past twelve months is 
unequalled even by our turbulent standards. Everything has been 
stood on its head. Needless fronts opened in every direction and 
then as suddenly closed and forgotten. The already battered 
economy pushed into a deeper recession. Investor confidence, never 
very high, demolished completely. (Even the State Bank governor 
has come round to admitting this.) All for what?

True, the military inherited a bad situation. (Haven't we had 
enough of this cliche?) But then it should have improved it 
instead of making it worse by bad management. The test Clinton 
applies to his presidency is to ask the question: is the US better 
off today than it was eight years ago? What if we apply the same 
test here. Is Pakistan better off today than it was a year ago?

Forgetting everything else, take tax collecting about which the 
military government waxes so eloquent. Close to October 31, the 
last date for submitting individual income tax returns, the 
Central Board of Revenue was still revising the format of the tax 
forms. The last date has since been extended twice, yet such is 
the prevailing uncertainty that the urgency which used to 
accompany this yearly ritual has gone, to the detriment of tax 
collection. So much for military homework.

In a nation where paying taxes is considered a form of dishonour, 
the worst offenders are traders and shopkeepers. For long they 
have had their way. Zia did not touch them, considering them to be 
part of his constituency. 

 The PPP was afraid of their street power. The PML, part of the 
same spiritual brotherhood, openly pampered them. The last 
sanction against the greed of this class was the fear of the army. 
Now even this is gone because of the ill-conceived way in which 
the army was thrown into tax documentation. The traders have come 
into contact with what they feared and are no longer impressed. 
And Mr Shaukat Aziz is hoping to expand the tax net.

This government, in any case, seems to have a touching faith in 
documentation. It seems to think that anything put into a computer 
turns out fine at the other end, free of warts and errors. This is 
the reasoning behind the computerization of voting lists and the 
creation of a database organisation with the strange acronym, 
NADRA, and headed - you've guessed it - by a serving major 

Who says the old voting lists were fraudulent? I have had first-
hand experience of elections, local and national, since 1979 and 
can say with some authority that, by and large, there was nothing 
wrong with them. 

 As for bogus voting, the best defence against it was the presence 
of opposing polling agents at polling stations. If a candidate did 
not have a polling agent at a particular station, or if he had an 
ineffective one, the imbalance thus accruing naturally went in his 
opponent's favour. But where candidates were evenly matched, only 
over someone's dead body could bogus voting be carried out.

But who is to educate the nation's saviours? If they say the old 
voting lists were packed who is to gainsay them? Thus in a country 
already burdened with too many white elephants, we have another 
one, NADRA, which is taking the old voting lists and putting them 
on hard disk. But since this exercise is unaccompanied by any 
field survey, the old errors, wherever they existed, are being 
faithfully reproduced. What is more, fresh errors are creeping 
into the new lists because of the haste with which this task is 
being accomplished.

Such examples of military achievement can be multiplied. But no 
need to go through a familiar list. In any event, how many marks 
does General Musharraf give to his government's performance? Five 
out of ten, he says with becoming modesty. 

 In his annual confidential report an army officer is put in one 
of four grades: below average, average, above average and 
outstanding. Although an unbiased observer would probably give the 
Generalissimo's government less than five marks, even if his own 
marking is accepted, five out of ten is just average, not good 
enough for staff appointments or promotion to senior ranks.

In my three or four years in the army I got very bad reports from 
my commanding officers (a dismal lot, if you ask me), the only 
passably good report I earned being for the '71 war. Seeing that I 
was not cut out for the army, or because I did not have it in me 
to make a splash in it, I opted out and joined the foreign service 
(thanks to my father, an MNA in Mr Bhutto's government). It turned 
out that I was no good as a diplomat either, getting exceedingly 
bad reports from the late Mr S. K. Dehlavi. So I thought it best 
to opt out again. Admittedly, quitting in the face of adversity is 
no virtue. But I was quitting for different reasons: because I did 
not want to be a burden on myself and others.

Is the military government likely to do any better in the future 
than it has done uptil now? The signs are not promising. It has 
already exhausted its initial momentum. The popular acclaim with 
which its advent was greeted has long since evaporated. 
Accountability has forfeited public trust. For all of these 
reasons the national mood is depressive, the atmosphere heavy with 
theories of doom.

Even in defeat a nation's mood can be upbeat and defiant. 
Conversely, even when at peace, a nation which is prey to 
morbidity can have its inner strength sapped by feelings of 
despair. Such is Pakistan's situation today. The prevailing 
national mood is linked to no defeat or disaster. It stems from an 
abdication of faith in the nation's leadership. And this mood is 
made worse by a feeling of helplessness: that it lies not in the 
hands of the people of Pakistan to effect a change.

Zia was about the worst ruler Pakistan could have had: mendacious, 
hypocritical and living in the middle ages. But even during his 
long stay at the helm, the hope remained alive that when the 
darkness he symbolized came to an end, a new dawn would arise. 
(What the Daughter of the East made of that dawn is of course 
another story.) Benazir's and Nawaz Sharif's shenanigans were 
rooted in a democratic order and even if that order rested on 
shaky foundations it presupposed the existence of alternatives. If 
Benazir was bad, she could be replaced by someone else; if Nawaz 
Sharif persisted with his follies, he would lose his Heavy 
Mandate. What do you do with a dispensation whose power rests on 
the strength of its bayonet and which therefore is answerable only 
to itself?

The military should have got out a fortnight (no later) after 
seizing power. A year is already an eternity. How to bring this 
eternity to a close? This is the foremost test facing Pakistan 

Just consider, as a parting thought, the absurdity of what we are 
going through. The military seized power because Nawaz Sharif 
tried to deal with the army command in a cavalier manner. General 
Musharraf himself is on record as saying that if the then prime 
minister had not tried to remove him, he (that is, Nawaz Sharif) 
would still be in office. A candid admission and therefore to be 
welcomed but one which casts more lurid light on our predicament. 
The military's action should have suited (and remained confined 
to) the provocation offered. As the last twelve months show, the 
events flowing from that fateful evening, and what the nation has 
had to endure as a result, far exceed any sin that may have been 
committed by the Wonder of Raiwind.

The deepening contradiction 
Irfan Husain

AS the debate over the army's role in politics meanders along, a 
recent remark by retired General Aslam Beg in an interview carried 
in the October issue of the "Herald" drew remarkably little 
attention. Perhaps we have become so hardened to military 
intervention that such comments have lost the power to shock.

Replying to a question about the army's and the Inter-Services 
Intelligence (ISI)'s role in the 1988 and the 1990 elections, 
General Beg did not reveal anything new, but his justification is 
nevertheless remarkable. This is the question Musbashir Zaidi 
asked the former army chief:

"The former ISI chief, Hameed Gul, now admits that he created the 
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad in 1988 to stop Benazir Bhutto's PPP from 
gaining a clear majority in the elections. Similarly, another ISI 
chief, Asad Durrani, has admitted to giving money to politicians 
in 1990. Both of them now claim they did it in the 'national 
interest.' What would have happened if Benazir had won the 1988 
elections with a greater majority?"

Aslam Beg: "The army, perhaps, would not have allowed the transfer 
of power to Benazir Bhutto. There is a strong feeling in the army 
that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was responsible for the East Pakistan 
debacle and that he maligned the army... So, to ensure that power 
was smoothly transferred to Benazir Bhutto and democracy restored, 
the IJI was formed by the ISI. This was done with the clear 
knowledge that it wouldn't stop the PPP from forming the 
government... I set up a fake competition by creating the IJI to 
ensure that a democratic government could be formed... Let me 
categorically state that the decision to hold on to or relinquish 
power rests squarely with the army... It would not be out of place 
to mention that even though the courts do provide moral support to 
justify army actions, a lingering subconscious guilt continues to 
haunt those who cause a rupture of democracy..."

Obviously, successive military juntas have been very good at 
concealing this "subconscious guilt." But Beg's reply, forthright 
as it is, is more interesting for what he left out rather than 
what he said. He does not mention, for example, that controlling a 
government that does not have an outright parliamentary majority - 
as the PPP didn't in 1988 - is far simpler than a government with 
a substantial majority. The underlying thrust of his reply is that 
the army has the right to either wield power directly or pull the 
strings when an 'elected' government is in power.

At no point in his interview did Beg seem aware of the irony of 
what he was saying. For example, he sees no contradiction between 
his repeated use of the term 'democracy' and the army's blatant 
rigging of successive elections. For him, the 'fake competition' 
he and his colleagues set up by cobbling together the IJI is 
perfectly acceptable. Worse, the politicians who accepted large 
amounts from the ISI have not been disbarred by the Election 

But above and beyond the disturbing questions raised by Beg's 
comments, there is the larger issue of the army's role in 
politics. Virtually from Pakistan's creation, generals have 
dabbled with the country's destiny, weakening democratic 
institutions as a result. It has almost become a cliche to say 
that the corruption and inefficiency of our politicians have 
combined to encourage frequent military interventions. However, it 
can be said with equal validity that the army has almost never 
allowed elected governments to function normally. Also, with the 
exception of the present military government, the press was never 
free to highlight the graft and incompetence of earlier juntas. 
Thus, at least in the media, civilians have suffered in comparison 
to the generals.

It is a fact that the army is the most organized and efficient 
sector in the country where its own clearly defined duties and 
responsibilities lie. However, General Musharraf and his 
colleagues must also realize that they simply do not have the 
training or the expertise to cure the many ills (some of them 
caused by their predecessors) that face Pakistan today. Just take 
the example of the mess our power supplies are in: despite 
inducting officers and jawans at every level, WAPDA and KESC 
remain organizational and financial nightmares. Similarly, 
attaching battalions of retired and serving officers to civilian 
departments has in no way enhanced efficiency. The only change is 
that decision-making, never very swift, has slowed down even 

A soldier spends his adult life in giving or taking orders. His 
world is insulated from the chaos and bedlam of civilian life. He 
achieves senior positions in the hierarchy by doing what he is 
told and efficiently controlling the men under his command. He is 
discouraged from questioning the orders he receives, and similarly 
expects those under him to toe the line. In short, he identifies 
the order around him with unquestioning and uncritical discipline. 
When he looks over the barracks wall, he sees confusion and 
inefficiency. Talking to his brother officers in the mess, he 
complains about the "bloody civilians" and their inability to get 
their act together.He does not understand that unlike even junior 
military officers, a civil servant cannot have a subordinate 
locked up for not carrying out orders. Nor does he grasp the fact 
that much of the physical and social infrastructures is falling 
apart because the bulk of the government's resources are going 
into the defence budget. With his limited understanding of the 
realities of real life, he is convinced that military discipline 
will sort everything out. It is only when he and his colleagues 
take the plunge and take over that they realize that they have 
stepped into quicksand.

It is about time the army learned that ultimately, it has no 
solutions to offer, no magic wand to correct all that is wrong 
with the country. The only solution lies in strengthening civil 
society and supporting democratic institutions. There are no 
shortcuts, no panaceas. By constantly meddling in politics, the 
army not only weakens the system, it ultimately weakens itself. In 
this day and age, a military government is anathema to much of the 
world. In Pakistan's context of looming bankruptcy, this 
translates into a drastic drop in economic assistance and private 

The bottom line is that constant overt and covert military 
intervention has put the country at risk. Ironically, the biggest 
risk to our security is now internal, and to face it, we need a 
free and functioning democracy that is not being forever 
destabilized by generals in the wings. But as the experience of so 
many countries shows us, there is no inherent contradiction 
between a democratic dispensation and a strong army.

Probables named for Test camp
By Our Sports Reporter

KARACHI, Nov 6: Budding leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is among the 18 
probables, announced on Monday by chairman of the national 
selection committee, Wasim Bari, for a six-day training camp 
before the Pakistan squad for the first Test against is named on 
Nov 13.

Besides Kaneria, Karachi fast bowler Mohammad Sami has also been 
asked to join the camp at the Qadhafi Stadium in Lahore alongwith 
batsman Qaiser Abbas of Sheikhupura. Qaiser top-scored for 
Patron's XI in both innings in the tour game against England at 

The following players have been asked to report to national coach 
Javed Miandad at 10.00 a.m at the Qadhafi Stadium on Wednesday 
(Nov 8):

Moin Khan (captain), Saeed Anwar, Imran Nazir, Salim Elahi, 
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Shahid Afridi, Wasim Akram, Abdul 
Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq 
Ahmed, Danish Kaneria, Qaiser Abbas, Mohammad Sami, Faisal Iqbal 
and Shoaib Malik.

Meanwhile, Test batsman Younis Khan has pulled out of the NWFP 
Governor's XI squad for the four-day match against England, 
starting on Wednesday at the Shahi Bagh Stadium in Peshawar, 
because of a domestic reason.

Younis has been replaced in the Governor's XI squad by Karachi 
batsman Nomanullah. Peshawar's Akhtar Sarfraz is also a late 
addition to the squad in place of originally selected Kashif Afzal 
of Wah Cantt.

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