------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 21 October 2000 Issue : 06/40 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Musharraf wants Clinton to intervene + No evidence against Shahbaz, court told + Plane case: contradictions highlighted + Private experts to handle white-collar crime + Leaders to be dealt with strictly over Anti-Pakistan utterances + Commanders conference ends: New law & order plan discussed + Pakistan HC official in UK resigns + Wahid Bhutto case: Mumtaz demands inquiry by SHC judge + Offshore oil exploration policy okayed + Corrupt politicians cannot contest polls + Pakistan Muslim League wants APC to launch movement + Pakistan, Russia, CAR to discuss regional stability + ECNEC to probe PM secretariat affairs --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Dollar below Rs56 in inter-bank + Shaukat seeks help to meet IMF terms + Plan to achieve 6% GDP growth finalized + Furnace oil: Yet another increase by PSO + Failure to submit survey forms + New petroleum package likely + Govt rejects CBR proposal over 20pc duty on smuggled goods + Handing over of textile quota to private sector + Stocks come in for renewed selling --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Platinum-gold Ardeshir Cowasjee + On the high seas Ayaz Amir + Intolerable intolerance Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Miandad unhappy over reports of revolt

Musharraf wants Clinton to intervene
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Oct 14: The Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has 
sought President Clinton's immediate intervention to stop Israel's 
latest wave of aggression against innocent Palestinians and to get 
the Middle East peace process back on track.

In a letter, he sent to the US President on Saturday, the chief 
executive urged President Clinton "to persist in the revival of the 
peace process for which he has made an outstanding contribution in 
the past".

Gen Musharraf has also sent a separate letter to President Yasser 
Arafat to convey the sympathies and condolences over the loss of 
valuable Palestinian lives in Israeli army attack. He also 
expressed his anguish and dismay over the Israeli violence.

In his letter to President Clinton the chief executive, according 
to a foreign office press release, conveyed the deep concern of the 
government of Pakistan over the explosive situation obtaining in 
the Middle East, resulting in the loss of 100 innocent Palestinians 
and injuries to over a thousand others as a result of Israel's 
indiscriminate use of military force.

The CE message, the FO said further conveyed the sympathy and 
condolence over the loss of US Naval personnel as a result of the 
attack on USS Cole in Aden.

Though the FO release did not give further details of the letter's 
contents, sources in the foreign ministry said that the 
communication also conveyed to the US President of Pakistan's 
perception on the issue. These sources said that the letter 
reflected what was stated by the foreign office spokesman, in his 
briefing a few days back, on the subject.

Pakistan has condemned the Israeli violence against unarmed 
Palestinians and reiterated its support for Palestinians in their 
just struggle to regain their inalienable rights. Pakistan has also 
backed the Palestinians demand for an impartial international 
inquiry into the recent troubles and Israeli violence.

Islamabad has also emphasised that Israeli must honour all 
agreements reached with Palestinian leadership in accordance with 
the Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

Pakistan has also asserted that once again Israel had resorted to 
aggression and use of force violating the principle of justice and 
international law to impose its own preferences in the Middle East 
conflict. This, however, it was said, would not bring durable 

Foreign minister Abdul Sattar told newsmen on Friday that hopes for 
durable peace in Middle East that were encouraged by President 
Clinton's peace process had been threatened with serious setback.

YASSER ARAFAT: In his letter to President Yasser Arafat, the CE 
conveyed the sympathies and condolences over the loss of valuable 
Palestinian lives in Gaza and West Bank as a result of 
indiscriminate use of excessive force by Israeli armed forces.

The latter also conveyed Pakistan's anguish and dismay at the 
upsurge of violence in Palestinian territories and condemned 
Israel's highhandedness for its bombing of Palestinian authority 
offices and populated neighbourhoods.

It called for the international community to take appropriate steps 
to put an immediate end and complete cessation of the spate of 
violence against the Palestinians and for a resumption of dialogue 
for peace.

No evidence against Shahbaz, court told

KARACHI, Oct 20: The counsel for former Punjab chief minister 
Shahbaz Sharif in the plane hijacking case claimed on Friday that 
there was not an iota of even circumstantial evidence, remotely 
indicating any conspiracy between his client and other respondents 
in the case.

Khawaja Haris Ahmed was making initial submissions before a full 
bench of the Sindh High Court, comprising Chief Justice Saiyed 
Saeed Ashhad, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Wahid Bux 

The bench was hearing state's appeal against the acquittal of his 
client and five others in the Oct 12 plane case.

At the outset he summarized the allegations of the prosecution 
against his client.

He said that the prosecution had implicated Shahbaz Sharif on the 
ground that he was present in the TV lounge of the prime minister 
house with Saifur Rehman and Saeed Mehdi and his personal guard was 
outside. Shahbaz's mere presence there was interpreted as union of 
mind by the prosecution.

Mr Ahmed, however, submitted that the prosecution's case against 
his client was based on utterances attributed to Mr Mehdi and Mr 
Rahman but there were no overt act or utterances attributed to Mr 
Shahbaz to implicate him in conspiracy of hijacking, attempted 
murder, kidnapping and terrorism charges.

The prosecution was under obligation to first establish that there 
was a conspiracy and then prove that my client was a party to it, 
he contended.

"Being brother of the prime minister is not a reasonable ground 
that Shahbaz Sharif was aware of and participated in the 
conspiracy", the counsel submitted.

Mr Ahmed argued that there was no written documentary evidence, no 
one heard any conversation which would constitute agreement of mind 
between Shahbaz and the other co-accused or indicate existence of 
any such conspiracy.

He also discussed the prosecution's contention about the 
application of Article 23 of Qanoon-i-Shahadat.

He cited extensively from Bhutto case and argued that utterances 
attributed to his client by a third person had to be proved by an 
independent evidence.

He was formulating his arguments on this point when the proceedings 
were adjourned till Monday morning.

Earlier, Shaikh Mir Mohammad, counsel for Mr Mehdi concluded his 
arguments during which he referred to the testimony of Brig Javed 
Iqbal, military secretary to Nawaz Sharif and said that it appeared 
that every thing had been done either by him or Commander Zahid 
Mehmood, who was protocol officer at the PM house.

Mr Shaikh claimed that his client had left prime minister's house 
at 4:30pm. When Mr Mehdi arrived there, Mr Sharif was in his 
private chamber and his client remained there till the deposed 
premier left for president house at 4:30pm.

He claimed that Mr Mehdi was not at the PM house when the army 
arrived there which was also substantiated by the fact that he was 
rounded up from his residence.

"After photo session (of Ziauddin's appointment as the new COAS) 
Saeed Mehdi was not there," he said.

In response to the observation of Justice Osmany about the charge 
against the respondent, he referred to the cross-examination of the 
prosecution witnesses, DSP Mehboob, Mohammed Asif and Brig Javed 
Iqbal and claimed that they had deliberately improved on their 

He submitted that Brig Iqbal in his statement had not said any 
thing about Mr Mehdi, who, he claimed, was roped in falsely.

Mr Asif's testimony was all based on assumption that he was 
telephone operator at the PM house whereas according to his own 
testimony he was telephone operator at the PM secretariat, 
contended Mr Shaikh.

Plane case: contradictions highlighted
By Shamim-ur-Rahman

KARACHI, Oct 19: Counsel for Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Saeed Mehdi 
argued before the Sindh High Court on Thursday that it should 
uphold the ATC verdict in their favour and dismiss the state appeal 
for their conviction.

The full bench, comprising Chief Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad, 
Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Wahid Bux Brohi, was 
hearing the state appeal against the acquittal of Shahbaz Sharif 
and five others in the plane case.

Thrust of their argument was that none of the six respondents could 
be convicted of the charge for which the principal accused had not 
been penalized.

Aftab Farrukh, counsel for Syed Ghous Ali Shah, focused on the 
testimony of prosecution witness Mohammad Asif, telephone operator 
at the PM's House, to highlight contradictions in his statements 
before the judicial magistrate and the trial court.

Mr Farrukh claimed that this witness was not a free agent and that 
he had made the statement under section 161 of the CrPC under 
duress after being brought from Lahore to Rawalpindi where he was 
produced before the National Accountability Bureau. He said it was 
a strong indication that the witness, while in custody, was being 
treated as an accused until he gave the statement.

"If he was a free man then what was the impediment in recording 161 
and 164 statements in Lahore," he argued.

The lawyer pointed out that the prosecution had not produced any 
supporting bills for the telephone calls. Therefore, he submitted, 
the trial court had rightly concluded that PW Asif could not be 
relied upon without a corroborative piece of evidence.

The lawyer then referred to PW Asif's statement in which he had 
stated that he had received a call on mobile from Syed Ghous Ali 
Shah to the then prime minister at about 6.15pm which was connected 
to Brig Javed, military secretary to the then prime minister. Brig 
Javed appeared before the court, but he did not depose that he had 
received any call from Mr Shah, the counsel said.

Mr Farrukh contended that when the witness was disbelieved there 
was no evidence left to connect any contact between Mr Shah and the 
PM's House.

He also pointed out contradictions in the statements of Rukhsar 
Ahmad, Mohammad Akbar, Bashir Memon and Col Atiquzzaman Kiyani. He 
stated that according to Col Atiq both Mr Akbar and Bashir Memon 
were at the airport before the arrival of the army, i.e. before 
6.45pm. But Mr Akbar and Mr Memon belied Col Atiq when they said 
that they had reached the airport by 7.35/40pm, by which time the 
army was in control of the airport and the plane was almost in 
landing position.

The counsel claimed that the prosecution story with regard to 
summoning of the APC and five SSPs was a pure concoction. When he 
drifted in details of how the movements of police officers were 
maintained together with the details of ammunition used and 
deposited, the CJ observed: "we are all are aware of these details, 
why are you wasting time of the court?"

He claimed that there was no presumption in the law that even in 
the absence of "agreement" or "union of minds" and any overt act 
having been proved, a visit (to the airport) could be presumed to 
be a step towards the hijacking of plane.

Shaikh Mir Mohammad, counsel for Saeed Mehdi, principal secretary 
to the then prime minister, argued that the name of his client did 
not appear in the FIR.

Private experts to handle white-collar crime
Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20: The government has decided to hire experts from 
the private sector to help the FIA in detecting white-collar crimes 
like bank frauds, kickbacks and bribery.

Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider, who visited the FIA 
headquarters on Friday, said that "properly qualified" people would 
be inducted in the FIA to investigate complicated cases of white-
collar crime.

The minister approved the hiring of private individuals and 
companies, such as chartered accountants, auditors and cyber 
experts in cases where the FIA did not have expertise.

The minister announced that immigration and passports cells of the 
agency would be separated from it and handed over to the NADRA, 
says a press release.

The minister was briefed on the structure, administration, 
efficiency and discipline, operations, charter of duties and other 
matters of the FIA. He cited the examples of land scams, property 
builders, visa agents and investment partnerships on which a large 
number of public complaints had been registered.

"People spend lots of money in these areas and one day someone 
disappears with it," the minister was quoted as saying. He directed 
the FIA officials to prepare recommendations and suggestions so 
that such complaints could be taken care of.

The minister told the concerned officials to review those laws 
which had become redundant and obsolete with the passage of time 
and were usually misused by the corrupt elements in the department 
to harass the people and extort money from them.

Leaders to be dealt with strictly: Anti-Pakistan utterances :govt
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18: The cabinet on Wednesday decided to take serious 
action against those political and regional leaders who were making 
anti-Pakistan statements in and outside the country.

The meeting, presided over by Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf, 
consumed most of its time in discussing the statements being made 
from London by MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Ataullah Mengal, Mahmood 
Khan Achakzai and Syed Imdad Shah against the two-nation theory, 
Pakistan and army, sources said.

"Gen Haider sahib, people are talking against the national 
security, the army, the two-nation theory and geographical 
boundaries...why don't you take action against them?," the CE was 
quoted as having asked Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider during 
the meeting.

He directed the minister to find out what could be done immediately 
to prevent such statements and ensure strict punishment to those 

The CE asked how an MQM delegation had gone to India and made 
statements against Pakistan there despite the fact that some of its 
members were on the exist control list.

"You better know what is the punishment for talking against the 
Constitution", an interior ministry official told Dawn after the 
meeting, adding the government had decided to be "real tough" with 
those who were anti-Pakistan and that this time they could not 
escape punishment.

Commanders conference ends: New law & order plan discussed
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20: A two-day corps commanders conference, which 
ended here on Friday, discussed the internal situation with an 
emphasis on improving the law and order situation in the country.

Informed sources said that the meeting, presided over by Chief 
Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf, was briefed about a new law and 
order plan, prepared by the interior minister, Moinuddin Haider.

The chief executive told the corps commanders and principal staff 
officers (PSOs) that maintenance of law and order was the top 
priority of his government and that the criminals and saboteurs 
would be dealt with severely.

The meeting was also told that measures had been taken to eliminate 
terrorism being encouraged from across the border. In this behalf 
the arrest of some saboteurs recently was also discussed with the 
concerned officials. It was stated that the government had solid 
proof of the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, in 
the recent incidents of terrorism in various parts of the country.

Sources said that Gen Musharraf had also talked about the proposed 
devolution plan and expressed the hope that the new set up would 
ensure law and order with the participation of the elected people.

Gen Musharraf also briefed the commanders about his meetings with 
the politicians, they added.

According to the sources, the CE said that he would continue the 
process to seek the view of the politicians on various issues.

Sources said that Chief Election Commissioner Justice Abdul Qadeer 
Chauhdry and the chairman, National Reconciliation Bureau (NRB), 
also briefed the meeting about various issues relating to local 
bodies elections and the implementation of the devolution plan.

Pakistan HC official in UK resigns
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20: The adviser/press minister in the Pakistan High 
Commission in the United Kingdom, Tariq Azeem, has tendered his 
resignation to the government, it is learnt.

Mr Azeem, who is currently in Pakistan, reportedly called on the 
press secretary of the chief executive, Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi, to 
tender his resignation.

He has cited "personal reasons" for tendering his resignation but 
informed sources say he has resigned because of the obstacles 
created for him by a certain department.

A businessman by profession, Mr Azeem was appointed adviser/press 
minister by the former high commissioner, Dr Akbar S. Ahmad, in 

Wahid Bhutto case: Mumtaz demands inquiry by SHC judge

LARKANA, Oct 20: Sindh National Front chief Mumtaz Bhutto has 
demanded, in a letter to Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf, an 
inquiry into the Sardar Wahid Bukhsh Bhutto case by a high court 

In a press statement, issued here on Friday, he said an honest 
judge, having no political commitments, could conduct proper 

He said he could not understand how the servants of Sardar Bhutto 
could dare kill and burn their master and throw away the bones of 
his body into a ditch simply on the instructions of an "innocent 

He claimed that truth could come out from Furrukh Qadri if the 
inquiry was conducted in a right way. "We have proofs about the 
contacts between Furrukh Qadri and local PPP leaders and his 
statements before police and magistrate are quite different."

Mr Bhutto alleged that police had tortured Qadri, one of the 
accused, to implicate him to save the "actual" killer.

He claimed that it had become clear that the murder was aimed at 
re-opening the already settled issue of the Sardari of the Bhutto 

He alleged that the investigation team was pro-PPP. The SSP was a 
close relative of former federal minister Ahmed Muhktiar and former 
Khairpur Mirs SSP against whom he (Mumtaz Bhutto) had lodged cases, 
he added.

Offshore oil exploration policy okayed
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18: The cabinet on Wednesday approved an "offshore 
petroleum exploration and production policy package and model 
production sharing agreement" to attract foreign investors.

Under the new package the previously designated deep-water zone has 
been redefined and divided into deep and ultra deep- water zones.

The meeting decided to rename the Micro Finance Bank as "Khushhali 

Reviewing a CBR report on measures for controlling smuggling, the 
cabinet decided to retain dry ports in the country. Dry ports, it 
was observed, had not only facilitated importers and exporters but 
also helped generate economic activities. It, however, directed the 
CBR to ensure a clean and transparent functioning of these ports.

The cabinet approved ratification of an agreement on science and 
technology cooperation between Pakistan and South Africa.

Corrupt politicians cannot contest polls
Nasir Malick

ISLAMABAD, Oct 17: Chief Executive Gen Pervez said on Tuesday that 
he would not allow any corrupt politician to contest elections.

Gen Musharraf made this assurance to Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) 
chief Allama Tahirul Qadri who called on him today.

The chief executive, who also met Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan chief 
Shah Ahmad Noorani and speaker of the suspended National Assembly, 
Ilahi Bukhsh Soomro, separately, told the PAT chief that no one 
would escape accountability.

Mr Qadri told reporters after his two-and-a-half hours meeting with 
the chief executive that he had been assured by Gen Musharraf that 
no corrupt MNA, MPA or senator would enter the assembly.

He said that Lt-Gen Ghulam Mohammad and Lt-Gen Akram were also 
present at the occasion.

Mr Noorani and Mr Soomro were not available to reporters after the 

Mr Soomro went to Tank in NWFP after the meeting. When Dawn 
contacted him by telephone there, an attendant said that the former 
speaker did not want to attend the call.

The whereabouts of Mr Noorani were not even known to his family 

When contacted at his residence in Karachi to seek Mr Noorani's 
telephone number in Islamabad, a family member said they had no 
informa-tion where Mr Noorani was staying.

Mr Qadri, who had so far been demanding accountability before 
elections told reporters that he discussed political and economic 
issues with the CE.

"I also presented to him a charter of demands, which contained our 
demand of holding accountability before elections," he said.

He said he also presented an "economic relief package" to the 
government for implementation which called for reducing non-
developmental expenditure and steps for controlling the price 

Pakistan Muslim League wants APC to launch movement
Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Oct 15: The PML, ruling out the possibility of formally 
joiningany political alliance, hasapproachedNawabzada Nasrullah 
Khan with the request that he should activate the APC as a 
political platform to launch a movement against the government.

The party's secretary-general Saranjaam Khan told Dawn on Sunday 
that the PML was in favour of an immediate movement against the 
present rulers from the APC's platform.

The Nawabzada, the PML leader said, had assured him that he would 
take necessary steps for the purpose.

Over three dozen parties, including religious, had participated in 
the APC and the PML thinks that this forum may be more effective 
than any other.

Saranjaam Khan said the PML was not in favour of alliance with 
other parties, specially the PPP, because the two parties were 
political rivals and would contest elections against each other. 
But, he said, cooperation between the two parties for the 
restoration of democracy was possible from the APC's platform.

"I enjoy the blessings of party president Nawaz Sharif on the 

Saranjaam Khan said he, along with Raja Zafarul Haq, would soon 
meet the Nawabzada to discuss further details of the matter. The 
Nawabzada has gone to Khangarh to take rest for a few weeks.

Pakistan, Russia, CAR to discuss regional stability

WASHINGTON, Oct 14: The interior ministers of Pakistan, Russia and 
the Central Asian Republics bordering Afghanistan are to meet next 
month to discuss regional stability and how to deal with training 
centres for militants in Afghanistan.

This is stated in a Christian Science Monitor report from the 
paper's New Delhi correspondent. The report expresses the 
correspondent's belief that the Taliban regime is coming close to 
enforcing its writ on the whole of Afghanistan.

In another report in the same paper, it is said the credentials 
committee of the United Nations will meet later this month to again 
consider a Taliban request to be recognized as the legitimate 
government of Afghanistan. A Taliban delegation was in Washington 
this month for talks with senior US State Department officials, but 
no progress was said to have been made on this or other issues. 
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has declared that the 
Taliban's UN membership bid will be opposed, since the regime is 
still giving shelter to Osama bin Laden.

The Taliban have recently succeeded in mollifying some of the 
resistance in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian Republics in 
dealing with Kabul. But Moscow remains worried at the incursion of 
militancy from Afghanistan and has also held counter-terrorism 
talks with India. The US too has been coordinating efforts with New 
Delhi on the same issue. However, it is pointed out that Moscow 
broke a long hands-off policy by sending its foreign minister to 
Islamabad. The chief of the ISI, regarded both in Pakistan and 
abroad as the master-mind behind the Taliban, also went on a two-
week visit to Russia in August.

The Christian Science Monitor quotes former US National Security 
adviser Zbignew Brezezinski as saying that turning "Islamic 
fundamentalism" into an enemy was a dangerous "intellectual short-

"Islam is one of the world's great religions, and if there is a 
tendency to try and find partners to unify against an 'Islamic 
threat', you are going to have a self-fulfilling prophecy," Mr 
Brzezinski told a gathering in Delhi last week.

But the paper also underlines the difficulties faced by Pakistan 
because of the rise of the Taliban and refers to an unnamed 
American as saying that "Pakistan feels as much a threat from the 
Taliban as many other neighbours".

ECNEC to probe PM secretariat affairs
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20: The Executive Committee of National Economic 
Council (Ecnec) on Friday approved various development projects 
worth Rs15.7 billion.

Presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, the committee gave 
approval to an 18mw hydel power station at Naltar in Gilgit.

It sanctioned the feasibility study of Basha dam project for stage- 
I. The proposed dam would be a 200m high rock fill with a storage 
capacity of 7.3 million acre feet and with 3360mw power generation 
capacity and would be located on the Indus River.

In the communication sector, the construction of a third lane on 
the Islamabad Highway from Faizabad interchange to the flying club 
was approved.

The revised projects for track circulating of PR's Karachi- 
Peshawar route and improvement of over 9,000 freight wagons were 
accorded approval.

Reviewing the revised project cost of the PM's Secretariat, the 
committee decided to hold an inquiry into the irregularities 
committed by the CDA. It recommended that "letters of displeasure" 
be conveyed to the CDA as well as the project consultants.

It was also decided that the case be referred to the Pakistan 
Engineering Council for censure. The planning commission pointed 
out that exorbitant amounts had been spent on the construction of 
the PM's Secretariat.

The original cost of the project approved by Ecnec was Rs170 
million which ultimately reached the Rs1.4 billion mark. It was 
pointed out that Rs500,000 had been spent for an office door and 
the carpet bought for the office was worth Rs3 million while a 
chandelier cost Rs20 million.

The project came to Ecnec for ex-post facto approval which was a 
fait accompli. Ecnec members recommended that an appropriate action 
be taken against all those involved.

In the water sector, Ecnec approved a revised project to eliminate 
water-logging and salinity for optimum agricultural development in 
Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh districts. The other revised 
schemes in this sector were drainage projects for controlling 
water-logging and salinity through installation of drainage 

A report on the special education centres to be constructed at the 
divisional/district headquarters in all the provinces for mentally, 
physically and visually-retarded children was presented to the 
committee. The possibility of handing over this project to 
provincial governments was also considered.

The Balochistan community irrigation and agriculture project 
envisaging construction of irrigation and flood schemes was 
approved. Another project for Balochistan approved was the 
establishment/upgrading of 200 primary schools to the middle level, 
52 technical trade centres and five hostels for women teachers.

In the health sector, Ecnec approved the extended programme of 
immunization to be executed with the assistance of the government 
of Japan to protect children from major diseases.

Dollar below Rs56 in inter-bank 
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Oct 20: The greenback pales-and the rupee shines in the 
inter-bank market as it is time for the importers to sell back the 
dollars they had bought in panic just a few months ago.

The dollar finished at Rs 55.95/Rs 56.15 to a dollar in the 
afternoon session against the previous close of Rs 56.85/Rs 56.95 
showing an eighty paisa gain in selling in a single session.

In the open market, the rupee rose to 60.40/60.50 to a dollar for 
spot buying and selling up 100 paisa from the previous close of 
61.30/61.40. Currency dealers said the rupee moved up because the 
State Bank stopped purchasing dollars from the open market and 
speculators remained on sidelines.

Senior bankers say since the economic fundamentals are to weak to 
support a rising rupee for long the dollar may rebound soon.
The dollar slipped below Rs 56 in inter-bank market on Friday as 
banks closed out scores of forward contracts reached with the 
importers and repurchased the dollars they had earlier sold to 
them. The importers had to put up with it because they had failed 
to report timely shipments of the consignments against which they 
had purchased the greenback in forward.

"That has enhanced the supply of the dollar thereby making it 
cheaper against the rupee," explained treasurer of a local bank.
Bankers say this is in addition to a progressive increase in the 
dollar supply due to faster inflow of export proceeds against a 
fast-saturating import-led demand. Exporters are out to sell encash 
export bills on time because they cannot hold them up when the 
dollar is throwing extra weight off.

Shaukat seeks help to meet IMF terms: Commanders briefed on economy 
Ikram Hoti

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19: Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz informed the corps 
commanders' conference at Rawalpindi on Thursday that though the 
country's economic indicators were showing improvement, talks with 
the IMF might face difficulties over non-economic issues.

Invited to brief the conference on the economic and financial 
situation after one year of the military rule, the minister is 
reported to have explained that his ministry had no answer to 
questions being asked by the IMF for a bailout package to Pakistan.

Mr Aziz is said to have asked the government high-ups to "devise" 
an answer to this situation. Giving details on the spending and 
receipt situation, and the expansion in tax net through tax survey, 
the minister said none of the indicators reflected an alarming 

However, he explained, the country was in dire need of finances to 
meet the "liabilities" which, in the present situation of cash 
inflow, were proving harder and harder.

The list of the liabilities, he said, topped debt-servicing which, 
if carried out according to the schedule, left no room for meeting 
other public finance requirements.

In such a situation, the minister said, the country either needed 
to enter an agreement with the IMF on conditions being attached to 
the bailout package, or go all out for a contingency plan. Efforts 
to raise cash under a contingency plan could only result in 
Pakistan accepting harsh commercial mark-up rates.

Such rates, he is said to have explained, would have to be accepted 
in case Pakistan did not opt for accepting the IMF conditions 
attached to its soft-mark-up, long-term loan.

Plan to achieve 6% GDP growth finalized
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19: The government has finalized a three-year 
macroeconomic framework that seeks to achieve 6% GDP growth rate in 
2002-03 against a 4.5% GDP growth of 99-00.

A "Three Year Development Programme-2000-03", prepared by the 
Planning Commission which is expected to be approved by the cabinet 
also plans to reduce the present fiscal deficit of 6% to 3.5% of 
GDP by 02-03, based largely on tax/GDP ratio.

Investment requirements have been increased from 15% of GDP in the 
base year to 18% in the terminal year of the development programme. 
Keeping in view the privatized structure of the economy, nearly 2% 
of this incremental investment will have to come from the private 
sector and about 1% from the public sector.

Mobilization of savings for the incremental investment is an even 
more daunting task, but one necessary to give meaning to the 
objectives of self reliant growth.

In 99-00, national savings were 12.5% in an investment rate of 15%. 
But the terminal year of the three years perspective, the national 
saving rate will have to increase to 17.5% of GDP with only 0.5% of 
foreign savings. "To raise the rate of saving a wide ranging 
strategy is being prepared", says the three years development 
programme which has just been circulated to the provinces for 

Measures are in place to rationalize the tax culture to expand the 
tax base. The process will be reinforced by fiscal autonomy being 
envisaged under Local Government Plan 2000. As a result of the 
reforms and policy changes, corporate sector is expected to plough 
back its savings into new investment. Household savings will be 
encouraged by a climate of low inflation and positive real returns.

Monetary expansion will be kept in line with GDP nominal growth at 
11.1% per annum. The current account deficit will be brought down 
from 2.5% of the GDP in the base year to 0.5% in 2003.

According to the programme, agriculture sector will grow from 5.5% 
of 99-00 to 5.7% 00-03, manufacturing from 1.6% to 6.9%, others by 
4.9% to 5.9%, total investment 15.0% to 18.0%, fixed investment 
13.4% to 16.2%, trade deficit to reduce from $1.7bn to $657m, 
exports to increase from 10.2% to 15.0%, current account deficit to 
reduce from 2.5% to 0.5% of the GDP ratio, fiscal and monetary 
sector from 5.8% to 3.5%, rate of inflation from 3.6% to 4.0% and 
money supply from 7.1% to 11.7%.

The main objective of agricultural development will be to achieve 
self reliance in key commodities, ensure food security, improve 
crops, livestock and fisheries productivity and promote sustainable 
development. The record wheat harvest of 22m tons in the winter of 
'99 is expected to set the pattern for the sustained growth.

The framework however warned that in the absence of debt 
rescheduling from Jan 1, external debt service payments falling due 
will be $2.9bn in 00-01, $3.3bn in 01-02 and $3.4bn in 02-03.

Furnace oil: Yet another increase by PSO
Aamir Shafaat Khan

KARACHI, Oct 19: Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has raised the furnace 
oil prices by 3.34 per cent to Rs12,882 per metric tons from 
Rs12,465 per metric tons (inclusive of sales tax).

The new price is effective from Thursday, said an official at the 
PSO terminal.

 However, the a senior PSO official said the company had increased 
the prices but he did not give the actual amount of increase.

PSO, on September 27, rose the fuel oil prices by 7.4 per cent or 
Rs861 per metric tons to Rs12,465pmt (inclusive of sales tax) from 
Rs 11,604pmt.

PSO manages its stocks by issuing quarterly spot tenders for the 
import and through local refineries. The state owned-company had 
surged the fuel oil prices by over Rs3,000 since July 26.

Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) and National Refinery Limited (NRL) 
had also increased the prices of fuel oil to Rs11,085pmt from 
Rs10,750pmt as a result of rising spurt in international oil 
prices. Refineries main buyers of fuel oil are Shell Pakistan and 
Caltex Pakistan.

An official in a refinery said that the global price of fuel oil 
has gone up to $175pmt as compared to $160-163pmt two weeks back 
and the situation is further compounded by the downward journey of 
rupee since July 20.

PSO took at least at least 20 days to pass on the impact of rising 
global oil prices to fuel oil clients due to unsold stocks. The 
company keeps a 14 day inventory in storage.

According to a an analyst at a brokerage house, PSO has delayed two 
of its shipments of 55,000 metric tons of fuel oil due to slower 
sales of fuel oil.

With rising international oil prices and weakening rupee, the 
current situation may offer PSO a blessing in disguise in the form 
of an inventory gain, the analyst said adding that the sales of 
PSO's furnace oil fell by six per cent last year.

On Monday, Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) had also hiked the furnace 
oil price by Rs287.50 per metric tons to Rs12,822.50 per metric 
tons from Rs12,535 per metric tons due to price hike made by local 

Failure to submit survey forms
Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, Oct 19: The Income Tax Department (Southern Region) from 
Monday, will start taking legal action against those who have so 
far failed to submit tax survey forms and have been declared 
defaulters under first phase of documentation of the economy, 
official sources disclosed Thursday.

This was decided in a review meeting of commissioners of the income 
tax department of the southern region held under the chairmanship 
of Commissioner of Income Tax, Southern Region.

It was decided that beside taking departmental action under section 
56 of the Income Tax Ordinance, the list of such defaulters should 
be handed over to army and civil administration for action under 
Ord-2000, which suggests penalty up to Rs25,000 and imprisonment 
for 3 months or both.

The commissioners' review and information meeting took serious note 
of massive misdeclarations under Tax Amnesty Scheme, 2000 and 
recommended action against those who have made substantial evasion 
in their declarations under TAS-2000.

The department has already started verification work on tax survey 
forms and TAS-2000, with the assistance of their internal and 
external survey and is going to serve notices upon those who have 
mis-declared or concealed their wealth/assets.

Sources privy to meeting told Dawn that all such cases will be 
reopened where evasion and concealments are detected. However, such 
cases will be picked up through parametric selection.

The income tax authorities will further gather information and 
serve notices against taxpayers who have not submitted their survey 
forms under phase one of the documentation of the economy which 
ended on 30th of last month, sources said.

The declarations made under TAS-2000 and information given in tax 
survey forms will be verified and contested by the department 
through utility bills. However, those who have given correct 
information and made no concealment of undeclared wealth\assets 
would be obliged by the tax authorities on accepting their 
documents on the face value.

New petroleum package likely
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 17: The federal cabinet is likely to consider a new 
petroleum exploration package when it meets on Wednesday, informed 
sources told Dawn on Tuesday.

They said the government has shaped a new offshore petroleum 
exploration and production policy package to attract foreign 

The cabinet, he said, would also consider a model production 
sharing agreement and give its approval.

It will also consider the application of laws under the Pakistan 
Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952, to oil and gas companies 
including Pakistan Petroleum Limit-ed.

The source said that the finance minister will also place a 
recommendation to change the name of the Micro-Finance Bank to 
"Khushali Bak".

Govt rejects CBR proposal over 20pc duty on smuggled goods

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18: The interior ministry has rejected a proposal of 
the Central Board of Revenue to levy 20 per cent tax on smuggled 
goods and asked for imposing only a 10 per cent duty for one-time 
clearance of these goods.

The CBR proposal was initially sought by the ministry for curbing 
the sale of smuggled goods throughout the country. The failure of 
shutter tax to stamp out the Bara markets has prompted another 
scheme for smuggled items.

The ministry and the CBR officials were reported to have held three 
meetings to finalize a draft of the new scheme over the past one 
month, but to little gains, sources said.

The CBR has been insisting that the duty rate should be 20 per cent 
and the interior ministry deemed it "too harsh". The CBR proposed 
that a follow-up action should be taken in the post- clearance 
period which was also unacceptable to the ministry, they said.

The ministry insists that the CBR should extract at least Rs25 
billion from this levy whereas the CBR says that there would be no 
more than Rs4 billion deposits from the scheme even by levying 20 
per cent duty.

A draft of the scheme, prepared last month, envisaged that the duty 
be levied at 20 per cent, the post-clearance follow-up should be 
conducted jointly by the interior ministry, civil armed forces and 
the customs officials. The creation of new checkposts and posting 
of more customs officials to the existing checkpoints was also 

The ministry sources said that the CBR's proposal for giving it a 
leading role in establishing the checkposts in the border areas had 
been opposed and the rate of 10 per cent had been proposed which 
was not acceptable to the CBR.

Handing over of textile quota to private sector: Exporters dispute
Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI, Oct 20: Exporters are divided over the issue of handing 
over the management of textile quotas to private sector under Quota 
Supervisory Council (QSC) which is headed by a chairman from the 
private sector.

"Undoubtedly there had been big scams when textile quotas were 
looked after by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) but who will deny 
that when it was handed over to private sector, there were no such 
problems," a leading exporter alleged.

The previous government in the year 1998-99, in order to make the 
quota distribution and allocation free of corruption formed QSC in 
private sector and banished Textile Quota Management Directorate 

A large number of exporters are of the firm opinion that if the 
government wants to see an end to nepotism and embezzlements in 
textile quota distribution and management, it should once again 
handed it over to EPB, a body better placed to safeguard the 
national interest without being prejudiced to any one.

Responding to a question, another exporter alleged that the QSC had 
favoured many parties by allocating huge quantities of quotas to 
individual parties which resulted in the loss of millions of rupees 
to the national exchequer.

"It is an open secret that in category 666 of USA the QSC allocated 
much higher quantity of quota in order to oblige a single party 
which resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 10 to 15 million to the 
coffer," another exporter said.

The government in the draft [proposal of its Textile Quota 
Management Policy 2001-2004, has suggested to hand over the 
management of quotas to EPB, but exporters are divided on the issue 
having diverse logic and reasons to their respective claims.

The secretary minister of commerce last week held a meeting with 
exporters for seeking views and recommendations on the four years 
quotas policy. During the meeting many matters came under 
discussion, including handing over of the quota management to EPB.

Stocks come in for renewed selling

KARACHI, Oct 19: Stocks on Thursday came in for renewed selling 
under the lead of blue chips and generally finished further shaded 
as leading institutional traders kept to the sidelines.

The KSE 100-share index was off 14.65 points at 1,505.84, 
indicating it may breach the barrier of 1,500 points during the 
last session of the week if bulls did not resume covering 

"If it breaches through the barrier of 1,500 point index level, 
there could be a free for all at least for the near-term," stock 
analysts at the Taurus Securities predict.

But some others said, the market is currently thriving on rumours 
categorised as negative and positive ones and even if there is 
none, "someone circulates it and that is a bad thing for it".

"Essentially, the market currently is at the mercy of bears and 
until bull decide to resume short-covering at the falling prices at 
least on the blue chip counters, the current downward drift could 
persist for a longer period than many may have fresh thoughts", 
stock analysts at the Finex Securities believe.

Corporate performance reports based on selective survey conducted 
by the KSE team showing an impressive increase in profits and 
earnings should have generated a good bit of speculative support 
but leading bargain-hunters were not buoyed, they add.

A section of speculative traders late on Wednesday evening 
circulated a rumour that the chairman of Hubco Syed Alireza has 
arrived in Lahore and will hold talks with the WAPDA chief on the 
tariff issue and settle it.

Hubco share, which is ruling around Rs17.60 jumped up by one rupee 
to finish near the day's best bid of Rs18.65 but as the rumour was 
false it came in for renewed selling and fell to close lower at 

"The Hubco share being heavily capitalised and having a weightage 
of 11% in the KSE 100-share index, has in the recent past assumed 
the role of market trend setter ", analysts said.

Other blue chips generally follow its trend as sellers took profit 
fearing further decline. PSO, PTCL and some others also remained 
under pressure.

Minus signs again dominated the list under the lead of MNCs falling 
by Rs1.15 to 14.00 for Engro Chemical, Fauji Fertiliser, Knoll, 
Abbottl, Shell Pakistan, Al-Ghazi Tractors and some others.

Among the locals, Adamjee Insurance, Sapphire Textiles, Sakrand 
Sugar, PSO, and Nazir Cotton were leading, which finished with 
declines of Rs 2.40 to 5.00.

Most of the gains were fractional, reflecting the absence of 
leading buyers but Gulistan Textiles, Sindh Abadgar's Sugar,

Back to the top
Ardeshir Cowasjee

FOR once, it makes a pleasant change to write about something 
different from the usual, something positive, successful, 
controversy-free, and of unblemished integrity. How many know that 
there are women in today's Pakistan who dare to play cricket and 
that there is a Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association 
(PWCCA) with a team of cricketing women who go abroad and play for 

Shaiza and Sharmeen Khan of Karachi started playing cricket with 
their elder brother and his friends when they were about the same 
height as a cricket bat. Shaiza took to batting and Sharmeen to 
bowling. Their parents habitually spent an annual summer holiday in 
England, so when the girls were in their early teens they joined 
the Winchmore Hill Cricket Club and started playing in earnest. 
Their cricketing skills grew whilst they were at boarding school in 
Shropshire, where as cricketers they graduated from club level to 
league and county levels.

At Leeds University in 1992 Shaiza was appointed the first non-
British captain of the ladies team, and after she graduated 
Sharmeen took over the captaincy. The Leeds team under Shaiza rose 
from a rating of 32 to the trophy holders of the 300-odd women's 
university and college teams in England.

The resolve to form a women's cricketing body in Pakistan which 
would be accepted by the International Women's Cricket Council 
(IWCC) came to the two sisters when they were summoned to 
Headingley to provide bowling practice to the England squad who 
were preparing for the 1993 Women's World Cup (the fifth of the 
series). The resolve was strengthened when they sat at Lord's 
watching England play New Zealand in the finals, and they vowed to 
themselves that they would bring honour and accolades to their 
motherland and be members of a team from Pakistan when the next 
World Cup series came around.

They returned to Pakistan in 1995 and set about forming an 
association that would qualify for the IWCC and travelling around 
Pakistan looking for good cricketing girls. They found them and by 
1996 women's teams were raised from Punjab and Sindh. The first 
national tournament was held at the Karachi Gymkhana and Sindh won 
convincingly in the three matches played.

By the end of the year, confirmation of the PWCCA's membership was 
received from the IWCC. The next step was the international debut 
of the Pakistani team, and both Australia and New Zealand agreed to 
a tour. Three international one day matches played outside Pakistan 
were all that was needed to qualify for the sixth Women's World Cup 
to be held in India at the end of 1997.

They played 18 matches in New Zealand, including two one day 
matches, winning thirteen. In Australia they played one one-dayer 
and five side matches against the champions and though beaten in 
all matches gained valuable experience. To gain further experience 
for the World Cup, that summer six players signed on for the 
English cricket season, and in October they rendezvoused at Lahore 
to set up a camp for the World Cup. After the usual trials and 
tribulations blockages, and the general nationally adopted negative 
non-cooperative attitude towards anything innovative, the Army 
stepped in and provided the team with a cricket ground at Tufail 

Women's Cricket Australia and the Australian Sports Commission 
sponsored a coach, Jodie Davis, a former player. Word was spread 
that a team was being raised and 3,000 girls turned up at the camp, 
an amazing number proving that in the male-oriented society of the 
Republic of Pakistan women still had high hopes. A team was 
selected in mid-November and set off for Delhi for the opening 
ceremony on December 5 1997.

They played five matches against Denmark, England, Australia, South 
Africa and Ireland. Excusably and expectedly, all were lost, the 
team being the babies of women cricket at a mere three weeks of 
age. All the women's' cricket teams of the Western world have been 
playing for over fifty years, India has had a team for 35 years, 
and Sri Lanka for 13 years.

In April 1998 the team toured Sri Lanka, where it played its debut 
test and three one-day matches, again losing all to an experienced 
team on its home ground. That summer six players again went to play 
in England, a practice now established on an annual basis.

In 1999 Shaiza was asked to play for the MCC in its debut match in 
May at the Bank of England cricket ground, the first time in 212 
years since the founding of the MCC that a women's team had found 
acceptance. Shaiza faced the first ball in this historic match, 
scored the first run, and hit the first boundary for the MCC 
Women's Cricket Team. There were four fixtures for the 1999 season, 
and Sharmeen and Kiran Baloch, an all-rounder, arrived to also play 
for the MCC in the last two matches. The three girls were the only 
overseas players to participate.

In July 2000 the team toured Ireland, playing four one-day matches, 
and their second test, again losing all.

In August the team arrived in England to play their first match 
there, a forty-over one-dayer against High Wycombe (Kiran's old 
team which she has captained since 1998), which they won easily. 
They scored 297 for 5 off 40 overs, with Shaiza, the Captain, at 76 
not out, Sharmeen, the Vice-Captain scoring 48, Nazia Nazeer, 36, 
and Kiran 38. High Wycombe were all out for 101, Sharmeen, Nazi and 
12-year old Sajida Shah (the youngest international player ever) 
each taking three wickets.

They moved on to Charterhouse School at Guildford where they played 
against the MCC and scored a famous victory. It was a rain-hit 
match. The MCC batting first scored 143 for 2 off 40 overs and 
Pakistan made 144 for 3 off 29.1 overs. The winning streak is on. A 
team from Europe has been invited to play here in Pakistan next 

All this is due to the determination of the two sisters, both 
working women, both educated and knowledgeable, both earning their 
keep and paying for their cricketing expenses. It is also due to 
the generosity and understanding of their father, Mohammad Said 
Khan, and a few family friends and supporters, who provided the 
initial financing and much of the subsequent financing for the 
team. The present MD of PIA, Sher Afghan, has been most helpful in 
giving discounted tickets.

As for moral support, they have been propped up and encouraged by 
the team's patron, Anita Ghulam Ali, our forward-looking 
educationist and provincial minister, by Omar Kureishi, Arif 
Abbasi, Hanif Mohammad, She editor Zohra Karim and Women's Cricket 
International editor Afia Salam. The sporting press of Pakistan in 
general has also been most supportive.

The only discouraging and blocking factor has been the cricketing 
bureaucracy of Pakistan which has done its very best to ensure that 
the team was not formed, and when against all odds it was formed, 
that it was not allowed to play in Pakistan or elsewhere. 
Fortunately, the bureaucracy is not always invincible.

When not playing cricket or involved in cricket affairs, Shazia who 
qualified at Leeds University in industrial textile Engineering, 
and Sharmeen who qualified in textile management, are business 
executives in their father's enterprise. The company manufactures 
and exports Axminster and Wilton carpets, but now is suffering and 
working only one shift a day due to the unfair competition faced 
from smuggled carpets. This is not a joke. Carpet rolls of 12 feet 
width and 30 feet length are regularly smuggled into the country 
and are bought by all the major establishments and large buyers 
such as hotels.

Pakistan may not have won a bronze, silver or gold medal at the 
Olympics, but our young girls have won the first MCC international 
one-dayer, the equal of a platinum-gold, and the Pakistan Women's 
Cricket Team stands tall.

They are proud of the letter of congratulations received from 
patron of the MCC, Queen Elizabeth.

On the high seas
Ayaz Amir

A floundering ship and no way of abandoning it. Even rats have a 
choice which they exercise when they smell danger. Between a 
creaking ship and an ocean of confusion what choice do the 
bewildered people of Pakistan have?

Strange destiny: a country which should have everything going for 
it reduced to desperation by a succession of rulers it has pleased 
the Almighty to place over it. The list of heroes bears repeating. 
Zia: what did we do to deserve him? Ishaq and General Beg, with the 
Queen of Destiny dancing to their tune: surely penance for 
undisclosed sins. As if all this was not enough, then Nawaz Sharif, 
his intellect more than his person an apt commentary on the 
Republic's affairs. Then another spot of Benazir, followed once 
more by the Wonder of Raiwind.

We call this the era of democracy. It would be far more accurate to 
call it the era of ISI democracy: democracy corrupted by its own 
masters (and mistresses) and also mangled and made a mockery of by 
the military and intelligence establishment-- an establishment too 
big, its presence too overweening and its influence on government 
too suffocating for democracy to have much of a chance of 

True, a slightly better cast of characters could have helped 
liberate democracy and pull it out of the shadows. But with destiny 
decreeing that the flag-bearers of democracy should be Benazir and 
Nawaz Sharif (for which also read Asif Ali Zardari and Mian 
Muhammad Sharif) that hope was still-born.

Past bitterness is alleviated by present happiness. But what is our 
present? A collection of Great Pilots on the deck with no idea of 
where they are going. Anyone not blind or congenitally stupid can 
see that the ship they are trying to steer is leaking and the waves 
rising above the deck. But the Great Pilots at the helm are plowing 
on regardless - convinced no doubt that provided they stay long 
enough they will see themselves through the storm.

In 12 months, military rule has been analysed to death. The last 
conceivable parallel with previous bouts of military rule has been 
drawn and the conclusions painstakingly enumerated. By every known 
and unknown pundit in the land the last word has been uttered, for 
the most part portentously. But the Pilots on board ship remain 
unmoved, not a whit deterred in their judgment that the course they 
have charted - if the prevailing confusion can be so dignified - is 
for the best.In 1971 we at least had the consolation of sleep-
walking - walking to the edge and inviting disaster without knowing 
what we were doing. No such comfort is afforded us this time. With 
euphoria vanishing and cynicism setting in once again, the scales 
have fallen from most eyes (although, admittedly, some die-hard 
pockets of optimism remain). But of what use is this self-awareness 
if it leads to no corrective action? If the nation cannot take its 
destiny into its hands, of what use the enlightenment of the 

This is our problem: an incubus on the nation's back which the 
nation cannot throw of. The incubus is too powerful, the democratic 
current too weak and flickering. On whose shoulders should the hope 
of resistance rest? Benazir, Kulsoom Nawaz, the Chaudries Shujaat 
and Pervez, Mian Azhar, Ajmal Khattak, Imran Khan, His Holiness 
Tahirul Qadri? This list, which can be expanded, is enough to 
induce depression. This is what we have brought ourselves to: a 
nation not without intelligence and talent reduced to the level of 
such unrelieved buffoons.

What to talk of fighting for democracy, all our heroes have been 
willing at one time or another during the last 12 months to cut a 
deal with the military government. It is another matter that the 
government has lacked the sense to appreciate the advantages of 
civilian support, convinced as it is that it has the answer to 
every question. The government has also not been impressed by the 
efforts to bring about its demise, or its transformation into 
something civilian, through punditry and analysis. Death by 
analysis, the forte of the national press, has had no impact, 
unless the guillotining of Javed Jabbar be counted as such.

The impasse we face is thus complete. The army is no answer to the 
nation's political problems - never has been, never will be. Yet 
the army is not budging from the political arena, and the nation's 
politicians are proving singularly incompetent at presenting 
alternatives or marshalling resistance. The most serious opposition 
the military government faces is accordingly from the irresistible 
sources of its own ineptitude. But it will be some time before this 
factor plays itself out. Until then say a prayer for the nation's 
vibrancy, or what remains of it, because it is being worn down by a 
combination of military shortsightedness and political bankruptcy.

It helps to keep things in perspective by remembering that what the 
British gave India through the Minto-Morley proposals of 1909 seems 
revolutionary compared to what the military government at this 
stage is prepared to give the people of Pakistan. The Minto-Morley 
reforms were a step, albeit a small one, towards eventual self-
government. Which means that in 1909 and even much before that the 
British accepted the principle of self-government for the people of 
India. As time passed this principle was articulated more clearly 
and robustly. Yet consider our luck that in the year 2000 our 
military rulers are saying that local democracy, in its scope more 
limited than the Minto-Morley proposals, is the best form of 

The British never confused the principle of democracy with the 
requirements of empire. Yet in our case every military ruler who 
comes (from Ayub till today) begins by inventing a new concept of 
democracy. After Ziaul Haq what did we get? The ISI and Hamid Gul 
brand of democracy. What will we get after Musharraf? Probably a 
form of democracy hobbled with so many conditions and safeguards - 
national security council, a permanent political role for the 
military and such-like shibboleths - that it will hardly be able to 
stand upright. And then the military will say that politicians are 
no good.

Tailpiece 1: If the above be abstract issues, consider the concrete 
issues with which the government is grappling. Meeting on October 
18, the federal cabinet took serious notice of the "anti-Pakistan" 
utterances of such political figures as Altaf Hussain, Attaullah 
Mengal, Mahmood Achakzai, etc, and vowed to take stern action 
against them. The people of Pakistan have grown up. When will the 
Pakistani establishment grow up? 'Anti-state elements' and 'anti-
Pakistan utterances' are the oldest chestnuts in the national 
security repertoire of Pakistan. Anyone speaking against the 
centralizing tendencies of the state has been dubbed an enemy agent 
or an anti-state element. We should have learned to discard this 
jargon after East Pakistan. But here we are at it again, revealing 
our immaturity and the grave sense of insecurity which still besets 

Is Pakistan such a fragile vessel that it will break because of a 
few speeches? The UK is not the weaker for talk of Scottish or 
Welsh independence. There are people in Canada who preach 
independence for Quebec, enthusiasts in the US who still wave the 
Confederate flag. Why do we get so scared if someone raises the 
banner of Sindhi or Baloch rights? This is all part of the 
political process and should be dealt with in a rational manner, 
deploying argument against argument and not the 'anti-state' stock-
in-trade of the national security establishment.

Tailpiece 2: A still more serious threat to national security: a 
farewell party held in New Delhi by one of our departing diplomats, 
a Ms Tasnim Aslam, who is reputed, according to a newspaper in the 
forefront of guarding our national ideology, to have sung on the 
occasion a classical song, which is bad enough. She made matters 
worse by singing a duet with her Indian ustad. But, worst of all, 
she served liquor to her guests (who, take it from a sinner, would 
not have been amused if they had been served with anything else). 
The reporter who filed this report has said that all this has 
seriously tarnished the country's image. A senior columnist, who 
has surprised me by taking up this issue, has termed this a serious 
matter calling for an investigation.

Pakistan is a vulnerable country indeed, its security imperilled by 
mere speeches and its image tarnished by the serving of liquor in a 
foreign land - assuming, of course, that the diplomat in question 
had the taste and good sense to serve something suitable to her 
non-Muslim guests.

Constitutions we can abrogate, prime ministers hang, defeats 
suffer, half the country lose and win no medals in any games but 
the smell of liquor, even if offered to pagan guests (who will 
roast in hell in any case), we cannot abide. No one can say we 
don't have our priorities right.

Intolerable intolerance 
Irfan Husain

WHILE the government and its spokesmen have been untiring in their 
efforts to convince us that we are better off than we were a year 
ago when the army took over, the minorities at least can be excused 
for any scepticism they may feel.

Many of us were taken in by the liberal outlook displayed by 
General Pervez Musharraf, and expected a rollback of earlier 
policies that had steadily eroded the rights of non-Muslims. 
Indeed, in its early, heady days (how quickly a year can pass!), 
the military government even spoke of ending the evil and divisive 
system of separate electorate. For me, at least, this was 
justification enough for a military coup as neither Nawaz Sharif 
nor Benazir Bhutto had shown any inclination of even trying to stem 
the fundamentalist tide of repressive and retrogressive laws. I 
though that the army was the only institution strong enough to 
stand up to the might of the religious parties.

Wrong again! It turns out that the army has neither the will nor 
the inclination to confront the zealots who have occupied the 
political high ground despite being hammered in every election. 
Politicians and generals tread warily when dealing with jihadi 
parties who now virtually dictate the political agenda. But the 
real brunt of Pakistan's steady slide into religious fanaticism has 
been borne by its non-Muslim population. From being equal citizens 
in Jinnah's vision of Pakistan, they have become virtually 
disenfranchized and besieged through separate electorates and the 
blasphemy law.

But the stage for this growing intolerance had been set earlier 
when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in the mid-seventies under 
Bhutto's supposedly progressive government. So much so that today 
it is a crime for an Ahmadi to publicly utter or write the common 
Muslim prayer of "Bismillah ur Rahman al Rahim". Some Ahmadis are 
rotting in jail for committing this "crime." One case study should 
open the eyes of the Muslim majority to just how bad things are:

In 1989, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad was arrested in Tando Adam for 
distributing pamphlets. While in police custody, he offered ritual 
Muslim prayers, and was accused of "posing himself as Muslim and 
injuring religious feelings of Muslims." The trial lasted 11 years, 
and in his judgment delivered last May, Fida Hussain Mighal, 
judicial magistrate, Hyderabad, found the accused guilty of 
committing an offence under section 289C, imprisoned him for two 
months and 21 days and imposed a fine of 3,000 rupees. Apart from 
this punishment, the accused has had to undergo mental torture for 
11 years for the "crime" of praying according to Islamic ritual.

In his defence, he admitted to having indeed offered his prayers as 
accused, but claimed that in terms of Article 20 of the 
Constitution, every citizen had the right to practise his faith in 
accordance with the tenets of his religion. Although Ahmadis have 
been declared non-Muslims, this does not alter the fact that they 
still consider themselves to be believers, and therefore enjoined 
by their faith to pray as other Muslims do. This judgment was sent 
to me by a reader from Rabwah. It says something for the intolerant 
and violent times we in Pakistan are living in. For his safety, I 
will not name him here.

But if it is any consolation, he and his fellow Ahmadis are not 
alone in being persecuted. The blasphemy law has been misused 
blatantly and viciously to imprison and even execute non-Muslims. 
Usually, this law is invoked to target hapless Christians and 
Hindus for personal reasons far removed from any real or imagined 
blasphemy. In the most recent case in a remote town of Balochistan 
called Dalbandin, the temple and several houses belonging to Hindus 
were burned down by a mob.

The reason for this barbaric act was that an illiterate Hindu 
housewife had allegedly distributed sweets wrapped in pages from a 
textbook that contained religious verses. Even if this true, the 
fact that she was illiterate did not prevent the local religious 
worthies from setting a gang of bigoted thugs on her family and 
their neighbours. And to compound this crime, the police, instead 
of locking up the leaders of the mob, have instead arrested some of 
the victims.

We in Pakistan never tire of criticizing what we perceive as 
religious persecution in India. Indeed, that country has a poor 
record of safeguarding the rights of its minorities, specially in 
certain pockets in Gujrat and Orissa. But the fact is that in the 
eyes of the law, non-Hindus have the right to appeal to the courts 
for justice if their rights are infringed. In Pakistan, certain 
specific laws are aimed at non-Muslims, depriving them of some of 
their fundamental rights, and relegating them to the status of 
second class citizens. In an imperfect world, the first stage in 
obtaining rights is their legal recognition by the state and its 

This de facto legalization and institutionalization of religious 
persecution has earned us richly deserved criticism from around the 
world. Human rights organizations (including our own Human Rights 
Commission)have catalogued the depressingly long list of abuses 
under the blasphemy law, and named the unfortunate non-Muslims who 
are languishing in jails across the country for alleged blasphemy. 
Not surprisingly, the intolerant environment generated by such 
legislation has emboldened fanatics to take the law into their own 
hands; opportunists have used it to settle scores or take over 
property; and the police see in it an excuse for inaction when non-
Muslims have been attacked.

Unfortunately, the military government of General Musharraf has 
chosen to back away when confronted by the religious parties on any 
issue. Thus, there is no more talk of ending the system of separate 
electorates introduced by Zia two decades ago, just as the proposal 
to eliminate some of the more iniquitous elements of the blasphemy 
law has been conveniently dropped.

At a time when we are so isolated on many counts ranging from our 
nuclear policy to our active support for fundamentalist forces in 
Afghanistan and Kashmir, we need to step back and see how the rest 
of the world perceives us. Religious persecution is a hangover from 
medieval times and is no longer tolerated. Granted that differences 
in faith still trigger atavistic conflicts, but these are generally 
aberrations without legal sanction.

In Pakistan, some laws have marginalized non-Muslims, and these 
need urgent review and change. If the military regime can tinker 
with articles of the Constitution and other laws, surely it can and 
must pay attention to unjust legislation that has been so 
catastrophic to millions of Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians.

Miandad unhappy over reports of revolt

KARACHI, Oct 19: Pakistan cricket coach Javed Miandad on Thursday 
said he was dismayed by reports of a revolt against him by several 
players ahead of the one-day and Test home series against England.

"I am disappointed with all such reports of revolt and bitterness 
which are baseless and hope that things will fall at the right 
place before we face off England," Miandad told AFP.

The row centered on the players' complaint that Miandad's share in 
the 150,000-dollar prize money won at the recent ICC Knockout 
Trophy in Kenya was too large, one senior team member said.

"I think it's an intrigue against the team. I don't know why people 
drag me in money matters, I want to serve Pakistan cricket," 
Miandad said.

"Last month some reports said I asked for 7.2 million rupees 
(116,666 dollars) from the board, which was wrong. I am the least 
paid in the team," the coach said.

"One defeat in the ICC Knockout event spread things like that and I 
have nothing against the players," Miandad said.

"I am with the team for the last eight months and there are no 
complaints, we have been playing well," he said. -AFP

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