------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 17 February 2001 Issue : 07/07 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Musharraf to go to India if 'formally' invited + Bush urged to help resolve Kashmir issue + Membership of 24 PML leaders suspended + Malaysia signs accord for buying $20 million arms + Pakistan in better position in talks with IMF + Corruption weakening Pakistan: US report + UN official seeks world help for Afghans + More cases ready; Nawaz to repay loans + Asif ready to pay 90% property in 'his name' + 64 more names removed from ECL + Pakistan offers loan to Lanka to buy arms + Anti-Nawaz group seizes PML house + PPP to mobilize public opinion on tape scandal + SHC reinstates 62 CBR officials + Overseas Pakistanis begin getting NICs BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Defence budget not to go up: Cabinet agrees to cut expenses + WB team coming to investigate SAP scam: $400m involved + Riba-free banking not to affect dealings: CE + State Bank sucks in Rs15.5bn from money market + Distribution formula being worked out + Increase in interest rate not possible, IMF told + Export financing rate hike feared + State Bank calls for maximum use of ATM + Sale of bonds exceeds target + Consumer Price Index up by 4.88% + Record credit given to private sector + TCP's counter offer for wheat --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Is hammam main sab nangay Ardeshir Cowasjee + Taming the paper tigers Ayaz Amir + Rattling our cage Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Government to ensure sports policy a success + Daunting task ahead for Kiwis against Pakistan + Pakistan to investigate World Cup ties, ICC told

Musharraf to go to India if 'formally' invited

NEW YORK, Feb 12: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has said he 
is ready to travel to New Delhi for talks on the Kashmir dispute if 
he gets a "formal invitation".

In an interview with an American weekly Newsweek, Gen Musharraf 
said: "There are some indications that Indian leaders want to 
resume bilateral talks. We are prepared to talk to them on Kashmir 
and all other issues. I am prepared to go to Delhi for talks if 
invited by the Indian government.

"I keep hearing noises through sources that they want to talk. But 
I will go only if I have a formal invitation," Gen Musharraf said. 
The chief executive declared: "We want peace, but peace with honour 
and dignity. We have taken the initiative to ease tension by 
pulling out troops from the Line of Control and ordering our troops 
to observe maximum restraint. India has responded positively."

Observers here pointed out that following the devastating 
earthquake in Indian state of Gujarat, help given by Pakistan to 
India's needs had helped Pakistan-India relations thaw.

When asked about the rise of extremists groups in the country, Gen 
Musharraf told the magazine: "Ninety per cent of the people in this 
country are moderate and tolerant. The extremists only constitute 
about five or 10 per cent of the population. They are not a serious 
threat to this government or to stability. They are an irritant.

"Pakistan is a moderate Muslim state. I'm a Muslim. [Gesturing at a 
general on a nearby couch] He is a Muslim. He may pray five times a 
day, and I may have a different approach, but the voices of the 
moderates are not heard. We have to let these voices be heard.

"We haven't taken on these [extremist] groups head-on. We could 
have a shoot-out, but that is not our strategy. I do not want to be 
distracted from our main goals of restructuring Pakistan's 

When asked about his plan to return power to the civilian 
government, Gen Musharraf acknowledged that the political reforms 
envisioned by his government could not be completed by the year 
2002, but reiterated that "he was committed to transfer of power.

"We are committed to the transfer of power. But if you think our 
reforms can be completed by 2002, I say certainly they can't. 

Bush urged to help resolve Kashmir issue

WASHINGTON, Feb 16: The American Muslim Council (AMC) and the 
Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy have written to 
President George W. Bush urging the US administration to do more to 
end the dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir as a "first 
step towards freeing the region of nuclear weapons".

It also asks Mr Bush to encourage democratization processes in 
Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia, end American's uncritical and 
unlimited support for Israel, making land-for-peace as the basic 
principle in the peace process, stop the "economic strangulation of 
Iraq, and to re-evaluate the US approach to sanctions against Iran, 
Libya and Sudan because the strictures are hurting the civilian 
population in these countries."

The AMC is an umbrella organization of several American Muslim 
associations and the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy 
functions as a think-tank.

In their letter, which has not yet been replied to by the White 
House, the two organizations also seek the induction of American 
Muslims in the decision-making policy. They said the new 
administration should realize that the estimated six million 
American Muslims have a stake in the foreign policy of the country.

They have asked the US to provide incentives to pro-democracy 
forces in the Muslim world while safeguarding the integrity of 
Muslim states. "As Muslim Americans, we want to work with you and 
your administration to build a diverse, united and compassionate 
America, and to bridge the gap between the US and the Muslim 
world," their letter says.

The AMC has previously welcomed President Bush's move to permit 
federal-funding of faith-based charities, and the letter shows 
renewed interest in the proposal.

The AMC has announced that it will hold its 10th annual convention 
in Alexandria, Virginia, from June 21 to June 24. The convention 
will open with a Muslim Day on Capitol Hill when members of the 
Council will lobby legislators, and the programme also includes a 
White House briefing.

Membership of 24 PML leaders suspended
Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, Feb 16: Acting PML president Javed Hashmi on Friday played 
his final card to forestall the Feb 19 provincial general council 
meeting of the party by suspending the basic membership of over two 
dozen leaders who were active in organizing the meeting whose sole 
agenda was to elect Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as provincial president.

Acting president Mian Meraj Din, presidential candidate Chaudhry 
Pervaiz Elahi, vice-president Arshad Lodhi, information secretary 
Binyamin Rizvi, Lahore President Akhtar Rasool and suspended MNAs 
and MPAs who have been working against deposed prime minister Nawaz 
Sharif are among those who have been hit by the decision.

After a meeting at the residence of Sardar Zulfikar Khosa, Mr 
Hashmi told reporters that he had taken action against the said 
leaders in consultation with other leaders and in exercise of 
powers vested in him under Article 142 of the PML Constitution.

He said in case these leaders desisted from taking any 
'unconstitutional step' on Feb 19, the decision would be reviewed. 
"Otherwise, their basic membership will be cancelled", Hashmi said.

Other leaders whose membership has been suspended are: Humayun 
Akhtar Khan, Mian Mohammad Munir, Kamil Ali Agha, Khurshid Kasuri, 
Fakhr Imam, Begum Abida Husain, Abdus Sattar Lalika, Tariq Aziz, 
Mian Abdul Waheed, Sikandar Hayat Malhi, Chaudhry Wajahat Husain, 
Chaudhry Tufail, Azam Cheema, Imtiaz Ranjha, Afzal Sahi, Chaudhry 
Mohammad Sadiq, Maj (retd) Tahir Sadiq, Mohammad Ramzan Bhatty, 
Mian Fazle Haq, Arshad Imran Suleri and Begum Mehnaz Rafi and Ms 
Nasim Lodhi.

Mr Hashmi claimed that though he was party's acting president, he 
enjoyed all powers available to Mian Nawaz Sharif. He said the only 
power not available to him was appointing or removing anybody as 
members of the central working committee.

Describing the Feb 19 general council meeting as unconstitutional 
and illegal, Hashmi directed all members to stay away.

"What will be the status of their decision in case majority of the 
members participated despite a stay-away call from your side?", a 
reporter asked.

Hashmi believed that everybody would stay away. He said any 
judgment by a committee of journalists on the authenticity of the 
council members would be acceptable to him. "Let them present the 
lists before the press".

He reiterated that Zulfikar Khosa would step down as provincial 
president in case the Chaudhrys published the list of all 768 
members they claimed to have signed the requisition notice.

The acting PML president alleged that through the Feb 19 meeting 
the government was trying to create a new group of its supporters. 
He said since the rulers wanted to break up the PML, he was 
appealing to the members to abstain from the meeting. 

Malaysia signs accord for buying $20 million arms 
Ahmad Hasan Alvi

ISLAMABAD, Feb 10: Pakistan and Malaysia on Saturday signed two 
agreements for the sale/purchase of defence equipment worth $20.9 
million. An official announcement, which gave no detail of the 
defence equipment or its total value, said that the two agreements 
were signed by senior officials of the Ministries of Defence of 
Pakistan and Malaysia.

But a foreign news agency quoting Malaysia's Barnama news agency 
said that Malaysia was purchasing missiles and other weapons worth 
79.4 million ringget ($20.9 million) from Pakistan.

The weapons include anti-tank weapons system costing 30.8 million 
ringget and surface-to-air missiles costing 48.6 million ringget.

The Malaysian defence delegation, led by Defence Minister Dato Seri 
Mohamad Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, is on a five- day visit to 

Mr Najib, who also met Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf 
earlier in the day, was present at the signing ceremony of the 

Earlier, the delegation visited Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah, 
and the Heavy Industries, Texila. On arrival at POF, the delegation 
was received by POF Chairman Lt-Gen Abdul Qayyum, who briefed the 
Malaysian defence team on Pakistan's defence potential, with 
particular reference to POF.

The defence minister saw the entire range of POF products at the 
display room.

The team was taken around various production units where it 
witnessed the accuracy of firing of small arms. The Malaysian 
defence minister expressed satisfaction at the quality of products 
manufactured at the POF and showed keen interest in the production 
process of various arms and ammunition.

During the visit to Heavy Industries, Taxila, the delegation was 
received by its Chairman Lt-Gen Hamid Javaid, who gave a briefing 
on armoured personnel carriers (APCs) being manufactured by the 

The defence minister was also shown the production line of Al- 
Khalid, Pakistan's indigenous main battle tank.

The Malaysian defence minister showed keen interest in both these 
defence establishments and hoped for greater mutual cooperation in 
all the fields, particularly in defence production between the two 

Pakistan in better position in talks with IMF
Jawaid Bokhari

KARACHI, Feb 16: The spectre of durability of the IMF programme and 
one tranche-country image no longer haunts Pakistan despite the 
daunting IMF conditionality.

Sources said the political and economic context in which talks are 
now being held with the IMF review team led by Sena Eken is 
different from the parleys conducted to negotiate stand-by 
arrangement (SBA) last year.

First is the change in the US administration. Traditionally, 
Republicans have taken a softer line than the Democrats towards 
Pakistan. Despite giving a green signal to the IMF, sources say, 
the US abstained from voting when the executive board of the Fund 
met to approve the SBA in November. The indications are that the 
United States would "actively endorse" approval of the second 
tranche at the next board meeting.

The local head of a leading international security house says, "It 
is not a game of numbers." He was referring to official assertion 
that key IMF targets have been met. He added, "It is now the 
political game" that is calling the tune. Pakistan's moves to 
negotiate a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute is a positive 
response to world public opinion.

In the economic field, despite severe constraints, Pakistan has 
taken the required "prior actions" to qualify for the SBA, and has 
made substantial progress in meeting the SBA targets. Officials say 
some of the set targets are determined by the market conditions, 
which governments have no control over.

In view of Pakistan's current good equation with the IMF, officials 
feel confident that they would be able to convince the review team 
why market-related targets remained illusive.

In the talks, sources said the IMF review mission appreciated that 
Pakistan has met certain conditionalities, pointed out the missed 
targets, asked the reasons for it and inquired when and how they 
plan to make up for the lapses. It was the story of missed targets 
that made Pakistan opt for the SBA on "take it or leave it" basis.

Financial analysts say that the IMF is likely to soften economic 
targets in the light of substantial progress on IMF programme spelt 
out in the SBA. They, however, do not see any revision of the major 
economic targets. They expect relaxation more on the timing of 
policy and structural benchmark.

The perception in the capital market is that the core issue between 
the Fund and Islamabad is budget deficit. If the revenue targets 
are not met, it would result in short-term damage control of 
slashing development expenditure to meet fiscal targets - which 
they say is "a poor prescription by any standard." They do not 
agree with the finance minister's statement that development and 
poverty alleviation programme would not be axed.

Analysts in a brokerage house say, a seasonal pick-up in commodity 
producing sectors in the second half of the current fiscal year and 
the extension of GST to agricultural inputs by March 31 may 
accelerate revenue growth, particularly in the last quarter. 
However, it is felt, that government would need to step up its 
efforts to meet revenue targets.

Pakistan has made major efforts to stick to the IMF programme to 
qualify for the three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility 
which would enable it to secure concessional credit from the Fund 
to move away from the threat of debt default to sustainable level 
of debt burden. They expect the IMF to appreciate what the 
government and the State Bank have delivered in a very difficult 
macro-economic environment in such a short time.

Corruption weakening Pakistan: US report
Tahir Mirza

WASHINGTON, Feb 16: Pakistan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines 
are described in a US think-tank report as states that are 
weakening in the face of rapid domestic change, internal conflict 
and widespread corruption.

Overall, the report, compiled by the Asia Foundation, says Asian 
regional institutions are floundering in the wake of the 1997 
financial crisis, and their recovery is tentative and could easily 
be threatened by a downturn in the American economy.

The report, prepared for consideration by the Bush administration 
(and partly reported in Dawn on Thursday), points out that US trade 
across the Pacific exceeds that across the Atlantic and is growing 
rapidly. In 20 years, US private equity in Asia has grown from $300 
billion to $400 billion, with the Asian information industry 

In its summary of recommendations drafted by American experts - a 
separate section contains an input of Asian views - the report asks 
for a stable forward deployment in north-east and south-east Asia, 
with greater flexibility and in more dispersed locations; 
maintaining the one-China principle and "strategic ambiguity" about 
US actions, but promoting reconciliation across the Taiwan Straits; 
working with north-east Asian powers to support South Korean 
reconciliation with the North and continue the momentum (initiated 
by Mr Clinton) of US rapprochement with North Korea; and scheduling 
early and regular dialogue with Japan and China.

It also urges the US to support the Indonesian government in its 
attempts to maintain national unity and work to strengthen Asian 
trends towards functioning open markets by preparing a new World 
Trade Organization round.

The report suggests that the US should encourage continued movement 
towards openness in the remaining Asian authoritarian states with 
the aim of "eventual" democratization, and urge Asian governments 
to bring human rights abusers and corrupt officials to account.

REGIONAL TIES: The Asia Foundation's report underlines the need to 
build bridges with America's regional alliances, and this theme 
indeed seems to run like a thread through many of the proposals and 
working papers produced for the benefit of the Bush administration. 
The director of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson International 
Centre, Mr Lee Hamilton, has also urged greater cooperation with 
allies to share some of America's concerns.

Speaking at a function held by a private organization, Mr Hamilton, 
predicting that US diplomacy would become more complicated, said: 
"We will have great difficulty harnessing our power to advance our 
interests and achieve our goals. Since we cannot bear every burden, 
we will have to find new ways to join with other capable and like-
minded nations. We will need to cooperate with our allies and 
utilize international institutions."

He thought that the important actors emerging on the world stage 
that needed to be watched were China, Russia, India, Mexico, 
Brazil, the European Union and big corporations and non-profit 

UN official seeks world help for Afghans
Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16: United Nations Under-secretary General for 
Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima here on Friday called on the 
international community "to respond comprehensively" to the human 
tragedy that was unfolding in Afghanistan where millions of people 
were threatened by famine and drought and half a million have been 
forced to live in refugee camps.

Addressing a news conference at the end of his 3-day visit to 
Afghanistan and his discussions here with senior Pakistani 
officials, the UN official said "Afghanistan is one of the worst 
places to live in. The humanitarian situation is already bad but it 
is threatening to get a lot worse very quickly. Already one million 
people are threatened by famine."

Oshima, who assumed his office about two weeks ago, said that on 
return to his headquarters in New York after, he would report to 
the Secretary General, Kofi Anan and meet main donors to seek 
emergency aid for the suffering millions in Afghanistan. He would 
do everything possible to raise awareness about the enormity of the 
tragedy of the Afghan people, he said.

He said that although the UN had made an appeal for $229 million 
for the relief and assistance of the war-stricken and drought-hit 
people of Afghanistan, pledges made so far were far below the 
needed requirement. He said leaving aside the inaccessible people 
in the remote areas and villages of the mountainous terrain, there 
were still about half a million internal refugees and displaced 
persons who needed immediate assistance.

Oshima said although over the past few weeks the situation in 
regard to tents for shelter and food for the needy people had 
slightly improved, there was need for setting up food security 
programme on emergency basis.

More cases ready; Nawaz to repay loans

ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: Government will not make a deal to pardon self-
exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto or her jailed husband, 
who were convicted of graft in 1999, the military government's 
chief anti-corruption officer said on Wednesday.

"The government is very serious in ensuring that the process of law 
is culminated in the cases against Benazir and Zardari ... (it) is 
not interested in any deal with them," Lt Gen Khaild Maqbool, head 
of the National Accountability Bureau, said.

In fact, further charges against Ms Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali 
Zardari would be prosecuted, he told Reuters Television. In April 
1999 a special court sentenced Ms Bhutto and Zardari to five years 
jail and levied an $8.6 million fine for receiving kickbacks from a 
Swiss firm.

Ms Bhutto was out of the country at the time and has not returned, 
despite repeatedly stating her intention to resume her role as head 
of the Pakistan People's Party. Zardari is in prison.

An appeal against their conviction is scheduled to be heard from 
February 26.

Speculation of a deal increased after the government allowed 
Bhutto's successor, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to leave 
prison for exile in Saudi Arabia in December. Sharif was in power 
when Ms Bhutto and Zardari were convicted.

But Gen Maqbool said the government had not dropped corruption 
charges against Sharif and his family. Sharif was ousted from 
office by a military coup in October 1999.

MORE CHARGES FOR MS BHUTTO: General Maqbool said his anti-
corruption body is currently seeking more evidence from British 
authorities and further corruption charges against Ms Bhutto would 
go to court.

"We have finalised four corruption cases against Benazir and six 
against her husband Asif Ali Zardari and the court trial will start 
soon," he said.

"The UK government is trying very hard to let us have the 
possession of 20,000 documents that pertained to corruption of 
Benazir Bhutto," he said. "After some legal process hopefully those 
papers should be with us."

Gen Maqbool also said his body would reopen all cases against 
former prime minister Sharif if he returned before the end of the 
agreed 10-year exile he accepted to escape prison.

Even after the end of his exile, Gen Maqbool said Sharif and his 
family would be responsible for unpaid bank loans. "Corruption and 
loan and default cases will remain against him ... some cases have 
to wait (for Sharif's return)," he said.

Gen Maqbool's accountability bureau is investigating more than 700 
cases, mostly against politicians. Last year the NAB started 237 
cases in special courts, won most of the 100 court decisions 
delivered, and recovered 40 billion rupees of defaulted loans and 
illegal income.

Asif ready to pay 90% property in 'his name'
Rafaqat Ali

ATTOCK FORT, Feb 15: Asif Zardari, jailed husband of former prime 
minister Ms Benazir Bhutto, said on Thursday that he was ready to 
hand over all his properties to the National Accountability Bureau 
(NAB) if only 10 per cent of those properties, which NAB claims are 
worth $1.5 billion, is given to him.

"If NAB is ready to give me 10 per cent of what it claims are my 
properties, I am willing to give NAB in writing to take over all 
whatever is in my name," Mr Zardari told journalists in an informal 
chat at the Accountability Court at Attock Fort.

Asked if he would strike Nawaz Sharif-like deal with the government 
to come out of jail, he said he had no options. "If I was in a 
position to strike a deal I would have done it four years ago," Mr 
Zardari, who is in jail for the last 51 months said.

"But let me tell you that if I strike a deal with the government, 
the doors of Bilawal House would be closed on me," he said. "They 
would not allow me to enter Bilawal House."

He, however, said that if Nawaz Sharif had not struck a deal, the 
former prime minister might had been allowed to come out of jail.

When pointed out that similar accountability process was initiated 
by the PPP government as well, Mr Zardari said: "Now I feel that 
PPP should have entrusted the task of accountability to somebody 
like Asma Jehangir."

A senior journalist, on the occasion, asked him to stick to his 
words and remember them whenever PPP comes to into power.

Mr Zardari asserted that the day was not far when PPP would again 
come into power. "This is our destiny."

The suspended senator, who termed Muslim League and its allied 
parties as "anti-Bhutto forces, said: "Anti-PPP forces might be 
able to delay PPP's return to power but they cannot close corridors 
of power for the PPP permanently."

He claimed that anti-PPP forces had joined hands to keep the 
progressive forces like PPP at bay.

Asked if he believed that PPP was an anti-establishment force, then 
why it made compromises with the same institution for coming into 
power in 1988, Mr Zardari said that it was an attempt to allay 
their fears that "we are not fanatics and are human beings like 

Asif Zardari said that he still believed that PPP did a lot of good 
for the country in its second tenure and provided jobs to the 

Pakistan, he said, is a difficult country to govern. 

64 more names removed from ECL
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: The government on Wednesday removed the names of 
64 politicians including Chaudhrys of Gujrat from the Exit Control 
List (ECL). Interior ministry sources said that the names which 
have been removed from ECL include former as well as suspended 
senators and members of the National and provincial assemblies 
belonging to different political parties.

A few names have been deleted either because of the death of a 
person or owing to his escape abroad. These names also include some 
of those who have been convicted by the accountability courts.

The names removed from the ECL include suspended/former senators 
Ahsanul Haq Paracha, Abdul Qayyum, Haji Gul Sher, Ilyas Ahmad 
Bilor, Mohammad Javed Mengal, Tariq Sultan and Zar Mohammad Malik.

Suspended/former MNAs include Mian Abdul Mannan, Akhtar Abbas 
Barwana, Chaudhry Amir Hussain, Atta Mohammad Qureshi, Dilawar Khan 
Ghachi, Farooq Ahmed, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Gohar Ayub Khan, 
Humayun Akhtar Khan, Dr Imran Farooq, Kanwar Khalid Younis, Mian 
Mohammad Munir, Sadeeq Khan Kanjo, Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, Munawwar 
Hussain Chaudhry, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Shahid Abbas Shah Syed, Dr 
Sher Afgan, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Tariq Poori and Rana Zahid 

Suspended/former MPAs include Abdul Haleem Khattak, Abdul Rehman 
Khaitran, Abudllah Shadikheil, Akhtar Mengal, Malik Allahyar Awan, 
Asadullah Baloch, Alam Kabir, Bilal Mustafa Khar, Ahsanullah Khan, 
Faiq Ali Khan Jamali, Ghafoor Khan Jadoon, Ghalib Hussain Dhongi, 
Ghulam Mustafa Baldar, Habibullah Khan Kundi, Intizar Hussain 
Bhatti, Kamran Afzal Raja, Khush Akhtar Subhani, Maulana Manzoor 
Chinioti, Manzoor Ahmed Watto, Manzoor Hussain Wassan, Maqbool 
Ahmad Sheikh, Haji Maqsood Butt, Mir Jan Khan Jamali, Mohammad 
Ishfaq Walen alias Boli Butt, Maj (retd) Mohammad Aslam Khan, 
Mohammad Ayub Blaidi, Mohammad Khalid Javed Waraich, Mohammad Riaz 
Fitiana, Tariq Tarar, Mohammad Yousaf, Zahid Qureshi, Chaudhry 
Pervez Illahi, Kanwar Abbas Syed, Chaudhry Shah Nawaz Ranja, 
Shaukat Ali Chaudhry and Tariq Agha.

Pakistan offers loan to Lanka to buy arms

COLOMBO, Feb 13: Pakistan has offered to lend Sri Lanka 20 million 
dollars to buy arms to battle a minority Tamil separatist 
rebellion, military officials aid on Tuesday.

"We have been offered a 20 million dollar line of credit for 
military requirements," military spokesman Brigadier Sanath 
Karunaratne said.

He said the offer was made during a visit to Sri Lanka last month 
by a senior official of the Pakistan army.

Karunaratne said no decision had been taken on how the money would 
be spent. Pakistan has in the past supplied Colombo with ammunition 
for artillery, mortars and multiple-barrel rocket launchers.-

Anti-Nawaz group seizes PML house

LAHORE, Feb 11: A large number of anti-Nawaz people, who were 
armed, took control of the Pakistan Muslim League house on Sunday 
night, throwing away the name-plates of the deposed prime minister 
and other office-bearers.

The operation was led by Chaudhry Tufail, secretary-general of the 
PML, Gujrat, and former legislator Imtiaz Ranjha.

The Pakistan Muslim League house, Islamabad, has been under control 
of the anti-Nawaz group for the past few months.

The Pakistan Muslim League house, Lahore, was also taken over by 
Sharif adversaries a few months back but its control was handed 
back after a public meeting there. Both pro- and anti- Nawaz 
leaders have been using the premises.

PPP to mobilize public opinion on tape scandal

KARACHI, Feb 11: The Pakistan People's Party has decided to 
mobilize public opinion against the "false" conviction of the party 
chairperson. Demanding honourable acquittal of Benazir Bhutto and 
withdrawal of all references
, the party demanded resignation of all those judges whose names 
had appeared in the tape and institution of cases against those 
involved in the "verdict."

The PPP Executive Committee, which met in Bilawal House on Sunday 
with the party Vice Chairman, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, in the chair, 
also resolved to contact leaders of other parties and bar 
associations in this connection.

PPP Deputy Secretary-General Mian Raza Rabbani, briefing newsmen 
said the one-point agenda of the meeting was to discuss and to 
formulate the party strategy on the "fixed" verdict and tape issue.

"It is the considered opinion of the party that whenever the 
establishment had brought a Bhutto for trial, it had adopted a 
similar posture by creating a facade of fair trial despite trial by 
biased judges.

"The tapes' contents and conversations of Khalid Anwar and Saif-ur-
Rehman are sufficient proof that in handing down the verdict the 
due process of law had been circumvented," Mr Rabbani said. He 
claimed, all circumstances and the disclosures made in the tape led 
one to believe that it was a premeditated judgement.

Mr Rabbani said the party had rejected Khalid Anwar's and Justice 
Qayyum's denial. Besides, he claimed, the two statements issued by 
Khalid Anwar were in a way an implicit acceptance that his reported 
conversation with the judge was in line with his duty as law 

"The surfacing of the tape has created a grave situation and it has 
shaken the confidence of the common man in the judiciary."

Therefore, he said, the judges whose names had appeared in the tape 
should resign, Benazir Bhutto be acquitted honorably and 
proceedings should be initiated against all those involved in "the 
verdict-fixing scandal".

He also asked for clarification from the President why he had not 
taken action on the letter sent to him on Jan 26 by a deputy 
director of an intelligence agency.

He also referred to the warning that Benazir Bhutto would be 
arrested if she returned home. He asked "what moral, legal, and 
political validity this judgment has after it has been revealed 
that the verdict was fixed and obtained under duress?"

He also recalled the double standards being pursued by the 
government pointing out that a peaceful protest rally of PPP women 
in Lahore was dispersed by force and about 40 women and children 
were arrested. On Feb 8, a women's rally in Multan was also 
dispersed by force. The participants had been protesting against 
soaring prices and were arrested under MPO-16. On Feb 9, a party 
convention was teargassed and baton-charged and raids were being 
conducted to arrest part workers.

"Another example of discriminatory attitude is the treatment being 
meted out to Asif Zardari after shifting him to Islamabad, where 
attempts were made to change the medical reports of three medical 
boards written by a team of doctors. 
Referring to the bomb blast in Rawalpindi and the law and order 
situation in Quetta, he said the PPP was of the view that law and 
order had collapsed in the country.

SHC reinstates 62 CBR officials

KARACHI, Feb 15: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the 
government to reinstate 62 CBR officials, while declaring their 
suspension as unlawful.

This was spelt out in a short order given by a division bench, 
comprising Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Zahid Qurban Alavi 
while allowing the petitions of the CBR officials who had been 
suspended under Section 4 of the Removal From Service (Special 
Powers) Ordinance 2000, some 10 months ago.

The bench was of the view that the no material was communicated to 
the petitioners or placed before the court, which could even 
remotely suggest that disciplinary action against the petitioners 
was contemplated on the basis of certain allegations.

The bench held that the "continued suspensions of petitioners is 
ultra vires the powers conferred by Section 4 of the Removal from 
Service (Special Powers) Ordinance 2000 and is without lawful 

The court ordered that the petitioners be reinstated while holding 
that the respondents shall, however, be at liberty to pass 
appropriate orders under section 4, whenever any material forming 
the basis of actions under section 3 comes to their knowledge and 
is communicated to the petitioners.

Earlier on Feb 6, Advocate General Sindh, Raja Qureshi and Syed 
Tariq Ali, representing the federal government, had requested for a 
date on the ground that Ordinance V of 2001 had been legislated 
whereby certain amendments have been brought into the Removal from 
Service (Special Powers) Ordinance 2000, under which the impugned 
order of suspension had taken place.

As such time was sought to examine the implications of the latest 
amendments, particularly the two provisions of the section 3 of 
Ordinance V of 2001.

This contention was opposed by counsel for petitioners Barrister Dr 
Mohammad Farogh Naseem, and Khalid Jawaid Khan, who argued that the 
new ordinance did not affect the pending proceedings.

On the contrary it enforced the case of the petitioners since 
section 5 of the new ordinance confirmed that charge 
sheets/statements of allegations were to follow pursuant to any 
inquiry, which meant that petitioners could not be suspended 

Barrister Naseem stated that the new ordinance did not change the 
provisions regarding suspension and as such was totally irrelevant 
in relation to the impugned action taken against the petitioners.

Barrister Khalid Jawaid Khan had also opposed the contention for 
adjournment on the same ground.

The bench had adjourned the matter to Feb 13 with interim order 
that if any action was contemplated against the petitioners in 
terms of the two provisions of section 3 of the new ordinance 
appropriate orders, along with material on which they are based 
should be placed on record.

When the matter came up before the bench on Tuesday (Feb 13) Raja 
Qureshi placed a letter of the CBR, dated Feb 9, 2001, in which it 
was stated that since an appeal was pending in the Supreme Court 
against the SHC division bench judgment in OSDs matter, hearing in 
the present case might be adjourned.

It was also stated in the letter that one week's time was not 
sufficient to provide the material on record and thus the matter 
ought to be adjourned.

Overseas Pakistanis begin getting NICs
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The government on Tuesday formally launched the 
National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) on Tuesday.

The Nicop, to be issued for $100 for adults and $50 for children 
(below 18), will help overseas Pakistanis enjoy visa-free and 
unlimited entries without any limit of the duration of stay in 
Pakistan; purchase and sale of property anywhere in the country; 
open bank accounts in the schedule banks; obtain utility 
connections; and make capital investment for business. Moreover the 
card holders need not to register himself/herself in any police 
station in Pakistan for stay in Pakistan and for going abroad 
during validity period of Nicop.

Interior minister Lt-Gen Moinuddin Haider was the chief guest at 
the launching ceremony organized by National Database and 
Registration Authority (Nadra) at its headquarters. At the ceremony 
almost a dozen cards were issued to applicants from USA, Germany, 
Holland etc.

Those eligible to get the card include all Pakistanis holding dual 
nationality, ex-Pakistani nationals who have now given up their 
Pakistani nationality, individuals who claim their origin from 
areas in Pakistan and their families are residing in Pakistan and 
all Muslim individuals who claim origin from areas now in India but 
their families migrated to Pakistan during the partition in 1947.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, the interior minister said that 
by issuing Nicop, Nadra had accomplished a difficult task. He said 
that the Chief Executive was very much interested in the completion 
of this project and it had given the CE a lot of confidence. "I see 
bright future for Pakistan through Nadra", the minister said.

The minister also spoke about other projects being pursued by 
Nadra. He, however, referred to recent "Nadra fiasco" relating to 
the issuance of faulty voter lists. He said that the task of 
revising electoral rolls had been given to Nadra.

He admitted that the voter lists did contain errors but held the 
media and the people responsible for making mountain out of 

He added that Nadra was creating an authentic database and national 
data warehouse for the people which would be used for multi-
purposes both by the government agencies and private concerns. He 
said that Nadra had completed almost 90 per cent of the task 
concerning about the database.

The minister also counted on other major projects like issuance of 
foolproof national identity cards, machine readable passports and 
Pakistan citizen cards for Pakistani workers in the Middle East. 
The minister said that taking advantage of the database created by 
Nadra the government would also create National Motor Vehicle 
Registration Authority.

About the voter lists, he said the Authority was currently revising 
them to make them almost error-free. The minister disclosed that 
same voter lists would be used in the next national and provincial 
elections in the country.

Secretary labour and manpower division Farhat Hussain expressed his 
pleasure over the launching of Nicop as it was widely demanded by 
overseas Pakistanis. Nadra chairman Maj Gen Zahid Ahsan said that 
Nadra was involved in a work which had no precedent in the world.

He said the documentation of the country's population would help 
future policy-making of the country.

Defence budget not to go up: Cabinet agrees to cut expenses
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: The federal cabinet here on Wednesday agreed in 
principle not to increase the defence budget and keep it "constant" 
as has been proposed by the Debt Reduction and Management 

"Most of the recommendations of the committee to reduce huge debt 
burden were appreciated by the cabinet members today. Now the 
government will implement these recommendations," said Finance 
Minister Shaukat Aziz, while briefing newsmen here.

The finance minister said that the government planned to release 
the report of the committee by March 15, along with its policy 
statement on debt strategy following which the issue will be open 
for public debate in the seminars to be held in Islamabad, Lahore, 
Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar.

He said a decision has been taken by the cabinet that non-
development budget would be cut and from now onwards no development 
project could be undertaken by any ministry or division without the 
formal approval of the National Economic Council (NEC), Executive 
Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) and the Central 
Development Working Committee (CDWP).

In the light of the recommendations of the debt committee, the 
finance minister said the government was now working on a strategy 
to effectively reduce both the public and external debt.

The cabinet was told that debt was a very complex issue which 
needed to be resolved with all seriousness and by adopting 
consistent policies.

He said that due to the impact of debt, social spending had been 
curtailed in the past but now the time had come when the government 
should not only try to cut down its debt but also make available 
considerable funds for social sector.

Shaukat Aziz said the cabinet was informed that the fiscal and 
current account was very large and forcing the government to borrow 
more to pay off previous liabilities.

"Over the years borrowing capacity has been stretched but without 
increasing revenues and exports," he said.

The finance minister said a debt policy coordination office has 
been approved by the cabinet which would monitor all issues 
relating to local and foreign debt and give timely advice to the 
government on various issues.

"This office will help us formulate any contingency plan to meet 
with the situation of high level of debts," the finance minister 

Dr Pervez Hasan, chairman of the debt committee who was also 
present on the occasion, said that debt was a very complex and 
serious issue which called for taking bold and correct decisions so 
that, "we could come out of debt trap".

"Our debt is 6 times higher than our annual revenues and our 60 per 
cent of revenues go into servicing of debt," he said.

Dr Ishfaq Hasan Khan, secretary of the committee, told reporters 
that there had been an increase of Rs647 billion in public debt 
during 1980 to 1990, while from 1990 to 1999 it registered an 
increase of Rs2169 billion.

External debt, Dr Khan said, has increased by $10.2 billion during 
1980 to 1990 while from 1990 to 1999, it registered an increase of 
$15.426 billion.

WB team coming to investigate SAP scam: $400m involved
Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: The World Bank's Corruption and Fraud 
Investigation Unit (CFIU) is arriving in Pakistan to investigate 
alleged $400 million (Rs20 billion) embezzlement in the Social 
Action Programme (SAP-II), an authoritative source told Dawn.

The CFIU and officials from Bank's Institutional Integrity 
Department will conduct investigations in collaboration with the 
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Auditor General of 

It will also review official documents and verify assets in all the 
four provinces and the federal capital territory under SAP-II.

The source said the government has agreed to cooperate with the 
CFIU after a lot of reluctance and only after World Bank named it 
as "Field & Integrity Assurance Mission."

The source said that the CFIU team comprised of two British and two 
Pakistan nationals besides a Canadian.

The CFIU will examine Auditor General's observations (audit 
reports) which had pin-pointed the fraud and corruption in the 
Social Action Plan.

Earlier, sources said, acting Country Director Pakistan and 
Afghanistan South Asia Region, Abid Hasan, through a letter had 
informed the Finance Ministry that the mission would be headed by 
Mr Terence Matthews (British national), head of investigation/ 
operations and include Mohammad Ashraf, procurement adviser (a 
Pakistani national), Peter Dent, senior forensic accountant 
(Canadian) and Duncan Smith, lawyer/ investigator (British) for 
conducting the entire operation.

Mr Arif Yaqub, World Bank's senior financial management specialist 
at Islamabad office, will also be a member of the team and 
coordinate the programme.

The Unit was set up in 1997 on the initiative of Mr James 
Wolfenson, President of the Bank, to "abate fraud and corruption" 
under the bank-supported operations.

The unit was progressively staffed and has now been subsumed into 
the new department of the Institutional Integrity, reporting 
directly to the president of the bank.

The mandate of the CFIU includes investigation of fraud and 
corruption involving the bank staff, suppliers, contractors and 
officials of member governments under the bank-supported 

The source said the objectives of the CFIU were quite different 
from that of a regular supervision, procurement review and or 
financial management review mission.

"The mission will focus on the expenditures where the findings of 
the Auditor General of Pakistan indicate actual and potential 
fraud," the source quoted World Bank as telling the government.

"Additionally, other alleged irregularities conveyed to the bank by 
various independent sources would also be investigated."

Riba-free banking not to affect dealings: CE

ISLAMABAD, Feb 12: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on 
Monday reiterated that international financial dealings and 
transactions as well as all foreign investments will not be 
affected by the introduction of riba free banking
 in Pakistan.

"All such transactions and investments will be fully protected 
according to agreed terms," he asserted while addressing the fiscal 
conference to review macro-economic issues and budgetary position 
at the end of the first half of the fiscal year.

The Chief Executive constituted a high powered committee comprising 
the Federal Ministers for Finance, Religious Affairs, Law & Justice 
and the Governor State Bank of Pakistan to study and examine all 
details relating to elimination of riba.

The committee would formulate recommendations in the light of the 
judgment of the Supreme Court and also review the recommendations 
of the three committees already working in the ministries to 
identify areas where the decision could be implemented without 
delay and those requiring further study, planning and 

In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive observed that the 
process of elimination of riba demanded deep thought and 
formulation of an implementation plan that facilitates unhindered 
growth of the economy.

He asked the committee to also study the models in Saudi Arabia and 
Malaysia, two Islamic countries which have handled their economy 
with efficiency and success.

Commenting on the macro economic issues, General Pervez Musharraf 
identified increase in agricultural yield, water resource 
conservation and augmentation, improvement in the literacy rate and 
effective implementation of the poverty alleviation plan as the 
main thrust of the government's economic policies.

He directed the concerned ministries to draw strategic plans in 
their respective areas that yield results in the shortest possible 
time frame.

The conference reviewed the budgetary performance in terms of 
targets and achievements during July-December 2000 under various 
heads of income and expenditure.

Satisfaction was expressed over the rate of inflation of 4.9 
percent during the first six months with food inflation being only 
4.3 percent during this period.

Inflation target for the financial year ending June 2001 is 6 
percent. The conference was informed that the rate of inflation was 
9 per cent in India and 7.3 per cent in Bangladesh.

Although increase in oil import accounted for 67 per cent of the 
trade deficit, substantial increase in non tax revenues, enhanced 
bank borrowings by the private sector, containment of money supply 
and increased activity in the manufacturing sector were identified 
as important indicators of an economic turn around.

The rate of inflation has been the lowest in 20 years and dividends 
paid by the companies to the shareholders was the highest in five 
decades, the conference was informed.-APP

State Bank sucks in Rs15.5bn from money market
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Feb 15: Though Pakistan is yet to decide whether it should 
enhance its interest rates as demanded by the IMF, the State Bank 
has indicated that it would contain liquidity in the money market. 
Whereas it is to be seen if it leads to a tighter monetary policy, 
containing liquidity in the money market would shore up the rupee 
that has been on the fall for past few days.

 The SBP on Thursday kept the yield on treasury bills in one- week 
and eight-week repos higher than the previous cut-off on two-week 
and six-week repos.

The SBP said it sucked in Rs15.5bn from inter-bank market in one-
week and eight-week repos of treasury bills at 9.5 and 10.25pc at 
its open market operation, respectively. On February 1, SBP mopped 
up Rs12.35bn through two-week and six-week repos at 9 and 9.5pc.

Bankers said outflow of Rs15.5bn from the inter-bank market pushed 
up lending rates adding that overnight call rate rose to 11.5pc 
from only two per cent on Wednesday. They said some banks also had 
to borrow overnight funds worth more than Rs2.2bn from SBP at its 
fixed repo rate of 13pc. They said a tight money market would shore 
up the rupee that has been on the fall for past few days due to 
buying of dollars by corporates and those going to Saudi Arabia for 

The rupee closed 10 paisa down overnight at 59.42/59.44 to a dollar 
in inter-bank market.

Bankers said the Thursday cut-off was a clear indication that the 
SBP had started further tightening of monetary policy on the demand 
of the IMF. But two senior central bankers said higher cut-off on T 
bills repos meant that the SBP would no longer keep the money 
market excessively liquid. They said they would not be surprised if 
the market interpreted this as a prelude to a tighter monetary 
policy. A visiting IMF review mission has told top economic 
managers that Pakistan needs to make its monetary policy a bit 
tighter and use interest rate - and not the foreign exchange rates 
as the anchor of the policy. Pakistan is yet to decide if it should 
take this seemingly bitter pill. Businessmen and economists say 
Pakistan can hardly gain anything by further tightening of monetary 
policy at a time when its economy is still struggling to get out of 

Whereas the economic managers are trying to bring home this and 
some other points during the talks with the mission those engaged 
in the talks privately say Pakistan may have to accept the IMF 
demands. It is against this backdrop that the Thursday cut-off on 
the T bills yield has become so important for timely interpretation 
by the banks and other segments of the economy.

 Pakistan began tightening of its monetary policy in mid -September 
to keep the rupee stable after its free-floating on July 20 on the 
insistence of the IMF well before getting a 10- month $596m standby 
credit. The country has so far got the first tranche of $192m. The 
second tranche is due in March but to qualify for getting this the 
country has to do a number of things. Further tightening of 
monetary policy and liberalization of foreign exchange regime are 
just two of them. Sources close to ministry of finance say Pakistan 
may have to do both before the end of March. But they say the 
government would most likely take the business community into 
confidence before taking a decision.

Businessmen and economist say if the monetary policy becomes 
tighter - and the interest rates go up the economy will be hurt in 
the following four ways:

(i) Export finance rate will shoot up to unmanageable highs as this 
is going to be linked to the treasury bills yield and in the event 
of a tighter monetary policy T bills yield would move up.

(ii) revival of sick units would become almost impossible and the 
industries already in the process of revival would fall sick again.

(iii) banks would find it more difficult to recover their bad 
loans; and

(iv) the cost of domestic debt servicing would rise thereby raising 
the budget deficit of the government and of state-run 

And to add insult to injury all this would render Pakistan unable 
to meet several key performance criteria set by the IMF under its 
standby credit.

Distribution formula being worked out
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16: The water reserves at Tarbella and Mangla will 
last up to February 28 after which only run of the river water will 
be available for meeting irrigation needs of the country, Dawn 
learnt here on Friday.

The irrigation ministries of the provinces have already been 
informed about the situation that no stored water will be available 
after Feb 28, an Indus River System Authority official said.

Wheat crop in Punjab is likely to miss the last watering, which the 
provincial irrigation department had planned from March 5 to 15.

"We had planned to supplywater twice for wheat crop before harvest 
but now we would be able to supply only once," a senior official of 
the Punjab irrigation department said.

Only 30 per cent of the total requirement of wheat crop has been 
fulfilled this year, he said, predicting a considerable decline in 
wheat production.

The flow upstream River Jhelum at Mangla was only 4,000 cusecs 
while 18,000 cusecs were being drawn, he said. "The situation at 
Tarbella is worst as the water level has already dropped to the 
lowest ever in the last 25 years", the source said.

"Water at Tarbella has never dropped to this level during this part 
of the year", another official at the dam told Dawn when contacted 
by telephone.

"Tarbella is releasing 30,000 cusecs a day and only 12,000 cusecs 
is flowing down in the reservoir from the Indus River," he said. 
"With this rate of discharge the storage at the most will last only 
for two weeks."

Increase in interest rate not possible, IMF told
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The visiting five member IMF review mission 
headed by Ms Sena Eken has asked the nationalized commercial banks 
(NCBs) to increase rate of interest with a view to improving their 
financial health.

"But we have told the mission members that there is hardly any 
space and potential available to increase the banks' interest 
rate", said the President of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Mr Zakir.

He told reporters at a briefing here on Tuesday that the IMF 
mission had met bankers and financial experts in Karachi on Monday 
where the issue of increasing banks' interest rate was discussed.

However, he pointed out, that the IMF mission was told that it was 
not easy at this stage to seek change in the monetary policy, 
exchange rate policy and interest rate policy. 

"The rate of interest of banks at this stage cannot be increased".

He said that economic recovery required that interest rate of the 
banks should not be very high so that business community did not 
feel hesitant to establishing their new industries in Pakistan.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz on this occasion said that it was 
perhaps the first time that any IMF mission leader had met the 
bankers to discus various issues. He, however, said that nothing 
had been finalized with the IMF and that currently consultations 
were being held on various issues including the banking sector.

Export financing rate hike feared
Sabihuddin Ghausi

KARACHI, Feb 15: Central bankers have again dropped broad hints on 
Thursday of further pushing up the export refinance cost from nine 
per cent to 12 per cent plus before the end of the current fiscal 

Textile manufacturers and exporters received these signals on 
Thursday at the State Bank of Pakistan's Credit Committee meeting 
when the central bankers indicated of "withdrawing subsidy on the 
export refinance" and phasing it out by pegging its rate at 1.5 to 
two per cent above the treasury 
bills that bring it to 12 per cent plus.

Business leaders, who attended the meeting, said the central 
bankers indicated pushing up the export refinance cost on selective 
basis. "The least value added item may be given export refinance 
credit at higher cost from March," one of the exporters said. "But 
then eventually, the export refinance has to be phased out 
completely," he said.

"India has allowed export refinance at five per cent, virtually 
across the board," Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, a spinner and representative 
of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in 
the committee, said while informing the bankers that industrial 
production cost in Pakistan has become costliest in the region 
rendering it totally uncompetitive in the export market.

"It is bound to throw the entire business out of gear," Shabbir 
Ahmad, a leading textile products exporter remarked. He said the 
entire production and export strategy was designed on the basis of 
eight per cent refinance cost. It has already been raised to nine 
per cent and now the central bankers are dropping hints of 
refinance cost going up further.

According to the bankers, the flow of export refinance credit in 
the first half of this fiscal year increased by Rs6.1 billion as 
against Rs7 billion credit extended in same period of 99-00.

"Pattern of the net credit under export finance scheme, though 
lower in quantum this year, showed consistency in terms of credit 
disbursement," a recent report of the State Bank says.

In the preceding year (99-00), credit for export finance showed 
retirement upto October 99 and picked up in the subsequent months, 
while in the current year it started increasing from August 2000. 
Export finance credit increased by Rs1.7bn in first quarter of 
July-September 2000 and Rs4.4bn in the second quarter of October-
December. In sharp contrast, exporters retired Rs3.7bn in the first 
quarter of last fiscal year and utilized Rs10.7bn export refinance 
credit in October-December 1999.

Business leaders expect a meeting of the manufacturers, exporters, 
bankers and bureaucrats sometimes late this month or early next 
month to work out a strategy for maintaining Pakistan's competitive 
edge in the export market.

The businessmen said, "the industry is groaning under the impact of 
oil price increase - five times in last one year, electricity rate 
hike, dumping of imported consumer goods and high financial cost. 
And now the crawling up of export refinance cost."

State Bank calls for maximum use of ATM

KARACHI, Feb 14 : Banks have been prohibited from making cash 
payment at any place other than the authorized place of business 
except through installation of an automatic teller machine (ATM).

The State Bank of Pakistan notified on Wednesday that banks 
interested in installing ATM or sharing ATM facilities with other 
banks could do so without SBP's prior approval.

The banks have, however, been advised to intimate the SBP in this 
regard 15 days in advance and it would amount to approval of the 
same if the central bank does not convey any reservations during 
the period.

The decision had been taken to encourage the banks to make use of 
ATM and hence the Prudential Regulation No XV stood substituted, 
the SBP said.-APP

Sale of bonds exceeds target 
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, Feb 13: The State Bank on Tuesday raised Rs15.5 billion 
long term funds through sale of Pakistan Investment Bonds - thanks 
to growing interest of fund managers in these bonds. The amount is 
almost double the sale target of Rs8 billion, set earlier by the 

Bankers say since borrowing through the PIBs is treated as non -
bank borrowing, the mopping up of Rs15.5 billion through the bonds 
would help the government cut its borrowing from banks. And that in 
turn would enable it to meet some key targets set by the IMF.

The SBP said it had received bids worth Rs17.8 billion but it sold 
Rs15.5 billion bonds - and scrapped the remaining bids. It said the 
10-year PIBs alone attracted Rs13.8 billion funds: three-year bonds 
raised Rs1.2 billion and five-year bonds Rs452 million. The SBP 
sold the bonds - through primary dealers - at a premium of 10 paisa 
for each hundred rupees.

The bonds carried 12.5 per cent interest for three years; 13 per 
cent for five years and 14 per cent for 10 years. The investors 
would get the interest through six-monthly coupons.

According to the primary dealers - the banks selected by the SBP 
for selling government securities - both state-run corporations and 
private corporates invested huge funds in PIBs. They said the 
buyers included State Life Insurance Corporation that bought about 
Rs5 billion worth of bonds. Some other state-run organizations that 
made heavy investment in the bonds included (i) National Insurance 
Corporation (ii) National Fertilizer Corporation (iii) Karachi Port 
Trust (iv) Workers Welfare Fund and (v) Employees Old Age Benefit 
Institution. Bankers said some insurance companies and investment 
banks were also among principal buyers of the bonds. Besides local 
and multinational private companies invested their provident and 
pension funds in the bonds.

Bankers said even some commercial banks invested long-term funds in 
the papers. And the investors included at least two foreign banks 
on the list of the primary dealers. In all there are seven primary 
dealers: (i) Habib Bank (ii) National Bank (iii) Union Bank (iv) 
Citibank (v) ABN Amro (vi) American Express and (vii) Standard 
Chartered. Bankers said Standard Chartered alone sold more than Rs6 
billion bonds.

Bankers close to the SBP said the State Bank high-ups gave a big 
pat on the back of primary dealers for aggressive marketing of the 
bonds: but they admonished them for not being accurate in their 
earlier assessment about the demand for the bonds. It was on the 
recommendation of the primary dealers that the State Bank had 
lowered the sale target for the bonds from Rs14 billion to Rs8 
billion. That the recommendation was not based upon real assessment 
of ground realities was evident from the fact that Tuesday auction 
generated Rs17.8 billion worth of bids for the bonds.

Bankers said the SBP officials told primary dealers that draining 
out Rs15.5 billion from the market instead of targeted Rs8 billion 
was a bit of unprofessional approach. They were right. A number of 
local and foreign bankers told Dawn that it had put the relevance 
of pre-auction targets in question.

Consumer Price Index up by 4.88%
Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The inflation rate based on Consumer Price Index 
rose by 4.88 per cent during the period July-January, over the 
corresponding period of last year, according to Federal Bureau of 
Statistics, released on Tuesday.

Indicating continuous spiral of inflation, other indices - 
Sensitive Price Index (SPI) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) - 
increased even more, that is, by 5.35% and 6.71%, respectively.

This is all the more disturbing because SPI measures the changes in 
cost of living for the lowest paid employees (up to Rs1500 per 
month). The WPI reflects the rising cost of industrial production 
as it includes raw materials and intermediate goods in its basket.

According to the review, CPI, SPI and WPI had increased during the 
period July-January, 1999-2000 by 3.37%, 1.84% and 1.53%, 
respectively over the corresponding period of preceding year, thus 
showing a sharply rising trend in the cost of living since 1998.

During the month of January, 2001, WPI registered the highest 
increase - 9.33% - as compared to January, 2000, while CPI and SPI 
soared by 4.67% and 6.46%, respectively. In January 2000, SPI and 
CPI had inched up by 0.62% and 3.43%, respectively, while WPI had 
declined by 0.41% over the corresponding month of 1999.

When compared with December, 2000, however, all the indices are 
shown to have slowed during the month under report. While SPI 
increased by 0.15% only, CPI and WPI declined by 0.16% and 0.84%, 

Group-wise analysis of the CPI's behaviour shows a steep rise in 
prices of "transport & communication", "fuel & lighting" and 
medicines. In January 2001, their prices shot up by 14.56%, 10.85% 
and 7.81%, respectively, compared to corresponding month of the 
previous year. The rise in the prices of the former two groups was 
due to another hike in the petroleum prices.

As regards the rise in prices of medicines, this is one of the 
perennial phenomenon attributable mainly to decisions of the 
ministry of health.

Thanks to its peculiar composition, the group "food, beverages & 
tobacco" registered an increase of only 4.67%. When compared with 
December 2000, it is reported to have even dropped by 0.16%.

CPI for the remaining groups increased during January.

Record credit given to private sector
Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: A high level meeting presided over by Chief 
Executive General Pervez Musharraf was told here on Tuesday that 
the nationalised commercial banks have extended a record Rs 90 
billion in credit to the private sector during the first seven 
months of 2000-2001.

However, the chief executive asked the presidents of National Bank 
of Pakistan (NBP), Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) and United Bank Ltd (UBL) 
who were also present in the meeting, to drastically improve their 
financial health so that they could be privatized as early as 

 He told reporters at a briefing after the meeting that the chief 
executive had issued instructions to the nationalised commercial 
banks to improve their service to customers, specially in the area 
of customer complaints in depositing payment for utility bills.

The meeting, which was also attended by the State Bank of Pakistan 
governor and ministers for interior and labour, was told to focus 
on credit expansion for the private sector, so that greater 
economic activities could be undertaken. It was told that so far 
only oil and gas, textile and automobile sectors of the economy 
have been offered more credit.

The finance minister said that UBL was given Rs 21 billion 
liquidity by the government while Rs 18 billion was offered to HBL 
to improve its financial health.

"The meeting today decided that the government would no more be 
pumping funds into the nationalised commercial banks to improve 
their health. Rather they had been asked to recover their bad loans 
and improve their performance so that they could be made 
financially viable", he said, adding that the chief executive has 
asked whytax payers money should be offered to pay off banks' 
liabilities and that the banks should themselves sustain their own 
losses. Aziz told a reporter that the financial advisors for UBL, 
NBP and HBL were being appointed with a view to accelerate their 
privatisation process.

 RIBA: Minister for Finance, Shaukat Aziz, said here that riba 
(interest) free banking was an important issue which required 
careful handling to meet the deadline of June 30 given by the 
Supreme Court.

"And that was why the chief executive has set up another high 
powered committee on Monday to look into the issue before finally 
start implementing the ruling of the Supreme Court on riba", he 
further stated.

He told reporters at a briefing that the new committee would wait 
for the recommendations of all the three committees set up in the 
State Bank of Pakistan, Law Division and the Ministry of Finance to 
implement the ruling of the apex court.

TCP's counter offer for wheat

KARACHI, Feb 16: The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has 
given counter offer of $120 per ton to the highest bidder for 
wheat, who quoted $105.25 per ton for a total quantity of 100,000 

Sources on Friday said the bidder - National Flour Mills (NFM) of 
Dubai - has been asked to give his consent to the TCP's counter 
offer by Friday, February 23.

Responding to a question, TCP chairman Syed Masood Alam Rizvi told 
Dawn that the NFM had already expressed its desire to go for higher 
quantity once the Pakistani wheat gets good response from their 

According to the tender documents of the bidder, they had indicated 
to purchase another 200,000 tons if the "hard red winter" quality 
wheat from Pakistan was accepted by consumers.

The TCP last week called bids for export of 500,000 tons wheat and 
on Wednesday, the tender opening day, three bids were offered for a 
total quantity of 225,000 tons. The highest was at $105.25 per 
tone, followed by $102.24 and $90.50 per ton.

Except being lesser in red colour, the Pakistani wheat is of the 
same quality and standard of "hard red winter" wheat, which is 
presently in great demand in the world market.

Meanwhile, a three-member high-powered official delegation headed 
by chairman TCP is leaving for Iraq on Saturday to negotiate the 
deal regarding supply of wheat to Baghdad under phase-IV of the 
Oil-for-Food Programme.

The delegation will hold meetings with the Iraqi Grains Board. It 
is expected that a deal for 35,000 tons of Pakistani wheat, which 
is already under negotiation will be finalized.

Back to the top
Is hammam main sab nangay      
Ardeshir Cowasjee

IS there any objective non-party person in Pakistan who will deny 
that both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, their cohorts, their 
governments were corrupt to the core and collectively responsible 
for the robbery and plunder of this country and its people?

I will say nothing about the judiciary as I stand accused of having 
committed contempt of court. I have asked Chief Justice of Pakistan 
Irshad Hassan Khan to hear my case before I or my lawyers die and 
am anxiously awaiting a summons to Islamabad.

When Benazir was dismissed for the first time in 1990 President 
Ghulam Ishaq Khan filed six references against her alleging 
corruption and misconduct. None of these were decided during 
Nawaz's first tenure (1990-93). So, when Benazir came back for her 
second round she naturally had herself acquitted on all charges. 
The country lost; the people lost.

In her second round, Benazir and her husband discovered a new 
source of income - inspection companies. Six cover companies were 
named and used: Capricorn Trading, Dargal Associated, Mariston 
Securities, Mariston Business, Nassam Incorporated, Bomer Finance. 
On September 8, 1997, the Swiss Federal Office for Police Matters, 
Berne, informed our government that sufficient evidence had been 
found to justify their writing to four banks informing them to 
block the accounts of "accused persons Bhutto Benazir, ex-prime 
minister, Zardari Asif Ali, husband of Madame Bhutto, Bhutto Nusat 

When Benazir was thrown out in 1996 for the second time, charged 
with corruption and malpractices, and Nawaz came in for his second 
bout with the nation one thing he did do was to manage in 1999 to 
have a high court convict both Benazir and Asif. Asif is in prison 
whilst Benazir has embarked on a world lecture tour, posing to be 
as pure as the proverbial driven snow. Both have appealed to the 
Supreme Court against their conviction and this appeal is to be 
heard at the end of this month.

Now, at this moment in time, a 'spook' emerges. As is the wont of 
his profession, a deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau writes 
to the President of Pakistan on January 29 and sends him a bunch of 
tapes of bugged conversations. The spook writes on IB-Lahore 
letterhead, so one should presume he wrote from Lahore. The letter 
and the transcripts of the tapes are leaked to and printed by The 
Sunday Times, London, on Feb 4. But the spook is in London. How did 
he get there? Who pays for his keep? Would it be reasonable to 
suspect that the entire episode has a high fishy smell?

I hold no brief for Spook Rahim or his associates or his felons-in-
arms. I write for my old friend, barrister and senior counsel, 
Khalid Anwer. Our friendship managed to survive the period he spent 
as law minister in the second Nawaz Sharif government, for when he 
accepted the position I knew that it would not be too long before 
he once again landed with his feet back on terra firma. For 
Khalid's knowledge, intelligence and ethics, I have nothing but 
respect. He will not admit to having misjudged Nawaz and made a 
mistake in joining him, though he surely now realizes what a 
monumental blunder it was. At that point in time, he had nothing to 
gain but all to lose. And now, he stands collectively responsible 
and guilty, together with the other members of Nawaz's cabinet, for 
the crimes and wrongdoings perpetrated by the government between 
the years 1997 to 1999.

But it must be remembered that as a law minister he had every right 
to speak to the country's judges and advise them to adhere to the 
prevailing laws when hearing cases of public importance. To attack 
him on that score is ridiculous, particularly when the attack is 
based upon bugged recordings made unlawfully, recordings that so 
easily could have been doctored to suit the circumstances. If the 
Ehtesab Act provides that cases be heard on a day-to-day basis and 
decided within 60 days, and if a judge procrastinates when dealing 
with a government case, it is the law minister's duty to advise him 
to get going.

In this world of information technology the crimes of Benazir and 
her husband are widely known. For those interested in the topic, I 
suggest they switch on their computers, get on to the Internet, 
click on and open www.levin.senate.gov/issues/psireport2htm, 
retrieve and read a US Senate document headed "Minority Staff 
Report for Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Hearing on 
Private Banking and Money Laundering: A Case Study of Opportunities 
and Vulnerabilities" dated November 9, 1999. I particularly 
recommend that our judges, our NAB men, and our official 
prosecutors download and study this document.

The 50-page Report details the grimy monetary dealings of seven 
notorious wheeler-dealers. The Republic of Pakistan has the proud 
privilege of having one of their own on this august list. The list: 
Raoul Salinas, former Mexican government official, brother of 
former president of Mexico; Asif Ali Zardari, former Pakistani 
government official and legislator, husband of former prime 
minister of Pakistan; El Hadj Omar Bongo, president of Gabon; 
Abacha Sons: Mohammad, Ibrahim and Abba Abbacha, sons of General 
Sani Abacha, former military leader of Nigeria.

Under the sub-title "The Facts", it is written of Asif Zardari: 
"The second case history involves Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of 
Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan. Ms Bhutto was 
elected prime minister in 1988, dismissed by the President of 
Pakistan in August 1990 for alleged corruption and inability to 
maintain law and order, elected prime minister once again in 
October 1993, and dismissed by the President again in November 
1996. At various times, Mr Zardari served as senator, environment 
minister and minister for investments in the Bhutto government. In 
between the two Bhutto administrations, he was incarcerated in 1990 
and 1991 on charges of corruption; the charges were eventually 
dropped. During Ms Bhutto's second term there were increasing 
allegations of corruption in her government and a major target of 
those allegations was Mr Zardari. It has been reported that the 
government of Pakistan claims that Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari stole 
over $ 1 billion from the country."

Listed are details of Zardari's relationship with Citibank which 
began in October 1994 "through the services of Kamran Amouzegar, a 
private banker at Citibank private bank in Switzerland, and Jens 
Schlegelmilch, a Swiss lawyer who was the Bhutto family's attorney 
in Europe and close personal friend for more than twenty years." 
Schlegelmilch was invited and came to Karachi for Benazir and 
Asif's wedding in 1987 and has paid several visits since then.

The relationships between the account holders, banks, depositors, 
kickbackers and cover cocerns is highly complicated and can only be 
sorted out by a careful reading of the Report. Hereunder a few 

"The staff invited Ms. Bhutto to provide additional information on 
the M.S. Capricorn Trading accounts, but she has not yet done so."

"During the period 1994 to 1997, Citibank opened and maintained 
three private bank accounts in Switzerland and a consumer account 
in Dubai for three corporations under Mr. Zardari's control. There 
are allegations that some of these accounts were used to disguise 
$10 million in kickbacks for a gold importing contract to Pakistan 

"Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that, once opened, only three 
deposits were made into the M.S. Capricorn Trading account in 
Dubai. Two deposits, totaling $10 million were made into the 
account almost immediately after it was opened. Citibank records 
show that one $5 million deposit was made on October 5, 1994, and 
another was made on October 6, 1994. The source of both deposits 
was A.R.Y. International Exchange, a company owned by Abdul Razzak 
Yaqub, a Pakistani gold bullion trader living in Dubai ......."

"The Zardari case history raises issues involving due diligence, 
secrecy and public figure accounts. The Zardari case history begins 
with the Citibank Dubai branch's failure to identify the true 
beneficial owner of the M.S. Capricorn Trading account. As a 
result, the account officer in Dubai performed due diligence on an 
individual who had no relationship to the account being opened. In 
Switzerland, Citibank officials opened three private bank accounts 
despite evidence of impropriety on the part of Mr. Zardari. In an 
interview with Subcommittee staff, Citigroup Co- Chair John Reed 
informed the Subcommittee staff that he had been advised by 
Citibank officials in preparation for a trip to Pakistan in 
February 1994, that there were troubling accusations concerning 
corruption surrounding Mr. Zardari, that he should stay away from 
him, and that he was not a man with whom the bank wanted to be 
associated. Yet one year later, the private bank opened three 
accounts for Mr. Zardari in Switzerland. Mr. Reed told the 
Subcommittee staff that when he learned of the Zardari accounts he 
thought the account officer must have been 'an idiot'."

If this government does not do whatever needs to be done, however 
correctly or obliquely, to disqualify and debar every man and woman 
who held elected office from 1988 to 1999 - all collectively 
responsible for the present state of the nation - from henceforth 
holding any elected office ever again, history will hold it 
responsible for the accelerated disintegration of what is left of 
this country.

Taming the paper tigers
Ayaz Amir

MORE than anything else Pakistan's problem is the paper tigers that 
infest its towns and cities - distinguished people who have made a 
cult out of speaking vociferously and out of season.

Of these paper tigers none are more deadly than professors of the 
cloth - reverend divines whose concept of 'jihad' is incomplete 
without a mike, powerful loudspeakers and an attendant press corps 
dutifully inscribing their bizarre utterances.

Consider the evidence. There are some organizations engaged in real 
combat in Kashmir. Like the Hezbollahs of Lebanon they are genuine 
people. One may disagree with their aims but no armchair 
rhetorician can scorn their sacrifices. It is their readiness to 
die for what they believe in which entitles them to public acclaim 
and attention.

But there are others, constituting the clear majority, who are 
champions of verbal jihad. Still others are engaged in a holy war 
against their compatriots - sunnis against shias, shias against 
sunnis. At their hands Mao's dictum stands inverted: power flowing 
not from the barrel of the gun but from concentrated hate and 
mindless bigotry. Sectarian gunfire is aimed at the capturing of no 
strategic heights. It is an end in itself.

Many societies are home to dangerous fringe activities. If the 
chest-puffing of our paper tigers was a fringe activity, it could 
easily be ignored. But through a process of absurdity gathering 
pace with the years - and dating from the times of that commander 
of the faithful, General Ziaul Haq - Pakistan's name has come to be 
associated with the export of fundamentalism. The truth is 
different but what chance does truth have against the collective 
roar of a thousand paper tigers? If RAW had hatched a conspiracy to 
give Pakistan a bad name it could not have succeeded half as well 
as Pakistan itself, a passion for self-inflicted injuries remaining 
the defining characteristic of many of our national moods.

Two caveats, however, are in order. Firstly, even if Pakistan 
wanted to, it cannot overnight cut its links with the Taliban. That 
would create more problems than it would solve. Geography, not 
ideological affinity, dictates the necessity of our close links 
with Afghanistan. True, there is a lot of ideological muddle about 
Afghanistan in Pakistan's decision-making circles. But the generals 
of the Pakistan army are no acolytes of Mulla Umar. (One Holiness, 
Rafiq Tarar, is enough for Pakistan.)

Secondly, even if Pakistan wanted to, it cannot overnight disengage 
itself from Kashmir. Nor would there be tangible profit in such a 
course. What would we get from India in return? Perhaps a quote or 
two from Ghalib. Perhaps even a verse from Mr Vajpayee, who is an 
occasional poet. But nothing even remotely approaching fairness on 
Kashmir. India is keenly interested in a solution of the Kashmir 
dispute but strictly on its own terms.

Pakistan's necessity is altogether different. It is not to buckle 
under western pressure and cut all links with the Taliban. Nor to 
carry out a precipitate retreat from Kashmir which would sow the 
seeds of internal resentment. It is to muzzle the paper tigers who 
are giving it a bad name. In this case, the medium is indeed the 
message and in our hands the medium has turned into a dangerous 

Give any name you like to what is happening in occupied Kashmir: 
uprising, insurgency, militancy. Any help from our side, by the 
very nature of such things, has to be covert so that we can 
plausibly deny involvement whenever the need arises. Try telling 
this to the apostles of national security who have looked on with 
benign indifference as one religious group after another has blown 
Pakistan's cover in Kashmir.

Time was when every last speaker or column writer in Pakistan was a 
nuclear hawk: singing the strategic praises of the bomb and urging 
Pakistan to come out of the nuclear closet. Now that Pakistan has 
done precisely this and is having to live with the consequences, 
that frenzy has somewhat abated. Nuclear hawks do not strut about 
with quite the same panache as before, reality having dampened some 
of their enthusiasm.

The frenzy once reserved for nuclear capability has now transferred 
itself to Kashmir. Every divine in Pakistan has become a 'jihadi'. 
No religious leader worth his salt will make a public appearance 
without kalashnikov-wielding bodyguards at hand. Is self-publicity 
the goal or is there a reason for such fearsome security? Lashkar-
i-Taiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen (to name only two of the genuine 
outfits) might have reasons to fear Indian sabotage. But what 
quarrel has RAW or the Indian army to pick with Maulana Samiul Haq 
or that latest entrant to the list of pseudo-warriors, Akram Awan 
of Munara?

Yet the collective outbursts of all these reverend fathers gives 
every foreigner the impression that the length and breadth of 
Pakistan is alive with religious seminaries imparting military 
training and the ideology of 'jihad' to thousands of adherents. 
Since one telling photograph is worth a million words, each time a 
Samiul Haq or some other warrior of his ilk makes a public 
appearance attended with an army of bodyguards, Pakistan's image 
receives another bashing.

Pakistan has enough real problems on its plate without having to 
worry about the antics of specialists in verbal 'jihad': gladiators 
whose weapon of choice is the press conference. RAW needs to set 
aside no funds for disinformation. We are doing its job for it.

What are ISI and Military Intelligence doing? They have perfected 
the art of political control (or interference). What has happened 
to their once-great skill in remote-controlling the armies of 
fundamentalism? Cannot they assess the dangers of a 'jihad' gone 
rampant, a 'jihad' whose symbols are now perhaps more evident in 
Pakistan than in Kashmir? Or is it that old habits die hard, that 
the intelligence establishment is still stuck in the grooves of the 

Read the occasional piece by Lt Gen Hamid Gul and Lt-Gen Javed 
Nasir to get a taste of the theology which still rules large parts 
of the national security complex. Whoever first coined the slogan 
that a friendly Afghanistan gives Pakistan strategic depth deserves 
a prize for philosophy. With an unquantified mass of Afghan 
refugees spread all over Pakistan, it is hard to say who has 
acquired strategic depth - Pakistan or Afghanistan?

In any case, it is hard to figure out why men in uniform are so 
mesmerized by the notion of strategic depth? Do they expect a 
Hitlerite invasion of Pakistan? When politicians play games it is 
easy to deride them. When soldiers play games it is no laughing 
matter, the consequences being more deadly. Maintain friendly ties 
with Afghanistan but leave the Afghans to their own devices. This 
is the lesson of history, a lesson Pakistan's Clausewitzs have been 
ignoring for the last 20 years.

Around Kashmir too myths abound. Nothing that Pakistan can do will 
force India to the negotiating table. The sooner we rid ourselves 
of this delusion the better. If the Kashmiri people choose to fight 
against Indian occupation Pakistan has a duty to support them - but 
surreptitiously and without turning the politics of 'jihad' into an 
international tamasha. If the Kashmiris score successes in this 
fight the triumph should be theirs. If they weary of it we should 
be able to live with that too. Proactive adventurism is what we 
must eschew, the days of this having passed, the costs of this now 
outweighing any likely benefits.

A word in the end about Lt-Gen Haider, the interior minister. He 
has his heart in the right place but he is given to making too many 
tall pronouncements against 'jihad' and religious extremism without 
being able to make any of them stick. He should speak softly and 
carry a big stick. But a fat chance of this happening. When the 
leading knights of this military government cannot get the measure 
of someone like the Bishop of Munara they are unlikely to make much 
of an impression on the other paper tigers infesting the squares 
and marketplaces of Pakistan.

Rattling our cage 
Irfan Husain

RATTLE the gorilla's cage and watch it explode with fury, shaking 
its enclosure but unable to reach its tormentor. Rattle it harder 
and the beast will beat its chest in rage, hurting only itself.

As a nation, we tend to react in somewhat similar fashion when 
somebody rattles our cage. Witness the recent show of self-abusive 
and futile rage when the Frontier Post carried a blasphemous letter 
e-mailed by somebody with a Jewish name. Instead of letting the law 
take its own course, mobs were out on the streets the next day to 
destroy the newspaper's printing press.

The photographs of the bearded, unkempt individuals who carried out 
this vandalism did not suggest literacy in any language, so it is 
clear tat they had not been personally offended by the letter.

The whole incident reminded me of the violence that took place in 
the wake of the publication of Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses': 
for some reason, a mob of zealots attacked the American Centre in 
Islamabad, probably unaware of the fact that both the author and 
his publisher were British. None of them had read the book, and yet 
three of the demonstrators were prepared to lose their lives and 
scores of them suffered injuries in protesting against a literary 
work they knew nothing about.

I am not trying to justify either Rushdie or the author of the 
recent blasphemous letter to the Frontier Post. The point here is 
that instead of maturely ignoring a provocation or taking 
judicious, well-considered action, we have a tendency to react in a 
predictably violent, knee-jerk fashion that brings us and our faith 
no credit. Granted that those making up vigilant mobs are usually 
uneducated and often unemployed; but these dregs of humanity give 
Islam a bad name.

My limited understanding of the faith leads me to believe that the 
worst crime a Muslim can commit is to kill another Muslim.

 And yet we continue slaying each other with a ferocity matched 
only by the bloodlust sown by our forefathers over the centuries.

>From Algeria come gruesome stories of Islamic rebels (and 
allegedly, shadowy government agencies) putting entire villages to 
the sword. In Afghanistan, the Taliban subject their own people to 
all kinds of medieval horrors.

Here in Pakistan, one group of zealots kills members of another 
with a grim ruthlessness usually seen in civil wars. Indeed, 
Islamic history has been written in blood.

True, much of human history has been similarly stained in crimson. 
But whereas the last half century has witnessed serious efforts in 
the West to avoid the use of force to settle disputes, governments, 
groups and individuals in much of the Islamic world continue to 
threaten each other with violence instead of using dialogue and 
discourse to defuse tensions. The language used is often bellicose 
and strident instead of moderate and soothing.

'Jihad' is a concept that has been much misused to justify and 
rationalize violence. When Iraq attacked Iran in 1980, both sides 
declared jihad against each other, and millions of young men fell 
in the name of a common faith. The two sides fighting in 
Afghanistan these last several years are both Muslim and claim to 
be waging jihad. 

Over ten years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait in a badly misjudged move 
for which its people are still paying a heavy price. Saddam 
Hussein, normally a secularist, immediately invoked Heaven's 
blessings and altered the national flag to include a Koranic verse, 
apart from using other religious symbolism on the electronic media. 
The Kuwaiti ruling family which fled into exile also called upon 
the Maker to restore their kingdom, urging Arabs to unleash a jihad 
on the invading Iraqis.

In all these cases where Muslims have fought Muslims in the name of 
jihad, very little has been achieved apart from the slaughter of 
the faithful. The Islamic community has been weakened and entire 
nations bled white. 

 Apart from fighting other Muslims, leaders have constantly used 
force to subdue their own people. Amnesty International documents 
the excesses committed by repressive governments in the Islamic 
world, and its annual report makes very depressing reading. For 
some reason, violence is the common thread running through Islamic 
history and geography.

After the Frontier Post was attacked by a mindless mob, the writer 
of the offensive letter wrote again to various Pakistani papers, 
claiming that the violence in Peshawar had only proved his point.

For us, anything faintly derogatory about our religion acts as a 
red rag. Surely our faith has the inherent strength to withstand 
petty slurs from ignorant bigots. Within Pakistan, we have enacted 
the Blasphemy Law which has led to a large number of non-Muslims 
being prosecuted just on unsubstantiated allegations. It is 
difficult to believe that anybody in his right senses would 
deliberately say or write anything against Islam in Pakistan.

So for our zealots to take up cudgels against members of the 
minority communities is as unnecessary as it is counter-productive.

For the umpteenth time, General Moinuddin Haider, the interior 
minister, has threatened action against anybody displaying arms. 
This statement was clearly aimed at the jihadi parties which have 
consistently ignored these empty injunctions. 

Now he has also declared that the government will not allow these 
groups to solicit and collect donations for jihad. Predictably, 
they have unanimously and vociferously rejected this out of hand, 
branding the minister an agent of the West.

Given the fact that General Musharraf has time and again made a 
distinction between jihad and terrorism, it is difficult to see 
this government having the stomach to take on these outfits, 
specially given its track record of backing down before them 
whenever they have confronted it.

Under these circumstances, it is clear that the writ of the state 
does not extend to extremist religious groups and jihadi forces, 
encouraging them to acts of violence against each other as well as 
those we witnessed attacking the Frontier Post office.

The current issue of Newsweek carries a cover story on terrorism, 
and in it, General Musharraf has been quoted at calling extremists 
only "an irritant." 

According to him, "They are not a serious threat to this government 
or stability." But the same story on Pakistan continues: "The 
entire top leadership of Tanzeemul Ikhwan is drawn from retired 
army officers, and hundreds of current officers and soldiers attend 
its ideological training sessions."

The same issue of the weekly profiles a retired Major Ehsan ul-Haq 
who trained as a commando with the Pakistani Special Services Group 
and the American Green Berets.

 While fighting in Afghanistan, he says he and his men were aided 
by "angels in white gowns riding on horseback in the air." But what 
happens when these angels help both sides?

Government to ensure sports policy a success 

ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: Federal Sports Minister, S.K. Tressler, warned 
on Thursday that the government may consider imposing adhoc 
committees if any organization tried to challenge the National 
Sports Policy that aims at developing sports at the grassroot 

Speaking at a news conference the Minister declared the government 
was committed to make this policy a success and would not tolerate 
obstacle in its way. 

However, he was hopeful that such a situation would not arise as 
the policy contained nothing against the governed rules of sports.

 "Everyone is for the promotion of sports in the country, and this 
is exactly what we hope to achieve through the implementation of 
this policy," Tressler said while announcing the policy, approved 
by the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday evening. 

Apprehensions of a boycott from thePakistanOlympic Association and 
the National Sports Federations were put to rest by the minister 
who claimed that these organizations would not go against the 
interest of the country. 

The minister also announced formation of a Task Force, which 
includes Federal Commerce and Industries Minister, to formulate the 
Action Plan for sports' fund raising.

The policy proposes provision of grounds at the Tehsil level for 
construction of multi-purpose stadiums.

Though the minister claimed there was no opposition to the new 
policy, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), gave guarded 
response by saying that they would not comment on the policy unless 
it receives the policy document from the Sports Ministry.

"We don't believe in the newspaper stories, the ministry of sports 
has to officially convey the decisions, which will then be 
presented in the house, represented by all the affiliated units of 
POA," said secretary general POA, Latif Butt, who will also be 
ineligible to hold office from February 14, 2002 under the new 

Latif Butt, however, maintained that POA was all out for the 
promotion of sports and will endorse any measure taken in this 

"But, there are certain limitations of constitutions (of various 
sports bodies), which should be held supreme," he said. Without 
challenging the policy, the secretary POA questioned what benefit 
will Pakistan hold if Professor Anwar Choudhry, president Pakistan 
Amateur Boxing Federation, who also heads the World and Asian 
boxing federations, loses his posts because of the restrictions 
being imposed. 

 "Obviously, without having a platform, he will not be able to get 
representation at the international level," Butt said.

He said that at Sydney Olympics, Pakistan'stechnical officials in 
boxing got an opportunity just because of Prof Choudhry whereas no 
technical official was represented in any other sports event.

 The Sports Minister acknowledged the help provided by the 
departmental units for keeping the sports running in the country.

Equal opportunities will be available for the sportswomen to excel 
keeping in view the social/cultural norms under the policy.

"We have to provide equal facilities to our other half of the 
population who have not had opportunities, although there is 
immense talent available," the minister said.

Daunting task ahead for Kiwis against Pakistan

AUCKLAND, Feb 16: Summer has already been pretty bad for long 
suffering New Zealand cricket fans and come Saturday morning, 
weather willing, its about to get a whole lot worse.

Pakistan, complete with fast and spin bowlers to burn, comes up 
against a frail New Zealand "black caps" side in the first of five 
one day internationals.

Sri Lanka has just handed out a 4-1 series thrashing here, just 
after Zimbabwe came and gave a 2-1 lesson to a home side which, 
despite obvious incompetence, remains remarkably arrogant. But the 
public, their patience tested too much, are staying away and New 
Zealand Cricket was Friday forced to slash ticket prices in the 
hope they might get an audience.

The current worrying losing trend will be difficult to stop against 
a class Pakistan side raring to get on the field after two months 
break and having keenly observed the home side's recent decline.

New Zealand coach David Trist admits his side may have taken the 
Sri Lankans lightly, that they played above expectations and were 
allowed to by limp batting and bowling displays.

"Sri Lanka played better than they expected to, and we initially 
allowed that. They got away on us a bit," Trist said.

"Like the Pakistanis, they can play exceptionally well when given 

"We are aware of that, and with the experience behind us, 
everything will be a lot tighter."-AFP

Pakistan to investigate World Cup ties, ICC told

MELBOURNE, Feb 10: Pakistan is to probe allegations of match-fixing 
during the 1999 World Cup, International Cricket Council (ICC) 
president Malcolm Gray said on Saturday.

"We have just had a report from Pakistan that a judicial inquiry 
will be carried out on two matches in the World Cup," Gray told a 
news conference on Saturday.

Ali Bacher, president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, 
said in June last year he had been told that Pakistan's defeat by 
Bangladesh and the loss against India were fixed.

Bacher's claim that former Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar took money 
from an illegal bookmaker to influence a Test between England and 
South Africa at Leeds in 1998 will also be investigated, Gray said.

England won the match, and with it the five-Test series 2-1, 
although several of Akhtar's eight leg-before decisions against 
South Africa were considered dubious at the time.

In their 1999 World Cup match with Bangladesh, Pakistan 
surprisingly lost the preliminary round clash by 62 runs, failing 
to overhaul Bangladesh's 223-9 and being bowled out for 161.

In a later phase of the competition, the Pakistanis lost to India 
by 47 runs after the Indians set a victory target of 228.

ICC Anti-Corruption Unit director Paul Condon said the ICC wanted 
to draw a proper line under all match-fixing allegations, do the 
right thing and then move on.

He told reporters: "When people watch cricket they want to know 
it's about skill and craft and endeavour, not about a seedy mobile 
phone call and spread betting in India."-Reuters

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