------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 24 March 2001 Issue : 07/12 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + ARD bid to hold rally foiled: Many leaders arrested, workers + Japan offers 'privileged' ties if CTBT signed + New $373m WB loan on soft-terms under study + CE tells PC to expedite privatization process + Environment not conducive, Restoration of democracy: CE + Top ARD leaders arrested + Cabinet okays plan for Madaris: Modern education + 16,000 cusecs released from Tarbela + Benazir's appeal: prosecution dilates on money laundering + C'wealth warns of 'stronger steps' + Pakistan launches arms sales drive at UAE fair + Seven PML workers' appeals rejected in SC storming case + PML reposes confidence in Nawaz's leadership + IRSA votes for 1991 water accord + Gulf states return Pakistan livestock: Foot-and-mouth disease + First batch of Khalid tanks to roll out in June --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + Wapda allowed to raise tariff: Domestic users to be hit + Gas prices up by 14 to 37%: Industries to pay less + SBP tightens monetary policy: Exchange rate stability + SBP buys $65m through swap: Rupee falls to new low + Sharjah offers 100pc ownership to investors + Govts broke rules to appoint IB chiefs + Sri Lanka to discuss free trade with Pakistan + National Accountability Bureau claims to recover Rs 45 billion + Future Sales Tax policy announced + SBP move to meet IMF target + Leasing cos trying to meet SECP deadline: Raising paid-up capital + Gold prices soar --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Forward march? Ardeshir Cowasjee + No tehelka please, we're Pakistanis Ayaz Amir + Punching above our weight Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Youhana slams first Test double century + Saqlain slams maiden century in drawn Test

ARD bid to hold rally foiled: Many leaders arrested, workers
Sajid Iqbal and Asif Shahzad

LAHORE, March 23: Over a hundred leaders and workers of ARD parties
were arrested on Friday as police foiled all attempts by the
alliance to hold a rally at Mochi Gate.

Police made a baton charge on PPP leaders and workers, including
Naheed Khan, Sajida Mir and other women, who tried to gather near
the venue for the rally. The administration had put up a barbed wire
fence along the entire boundary wall of the garden and blocked all
roads leading to the historical venue for political rallies.

Police had been deployed at the offices and residences of all the
important ARD leaders in different parts of the city to prevent them
from reaching Mochi Gate..

ARD chief Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was not allowed to come out of
his Nicholson Road residence. Those arrested there included Jamhoori
Watan Party secretary-general Khuda- i-Noor, BNP's Hasil Bizenjo,
former PPP federal minister Mukhtar Awan and Chakwal district PPP
president Fauzia Behram.

Acting PML president Javed Hashmi, ARD secretary-general Zafar Iqbal
Jhagra, ex-MNAs Safdarur Rehman, Sheikh Mannan and Aslam Kachhela
were arrested on Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam when they raised slogans
in front of a five-star hotel.

Nawabzada Nasrullah vowed to continue struggle for the restoration of
democracy, supremacy of law and independence of the judiciary.

"An ARD meeting will be held soon to chalk out the future line of
action," he told Dawn by phone.

The ARD chief said that ANP president Asfandyar Wali and PPP
vice-president Makhdoom Amin Faheem had been asked to challenge
their expulsion from Punjab in the court of law. He said the main
objective of the government was to supress the voice of dissent.

A 24-member monitoring team of the Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan, headed by its general secretary Hina Jilani, came to the
residence of the Nawabzada but was not allowed to go inside.

"There seems to be no legal justification for the detention of the
veteran leader", Ms Jilani told reporters.

" Nawabzada Sahib has told me that his servants were not allowed to
go out of the house even to bring food and medicines for two heart
patients including himself."

She condemned the police action and arrest of PPP women wing workers
near Mochi Gate by male policemen.

Japan offers 'privileged' ties if CTBT signed
Omar R. Quraishi

TOKYO, March 23: An official of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
said here on Friday that Pakistan could expect a " very privileged"
relationship and much increased economic cooperation with his
country if it signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Explaining his government's point of view in reference to Foreign
Minister Abdul Sattar's recent visit to Tokyo, Takeshi Hikihara, the
director of the Southwest Asia Division of the Asian Affairs Bureau
of Japan's Foreign Ministry (covering both Pakistan and India),
told a group of visiting Pakistan journalists that his government
appreciated the explanation given by Mr Sattar in relation to the
signing of CTBT. He said that the foreign minister had told his
Japanese counterpart that the Pakistan government was trying to
build a consensus and public opinion in favour of the treaty's
signing. He also said that the Japanese government was "happy"
with the point made by the foreign minister during his Tokyo visit
when he said that Pakistan would never be the first one to resume
nuclear testing.

However, Mr Hikihara said Tokyo felt that Pakistan had much to gain
if it did sign the treaty, including the fact that it would help them
have the "moral high-ground" compared to other countries which did
not sign. He said the relations between Pakistan and Japan were very
good but they would improve much more and Islamabad could expect to
get a lot of help from even other industrialized countries.

The official, however, said that his government was happy with
the measures being taken by the Pakistan government to revive the
economy. He also said that during Mr Sattar's visit the Japanese
foreign minister had announced a 10 million dollars grant for the
eradication of polio.

Replying to a question, the official said that humanitarian aid
to Afghanistan would not be affected despite what had happened
in Bamiyan province recently.

RESERVES COMMENT: Mr Hikihara said that Japan was happy with the
progress being made by the Pakistan government for the restoration
of democracy. However, when asked specifically for his government's
reaction to mass arrests made by Pakistani authorities on the eve of
a protest rally scheduled for March 23 in Lahore, the official said it
was a bit early for him to make any remarks. "Yes, we are aware that
arrests have been made, specially in Lahore, but we are still not
sure as to the nature and reason of these detentions. Perhaps in a
few days' time we will be able to make a reasoned comment," he added.

New $373m WB loan on soft-terms under study
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, March 21: The World Bank is considering offering a
concessional $373 million loan to Pakistan for three development

"Pakistan government's economic revival programme seems to be well
on track to produce better results for which the board of directors
of the World Bank is expected to approve before July a $373 million
loan for three projects on concessional terms," said the WB country
director for Pakistan and Afghanistan, John Wall.

He told a news conference here on Wednesday that the proposed $350
million Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC) was likely to be offered
on highly concessional terms. The previous IBRD Structural
Adjustment Loan (SAL), which was to be agreed on 6/7 per cent
interest rate, would be converted into an IDA loan for which
Pakistan would have to pay only 0.75pc service charges, he added.

Mr Wall elaborated that beside $350 million SAC, the WB was
considering a proposal to offer $20 million for the On Farm Water
Management project in the NWFP, and $3 million technical assistance
for the Trade and Transport project. An environment project would
be undertaken in Balochistan whose funding was yet to be worked

In reply to a question, the WB official said that no decision had
so far been taken about the $300 million Banking Sector Adjustment
Loan, and added that the issue was likely to come up for approval
in the next financial year.

He was asked whether the WB would provide $700 million in addition
to $600 million from the ADB to help retire some of the Pakistan's
most expensive and short-term loan as had been proposed by the Debt
Reduction and Management Committee. "It would be difficult for the
Bank to offer this much of amount against the present annual
funding level of about $200 to $300," he replied.

Nonetheless, he said, his Bank could consider the proposal provided
Pakistan was ready to double its exports in four years and manage
$3 billion through privatization.

"Then you have to improve the investment climate and considerably
increase your foreign remittances to qualify for increased funding
by the World Bank", he added. "The government needs to change the
paradigm to seek additional assistance from donors."

Mr Wall also told reporters that the executive directors of the
World Bank Board were arriving here within this month to see for
themselves various development activities and the government's
reform programme.

He said the Pakistan Development Forum delegates had left Pakistan
quite satisfied. "And our executive directors are coming to
Pakistan with a view to understanding better the country by meeting
cross sections of people," he said.

Environment not conducive, Restoration of democracy: CE
Tahir Mirza

WASHINGTON, March 21: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has
said he feels that the Pakistani environment is not fully conducive
to real parliamentary democracy, but believes that it is imperative
that "we give it our best shot".

At the same time, he has broadly hinted at the creation of
conditions conducive "for the very essence of democracy" and
indicated that since the constitution does not have an answer to
all of Pakistan's political problems, it may have to be amended.

It should, he says, provide a constitutional answer to any
political crisis, with a "proper balance of powers" between the
president and parliament.

"I do not believe," he says in a long interview published in The
Washington Times on Wednesday, "there is anyone in Pakistan who
thinks we shouldn't have democracy. So irrespective of one's views
and with the passage of time, and if we establish the conditions
for the very essence of democracy - which means beginning with the
grassroots where there is none today - I think we have more than a
sporting chance by returning power to the people."

In the interview, conducted by the paper's editor-at-large Arnaud
de Borchgrave in Rawalpindi on Monday, the general also talked
about the destruction of the Bamiyan statues and the Osama issue,
on which he proposed setting up a tribunal of Islamic scholars on
the lines of the Scottish tribunal that tried the Libyan suspects
in the Lockerbie bombing case.

On Pakistan-India relations, he said the first draft of the Lahore
Declaration between Nawaz Sharif and Vajpayee had not even included

35% turnout in second phase of local bodies elections
Dawn Report

ISLAMABAD, March 21: The second phase of local bodies elections in
20 districts of the country was completed on Wednesday with a
turnout averaging between 30 and 35 per cent.

The polling was marred by violence as there was at least one death
and scores of injuries reported from districts in Punjab and Sindh.

PUNJAB: Mohammad Asif alias Mithu, a candidate for a Muslim general
seat in Sialkot's Karimpura union council, was shot dead and his
supporter, Abdul Hamid, was seriously injured allegedly by the
supporters of a rival candidate near a Murray College polling
station at 9:30am.

Asif and Hamid were visiting the polling station when armed men
opened fire at them from a car. The assailants then drove away,
firing warning shots into the air. The queued up voters panicked
and ran away.

Voting at a good number of polling stations remained suspended for
an acute shortage of the ballot papers.

More than two dozen people were injured in Gujranwala when they
were attacked by rivals.

Voters in Gujranwala faced difficulty owing to separate ballot
papers for Nazim, Naib Nazim, general councillor, and councillors
from peasants, labourers, women and minority, besides errors in the
voter lists and changes in election symbols.

Many people could not cast votes as the registration office had
failed to provide them with their identity cards in time.

No major untoward incident was reported from Gujranwala, Gujrat,
Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin districts.

Ten women and one man were injured when the wall of a polling
station collapsed in Model Town, Gujranwala.

In Bahawalnagar, an incident of shooting was reported but no one
was injured. The turnout by women voters was higher than that of
men in the Haroonabad and Fort Abbas tehsils.

At all eight polling stations in Bahawalpur, voting remained
suspended for over three hours due to supply of wrong ballot papers
book, which did not bear election symbols of five candidates.

In Gujrat, a scuffle at a poll-ing station in Spal Colony resulted
in the arrest of two candidates.

Another violent incident was reported in union council 30 (Adowal)
where four drunkards, including a candidate for Nazim, Mian Ajmal,
resorted to aerial firing at a polling station in Dita Wall.

Sources said that former interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat
Hussain, former Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and
former MPA Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain were on their way to the
polling station to cast their votes when a police party stopped
them and carried out a thorough search of their car.

SINDH: Polling in Sukkur began at a slow pace in the morning, but
it gained momentum after 11am.

Candidates had arranged vehicles for carrying their voters to the
polling stations. They had also brought eatables for voters as well
as the election staff.

In Ghotki, a total of 115 polling stations were declared sensitive
where extra army and police personnel were deployed.

CE tells PC to expedite privatization process
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, March 22: The Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf has
directed the Privatization Commission to accelerate privatization
process with regard to public sector industries.

The proceeds will help mobilze foreign exchange resources along
with assisting in debt retirement and building up foreign exchange
reserve in next four years.

Informed sources said on Thursday that the CE has agreed with the
members of the Debt Reduction and Management Committee (DRMC) that
accelerated privatization was critical at this stage for relaying
strong signals to private sector, both domestic and foreign that
the government wanted to shed direct public sector industries, and
was genuinely committed to private sector development in Pakistan.

The DRMC maintained that privatization will also help in improving
efficiency, reducing losses in the public sector and in mobilizing
foreign exchange.

Foreign private investment should particularly be encouraged in
areas of technology transfer and export development.

The members of the DRMC are of the view that foreign companies
buying Pakistani industries and commercial assets will expand their
capacity and undertake new investment.

They also believe that while foreign investments flow for
acquisition of existing or new assets will stimulate investment and
growth, they will also entail profit transfers which will have a
negative impact on the balance of payment.

If foreign investment was guaranteed a high rate of returns as with
IPPs, the balance of payment impact could be relatively severe and
rather quick.

If on the other hand, foreign investment interests facilitate
technological improvements, promote exports and reinvestment, the
balance of payment will improve. Sale of existing assets to
foreigners will also generate profit transfers abroad.

The sale of highly profitable companies may fetch exorbitant price
but will not increase investment income payments.

In any case, the likely impact of growing stock of foreign
investment, including privatization sales, deserves as much
attention as the debt stock, DRMC believe.

Benazir's appeal: Prosecution dilates on money laundering

ISLAMABAD, March 22: Justice Bashir Jehangiri, head of the Supreme
Court bench hearing the appeals of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari,
observed on Thursday that Pakistan was passing through a crisis of
conduct and character.

"We say many good things. But when it comes to ourselves, we behave
differently," he stated.

S.M. Zafar, lead counsel for the federation, said the nations which
talked only of the past, became history themselves. He said
Pakistan which attained expertise in nuclear technology, was
grappling with the menace of corruption. Efforts to eradicate
corruption should be facilitated by all the institutions, he urged.

Defining the term "money laundering," the counsel said if the money
obtained through illegal means and was then put to a cycle of
transactions, it ultimately came out from other end washed and

Giving the global size of money laundering, he said that according
to independent assessment by western countries, $500 billion to $1
trillion of dirty money was laundered annually.

He said the art of money laundering had turned into a science. At
the first stage it was placed in the hands of agents. Then layers
were created by crossing this dirty money through different
transactions. These transactions helped them to obscure the origin
of the money.

He said the offshore companies were readily available. "Creating an
offshore company is easier than buying Coca Cola..."

To provide additional protection to these offshore companies which
were initially created to help the tax evaders, the counsel said
that lawyers were mostly employed as directors of those companies.
The privileged relationship between the client and the counsel
helped the money launderers to shield themselves from the glare of

Justice Jehangiri observed that this was a crisis of conduct. Under
the law, he said, lawyers could not be forced to divulge
information without prior permission of his principal.

The final process of money laundering, the counsel said, was the
integration by buying property as was done by Ms Bhutto who bought
an expensive necklace.

Mr Zafar said the Western countries had taken a few good steps to
check money laundering but still there were certain hurdles.

Perhaps that was why Pakistan's attorney-general, in one of his one
correspondences with the Swiss authorities, had said that the
appellants were involved in drug business, Justice Munir A. Sheikh

The counsel said that the court should primarily concentrate on
whether the information collected from Switzerland was genuine, and
how those documents landed in Pakistan.

When Raja Anwar, counsel for Ms Bhutto, said that the federation's
counsel should be asked to come to the case, Justice Munir observed
that Mr Zafar was totally relevant and had made a thorough study of
the case.

Justice Munir observed that if a statement made before a Swiss
judge by Jens Schlegelmilch, a lawyer, could be used against the
appellants here in Pakistan why could not they be allowed to cross-
examine him (Mr Schlegelmilch).

Mr Zafar responded if the judge was saying that whatever little
cooperation Switzerland had started extending under the
international pressure should not be accepted. The counsel asked
the judge to wait for sometime when he would answer his question.

"If the laser technology is available to look into black boxes,
shielding criminals, why not to use it," the counsel said.

The counsel said that after the freezing of accounts of the
appellants in Switzerland, the burden of proof had shifted on the
appellants to show that money which had been transferred to the
accounts of offshore company was not the dirty money.

Top ARD leaders arrested
Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE, March 21: Police arrested about two dozen top leaders of
the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) here on Wednesday
to prevent them from holding a public meeting at the Mochi Gate
Gardens on Friday.

However, the arrested ARD leaders said the public meeting would be
held as scheduled.

The arrests were made after a meeting at the residence of ARD-PML
Vice President Tehmina Daultana in connection with the arrangements
of the March 23 public meeting. ARD President Nawabzada Nasrullah
Khan, who had been discharged from the Punjab Institute of
Cardiology only hours before, presided over the meeting.

A large number of police personnel were present outside the venue
of the meeting. A dark blue vehicle was parked at the main gate of
the building and leaders coming out of the meeting hall were told
to board it. A number of police personnel, including some women
police, were deployed at various places to ensure that nobody

The Nawabzada and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, the acting PML president,
though not wanted by the police, also boarded the police van amid
slogans against the chief executive and in favour of democracy.
However, they were released at the Sarwar Road police station
shortly after they reached there along with other colleagues.

Those arrested included ARD Senior Vice Chairman Makhdoom Amin
Faheem, Secretary-General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Information Secretary
Syed Zafar Ali Shah, PPP Secretary-General Jehangir Badar, Punjab
ARD President Qasim Zia, ANP President Asfandyar Wali, Senior Vice
President Ehsan Wyne, JWP leader Khuda-i- Noor, Mian Misbahur
Rehman, Qazi Abdul Qadeer Khamosh, Sohail Akhtar Mailk, IDF leader
Munir Husain Gilani, PPP's Munir Ahmed Khan, Malik Hakimeen
Khan,head of a faction of the PML Amanullah Khan, PDP leader Nawaz
Gondal, Mufti Ferozuddin, Saifullah Saif and Tanvir Qureshi.

Begum Tehmina was the last to be arrested. Since no other family
member was present, she locked her residence and switched off all
lights before being arrested.

The arrested leaders were taken to the Sarwar Road police station.

In a late night development, Makhdoom Amin Faheem and Asfandyar
Wali were expelled from Punjab and sent to Karachi.

Cabinet okays plan for Madaris: Modern education
Bureau Report

ISLAMABAD, March 21: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a
comprehensive programme enabling students of Deeni Madaris to
benefit from the national education system by learning science,
mathematics, English and vocational sciences in addition to the
normal Madressah education.

The meeting which was presided over by Chief Executive General
Pervez Musharraf approved the programme which also includes setting
up of a Federal Madaris Education Board and a model Deeni Madressah
each at Islamabad, Sukkur and Karachi including one for girls.
These Madaris will be affiliated to the Federal Madaris Education
Board and would become functional by June this year.

"We want to absorb the students of Deeni Madaris into the
mainstream and giving them access to the job market. We do not want
to be intrusive and interfering", the chief executive told the

This programme, he said, will be optional and voluntary in nature.
This will help bring one million students of the Madaris into the
mainstream of the country's social and economic life. "We need to
create a harmonious Islamic society that discourages intolerance of
others views," he added.

The cabinet also approved constitution of a committee headed by
Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Mahmud Ghazi to finalize and
suggest curriculum and syllabi for the Madaris, which will be
affiliated to the Board. Other members of the committee are
Minister for Science and Technology Dr Attaur Rehman and Minister
for Education Ms Zubaida Jalal.

It was decided that the Federal Madaris Education Board shall be
under the administrative control of the ministry of religious

The cabinet directed the ministry of religious affairs to interact
with the Deeni Madaris and invite them to get their institutions
affiliated with the new Board.

It also approved a 25 paisa increase in post-card tariff and an
increase of Rs2 per postal envelope and rejected department's
proposal of an increase of one rupee and three rupees on post-cards
and postal envelope respectively.

The cabinet approved an elaborate and comprehensive programme to
celebrate year 2001 as year of the Quaid-i-Azam. A national
committee headed by Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada was constituted to
organize the celebrations. It was decided to hold an international
seminar on 25th December.

16,000 cusecs released from Tarbela

ISLAMABAD, March 21: Water level at Tarbela Dam on Wednesday was
recorded 1369.0 feet and authorities released only 16,000 cusec
water which was about 1,800 cusec above the inflow.

According to officials at Tarbela Dam, only 16,000 cusec water is
being released daily.

After the level position at Tarbela on Wednesday was recorded
1369.0 feet and water inflow at the dam was observed 14,200 cusec
at 6am at average and, the outflow remained only 1,800 cusec above.

According to the hydrology department Tarbela, the water level at
Tarbela is expected to rise slightly during the week.

When asked to give the details of water level at Tarbela, the
officials said it has decreased in the dam to 1369.0 feet, a record
decrease in three weeks.-APP

C'wealth warns of 'stronger steps'

LONDON, March 20: Commonwealth ministers warned the Pakistan's
military rulers on Tuesday to speed up promised plans for the
restoration of democracy or face "stronger measures" from the
global body.

Pakistan was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth after
Gen Pervez Musharraf took over in October 1999.

The Pakistan situation topped the agenda as the Commonwealth's
ministerial action group met in two-day session here.

The group, made up of eight foreign ministers, listened to
representations from civil groups and political parties on the
situation in Pakistan.

In a communique, they expressed "concern over the harassment of
political parties, including the restrictions imposed on democratic
activity, processes and institutions and the detention of persons
without due process of law."

At a news conference, Commonwealth chief Don McKinnon warned that
Pakistan had to make "more definite progress" on a timetable for
democracy through free and fair elections by October, when heads of
government meet in Brisbane.

If not, he warned, the group "would find it necessary to recommend
to heads of government that stronger measures be taken by the
Commonwealth against the military regime."-AFP

Pakistan launches arms sales drive at UAE fair

ABU DHABI, March 19: Its credibility in the Islamic world bolstered
by a nuclear weapons capability, Pakistan has launched a major
sales drive at the Middle East's biggest arms fair in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan's nuclear capability "shows we have the technology level,
such as for delivery systems. That's where the spin-offs come,"
said Maj-Gen Syed Ali Hamid, head of Pakistan's Defence Export
Promotion Organization (DEPO).

In Pakistan's largest participation in an arms exhibition abroad,12
companies are taking part under the DEPO umbrella in the five-day
Abu Dhabi fair, which opened on Sunday.

DEPO itself was set up only in January this year after Pakistan's
first arms fair held in Karachi last November.

Pakistan was applauded in the Arab press for producing the so
called "Islamic" bomb in May 1998, "now feels it is in a position
to offer mature products in the international field," Hamid told

But "strategic systems such as missiles are not a product that's on
sale. We abide by international treaties and make it very clear
that's not available on the open market," he stressed.

Hamid explained that Pakistan, under international sanctions, on
and off ever since the 1960s, had been forced to hone its own
defence technology with help from France and China.

In 2002, Pakistan would be in a position to meet orders for the Al-
Khalid tank, a prototype of which was tested last year, he said,
adding that his country also offered the capability to upgrade
weaponry such as rocket guidance systems and missiles.

Seven PML workers' appeals rejected in SC storming case

ISLAMABAD, March 19: The additional district and sessions judge,
Safdar Hussain Malik, rejected on Monday appeals of seven PML
activists, upholding the conviction awarded to them by a judicial
magistrate in the Supreme Court storming case.

Mustafa Tanvir Sufwat, the judicial magistrate, had awarded one-
year imprisonment each to Babar Awan, Anjum Iqbal, Ali Abbas Khan,
Mohammad Farooq, Mohammad Nasim, Tanvir Akhtar and Raja Zafar
Iqbal. Also, they were fined Rs2,000 each, or one-month simple
imprisonment in case of default.

The judge, however, exonerated them from the charges levelled under
section 186 (obstruction of public functions) of the PPC under
which they were awarded three-month sentence.

None of the accused were present in the courtroom when the judgment
was announced late in the afternoon.

These PML workers had stormed and vandalized the apex court in 1997
when a bench headed by the then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah was
hearing a contempt of court case against then prime minister Nawaz
Sharif and some of his party legislators.

Taking a lenient view, the judicial magistrate had awarded lesser
penalty to an elderly worker of the PML, Malik Munawar Awan, by
awarding him three months imprisonment with a fine of Rs2,000.

The judicial magistrate had sentenced with an observation that the
punishment should be for the reform of the accused and to inspire
consciousness for the respect of law.

Earlier, the Supreme Court by separating these convicts had also
convicted six former PML legislators and sent them to jail for one

PML reposes confidence in Nawaz's leadership

ISLAMABAD, March 18: The Pakistan Muslim League, provincial
council, in its meeting here Sunday reposed its confidence in the
leadership of Nawaz Sharif, and adopted resolutions which said that
the like-minded group's call for a meeting on March 23  to elect
president of PML, was unconstitutional, illegal and unjust.

The meeting endorsed the nomination of Raja Zafarul Haq as chairman
and Mukhdoom Javed Hashmi as acting president of the PML and
expressed confidence in the leadership of both Raja Zafarul Haq and
Javed Hashmi and Saranjam Khan as PML secretary-general.

In another resolution, the meeting expressed complete solidarity
with the public meeting announced by Alliance for Restoration of
Democracy (ARD) and that the PML would utilize all its resources to
make it a success.

Through another resolution the meeting expressed its concern over
the increase in gas prices and termed it an anti-people move by the

The council terminated the membership of Raja Aurangzeb and Siddiq
Butt for their "anti-party activities". They were removed from
their posts in PML Islamabad.

Chairman Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and former Senator, Raja
Zafarul Haq speaking at the meeting said that former prime minister
Nawaz Sharif refused to sign the CTBT as he did not want to
compromise country's interests.

He alleged that the present government has made up its mind to sign
the CTBT because Japan and some other countries have assured aid to

He said that when Nawaz Sharif was in the saddle he did not give in
to pressure and carried out the nuclear tests. He said when the
United States has refused to sign the CTBT, asking Pakistan to sign
it was not logical.-PPI/NNI

IRSA votes for 1991 water accord
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, March 17: The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on
Saturday rejected, with a 3-2 majority vote, a 1994 decision of an
inter-ministerial committee, which was impeding the implementation
of the 1991 Water Accord.

Two provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, voted against the decision
while Punjab and NWFP voted in favour of 1994 decision.

The casting vote to decide the issue was of Nasar Rajput, a
representative of the federal government at the authority, who also
disowned the 1994 decision, which was being followed till now for
the distribution of water.

"It cannot be regarded as the decision of the authority and we are
referring it to the Chief Executive Secretariat with the views of
the provinces for further consideration," Secretary IRSA Sohail
Alam told reporters after IRSA meeting on Saturday.

The contentious issue, primarily between Punjab and Sindh, was
whether during periods of water shortage, provincial shares should
be determined on the basis of 1991 Accord or on the ratios fixed by
the inter-ministerial committee in 1994.

Sindh had earlier suggested to decide the issue through voting but
the move was opposed by Punjab.

"Today member from Balochistan suggested that the question should
be rephrased and put before the authority for vote," said Mr Alam.

The question placed before IRSA members was whether they consider
the decision of the inter-ministerial committee in 1994, as the one
taken by IRSA, he added.

"Some believe that a decision taken on the basis of the views
expressed by the members, which were noted on file, has no legal
bearing," he said.

Mr Sohail disagreed with a suggestion that by asking the Chief
Executive to take a final decision on this issue, IRSA has
abdicated its powers.

"In view of the precarious situation, IRSA members decided to leave
it to a higher forum to take a decision for implementation of 1991
Water Accord," he said.

Asked whether the provinces would start getting water as per the
proportions determined in 1991 Accord, he said it depended on the
final decision to be taken by the chief executive.

To a question about the impact of the implementation of provincial
shares, he said, water supply to provinces during Rabi season,
which is mainly wheat growing season, would remain unchanged.

However, the share of Sindh in kharif, the season for cultivation
of cotton, rice and sugarcane, would increase by 18 per cent and
Punjab's share would be reduced by eight per cent, he said.

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf had referred the issue to IRSA
to resolve it with consensus.

IRSA had also sought the advice of the Law Ministry on the question
whether water can be distributed on the basis of historical
proportions after the signing of 1991 Accord.

Gulf states return Pakistan livestock: Foot-and-mouth disease
Ahmad Fraz Khan

LAHORE, March 17: The European Foot-and-Mouth disease is beginning
to affect trade here as the Gulf states have started returning
livestock shipments from Pakistan, Dawn learnt here on Saturday.

Pakistani exporters and the federal ministry are working to control
the damage done by the UAE and Saudi government's decision. The
ministry is trying to remove misunderstandings and is willing to
certify that the Pakistani livestock is disease-free.

"This is highly unfortunate," said Rafaqat Hussain Raja, Animal
Husbandry Commissioner of Ministry of Food, Agriculture and
Livestock, denying the existence of Foot-and-Mouth disease in

He said that following the Press report of alleged cases of Foot-
and-Mouth Disease (FMD) found in sacrificial animals in Karachi,
the livestock department conducted an inquiry into the matter.

An official visited the market and reported that some animals did
show signs of injuries in mouth and feet but these were caused by
dry fodder and long journeys the animals had to take to reach

Some animals were thought to be affected by Vesicular Stomatitis, a
form of the FMD, but laboratory tests removed that suspicion too.

Questioning the basis of the Press report, he said that veterinary
doctors can only pinpoint symptoms of an infection which can be
confirmed by laboratory tests alone.

In this case, he said, no laboratory test was carried out, and an
ordinary veterinary doctor fed the news to a section of the Press.
Had there been thousands of infected animals, as claimed by the
doctor, the result would have been a great loss given the speed at
which the disease spreads.

The said doctor's claim of having vaccinated thousands of animals
against FMD cannot be true. "As the world knows that, once an
animal is infected, no vaccination can save it. How did he managed
this miracle?" the Commissioner asked.

He said we started exporting meat in 1998, and the exports reached
$14 million last year. We may not touch this figure this year.

First batch of Khalid tanks to roll out in June
Nasir Iqbal

TAXILA, March 17: First batch of 15 indigenously -developed al-
Khalid main battle tanks will roll out in June, Lt-Gen Hamid
Javaid, Chairman, Heavy Industries, Taxila (HIT), said on Saturday.

Briefing newsmen here at the HIT, Gen Javaid said that the al-
Khalid, equipped with most modern gadgetry and accurate shooting
capability, had been cleared by technical wings of the GHQ and the

"It is the fastest (tank) of its class, having a maximum speed of
70 kilometres per hour with a 1,200 horsepower engine.

Besides,the HIT had also assured life-time guarantee of logistics
without which no tank could run, said Brig Aleem while briefing the
newsmen at the HIT complex.

Fitted with 125mm smooth bore gun, the tank had a state-of- the art
capabilities, exceptional mobility, effective protection and
excellent firepower, supported by a hunter killer capability, an
autoloader, image-stabilized dual magnification gunner's sight,
panoramic sight for commander, thermal imaging and tracker system
with nuclear and biological protection capability, Brig Aleem said.

Designed specifically according to requirements of Pakistan, the
tank would be the first of its kind to be inducted into the
subcontinent, he added.

The newsmen, who were shown different stages of the tank assembly,
were told that the factory had the capability of producing 50 tanks
a year on single-shift basis while 300 tanks had been initially
planned to be built .

Brig Aleem said the equipment cost of the tank was also low
compared to prices being offered at the international market with
less features without compromising the standard.

"We are proud of what we at a low-key organization are working on
an important and high-value asset of Pakistan, said Gen Jawaid.

The equipment the factory was producing, were al-Zarrar tanks, the
picture of which was published by Janes Defence Weekly in its March
30, 2000, issue, T-85IIAP tank, armoured recovery vehicle, T-69IIMP
tank, T-59MII tank, different variants of armoured personnel
carriers and 105 and 125mm-tank gun barrels.

Gen Javaid said that in addition to tanks, a command post carrier,
completely designed and manufactured by the APC factory were, on
trial. This carrier could be used without compromising its mobility
in any theatre of war.

Similarly, a security vehicle,"Mohafiz," had also been produced by
the factory, based on the chassis of a commercial vehicle. Due to
welded aluminium armour hull, with ricochet angles all around, the
security agencies, police and rangers had shown great interest in
its production, he added.

Wapda allowed to raise tariff: Domestic users to be hit
Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, March 22: The National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority (Nepra) allowed the Water and Power Development Authority
(Wapda) on Thursday to increase power tariff for domestic consumers
only by 12 paisa per unit (kilowatt hour).

The increase was allowed under a mechanism, called the automatic
adjustment in consumer end tariff, which was evolved earlier this
year. The mechanism provides for a quarterly review of electricity
tariff with the fluctuation in fuel prices.

"The increase will become effective the day the government notifies
our decision," the acting chairman of Nepra, Mansoor Illahi, told
Dawn. The government could also refer it back to the authority for
review, he added.

A Nepra announcement said the decision of increase had been taken
in view of recent upward revision of gas prices and increase in
thermal generation of electricity as a result of decline in hydel
power generation caused by a shortage of water.

"The increase in thermal power generation has eroded the effect of
lower furnace oil price which could have resulted in a lower tariff
had other factors remained unchanged," it added.

It is interesting to note that when Wapda had pleaded for the
automatic adjustment formula it had cited frequent fluctuations in
international oil prices as the only factor necessitating the
review of power tariff on a quarterly basis. Ironically, in the
very first quarterly review, when the prices of furnace oil have
shown a declining trend, the power tariffs have been revised on the
basis of other factors.

The announcement said the net effect had increased the estimated
fuel bill of Wapda for the year 2000-2001 from Rs69.44 billion to
Rs70.41 billion.

The gap of Rs970 million had to be recovered through some 12
billion units expected to be sold during the remaining part of the
year up to June 30, 2001, it added.

Gas prices up by 14 to 37%: Industries to pay less
Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, March 17: The government on Saturday announced an
increase in the prices of natural gas ranging from 14.39 to 37.39
per cent for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

The domestic consumers in highest consumption slab will be the
hardest hit by the increase, which had been on the cards for the
last three weeks.

The government decision will generate an additional Rs15 billion
revenue in the shape of gas development surcharge as agreed with
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The latest increase in gas prices, which comes into effect
immediately, have raised the fears of another upward revision in
the prices of electricity.

Country's power sector is the largest gas consumer with 31 per cent
share, followed by fertilizer sector with 25 per cent, household
with 21 per cent, industry with 20 per cent and commercial sector
with around 4 per cent share.

Wapda has already moved the National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority (Nepra) for 98 paisa per unit increase on the ground that
it had to increase its thermal power production this year as hydel
power suffered due to shortage of water in the dams.

Domestic consumers of 100 cubic meters, the lowest slab of
consumption, will not experience any increase. The second slab of
100 to 200 cubic meters per month, will experience 18.33 increase.
Those using 200 to 300 cubic meters of gas per month will be paying
27.99 per cent more, while those consuming 300 to 400 cubic meters
of gas will be paying 28.94 per cent more per month. The next slab,
going beyond 400 cubic meters per month will be the hardest hit and
paying 37.39 per cent more.

The commercial, industrial and power sector consumers will
experience 14.40 per cent increase. Those who have converted their
vehicles on CNG will have to pay 14.40 per cent more.

At present, over 100,000 private vehicles have been shifted to CNG,
majority of which are in the Islamabad and Rawalpindi where more
than 40 CNG stations are operating.

The government claims that 40 per cent of domestic consumers will
not be affected from the increase as they consume less than 100
cubic meters per month.

According to official sources, natural gas is being supplied to
about 3.2 million households.

No increase has been made in the prices of gas being used for feed
stock by the fertilizer industry.

Gas tariff is being increased by the government every six months to
bring its prices at par with the international level, which are
normally linked with the crude oil rates.

The government, which is giving subsidies of Rs1 billion to
domestic consumers, and Rs11 billion to fertilizer industry using
natural gas as feed stock, is working on a plan to eliminate

Consumer gas prices during the last 18 months have registered 36 to
50 per cent increase. The first major increase inclusive of 15 per
cent general sales tax came in Aug 1999, ranging from 21 per cent
to 34 per cent for various consumer groups. This was followed by 15
per cent increase in July 2000.

SBP tightens monetary policy: Exchange rate stability
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 21: Pakistan on Wednesday further tightened its
monetary policy to stabilize the rupee that has so far lost more
than 16 per cent of its value against the dollar since its free-
float on July 20, 2000.

The State Bank raised the yield treasury bills of three months to
one year by 32 to 65 basis points to discourage holding of
greenbacks in inter-bank market where the rupee touched a new low
of 60.80 to a dollar on Wednesday. This brings its total loss
against the greenback to one per cent within a month. On February
20, the rupee had slipped below 60 to a dollar for the first time
in inter-bank market and closed at 60.20.

It was on that occasion that the State Bank had hiked up the yield
on three-month T-bills by 45 basis points to 10.95 per cent-
obviously to keep the rupee stable.

SBP on Wednesday enhanced the yield on three-month T-bills by 32
basis points to 11.27 per cent while conducting fortnightly auction
of the bills to raise domestic debt for the government: it also
hiked up the yield on six-month and one-year bills by 65 basis
points to 11.60 per cent and by 47 basis points to 11.95 per cent

"We hope to halt the slide of the rupee against the dollar by
enhancing the T-bills yield," said an economist at the State Bank.
He would not say whether SBP would continue tightening its monetary
policy-or rather soften it in line with the rate-cuts in the USA:
the Fed on Tuesday lowered its discount rate for the third time in
past three months by 50 basis points to 4.5 per cent.

 "It depends on exchange rate and liquidity position in the market.
If the exchange rate remains stable and the market is not
excessively liquid we may not further hike up interest rates," said
the economist. "But if the exchange rate does not stabilize and
inter-bank money market remains highly liquid we may have to
enhance interest rates."

The rupee has depreciated by more than 16 per cent against US
dollar since its free float on July 20 last year. During this
period, SBP has raised its discount rate by 2 per cent to 13 per
cent besides hiking the yield on six-month T bills by four per cent
to 11.60 per cent.

The central bank had to enhance these benchmark interest rates to
keep the rupee from falling to unmanageable after it had made
futile attempts in September-October to defend the rupee through
interventions in the market. The IMF also asked SBP to rely more on
interest rate policy rather than intervening frequently in the
market for exchange rate management. The IMF prescription came in
as one of the conditions tagged with its $596 million 10-month
standby credit that Pakistan secured on November 30, 2000. It has
so far received the first tranche of $192 million and the second
one is due next month.

The State Bank on Wednesday sucked in Rs 13.2 billion from a fairly
liquid money market on Wednesday by selling T-bills with higher
yields. SBP raised Rs 11.3 billion by selling three-month bills and
the rest through sale of six-month and one-year bills.

Senior bankers said the money market was surplus by a few billion
rupees even after the auction of T-bills adding that overnight call
rates remained in the range of 1-1.5 per cent.

SBP buys $65m through swap: Rupee falls to new low
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 20: The rupee fell to a record low of 60.74 to a US
dollar in inter-bank market on Tuesday as importers made heavy
buying of dollars from both local as well as foreign banks.

Bankers said the rupee closed at 60.69/60.74 to a dollar for spot
buying and selling thus recording an overnight loss of 17 paisa
against the greenback: on Monday the rupee had closed at

Also in the open market the rupee lost 15 paisa to a dollar and
finished at 63.45/63.50 for spot buying and selling. Money changers
said the rupee fell in kerb on speculative buying of dollars driven
by its decline in inter-bank market.

Bankers said the State Bank did not intervene to defend the local
currency but its officials checked with treasurers of some leading
local and foreign banks whether they were buying dollars to meet
genuine demand from their clients.

The rupee has been on the slide for the past few days in inter -
bank market mainly due to higher than normal debt payments toward
the end of the quarter along with payment of hefty oil import

The State Bank has been paying oil import bills on behalf of oil
importing companies as part of a broader plan to keep the rupee
stable after its free-float on July 20, 2000.

Since then the rupee has lost 16 per cent of its value to a dollar
in inter-bank market.

While securing a $596 million IMF standby credit late last year,
Pakistan had promised to the IMF to shift oil payments onto the
market in a gradual manner. But this is yet to happen.

What makes it difficult for the SBP to shift oil import bills onto
the market is the low foreign exchange reserves. Pakistan's net
foreign exchange reserves are slightly more than half a billion
dollars hardly sufficient to pay for its import bill of three

What else stops SBP from intervening in the market is that under
the terms of IMF standby loan it has to rely less on interventions
and more on interest rate lever in managing its forex regime.

But this does not mean SBP has nothing left in its chest of tools.
Take for example its recent future buying of dollars from banks.
Bankers say the State Bank has bought roughly $65 million from
banks for more than a year through rupee dollar swap in the past
one week.

This means SBP has got $65 million of banks transferred into its
account and paid them its rupee equivalent under an agreement that
it would pay the dollars back to them after more than a year.

Bankers say SBP has done this to avoid pressure on its paltry
foreign exchange reserves when the time comes to pay back $540
million foreign currency deposits of banks placed with it for a
maximum period of three months. The central bank has done this
after realizing that its outright dollar buying from kerb alone
cannot help it overcome the foreign exchange crisis. SBP has
purchased more than a billion dollars from kerb in the first eight
months of this fiscal year.

Bankers close to SBP say SBP may start returning the $540 million
foreign currency deposits to the banks from next month in a manner
to complete the process by end of June.

SBP is currently busy drafting rules to govern overseas placement
of these deposits by banks. The State Bank has started accepting
these deposits in June 1999 after refraining banks from placing
them abroad.

Sharjah offers 100% ownership to investors

KARACHI, March 19: Leader of the Sharjah Airport International Free
Zone (SAIF Zone) Sheikh Saqer Al Qassimi has invited the local
entrepreneurs to invest in the SAIF Zone, which offers 100 per cent
foreign ownership and repatriation of funds with no currency

He said the absence of corporate and personal income taxes, no
import/export duties, coupled with attractive and long term land,
office/warehouse lease rates have been other contributory factors,
which attract foreign investors.

Addressing a seminar "Investment Opportunities in SAIF Zone,
Sharjah", he said the recent decree by the Sharjah Executive
Council, authorizes local free zones to conclude leases of 25 years
duration, renewable to a similar period and to facilitate the
establishment of companies, with limited liabilities.

Situated next to Sharjah International Airport, he said the Saif
Zone, comprising 10 million square metres of land, gives immediate
access to all services offered by the airport, which is capable of
receiving all types of aircraft and cargo with modern storage and
transit facilities. The zone started its operation in 1995 with
only 50 companies.

Deputy Director General, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
Mubarak Balaswad Mubarak, also asked the participants to develop
new avenues and close coordination between the two countries.

Vice Chairman, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Ijaz Qurieshi also
spoke on the occasion.

Govts broke rules to appoint IB chiefs
M. Arshad Sharif

ISLAMABAD, March 19: Successive military and political regimes have
been violating rules in the appointment of retired and serving
military officials as head of the Intelligence Bureau, well-placed
sources told Dawn.

According to rules, the post of the IB director-general is of the
police cadre and the first transgression took place in 1977 when
Lt-Gen Nek Mohammad was made the DG.

This left officials in the Police Service of Pakistan disappointed,
who looked forward to their appointment to the post as their
legitimate right, senior police officials said, adding that the
practice has been followed by the Musharraf regime.

The appointment was necessitated by compulsions of political
expediency. Before the 1958 martial law, the IB reported directly
to the prime minister and the two military agencies, ISI and MI, to
the commander-in-chief of the army.

But, when the fist martial law was promulgated in 1958 all the
intelligence agencies fell under the control of the president and
the chief martial law administrator.

Analysts said that initially the ISI had little role to play
internally, for it was the domain of the Intelligence Bureau. But,
as the first signs of secessionism surfaced in erstwhile East
Pakistan in the late '50s, the politico-bureaucratic leadership
started suspecting the Bengali IB officials and directed the ISI to
operate there.

In the past few days, the IB has hit headlines once again for
monitoring politicians, political activists, keeping a tab on
retrieval judges and harassing opposition parties.

Credible evidence has been filed in the Supreme Court during the
hearing of the cases of dismissal of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif
governments, indicating that IB officials commonly resorted to
wiretapping and occasionally intercepted and opened mail under the
government instructions.

The governments have been transgressing these rules also to achieve
political aims sidetracking the IB from its main role of keeping
track of foreign intelligence agents and checking threats to
domestic security, sources said.

The IB works under the prime minister's cabinet division. During
the past few years, more than Rs50 million was allocated annually
to the IB, sources said.

Sri Lanka to discuss free trade with Pakistan

COLOMBO, March 18: Sri Lanka is turning to Pakistan to boost
exports after burning its fingers on a trade pact with India. The
misleadingly-titled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and
Sri Lanka marks its full year of implementation this month with
many Sri Lankan businesses bitter they had been taken for a ride.

The deal with New Delhi was to dismantle barriers, but instead it
saw new obstacles in place.

Shortly after Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Indian
Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee signed the FTA in December 1998,
academics and ruling party loyalists here hailed the deal as a
model for free trade in South Asia.

But the main spin-off from the trade pact for Sri Lanka was a
lesson on how not to do business with other countries and Sri
Lankan trade officials said they would apply the Indian experience
in dealing with Pakistan.

"We have learnt a bitter lesson from the FTA with India," a local
tea official said as they prepared for final negotiations with
Pakistan on a FTA. "We are better equipped now not to repeat the
same mistakes."

Sri Lanka is sending a delegation to Pakistan later this month to
finalize the trade deal.

Unlike with India, which has a large domestic tea industry that
competes with Sri Lanka in the international market, Pakistan is a
tea consumer, with the potential to be the world's largest tea
drinker this decade.

Kumaratunga has admitted that the FTA with India has not gone as
planned. Initially, it was touted as a landmark agreement that
could have made Sri Lanka the gateway to the vast Indian market.

"We have facilitated the entry of Indian goods under the FTA, but
on the Indian side the obstacles have not yet been removed,"
Kumaratunga told India's Frontline magazine during her visit to New
Delhi late last month.AFP

National Accountability Bureau claims to recover Rs 45 billion
ISLAMABAD, March 18: National Accountability Bureau has recovered
around Rs45 billion on different accounts during the last 15
months. These recoveries are direct by the NAB or it helped various
organizations including banks and civic agencies to recover from
their defaulters, said an update of last 15-month issued by NAB

Of the total recoveries, Rs1.73 billion are fines imposed by
different accountability courts and amount realized through plea-

The NAB during the period helped various banks to recover around
Rs34 billion from the defaulters while due to the efforts of the
Bureau Rs8 billion were saved from various projects of PTCL and
CDA. The PTCL's share in the saving is Rs5.579 billion and CDA's Rs
2.483 billion.

The NAB at present has been investigating against 163 politicians,
353 bureaucrats, 27 businessmen, 16 armed forces personnel and 66

Those politicians against whom investigations are in progress
include two former prime ministers, 13 former chief ministers, 50
former MNAs, eight suspended senators, 84 former MPAs, while six
other politicians.

Each of the two former prime ministers against whom investigations
are being carried out belong to PPP and PML.

There are 13 former chief ministers who are being probed and six of
them belong to PML, three to PPP and four other political parties.

Of the 50 former MNAs, 25 belong to PML, 19 to PPP and five other
political parties while five suspended senators are from PML, one
PPP and 2 other parties.

In the case of former MPAs, 29 belong to PML, 30 to PPP and 25 to
other parties.-APP

Future Sales Tax policy announced

ISLAMABAD, March 17: The government Saturday announced future
policy regarding registration under sales tax on retail traders, to
be effective from July 1, 2001.

The Spokesman of Central Board of Revenue (CBR) and Member Tax
Policy, Vakil Ahmed Khan said here that new policy regarding
registration under tax on retail traders would be effective from
July 1, 2001.

In a chat with some local journalists, the Finance Minister,
Shaukat Aziz disclosed that government's future policy regarding
registration under sales tax on retail traders from July 1, 2001
will be as follows:

1. Retailer with taxable turnover above Rs5 million will have to
get registered from 1.7.2001.

2. Retailers with taxable turnover ranging from Rs1 to 5 million
per year will have to enrol for 2% tax or to get registered on
voluntary basis and there.

3. There will be no concept of enlistment tax as the relevant legal
provision will demise on 30.6.2001.

So far as wholesalers, dealers, etc are concerned the position will
remain unchanged i.e. they will need to register, as is the case at
present, the Spokesman, Vakil Ahmed Khan added.

He further said that the Finance Minister indicated the government
was firm in its resolve to implement these decisions on all these
issues and there is no change in the government's position.-APP

SBP move to meet IMF target
Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, March 22: The State Bank needs to suck in Rs 15-20 billion
from inter-bank money market within this month to meet a crucial
IMF target. And in doing so it may have to reemploy some rather
harsh tools that it had used in December last to suck in excess
liquidity from the inter-bank market that had resulted in
skyrocketing of inter-bank lending rates at the end of the year.

Bankers said senior SBP officials including Economic Advisor Dr
Naseer told treasurers of more than half a dozen large local and
foreign banks on Wednesday that SBP must suck in Rs 15-20 billion
more from the inter-bank market before the end of March. They said
the officials told the bankers this was necessary to keep net
domestic assets of SBP within the target set by the IMF.

Under the terms of the $596 million IMF standby credit, SBP was
initially supposed to keep its NDA at minus Rs39.6 billion at end-
March 2001 but later on the IMF relaxed it to save banks from
getting into trouble: the revised target for NDA is about Rs 8

Bankers say containing excess liquidity at this stage SBP will not
only help SBP meet this target but also stabilize the rupee that
has been on the slide for several days.

The rupee on Thursday shed six paisa more to a US dollar in inter-
bank market to close at 60.80/60.85 for spot buying and selling.
The rupee has depreciated by more than one per cent in last one
month mainly due to slower inflow of export proceeds amidst rising
dollar buying for debt servicing and oil imports.

Bankers said SBP officials had told them that the central bank
might have to reemploy some of the tools it had used to meet its
NDA target of minus Rs 26.3 billion at the end of December 2000.
They said the officials implied they might again ask the banks to
buy special treasury bills out of the rupee equivalent of their
foreign currency swap funds that are placed in special deposits
account (SDA) with SBP: the central banks has rolled over 75 per
cent of these funds worth $1 billion dollar for the second time for
two years-it had first rolled them over to avoid default after
Pakistan had gone nuclear in May 1998. Banks have in their SDA
about Rs 25 billion part of which can be used for buying special T-
bills-if the need arises.

At the end of last quarter in December SBP had made banks buy
special treasury bills out of the rupee equivalent deposits of
these funds to keep its NDA within the target level. It had also
raised the cash reserves requirement for banks from five to seven
per cent also in effort to contain expansion in NDA. These and some
other measures taken for the same purpose had caused serious
liquidity crisis for banks and pushed up overnight interest rates
up to 80 per cent in inter-bank market. So severe was the crisis
that banks had to pay SBP an unusually high interest of 45 per cent
for borrowing overnight funds through treasury bills against normal
discounting rate of 13 per cent.

It is against this backdrop that banks want to keep themselves
fairly liquid until end of this month. But SBP is bent upon
squeezing out all excess liquidity from the market. This explains
why SBP officials warn of reemploying some of the tools they used
in December to suck in excess liquidity.

At present inter-bank market is fairly liquid with overnight call
rates ranging between 1-2 per cent.

Commercial bankers estimate excess liquidity at not more than Rs 5
billion. That is why they are preparing themselves for a situation
wherein SBP may have to use some not-so-soft tools for sucking in
surplus liquidity from the market. "We are seeking prior permission
from our head offices to buy special treasury bills out of our
SDA," said treasurer of a leading foreign bank.

Bankers privy to Wednesday meeting say SBP officials have told them
the central bank is pretty much comfortable in meeting NDA target
of end-March and they need not to be scary. They said the officials
also indicated the need for enhancing cash reserves requirement
might not arise this time.

Leasing cos trying to meet SECP deadline: Raising paid-up capital
Dilawar Hussain

KARACHI, March 21: Under the Leasing Companies (Establishment &
Regulations) Rules, 2000 framed by the Securities & Exchange
Commission of Pakistan (SEC), all leasing companies are required to
raise their paid-up capital to Rs 200 million by June 30, 2001. As
the deadline draws near, most leasing companies short of the
requirement are desperately in search of ways to touch the required
target. Currently, only twelve of the 22 leasing companies listed
on the Karachi Stock Exchange, have paid-up capital in excess of Rs
200 million.

With revenue reserves insufficient for bonus capitalization, the
obvious option is to issue right shares. But given the stock market
gloom and doom, most companies do not see shareholders' making a
beeline to put more cash in the equities.

Earlier, last year the board of at least one leasing company that
attempted to reach the target of Rs200 million in paid-up capital
via the right offer, ended up relinquishing the management and
control to the underwriters of the right offer: The controlling
stake in Pak-Apex Leasing Company Limited passed into the hands of
underwriters, Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Limited (KASB), when the
shareholders picked up only Rs10.426 million against the company's
offer of Rs80 million, in right issue. The company had asked
shareholders' for cash in right issue at 100 per cent (10 million
right shares of Rs 10 each) at discount of 20 per cent. Including
the discount of Rs13.91 million, KASB picked up Rs83.5 million
worth of the Rs200 million fully-diluted equity, making it the
majority equity holder in Pak-Apex Leasing.

Sponsors of other leasing companies, though short of the required
equity base are taking no such chances and are just waiting and
hoping for a miracle.

Grays Leasing Limited, has however ventured lately to offer five
million shares at par in right issue. The offer is at 50 per cent
(one-for-two). The company said it marked "first step forward to
enhance the paid-up capital from Rs100 to Rs200 million.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the company said that the
equity injection of Rs50 million through the right shares "will
definitely be a source of strength and sustainability to the

Grays Leasing Limited is a sister concern of another 'blue chip'
Grays of Cambridge. Grays Leasing Limited was incorporated on
August 31, 1995. The company is also said to provide financial and
advisory services, but the mainstay is of course leasing. The
company distributed maiden cash dividend at 15 per cent in 1999,
which marked as only the second year after its listing at the stock
exchange. Cash dividend at the same- 15 per cent has been proposed
for 2000, as well. The recent market price of the 10-rupee share in
Grays Leasing is Rs 11.

Unlike, Pak-Apex, the controlling interest in Grays Leasing Limited
is firmly vested in the sponsors. At the last count on June 30,
1999 eleven joint stock companies, which could be reckoned to be
group units, held an aggregate of 46.5 per cent shareholding in
Grays Leasing.

Two investment companies had 14.4 per cent and a total of 1,196
individuals though with 39.1 per cent stake, the small investors
shareholding could be reckoned to be tiny. This is reflected by
small floating stock and low trading volume. During all of 2000,
only 0.1 million shares, of the total outstanding shares of 10
million, came up for trading at the KSE.

Gold prices soar

KARACHI, March 21: Gold prices on the local bullion market have
risen by Rs82 per 10 grams during the last two days, partly in line
with the rising dollar and partly to increase in demand from other
trading centres.

On Monday, gold price was quoted at Rs5,388 per 10 grams, while it
soared to Rs5,470 on Wednesday and "its safe level could be above
Rs5,500 if the current run-up of the dollar is not contained,"
claims a leading bullion trader.

Apart from an increase in international gold prices to well above
$270 an ounce, the other supporting factor behind the current price
flare-up is pressure on supplies from across the border and also
from Dubai through informal channels.

"The recently restored green channel facility could ease the supply
situation in the coming sessions, although much will depend on the
willingness of returning Pakistanis from the Gulf," some others

The gold prices are following the trend of the dollar both in kerb
and the inter-bank dealings, where it is showing persistent
increase owing to a number of factors including reports of heavy
bank buying.

On Wednesday, the rupee was quoted lower at Rs60.55 and Rs60.95 in
the inter-bank and Rs63.70 and 63.75 for buying and selling on the
open market, respectively.

"The money goes where it grows," said a bullion dealer and both
"the dollar and the gold have of late, assumed the role of safe

Stock brokers say money is also outflowing from the share business
but it is pretty difficult to give the exact figure. A section of
leading investors are liquidating their long positions in selected
shares to buy dollar or gold for obvious reasons.

"If the current steady liquidation of long positions in stocks
continues, it could cause the crash of the market," stock analysts
fear. They add that "the gold and dollar in that case could hit new
peak levels."

Pakistan's annual gold imports through formal channels after paying
import duty at the rate of $1.5 per ounce is on an average billed
above 100 tonnes.

Back to the top
Forward march?
Ardeshir Cowasjee

"WE do not think the president receives honest feedback from his
senior managers. He does not welcome criticism or tolerate dissent.
Managers at all levels live in fear. Many have learnt that it
serves them to agree with him. He is thus isolated from reality."

This is what the staff of the World Bank have written about their
president, James Wolfensohn, in a memorandum answering his question
as to why the members of his staff are so demoralized (Dawn, March
17). Wolfensohn, day by day, grows to look more and more like Peter
Ustinov, but does not appear to possess the Caucasian's wisdom or
sense of humour.

Fortunately, the same cannot be said of General Pervez Musharraf
who has now been on the throne of Pakistan for eighteen months. On
March 15, at Karachi, the General addressed what is euphemistically
called 'the elite of the city', or as some would put it, 'a cross-
section of opinion makers', or as others have it, 'a carefully
selected audience'.

On my right sat a Sunni luminary, Professor Maulana Muneebur
Rahman; in front of me sat the Shia cleric Allama Turabi; on my
left sat the diminutive playwright Fatima Suraiya Bajia; and behind
me was the strong silent jet black-haired Ghulam Nabi Shah, law
secretary of the government of Sindh. Amongst the audience were
many uniformed men, the eyes and ears of Musharraf - Commander 5
Corps being one, and Major-General 'Eagle' Rashid Qureshi, the ISPR
chief, another. 'Eagle' forever hovers over the country, moving
with the winds and clouds. He forever promises to return phone
calls within the hour and does so within the fortnight.

As has been frontpaged in our press, Musharraf was very clear on
one point: 'He came down hard on religious extremists..... one per
cent of these extremists had made the other 99 per cent moderates
hostage.' As long as the masses remain ignorant one will have to
accept the fact that the extremists will get the better of the

In Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in India, in China, in Indonesia, in
Egypt and in many other lands, as long as the people are kept
ignorant and uneducated, acts of barbarism will continue. The
Greeks destroyed and burnt Persepolis. Later, the Romans were
responsible for the destruction of the Bibliotheca Alexandria. The
Chinese, during our lifetime, have destroyed the ancient
depositories of Tibet. The RSS, the BJP, and the Sangh Parivar
between them destroyed the Babri Mosque in India. Man will continue
to hurt man for as long as man exists. There will be the builders
and there will be the destroyers. UNESCO is now in the process of
reconstructing the library in Alexandria.

A few days ago, a bunch of barbarians burnt a copy of the Holy
Quran in India and so, on Friday, our street leaders, our
extremists, forced some merchants and traders to 'strike'.
Senseless, was it not? Who did the strike hurt? The barbarians or
the strikers? Whose livelihood or well-being did the strike affect?

The general, during his address last Thursday, firmly told us that
the assemblies are not to be revived and that he will move solely
according to the Supreme Court order. This leaves our politicians
jobless. Despite this, they will not seek alternative employment
for two understandable reasons - one, they are schooled and trained
only to intrigue and rob, and two, they are far too indolent to be
capable of doing an honest day's work. However, it should be a
matter of distress that many of our sacked politicians still hold
at their disposal enormous amounts of stolen money with which to
sustain themselves. How, for instance, are Nawaz and his cronies
living? Eating sand and breathing hot air? At whose expense is
Benazir globe-trotting, along the way picking up estates and
necklaces and a coterie of unknowing foreigners who are willing to
sympathize with her?

The general is keen on 'reconstruction', an absolute need, towards
which he maintain his government is working hard. He is extremely
proud of the Naqvi-NRB devolution plan which he feels sure, when in
place and functioning, will bring about a true revolution. We must
hope he proves to be right.

The country is deep in debt, he admits, and whatever we might do we
cannot earn enough to pay back our debts. We must strive (and this
is where diplomacy and foreign relations come in) to make friends
and have our debts written off. Musharraf maintains that we are not
isolated, that wherever he travels in the world he is received with
open arms. He angrily admitted that he has to go 'begging', which
he hates, but he did not disclose how much his 'begging' has
brought in to the country.

Vladimir Putin of Russia is now busy sidling up to the Iranians.
The Americans will soon wish to counter this and may need our help,
as they did when they felt the need to destroy Afghanistan. In the
Afghan case it was only a handful of generals who ended up making
vast amounts of money to the detriment and loss of the country.
This time Musharraf should make sure that it is the country which
is the gainer.

It is high time the 'buddhas' of our foreign office started
thinking rather than adopting hardline stances, with nothing to
support the 'hard' part of the line.The main problem to be tackled
now is the water problem, which it truly is difficult to remedy
immediately. Building dams is a long-term solution. As the general
said, we must pray to Allah, but as he also said, praying is not
enough. We must get going and do something for ourselves. How about
thinking along Swedish, Swiss and Norwegian lines, about seeding
our clouds, and melting the ice and snows covering our mountains?
We can seek the help of those nations experienced in exploding
snowbound areas. We do have enough high mountains and are perhaps
the only country in the world in which stands three high ranges -
the Himalayas, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush.

As to the Pakistani predilection of making a mess of perfectly
viable going concerns, he cited the case of the grand New York
hotel, within walking distance of the UN headquarters, on which it
is veritably impossible to lose money. But, the Pakistanis laid
their hands on it and the balance-sheet proudly declared a loss.

One thing on which Musharraf must be faulted is his explanation as
to why his government grants so many public holidays. There is
absolutely no reason why this bankrupt country should lose out on
one day's earnings just to please its Kashmiri brethren who might
be better served were this country to be less bankrupt and weakened
than it is. His explanation as to the granting of three Eid
holidays also did not hold water. His government should make quite
sure that this year there is no May Day holiday and that the
workers of this country unite in work. As it is, half the workers'
working day is spent drinking cups of tea, chewing paan, or doing
whatever they do in the bathroom.

Musharraf was not around, or he was too young, to see how Germany
and Japan rebuilt themselves from the ashes into which they were
rendered by World War 2. But he can read about it all and learn,
and perhaps put some of the German-Japanese work ethics into
practice in his own country.

Yesterday, we had some good news. Serious noises are at last being
made about signing the CTBT. But again, according to the press,
hedges are being built: 'Consensus to be sought. Musharraf to meet
politicians on CTBT.' With which honest politician is he waiting to
confer? Surely he is not worried about how the backward-thinking
'one per cent' think.

It is high time we got ourselves into gear and got going.

No tehelka please, we're Pakistanis
Ayaz Amir

THE tehelka expose in neighbouring India is both reassuring and
humbling. Reassuring in the sense that it is good to know that
somebody else can be as corrupt and rapacious as us. Humbling in
the sense that something like the tehelka expose could not happen
in Pakistan. National security or some such excuse would take care
of that.

The Justice Qayyum tapes detailing conversations which deeply
implicate His Lordship, the then law minister and the then Chief
Justice of the Lahore High Court, in judicial impropriety, to put
it no stronger than this, are about as explosive as anything in the
same league can get. But what have they led to? A tortuous denial
on the part of Khalid Anwar, the then lord chancellor, and hurt
silence on the part of their two lordships. Anywhere else in the
less benighted parts of the world, these luminaries would have been
raked over the coals. Hand it to the benign concepts of justice
prevalent in Pakistan that they have got away just like that.

As for the attorney-general, the ever-green Aziz Munshi, the stance
he has taken before the Supreme Court is that the tapes do not
exist. Since they were not authorized, at least not on paper, how
can they exist?

There could not have been a greater smoking gun than the Mehrangate
scandal. Conversations which implicated the ISI and a host of self-
righteous politicians were on tape, taking money (forget under what
guise) from the Mehran Bank president, Younus Habib. But Mehrangate
was taken care of by what must rank as one of the most effective
cover-ups in Pakistani history. Habib spent some time in prison.
The other principals may have lost some sleep, although even that
is doubtful given the robustness of Pakistani consciences, but
their time in the sun was not interrupted.

Younus Habib gave about 14 crore rupees to the then army chief,
General Aslam Beg. Half this amount was deposited in ISI coffers,
half of it doled out to a string of politicians in the Islami
Jamhoori Ittehad, the ISI-arranged political alliance to stop
Benazir Bhutto in her tracks.

The list of politicians thus favoured is known. The then ISI chief
and now our ambassador to the Holy Land, Lt-Gen Asad Durrani, gave
a signed affidavit to this effect to the Supreme Court, in a writ
petition regarding the Mehrangate scandal brought by Air Marshal
Asghar Khan.

Flaming evidence, all out in the open, but no charges brought,
much less any convictions. Obviously, we handle such things better
than in India.

What is more, Kidwai, one of the Mehrangate principals who handed
out money left and right, was appointed our man in Nairobi by Nawaz
Sharif. To all appearances he enjoys General Musharraf's trust too
because he is still at his post as high commissioner (and, as I
understand from some quarters, doing a fine job).

But why dwell on a single scandal? Can anything be more graphic
than the strictures against many army high-ups, some of them still
living and enjoying good health, in the Hamoodur Rahman Report? But
none of this damning criticism seems to have harmed anyone. My
admiration in this respect goes out specially to Maj-Gen Rahim
Khan, a divisional commander in East Pakistan and later, after we
had washed our hands off the eastern wing, secretary-general,
defence ministry.

What comes out clearly in the Hamood Report is that at a critical
moment he virtually deserted his command, preferring the relative
safety of Dhaka to the uncertainty of fighting. In Siddiq Salik's
"Witness to Surrender" another aspect of the general's gallantry is
also revealed. In the final moments leading up to the fall of
Dhaka, Rahim off-loaded a batch of army nurses as they were about
to be flown by helicopter to Burma and got in himself. Obviously
not a man to be underestimated.

In any country with a stronger literary tradition than ours there
would by now be a score of books on General Yahya Khan's evenings.
Some of the ladies in question are alive. What wouldn't their
revelations be worth? Several extremely readable accounts exist of
the Shah of Iran's women and how ladies for his benefit (what
else?) used to be flown in from Madame Claude's establishment in
Paris. Sadly none, except in bits and pieces, of Pakistan's most
colourful leader.

It is therefore not a little sad that his son and my friend Ali
Yahya has attempted to dim this aspect of his father's lustre by
saying (in a letter to this newspaper) that many of the ladies said
to be regular visitors to the presidency used to go there for
'innocent' purposes. He has mentioned in particular the famous
'General' Rani who he says was given to visiting the presidency
because her nephew-in-law was ADC to General Yahya. This defence on
the part of the son, himself a friends' friend and a convivial guy,
is unworthy of the father. General Yahya was a gallant ladies man.
His memory deserves to be commemorated, not rebuilt on new

In some of the chat shows which followed the tehelka expose it was
said, in proof of the ubiquity and wealth of arms procurement
agents, that many of the farmhouses around Delhi are owned by them.
What can Indians know about farmhouses? They should visit the
environs of Islamabad and Lahore to get an idea of how real
farmhouses look like. There is nothing squeamish or half-hearted
about well-heeled Pakistanis. The architecture of Islamabad, Lahore
and Karachi bears witness to their love of the mock-heroic. Useless
Roman pillars, gaudy facades, you have them all here.

And Pakistani shaadis at posh hotels: they never cease to amaze.
Extravagance and lack of taste behind closed doors is one thing.
But paraded for all to see requires audacity which Pakistani babus
and other veterans (I have to be coy) have in plenty. Bureaucrats
on modest salaries often hold the biggest receptions, inviting the
whole town to them, perhaps as a way of displaying their clout and
connections. The way it is done here it can't get more shameless
anywhere else.

The Pakistani privilegentsia is a promiscuous mix: agents, fixers,
briefcase-wallahs, bankers (yes, bankers without whom the money
would not flow), hustlers, political upstarts and retired men in
uniform. In India, being the heart of the subcontinent, there is
corruption on a great scale.

But there is also genuine enterprise and industry. Alas, there is
very little of these commodities here. Ever since the Afghan
bonanza of the Zia years everyone on the right side of the tracks
has been trying to make his fortune by fixing things.

Arms procurement has been a big part of the fixing scene. In some
cases the footprints left behind would be visible from the moon.
What to talk of agents, all con artists live a charmed life in
Pakistan. They get away with anything. Sipra conned the Zia
government - and his vaunted information secretary, Lt-Gen Mujibur
Rehman - into treating him like a VIP because he said he was making
a film on Jinnah. Akbar S. Ahmed, who has made a career out of
self-promotion, managed to become high commissioner in London. It's
just his misfortune the Guardian spilled the beans on his financial
affairs, otherwise he would still be around.

When the Agosta submarine deal in Benazir's second term was going
through it was widely rumoured that vast sums in commissions were
involved. I too wrote about the proposed deal and got a rupees five
crore damages' notice from Mr Zardari's lawyer. Then I heard no
more of it.

Much later, the navy, after some ill-timed revelations, were
sprung, hauled up a couple of officers for receiving bribes. They
got short prison sentences. This was the only peep the nation got
into the skullduggery of this affair.

Who were the principal beneficiaries? What were the sums they
made? Suspicions abound but the details are shrouded in mystery.

Later just by the skin of its teeth Pakistan avoided a Mirage 2000
deal that would have broken the back of our defence budget.

Things had indeed come to a pass where strategic or battlefield
need was not determining the choice of weapons but rather the
commissions to be made on them.

In both the consummated submarine deal as well as the abortive
Mirage deal the middleman was said to be one Amer Lodhi, whose dad
was onetime head of Attock Oil Company.

Once at a party I was witness to a scene where one guy was trying
to beat up another, an arms agent, because of a quarrel over a sum
of money. The fixer had apparently arranged an introduction with
the then air chief, Abbas Khattak, for which favour the agent was
supposed to pay him ten lakh rupees.

The agent paid an instalment but then withheld the rest of the
amount because, he said, the deal he was pushing had not gone
through. Ten lakhs for an introduction, not bad whichever way you
look at it.

No, for the connected life here is easy and comfortable. As for the
unconnected, they do not matter. But could a tehelka expose be done
here? Not on your life. For one, Pakistani journalists are too
lazy, desk artists who do their stories without moving from their
seats. The legwork required for investigative journalism is not
part of the local style.

For another, who would permit such an intrusion into the forbidding
spires of national security? Years ago when the Frontier Post
(since dead) came up with a front-page news item saying that for a
trip abroad Begum Ziaul Haq was taking 40 pieces of baggage with
her, there was commotion in the ISI and a Stalinist purge in the
newspaper's ranks.

Things have moved on but not so much that a general in the
procurement division could be caught on film (as was the hapless
General Ahluwalia) declaring his partiality for Blue Label Scotch.
Is it my patriotism speaking or am I right in thinking that
Pakistani procurement officers even in jest would not lose their
heads over such a trifle?

Punching above our weight
By Irfan Husain

BEING human, we all like to think we are more important than we
really are. But while individuals can afford to nurse delusions of
grandeur, nation-states do so at their own peril.

I think it is Margaret Thatcher, the erstwhile Iron Lady of Britain,
who first propounded the thesis that her small country "punched above
its weight" - that is, it played a bigger role on the world stage
than warranted by its size, population and military and economic
strength. Although this notion was never seriously tested in recent
times, it made good headlines and probably kept the British voters

Tony Blair, nothing if not adept at cashing in on the "feel good"
sentiment (considerably dented of late by herds of British cattle, sheep
and pigs who refuse to cooperate with the Labour Party), has seized
upon this boxing metaphor for his Cool Britannia. But we need to
remember that Britain's global clout, such as it is, depends on
hanging on to American coattails. It no longer has an independent
foreign policy and is reduced to being Washington's surrogate in

If this is true for Britain today, it was certainly true of Pakistan
until a decade ago. Years of being the United States' regional
chowkidar in its cold war with communism gave successive Pakistan
governments the illusion that we were stronger than we actually were.
Basking in our role of America's anointed ally, we continued
posturing long after the cold war was over and the Soviet Union imploded
under the weight of its many inefficiencies. More than a decade
later, we continue to think we are the tough kid on the block
although we have long since been left to our own feeble devices by
our ex-patron. Unfortunately, our leadership still has to wake up
to the new realities, and continues to follow external policies we
can no longer sustain.

These ideas were very succinctly and lucidly developed by Dr Charles
Amjad Ali during a discussion on his recent visit to Karachi. A
Pakistani scholar in the United States, he holds the Martin Luther
King Jr chair at the Hubert Humphrey Institute in Minnesota.
According to him, Pakistan jumped on the American bandwagon soon
after its creation, and reaped many advantages as a result. From
the western point of view, it occupied a very strategic position
by virtue of its location at the cusp of several important regions
like China, the Soviet Union, the Middle East and South-East Asia.
As a result, it received substantial aid as well as sophisticated
arms, apart from diplomatic support from the West. India, because
of its pro-Soviet stance and its tightly controlled economy, did not
get the importance it deserved.

Now the picture has changed completely as the end of the cold war has
coincided with the opening of the Indian market and the liberalization
of its economy. Now, there is a convergence of American government and
corporate interest in redressing the earlier imbalance in their
approach towards India, and Washington has no hesitation in recognizing
its preeminent role in the region.

Pakistan, on the other hand, because of its short-sighted policy in
Kashmir and Afghanistan, its inability to make democracy work and its
support of terrorist organizations, is now beyond the pale, at least
as far as American policy-makers are concerned.

Unfortunately, our own military and civilian leaders have not grasped
the fact of Pakistan's irrelevance to the rest of the world and
continue posturing as though we still counted for much. (Incidentally,
I took no notes during our discussion, so I might have put words in
Charles' mouth that he did not utter; if so, my apologies to him).

It is a fact that had we not allied ourselves with the United States
in our early years, our leadership would have had to come to terms with
our financial and military limitations, and presumably settled the
Kashmir issue long ago. It is entirely possible that the shape of such a
settlement might not have been entirely to our liking, but at least we
would not have carried this millstone around our neck for fifty years.
An appearance of strength that is devoid of real substance can be a
dangerous thing for it inspires a false feeling of confidence verging
on bravado.

In our case, our policies have been warped by the knowledge that we had
the support of the United States and China. The former has bluntly told
us to get lost; the latter is too polite to openly say so, but by telling
us to settle the Kashmir issue directly with India, it has changed its
stance substantially, and sent us a signal that it will not get involved in
subcontinental problems. Hopefully, this dose of reality will concentrate
minds in the Foreign Office and GHQ, but one is not taking any bets.

Another fact we must keep in mind is that a man who has been rich finds
it hard to come to terms with recent poverty, while a man who is born poor
copes much better since this is the only condition he knows. Similarly,
having once thrived on a superpower's support, we find it difficult to
adjust psychologically to our present reduced status of a cold war orphan.

Accustomed as we are to the presumption of regional parity with our
neighbour, we are sulking at the attention the whole world is showering
on India, while simultaneously smarting from our neglect.Major
geo-strategic changes call for wrenching changes in outlook and policies.
Unfortunately, we continue to behave like the proverbial impoverished minor
nawab who migrated from India, leaving everything behind, but continues to
act as though he were master of all he surveyed. The one thing that is
certain in human history is that nothing is certain.

Civilizations have risen and fallen, and are now no more than a distant
memory. Seen from this perspective, Pakistan's creation and brief
existence counts for but an instant on the scale of human history. If
we are to play a positive role, we need to think about our role and our

The fact is that in the long run, financial and intellectual capital now
count for far more than military might. In our context, we can no longer
sustain our aggressive posture: near bankruptcy and with a rotten credit
rating, we are now at the end of our tether. If we are to survive and
develop, we have to reduce our non-development expenditure. In short, we
have to adopt policies that are realistic and we can afford and that are
in our interest, and remember that Washington is a long way away, both in
terms of distance and time.

The enfeebled boxer who tries to punch above his weight gets knocked out.

Youhana slams first Test double century

CHRISTCHURCH (New Zealand), March 18: Pakistan made New Zealand
wait 84 long overs and nearly six hours for their only wicket as
double century maker Yousuf Youhana and Saqlain Mushtaq dourly
batted out day four of the second cricket Test
 here on Sunday.

At stumps Pakistan were 561 for seven in their first innings, an
overall lead of 85 and barely any chance of a result, barring a
freakish effort from spin bowling star Saqlain Mushtaq on Monday.

Youhana was the hero of the day with 203, his first double century
in his 29th Test, while another unlikely batting hero in Saqlain

At stumps he was unbeaten on 98, his highest Test score, and with
Youhana added 248 runs in 372 minutes for the seventh wicket.

Pakistan scored just 220 runs in the day after resuming this
morning on 341 for six, with Youhana on 73.

He fell to the left-arm spin of Mark Richardson who didn't arrive
at the bowling crease until the 186th over.

The innings took him 528 minutes, he faced 429 balls and hit 27
fours and three sixes. The 26-year-old rated it as the highlight of
his Test career.

 The day meandered until late in the last session before there was
any hint of excitement for the home side.

The bowling workload was largely shouldered by pacemen Daryl Tuffey
and Chris Martin in the absence of the injured Chris Drum who
dislocated a shoulder while fielding yesterday.

Tuffey took one for 153 off 41 overs, Martin two for 153 off 41 and
recalled spinner Grant Bradburn one for 124 off 42 including three
sixes by Youhana.-AFP

Saqlain slams maiden century in drawn Test

CHRISTCHURCH, March 19: New Zealand gained some confidence for the
third Test against Pakistan in Hamilton by batting out the last
afternoon of the second match at Jade Stadium here on Monday as the
game ended in a draw that was inevitable almost two days ago.

Even the mystery bowling of Saqlain Mushtaq could make no inroads
on a pitch that was too friendly for the batsmen and yielded four
centuries including one double ton.

New Zealand ended the shortened day on 196 for one, with Mark
Richardson not out on 73 and Mathew Sinclair - following on from
his unbeaten 204 in the first innings - on 50.

Technically New Zealand declared, but there was no need for
Pakistan to bat again as only ten minutes of the match remained.

Pakistan declared earlier at 571 for eight after Saqlain Mushtaq
got his maiden Test century.

Waqar Younis was the only victim of a largely toothless New Zealand
attack during Pakistan's assault on the home side's 476, giving
Daryl Tuffey his second wicket of the match.

Matthew Bell and Richardson gave New Zealand their third good start
in as many innings, 69, before Bell was trapped lbw to part-time
leg-spinner Younis Khan.

>From then Richardson and Sinclair simply got some useful practice
against Saqlain in particular, and near the end Pakistan's acting
skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq had some fun by giving the wannabe bowlers
like Yousuf Youhana and Faisal Iqbal a turn at the crease and Waqar
some off-spin.

Pakistan, who lead the series 1-0, now travel to Wellington for a
three-day match starting on Thursday. -Reuters/AFP

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