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DAWN - Features; January 7, 2003

January 07, 2003

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LHC orders PCB to decide Wasim’s appeal

By Our Reporter


LAHORE, Jan 6: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to decide former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram’s appeal against the penalty recommended by Justice Malik Qayyum (retired) of the LHC.

In his one-man inquiry commission report on match-fixing allegations (whose excerpts were released by the PCB in May 2000), Justice Qayyum had recommended that Wasim be fined Rs300,000 by the PCB and should not be appointed as captain of the Pakistan team in future.

Justice M. Javed Buttar disposed of the appeal with the orders that the PCB should give an opportunity to Wasim by conducting a formal hearing of his appeal and decide the matter within one month.

Najamul Hassan Kazmi, the counsel for the petitioner, argued before the court that Wasim’s appeal against the findings of the inquiry commission had been filed before the PCB some 18 months ago and had not been decided as yet for some unknown reasons.

As argued by the petitioner, the PCB had no moral and legal grounds for delaying the hearing of the appeal since this delay could cost him his international fame and he wanted to get himself exonerated of match-fixing allegations at the earliest.

It was submitted that the penalty pronounced by the inquiry commission was recommendatory in nature and was not binding on the PCB since that the commission did not enjoy the status of a court of law.

The petitioner alleged through his counsel that this penalty had been recommended without giving him an ample opportunity to defend himself and subsequently, the PCB had further employed delaying tactics to hear his version in this regard.

The court was requested to issue directions to the PCB for deciding Wasim’s appeal at the earliest. The petitioner submitted that in case the court did not deem it proper to issue directions to the PCB, it should conduct the hearing of his appeal itself.

The court, however, observed that the PCB was the proper platform for hearing the appeal since it had already been moved by the petitioner and it should decide the matter accordingly.

Meanwhile PCB has refused  to comment on the decision of the Lahore High Court, directing it to decide former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram’s appeal against  the penalty recommended by former Justice Malik Qayyum.

When contacted, a PCB spokesman said that the board did not receive the decision officially and any comment could be offered after getting it.

Whose leader is Benazir Bhutto? : NEWS ANALYSIS

By Shamim-ur-Rahman


KARACHI, Jan 6: While the mainstream of People’s Party is still committed to taking on the present regime, a section of the party cadre is dangerously weaning away from ideological moorings. This was evident from the manner some heavyweights jumped the ship when the chips were down.

Then Confusion was compounded when even those, who had allegedly betrayed the party by crossing the floor and facilitating election and consolidation of the Jamali government, claimed that Benazir Bhutto was still their leader.

On the occasion of the 75th birthday of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, when PPP’s acting Secretary General Mian Raza Rabbani and others vowed to continue the struggle against “anti-people and unscrupulous forces by remaining committed to Bhutto’s ideals”, Rao Sikandar Iqbal, chairman of the breakaway PPP Patriots, raised the surprising and controversial question: Whose leader is Ms Bhutto?

Critics of the Patriots claim that such a statment is an eyewash as the “deserters” cannot survive politically without PPP and Benazir. They say this is just a “gimmick” to confuse the cadre, which is unhappy with the decision-making process at the top level, including allotment of tickets.

“If they are so loyal to the PPP and Benazir Bhutto, why can’t they get the cooked up cases against her, Asif Zardari and the party secretary general Jehangir Badar withdrawn, just as Muttahida Qaumi Movement did in the case of Dr Ishratul Ibad, and pave they way for her honourable return to lead the people against oppressive forces,” asked a Bhutto loyalist.

“If Mr Faisal Saleh Hayat would not have voted for Mr Jamali, the government, through horse-trading, would not have been formed. But it seems that he and others had made up their mind much earlier and the reasoning for their decision was tantamount to sidetracking the real issues.

“They should have taken up these issues, including the allegations against Naheed Khan and others, with Ms Bhutto before elections and if their differences remained serious, then they should have contested as independents and not from the PPP platform,” said a Bhutto loyalist from Hyderabad who was also disenchanted with the party’s present leaders.

However, he conceded that there was a lot of weight in what the deserters were saying about the manner in which the party was being managed.

The ordinary PPP worker expects Ms Bhutto to clear the mist of confusion by stating as to why punitive action has not yet been taken against some of the very senior members of the party who felt it convenient to jump the ship perhaps to avoid the NAB’s wrath. The questions in their minds are: Are the Patriots still in her party? If not, why? What action has been taken against the people who were accused of manipulating the award of party tickets?

She must have been informed by her loyalists about the resentment expressed during Sindh Council’s meeting and the poor showing at Hyderabad on Jan 5 when a handful of “jiyalas” from Lyari roamed with placards, without being challenged or disciplined by those on the dais.

The Sindh Council of the Pakistan People’s Party had criticised the regime for imposing a government on Sindh through horse-trading but had also called for stern action against the turncoats for betraying the trust of the people.

The Council also asked the presidents of the 12 constituencies, from where the party had lost in the Oct 10 elections, to submit their report on the causes and elements responsible for the defeat.

Amid strong criticism, the district cadres of the constituencies which produced the turncoats were also asked to submit their reports. Some members also emphasised that the report should identify those party members who had used their influence for awarding party tickets to the turncoats and feeding misleading information to the party chairperson.

In the midst of growing demands to award senate tickets to diehard workers, the controversy also reflects on the party’s ability to take decisions. Perhaps they are not sure what is in the leader’s mind.

Perhaps Makhdoom Amin Fahim, leader of the PPP Parliamentarians, also needs to do a lot of explaining to the people who had agreed to give him the support he needed for the success of his formula for putting the PPPP in the driving seat. He should be categorical in stating as to who was the stumbling bloc. What actually was his formula? And what about his alleged indecision at crucial stages?

Generally, in a democratic polity parties undertake post mortem of their successes and failures. But here it seems no one has done that. The ruling party does not need it because it is already at the top. But the major opposition party not undertaking such a drill seriously, is not a good omen for political dispensation.

Failure to do so could creat distortions. This is exactly what the PPP is currently passing through.

It is high time that Ms Bhutto spoke — to save the party — by addressing the questions raised by Mr Sherafgan and others. Ms Bhutto should also respond to the criticism of her policy of not allowing the party to enter into an understanding with the MMA, simply to win over sympathies in the Western capitals.

Was the politics of expediency justified compared to the realpolitik approach, by taking the ground realities inside Pakistan into account? If the PPP was averse to an alliance with the MMA to appease the Americans, how could she explain the understanding reached between Musharraf-backed PML-Q and the MMA, despite American sensitivities? Is the PPP offering itself to the Americans as an alternative to Musharraf if the present setup failed to subvert and break the march of religious parties?

If the PPP has to do ideological politics then it should put its house in order and should base its agenda on home realities and not on the sensitivities of outsiders.

Unfair distribution of ministries: SINDHI PRESS DIGEST

By Abbas Jalbani


KAWISH writes that after the oath-taking of 15 ministers and two advisors, the first phase of cabinet formation has been completed in Sindh. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a cabinet, comprising 60 per cent ministers from the urban areas and 40 per cent from the rural areas, has been formed in Sindh. Prior to that, the proportion of the representatives of the urban and the rural areas in the cabinet had been opposite to the present one. Not only that but one of the minister from the rural areas does not hail from the Sindhi-speaking population. Only six out of the 17 members of the Sindh cabinet are Sindhis.

In a sensitive province like Sindh, which has the feeling that its indigenous people are being turned into minority and they are being deprived of their inherent right to rule, such a cabinet does not seem to represent the aspirations of the people. This argument should not be taken as a prejudice, as in the past, there had been complaints about the lack of representation and participation of the urban areas in provincial governments. On the one hand the people of Sindh are annoyed that the largest party of Sindh had been denied of the right to form a government in the province and on the other, such an unrepresentative cabinet has been formed. The government must contemplate what message is being sent by the two measures.

Such says that differences have cropped up in the cabinet over the allotment of different portfolios. After a deadlock in the formation of a government in Sindh, this tug of war is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty. The oppressed people of Sindh believe that they have not been benefited by the recently initiated political process. A gnawing sense of betrayal and hopelessness lurks behind this feeling. If the MPAs forget the grievances of their constituents in their tussle for ministries, it would be a very undemocratic act.

Hilal-i-Pakistan writes that with the formation of the new Sindh cabinet, law and order situation has worsened in the province, particularly in Jacobabad Ghotki, Sukkur, Larkana and Shikarpur districts. The first condition for good governance is restoration of the rule of law because lawlessness creates many other problems. As Chief Minister Ali Mohammad Mahar hails from Ghotki district, which has been infested with bandits and tribal feuds, he should also use his personal and family influence to curb crime in his home district. Similarly, his government should evolve a strategy to improve law and order situation all over Sindh.

Ibrat points out that unemployment has gone up alarmingly in Sindh and the jobless rural people feel that they have been rejected by the government as well as private sector. Even the multinational companies, operating in the province, are neglecting the local population. In different parts of Sindh, where these MNCs have their projects, local youths have been complaining that the foreign firms are not providing jobs to them, and even if they do so, the companies discriminate against them in terms of wages.

In Johi taluka of Dadu district, hundreds of residents of 26 villages have protested against the oil exploration company, the BHP, for denying them of jobs. According to the protesters, a non-local contractor is recruiting people from another province and thus depriving the local people of jobs. The Sindh government should bound the MNCs down to recruit local people.

Japanese students stage Urdu drama

ISLAMABAD: These were not actors from plays of Agha Hashar. They were not actors from our radio or television. They were not even our stage actors (whatever little we have in the name of stage drama in Pakistan!).

But the chaste Urdu in which they were acting and presenting the play Naql-i-Makani (house moving) by famous writer Rajinder Singh Bedi would hardly lead one to believe that they were a group of young students (most of them in the second year of their Urdu class) from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies who presented an evening of drama, the Urdu Natak Sabha, which also included a comedy skit in Urdu based upon a primary school atmosphere in a Japanese school.

Led by the superb direction by (their) Associate Professor of Urdu of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies(whose personal, e-mail address, by the way begins with the word ghalib) it was organized in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan at the Islamabad Club Auditorium on Monday evening. And unlike the usual official, financial patronage given to visits of such troupes for such occasions, the visit, we were told by Kishwer Naheed (who seemed to be the moving spirit behind the arrangements) was completely financed by the faculty and students themselves.

Poet Ahmad Faraz, who said he had recently visited Japan, and was struck by the ability to produce what in an earlier age would be called miracles, by the Japanese people, presided over the function. He also called Col S.K. Tressler, the former minister of culture on the stage to join the artists in applauding them. The secretary of the ministry of culture, Tariq Junjua, also attended the function as also Anwer Jehangir, the managing- director of Shalimar Recording Company, and the Counsellor from the Japanese embassy, in Islamabad, Shoichi Nakano (who also spoke in Urdu), all of whom Prof Asada said helped in organizing the function. (He also thanked the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association and the Mombusho Alumni Association) A mention of compeering often comes towards the end in a report like this, but the one done by the young student Natsuki (whom some people called ‘nazuki’ at the function) added the real flavour to the show in her impromptu and of the cough remarks in a mix of Urdu, English and, sometimes Japanese.

Naql-i-Makani is a story of a government servant, who in his small income wants to hire a house on low rent, and gets an apparently good bargain but is beset with troubles when he finds the ghoongroos (tinkling anklet) of a dancing girl in the house, who has shifted downtown. Neighbours make life difficult for him as they once hear his wife singing in the house. The dance patterned on Umrao Jan Ada (Aik bar mera kha maan jaieyea) is performed superbly by a Japanese student; and the acting on the song by Munni Begum Aik Bar Muskurado by the one who becomes the wife of Nafees, the gentleman-hero. “Since we did not have many boys, female actors have also performed the male role,” the audience were told.

Then there was the comedy in Urdu on Japanese school, which could pass as a comedy for any school in Pakistan. It was a mini Taleem-i-Balighan-type play; and the camper told us of their influence of the famous Alif-Noon plays on their comedy.

Kamikari (the traditional Japanese art and craft of paper cutting) was also performed by a young girl, and explained by another in Urdu. The students also presented a Japanese love song and Gakko, an original comedy script written by the them and bon-odori, beautiful Japanese folk dances, in some of which they asked their guests to join in Japanese costumes later.

The beautiful function, without the usual, official clap- trap, left a soothing impression; an impression, Mount Fuji like, which would have certainly led the audience to say in Japanese — they would have wished they knew the Japanese language — Iroiri o-sewa ni narimashita (Thank you so much for everything), but they almost said it, and more, in the standing ovation that they gave to the Japanese friends.— Mufti Jamiluddin Ahmad

Exporters in politics: DATELINE SIALKOT

By Abid Mehdi


THE city of Iqbal has always played a pivotal role in national politics. It has therefore been given representation in both provincial and federal cabinets.

Sialkot district has bagged two provincial ministries. The MPA from PP-121, Muhammad Ajmal Cheema, has been made minister for industries. He is the elder brother of Sialkot Tehsil Nazim. The veteran politician and MPA from PP-126 (Chowinda), Syed Akhtar Husain Rizvi, has been given the department of labour and human resources.

National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Husain also belongs to Sialkot. He was elected MNA from NA-111 (Sialkot-II).

Sialkot’s Variyo family has two MPAs — Chaudhry Khush Akhtar Subhani (ex-provincial minister) and Chaudhry Armughan Subhani. But, this time it has been ignored in the Punjab cabinet.

Punjab minister for industries Muhammad Ajmal Cheema, District Nazim Mian Naeem Javaid and Tehsil Nazim Muhammad Akmal Cheema are leading exporters of Sialkot. Local people are of the view that Sialkot’s exporters have gained a foot hold in politics after making successes in business.

Although Muhammad Ajmal Cheema was elected MPA for the first time, he has been given the department relating to his profession.

The neighbouring Narowal district also has been given representation in the federal and provincial cabinets because of its role in politics.

National Reconstruction Bureau Chairman Daniyal Aziz, having the status of federal minister, belongs to Narowal. He was elected MNA from here. He is the son of former federal minister Chaudhry Anwar Aziz.

The MNA from Shakargarh tehsil, Nasir Ahmad Khan, has become federal minister for health. The MPA from this area, Dr Tahir Javaid, is the Punjab minister for health. He is the son of Dr Naimat Javaid, the Shakargarh Tehsil Nazim.

The people of Shakargarh hoped that they will make all-out efforts for the provision of better health facilities to this neglected areas.