Nawaz Sharif's second stint in office - IV
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PRESS
A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and
intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious
manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the
Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office.
The residence of
Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later
released. On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw bricks on a peaceful procession of
the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and
secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.
The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the army-run
Anti-narcotics Force on charge of possessing 20 Kgs of charas and three guns. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies, particularly the paper opposed the construction of the Kalabagh Dam. Afridi's
arrest was seen by the journalists and others another official attempt to gag the Press.
On May 8, 1999, several dozen officials of ISI stormed into the house of Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, Lahore and dragged
him out of his room. Before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo's hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later the federal government confirming the arrest said that Mr. Sethi had been
taken into custody for interrogation by ISI for his alleged connection with he Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).
The Lahore High Court, on May12, declined to assume jurisdiction in the Najm Sethi
case saying he was being detained by a military agency (ISI) and the offence he was suspected of and was being investigated for fell within the purview of the Army Act, 1952. Consequently, all three petitions filed by Sethi's sife,
Jugnoo Mohsin, for his recovery and production and miscellaneous reliefs like medical examination and registration of a case of kidnapping with intent to torture and kill against two uniformed policemen and eight plainclothes
personnel were dismissed in 'limeline' as not maintainable. The Deputy Attorney General told the court that Sethi "is presently in the custody of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) authorities for his suspected links with
hostile intelligence agencies." The suspected offence falls within the mischief of Section 123-A of the PPC (sedition) and finds mention in the Army Act schedule. Advocate for Sethi, submitted that the ISI does not function
under the Army Act and can be headed by a retired officer and that the ISI reported to the prime minister and not to the army. One day later, the government agencies seize all copies of The Friday Times in Lahore.
The Web site of The Friday Times was hacked and the pages and contents were erased.
The Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq on June 2, 1999 told the Supreme Court that the government had decided to set free Najm Sethi. In a
short statement on behalf of the state, the AG said that Najam Aziz Sethi, who was detained in the case initially by ISI and was later taken into custody by the police as a result of an order obtained from the Special Court on June
1, in connection with the FIR registered with Kohsar police station, Islamabad, had been set free. [On May 31, the Supreme Court was informed that a case had been registered against Mr. Sethi in Islamabad for his alleged anti-state
activities on the complaint of a ruling party MNA, Inamullah Niazi.] The AG further said that the government reserved its right to initiate proceedings afresh. However, Justice Mamoon Kazi, a member of the three-man bench which
disposed Mr. Sethi's bail application, told the government that Mr. Sethi should not be arrested in future with permission of the court.
NAJAM SETHI'S SPEECH
Mr. Najm Sethi, had gone to India to deliver a lecture on "Pakistan in the 21st
Century" at India International Center, New Delhi on April 30.He was invited by the organizers of Kewal Singh Memorial Lectures. Former Indian Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral was the chairperson. Sethi, in his lecture
said that Pakistan was afflicted with several crises, a law and order and political and system crisis, an economic crisis, a foreign policy and national security crisis and a civic society crisis. All these, Sethi said, added
up to Pakistan being a failing state. He said Pakistan did not know what it stood for, was it Jinnah's Pakistan or Iqbal's Pakistan? It did not know what was its relationship to the sub-continent and whether it was Arab or
Persian or Central/Asian or Afghan, it is a confused state. Sethi was of the view that Pakistan was totally isolated and its foreign policy did not represent state interests. He said that Pakistan was obsessed with India and merely
complained that India had done an injustice to Pakistan by denying it an honorable settlement on Kashmir.
What Sethi said in India was nothing new. He has been saying the same thing at various forums in Pakistan. It
was apparent that the government was looking for some excuse to frame Mr. Sethi, who had written a sharp editorial commenting on a High Court judgment in London against Nawaz Sharif's father and two brothers in March 1999,
ordering them to repay $32.5 million in loans taken out from a Saudi finance house for a paper mill owned by the family.
The Amnesty International described the arrest as part of a pattern of intimidation, threats and
arbitrary incarceration of journalists who have publicly criticized Pakistan government. The US State Department expressed deep concern at the arrest of Najm Sethi. In a press release the US said that crackdown on Pakistani
journalists is unacceptable.
ATTACK ON JANG
The government of
Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of the government policies. First, the government objected to the Jang group newspapers' reporting about
the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on its advertisement for the Jang group. On Aug. 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif
family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On Sept. 27, 1998, the government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of The Observer
London that said that PM Nawaz Sharif has siphoned off millions. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On Nov. 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA
raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stop delivery of newsprint to the Jang.
On Dec. 17, Sentaor Saifur Rehman said that another case is being prepared against the Jang group. On
Jan 27, 1999, FIA encircles the Jang group office in Lahore and Karachi. And on Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Sahkilur Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida's Khidmat-e-Khalq
Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state. Offices of the Jang group in several cities were surrounded by security and taxation people; its godowns were sealed and
newsprint was not allowed to be delivered for its paper.
Mir Shakil-ur Rehman revealed that Senator Saifur Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the government. He
released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Senator Seifur Rehman on this issue.
Senator Saifur Rehman, addressing a press conference in Islamabad on 25th Jan. 1999 acknowledged that he had asked the Jang group to
"avoid sensationalism and concentrate on objective reporting. He said the government has asked the Jang group for support on the 15th amendment because it wanted enforcement of the Islamic order according to the
aspirations of the people. The Senator said he was asked to extend support to the government in what he called strengthening of democratic institutions. He particularly referred to the tragic incidents in Karachi and imposition
of governor's rule in Sindh. He also said: Mir Shakilur Rehman evaded tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion during the last two years. 
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, a press
freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a "hit list" prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by
the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists who have been writing against
the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan would head this cell which would function simultaneously at Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.
the CPJ, the names were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and Roman Ehsan, (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin and Ansar Abbasi (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat
Javed and Mariana Babar (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation,
Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil
(Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).
U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON PAKISTAN'S PRESS
Commenting on the government campaign against the
press, the US Human Rights report for 1998 said: Although the press largely publishes freely, the government uses its large advertising budget to influence content, journalists practice self-censorship, and the broadcast media
remains closely controlled by government monopoly.
Favorable press coverage of the prime minister's family compound/hospital/college south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of
intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or non-deferential reporter are common.
The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for
advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint, and its ability to enforce regulations.
The country's leading Urdu daily, Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakilur Rehman, were
cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang group also was served with approximately $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government
inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. There is credible evidence that Senator Saifur Rehman, a close associate and head of the Accountability Bureau, demanded a number of journalists and editors be fired. Jang also
reportedly had difficulty in obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.
Rehana Hakim, editor of the English-language monthly Newsline also has complained that her publication, which is highly critical of the government does
not receive government advertising revenue, has been raided and harassed by tax inspectors and security agents. The editors of the weekly The Friday Times have alleged government harassment of their staff as well. On March 19,
Public of Karachi, a local Urdu-language daily, was banned by the local magistrate and ceased publication on March 20. 
The judiciary has given Nawaz Sharif little trouble since he sacked the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sajjad Ali Shah, who
took the president's side in an argument with the primer minister in 1997. Since then, the higher courts gave almost all decision on major issues in favor of the government that has shaken the public confidence in judiciary.
Here are some of the major decisions of the Supreme Court and High Courts that reflected judiciary's leaning towards the government:
The Lahore High Court accepts (Feb 9, 1998) the constitutional petition filed by Rafiq
Tarar against his disqualification by the (former) Acting CEC and declared him qualified to contest for and hold the office of President. The acting CEC, Justice Mukhtar Ahmed Junejo of the Supreme Court, had found Mr Tarar, a
former Supreme Court Judge, guilty of propagating views prejudicial to the integrity and independence of the judiciary at the time of his nomination as a presidential candidate under Article 63(G) of the Constitution and debarred
him from the December, 1997 contest.
Lahore High Court dismissed (March 2, 1998) a writ petition seeking a direction against the government for settling along the motorway the Pakistanis residing in the refugee camps in
Bangladesh. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramaday also prescribed a cost of Rs. 5,000 to petitioner Advocate M.D. Tahir for indulging in frivolous litigation. The court said what was the guarantee that agents of the Indian intelligence
agency RAW had not entered the ranks of these people. It also said that it required a lot of money for settling these people in Pakistan when there was already a lot of poverty here.
The Supreme Court dismissed (March 19,
1998) as "frivolous" a constitutional petition challenging the 13th Amendment and ordered the petitioner to pay Rs. 10,000 as court expenses. The 13th Amendment had stripped the president of the power to dissolve the
National Assembly and dismiss a government.
Lahore High Court rules (April 1998) that Ehtesab Commissioner has unlimited powers.
May 18 1998: The Supreme Court, in a majority (6-1)decision, upheld the 14th
Constitutional Amendment that bars members of parliament to vote against their party's line or abstained from voting. The court held that Article 63(a) would bring stability in the polity of the country as it would be
instrumental in eradicating floor crossing. However, the court ruled that an elected member should not be disqualified if he opposed the party's policies in public. In his dissident judgment, Justice Abdul Mamoon Kazi held that
Article 63(a) was in violation of fundamental rights and thus was not enforceable.
A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously (July 28, 1998) upholds the imposition of emergency on May 28. However, it set
aside the fundamental rights' suspension order of the same date.
The Supreme Court declines (Nov. 23, 1998) to take notice of the imposition of governor's rule on Sindh and observed that the federal government had the powers
to impose governor's rule under Article 232 of the Constitution. "Restoration of peace in Karachi is of paramount importance and court cannot declare it (governor's rule) illegal as some individual or a party wants to do
so," observed Chief Justice Ajmal Mian.
A nine-member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously (Feb. 17, 1999) declared the setting up of military courts for trial of civilians in Karachi as unconstitutional. However, the
court clarified that its decision would not affect the sentences and punishment awarded and executed by the military courts as the cases would be treated as past and closed transactions. Two people convicted by the Military Courts
were executed. The Supreme Court recommended that the military court cases should be transferred to special Anti-Terrorist Courts.
The Supreme Court indicts (March 1, 1999) seven persons including six ruling party
legislators on the charges of contempt of court for storming the court building on November 28, 1997. The court however, withdrew show cause notices issued to the executive and police officers of Islamabad.
The Supreme Court
acquitted (May 14, 1999) all ruling party legislators who were indicted on the charges of contempt of court for attacking the court building when proceedings against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were underway in 1997. The
three-member bench, which decided the case, observed that though flagrant contempt of court was committed but showed its inability to convict the accused as the people had not given specific evidence against them. Lahore Bar
Council leaders expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the contempt of Court case against the ruling party legislatures. They said that the contemners have admitted their guilt in their apologies. A conviction could
have been based on their admission and the video film of the Supreme Court's own cameras. They said the SC verdict sets back the process of restoration of public confidence in the superior judiciary set in by the apex court
judgements on emergency and military courts. On June 14, 1999, the Supreme Court reopened the rowdy-ism case and issued fresh notices to the Pakistan Muslim League, Attorney General and seven alleged contemners. A five-member bench
of the Supreme Court, headed by outgoing Chief Justice, Ajmal Mian, converted a criminal original petition filed by Shahid Orakzai, a journalist, into an appeal against the decision of the three-member bench of the SC. Appeal
hearing began on June 28, 1999.
The Supreme Court reserves judgment (May 19, 1999) on the petition of Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan regarding the distribution of funds by ISI among the political parties in 1990
elections. The case had originated from the letter of Asghar Khan which he had sent to the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah for appropriate action after reading the statements of General Naseerullah Khan Baber. Gen. Baber had
informed the National Assembly that ISI had collected Rs. 140 million from Habib Bank which were distributed among different politicians before 1990 elections. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif is one of those politicians who
received money from ISI in 1990 polls. However, the Supreme Court observed that it would confine itself to laying guidelines for the operation of the political cell of the ISI within the legal framework. About the distribution of
the funds by the ISI, Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, head of a three-judge bench, observed that it was "history" and the court was not concerned with it.
Commenting on the role of judiciary in Pakistan, the US State
Department Human Rights Report for 1998 said: Judiciary is subject to executive influence, and suffers from inadequate resources, inefficiency, and corruption. Despite concerns about damage to the judiciary due to the December 1997
confrontation between the prime minister and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, there were several instances in which the Supreme Court showed a continued degree of independence, striking down draconian laws favored by the
government, including limits on freedom of speech, elements of a controversial anti-terrorist law, and some restrictions on fundamental liberties imposed by the state of emergency declared in the wake of Pakistan's nuclear tests in
The outgoing chief Justice of the High Court of Sindh and judge-designate of the Supreme Court told a full court reference held in his honor on April 19, 1999, that confidence of the people in the judiciary had been
shaken. He said it was a matter of concern that with the continuing degeneration of the moral fabric of society, the malady of corruption had afflicted the power judiciary too, which had been made the task of dispensation of
justice all the more difficult and "has shake the confidence of the people in the courts."
On June 18, 1999, The Supreme Court accepted the government's plea that the country is not in a position now to honor its
legal obligation of allowing free operation of FCAs. The Court held that Section 2 of the Foreign Exchange (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1998 was lawful of the constitution, subject to the declaration that the same did not
confer any power on the federation or the State Bank to compel FCA holders to convert their foreign exchange holdings into Pakistani rupees at the officially notified rate of exchange, or to compel the said account holders to
liquidate their FCA accounts in Pakistani rupees which foreign exchange holdings had been accepted by the respective banks as security against any loan or other facilities extended to them. The court expressed its concern on the
improper utilization of foreign exchange deposits of the FCA holders by the successive government in breach of the solemn commitment given by the legislature. The court also said that the State Bank of Pakistan also failed to
perform its statutory duty to protect the interests of the FCA holders.
CENSUS RESULTS REJECTED
The government announced provisional results of the fifth population census on July 8 1998, according to which Pakistan's population rose to 130.5 million from 64.2 million, as recorded
in 1981. The census figures show the population growth rate to have declined to 2.61 per cent per annum, as against 3.06 per cent in the 1981 census.
The census results also showed an increase in the proportion of Sindh's
population to the country's from 22.6 per cent to 23 per cent. Total population of Sindh was put at 29.9 million -- an increase of more than 50 per cent over the 19 million figure in 1981.
The population of Punjab rose from
47.2million in 1981 to 72.5 million this year, but as a proportion of national population, it fell from 56.1 to 55.6 per cent.
The population of NWFP went up to 17.5 million from 11 million. The proportion of its population
to the national figure increased from 13.1 per cent in 1981 to 13.4 per cent.
Balochistan's population increased from 4.3 million (1981) to 6.5 million, but as a proportion of national population, it fell from 5.1 to five
The population of FATA increased from 2.1 million to 3.1 million and its percentage of the country's population increased from 2.4 to 2.6 per cent.
According to the census, 67.5 per cent Pakistanis live in
rural areas down from 71.7 per cent in 1981. The proportion of urban population increased from 28.3 per cent to 32.5 per cent.
The highest concentration in urban areas is in Islamabad -- 65.5%, followed by Sindh with an
urban population of 48.9 per cent.
Three major cities -- Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur -- accounted for 73.1 per cent of urban population in Sindh and 35.7% of Sindh's total population.
There are now 23 towns having a
population of 200,000 and above. The biggest city is Karachi with a population of 9.269 million. Lahore follows it, with 5.063 million souls and Faisalabad with 1.977 million. These three cities account for 38.4 % of the country's
urban population. 
The fact that
the census was carried out under army supervision didn't do much to inspire confidence, partly because the army itself happened mostly to belong to Punjab. There were announcements of the boycott of the count. In Balochistan, the
Pashtoon areas were said to have largely gone un-enumerated. Specific objections were raised about certain parts of the census questionnaire and the proposed manner of its filling out. The forms were filled with pencil rather than
ink pen. The objections were mostly ignored. The doubters claimed afterwards that the interim results announced had confirmed all their fears.
Sindh nationalist groups immediately rejected the census results, describing
them as an attempt by Punjab to maintain its hegemony over the smaller provinces. Sindh National Front (headed by Mumtaz Ali Bhutto), Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (headed by Dr. Qadir Magsi) and the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (headed by Abdul
Khaliq Junejo), said that the census results have been engineered to show a small decline in the population of Punjab since 1981 (0.5 per cent) in proportion to the national average, even while they had failed to show the
disproportionately high increase of population in Sindh caused by the national birth rate and migration. 
The Sindhi groups argued that the exodus of population from Punjab had been much higher as compared to Sindh
over the last 17 years on account of Punjabis migrating abroad to the Middle East, the US and other countries, as well as to the other provinces. In this corresponding period, they argued that Sindh's population had grown not only
on account of the national fertility rate of 2.7 per cent but because of the influx of Bengalis, Burmese, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans, Indians and migrations from other provinces.
SNF spokesman, Abdul Aziz Bughio,
maintained that prime minister Nawaz Sharif had halted the 1991 census during his first tenure because the results would have demonstrated the huge influx of illegal immigrants into Sindh, "a result that would therefore have
been unacceptable to the Punjab." According to him, the latest census had attempted to overcome the problem by counting the Punjabi settlers in Sindh as Punjabis instead of Sindhis. He said that the census staff had failed to
account for the Sindhi population living in the far-flung areas of Tharparkar and Kohistan, after arguing that the "dacoit factor" had prevented them from reaching these areas. 
Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party
spokesman Muzaffar Kalhoro declared that the latest census results had been engineered from Islamabad to prevent Punjab's national assembly seats from being affected, enable Punjab to obtain its share in the national resources as
well as satisfy the international pressures for carrying out the census. He recalled that 1991 house count had been halted by the then Nawaz Sharif government in the first phase after it had failed to yield proper results for the
Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain, declared that the census results had been manipulated with the aim to retain the population ratio of the past 27 years. He said according to available statistics,
17 million forms were distributed in Karachi during the 1998 population census so it was beyond comprehension that its population would be 9.2 Million. 
Opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, Nisar Khuro said that the
two-stage housing census and headcount in 1991-92 had not been taken into consideration. He said he was amazed to see that the population of Balochistan and Sindh had been drastically reduced whereas in the case of Punjab and the
NWFP it had increased. He said the current report ignored the house count of 1995. 
Awami National party Sindh President, Mohammad Amin Khattak, said the Interior Minister, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was on record having
said in March 1997 that whether one accepted or not the census report would be submitted to the authority concerned. "By reducing the population of the three smaller provinces and increasing the population of Punjab and
showing no increase in the tribal population, as it had been the practice during the Ayub regime, was a deep conspiracy to exploit the national resources for one province at the expense of three smaller units of the
federation," he added. 
The Secretary-General of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Mairaj Khan, said the census statistics did not reflect the the real size of the population of Karachi which, according to all estimates
made by international media, was more than 12.5 million for the last few years. "Karachi which generates almost 70 per cent revenue of the country is denied its due share, resulting in the collapse of civic services, which
added to the sufferings of the people of this city. Another reason why they don't acknowledge the increased population is to deny additional seats in the National and provincial assemblies that should become due to Karachi on the
basis on an increase in population." 
The president of Karachi Division Markazi Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, Alhaj Mohammad Rafi, argued that in the city where the number of national identity card-holders were over 10
million, showing its population 9.2 Million in the fresh census is the biggest lie of the century. 
CENSUS POSTPONED IN OCT. 1997
The 1998 census was held in the backdrop of sudden postponement of the head count on Oct. 4, 1997. The Inter-Provincial Coordinated Committee at a meeting in
Lahore decided to postpone for six months the population census, which was due to be held on October 18, 1997. This was the fourth time that the census was postponed.
According to a Dawn report (6.10.1997) the
deepening rural-urban politico-economic divide in the country is stated to be the main reason for the postponement of the long delayed census. Informed circles in the capital quoted educated projections said that in the last 17
years, the population of the urban areas in the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan have far outstripped that of the rural areas of these provinces.
Not only this, the population of Sindh is said have galloped at a higher
rate during this period than that of the Punjab reducing to that extent the proportion of the Punjab population in the overall national count.
In NWFP, the Pathan areas are said to have become predominantly Mohmand reducing
the former in the area to a minority. And in Balochistan, the Pathan population is said to have overtaken the Balochs.
In Sindh, the population of cities, like Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur are said to have outpaced those of
the rural Sindh, mostly because of a massive exodus of population from Punjab and NWFP into urban Sindh as a result of which the Pathan and Punjabi populations are said to have increased in proportion reducing to that extent the
population of Mohajirs in the over all Sindh urban count.
If these educated projections had come true as a result of a formal census, the present political power balance would get upset and even the economic power
would change hands dramatically overnight.
In Punjab the rural areas will get lesser assembly seats than the urban areas while in the overall count the Punjab's financial allocations would get reduced remarkably.
Sindh too the urban population will get the political power while province's overall allocation under the NFC award would get enhanced significantly, making it that much richer compared to the Punjab.
In urban Sindh, the Mohajirs will be sharing political power with Punjabi and Pathan settlers.
Sindh Graduate Association Chairman, Bakhsh Ali Lakho, told a seminar on "Census 1997" that the 1991 sampling census
figures were not acceptable to the rulers only because the people of Sindh have ensured that no one remains un-listed. The results showed a two per cent increase in Sindh's population while the figures in Punjab declined by 2 per
cent, he added. 
The government of Benazir Bhutto abandoned the idea of holding population census in November 1995. The decision was taken in the wake of startling figures obtained after house census carried out
during September to November 1994. The government of Mian Nawaz Sharif had stopped the population census in 1991 after a house census which had given almost the same figures as those produced by the operation completed in
1994. The house listing operation of 1994 projected a population growth rate of around 4 per cent -- almost double the official claims of 2 per cent.
The first house listing operation which was carried out in November and
December 1990 had shown an increase of 770 per cent in some districts of the province of Sindh. The increase in housing units recorded in Hyderabad and Karachi was 112 per cent and 172 per cent respectively during the past one
decade. In the rural areas, the highest increase was registered in the district of Naushero Feroze where the population shot up by over one million in a span of just ten years. 
STRANDED PAKISTANIS IN BANGLADESH
The Lahore High Court, on March 2, 1998, dismissed a writ petition
seeking a direction against the government for settling along the motorway the Pakistanis residing in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramaday also prescribed a cost of Rs. 5,000 to petitioner Advocate M.D.
Tahir for indulging in frivolous litigation. The court said what was the guarantee that agents of the Indian intelligence agency RAW had not entered the ranks of these people. It also said that it required a lot of money for
settling these people in Pakistan when there was already a lot of poverty here.
In her meeting with Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid, made it plain that her government could not go on
supporting the Biharis indefinitely and that they should be shifted to Pakistan. To make their plight even less enviable the stranded Pakistanis have not been recognized as refugees by the United Nations. They have been
living all these 28 years in makeshift camps in Bangladesh. A great deal of concern is expressed about their plight by sections of Pakistanis and by people in many foreign countries. However the Pakistani authorities have made it
clear that even if they are at all settled in Pakistan, this would be done on humanitarian grounds and not because they have a rightful claim to be regarded as Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh.  Foreign Minister, Sartaj
Azizi, said after his visit to Dhaka in 1998 that the so-called Biharis stranded in Bangladesh were not Pakistanis at all.
The bulk of the Biharis identified themselves with those who were in authority in Pakistan at the
time and did not share the separatist sentiments of the people of the eastern wing. One the contrary, they (perhaps misguidedly) felt it was their patriotic duty to collaborate with the army which was used by General Yahya Khan and
his cohorts to put down the separatist movement. Chronicles of the events of 1971 have gone on record to say that a large number of those, now referred to as Biharis, served as mujahids and razakars in support of the regular army.
The GHQ in Rawalindi sanctioned the raising of an organized Razakar Force in the eastern wing towards the end of August 1971. Giving details of this setup, Lt. Gen. A. A. K. Niazi, who was in command of the troops in the then
East Pakistan, says that a separate Razakr Directorate was established by the GHQ and the Razakars started functioning under two organizations - Al Badr and Al Shams. While Al Badr was assigned responsibility for 'specialized
operations' while the volunteers of Al
Shams were responsible for the protection of bridges, vital points and other areas. 
Majority of those who happed to be in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh were not migrants but Central government employees,
mostly railway-men, from Eastern UP, Bihar and Orissa (even Madras). According to some estimates, they numbered 50,000 employees. When these optees joined East Bengal Railway, they were central government employees, but by an act
of Ayub Khan, who made 'communications' a provincial subject, they became employees of East Pakistan, which seceded in 1971 and became Bangladesh. The government of Pakistan found a lame excuse and washed its hands clean of
these victims of fate and is now disowning them as its nationals. So, is it on humanitarian grounds, or by invoking the Quranic edict of 'Islamic fraternity', or on purely legalistic grounds that those who had opted for Pakistan
and their families that accompanied them, are entitled to Pakistani citizenship. 
The non-repatriation of Bihari Pakistanis by Pakistan since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 is a negation of the so-called two-nation
theory which was and is the ideological basis for Pakistan; it is also a silent but solemn rebuttal of our high-pitched claims of Islamization. One wonders, how and why Pakistan, which is the great champion of Muslim causes from
Kashmir to Kosovo, and from Pelestine to Afghanistan, had the resources and the space to give shelter to millions of Afghans and even thousands of Bosnianas and now offers sanctuary to the Muslim Kosovars, is not prepared to admit
its own citizens stranded in Bangladesh. We have Kashmir days and other memorable days for Palestinians, whose causes are in particular remembered vociferously by the right-wing political parties. But when it comes to the Biharis,
it is a conspiracy of silence. Islamic brotherhood somehow stops at their door. 
Most Pakistani leaders maintain that the reptariates could not be rehabilitated in Sindh even though they have links of language and
culture with the Mohajis living here. New colonies would, therefore, need to be set up elsewhere perhaps, in Punjab to accommodate them. Most Sindhi nationalist parties are opposed to the Bharis' repatriation to Pakistan as they
are convinced that this would tilt the delicate population balance in favor of non-Sindhis in Sindh. Activists of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz have even threatened to go on hunger strike if the Biharis were brought to Sindh.
Motamar-e-Alam-e-Islami has managed to raise a considerable amount of funds for the repatriation of the Biharis. 
According to a report prepared by a former Inspector-General of Police, Afzal Shigri, there are 3.55
million illegal immigrants in Pakistan -- over two million Afghans, 1.16 million Bangladeshis and over 200,000 Burmese, besides Iranians and Iraqis. The largest number of illegal immigrants are in Karachi. Can we not settle 300,000
stranded Pakistanis in Pakistan. [Dawn 7.4.1999] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May 1999 visited Kosovo and donated $6 million in cash and relief goods. But no such gesture was made towards the Biharis when the Prime Minister was
in Bangaldesh in 1998.
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER VAJPAI VISITS PAKISTAN
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee paid a historic visit to Pakistan when he arrived in Lahore, on Feb. 20, 1999, to a colorful and enthusiastic welcome for a summit meeting
with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Vajpayee entered the Wagah check post aboard a Delhi Transport Corporation bus that he had boarded at Amritsar for a 51-km journey.
This was the third visit of an Indian Prime Minister to
Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru visited Pakistan in early sixties. Rajiv Gandhi attended a SAARC summit in Islamabad in July 1989 and held talks with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, it was not the first time that the leaders of
India and Pakistan had made seemingly path-breaking overtures towards each other. These gestures include: Simla agreement signed by Pakistan and India in 1972; "cricket diplomacy" between Rajiv Gandhi and Ziaul Haq in the
eighties and the dialogue between I.K. Gujral and Nawaz Sharif in 1997 at a SAAR summit in Dhaka.
Three documents were signed at the end of Vajpayee's two-day visit to Pakistan.
The Lahore Declaration, signed by the
two Prime ministers, contained the resolve of the two countries to intensify efforts for an early resolution of all issues, including the Kashmir issue, through bilateral talks in implementation of the Simla Agreement in letter and
A joint statement, singed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries, spells out confidence building measures to achieve a durable peace in the region.
The Memorandum of Understanding, also singed
by the foreign secretaries of the two countries, spells out broader principles of security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues
The two governments:
- shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
- shall refrain from intervention and interference in each other's internal affairs.
- shall intensify their composite
and integrated dialogue process for an early and positive outcome of the agreed liberal agenda.
- shall take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and discuss
concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict.
- reaffirm their commitment to the goals and objectives of SAARC and
to concert their efforts towards the realization of the SAARC vision for the year 2000 and beyond with a view of promoting the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated economic
growth, social progress and cultural development.
- reaffirm their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and their determination to combat this menace.
- shall promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
a) The two Foreign Ministers will meet periodically to discuss all issues of mutual concern, including nuclear related issues.
b) The two sides shall undertake consultations on WTO related issues with a view to coordinating their respective positions.
c) The two sides shall determine areas of cooperation in information technology.
d) The two sides will hold consultations with a view to further liberalizing the visa and travel regime.
e) The two sides shall appoint a two-member committee at ministerial level to examine humanitarian issues relating to
civilian detainees and missing persons.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
1. The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security concepts, and nuclear doctrines, with a view to developing measures for
confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields aimed at avoidance of conflict.
2. The two sides undertake to provide each other with advance notification in respect of ballistic missile flight tests and shall
conclude a bilateral agreement in this regard.
3. The two sides are fully committed to undertaking national measures to reducing the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under their respective control.
The two sides further undertake to notify each other immediately in the event of any accidental, unauthorized or unexplained incident that could create the risk of a fallout with adverse consequences for both sides, or an outbreak
of a nuclear war between the two countries, as well as to adopt measures aimed at diminishing the possibility of such actions, or such accidents being misinterpreted by the other. The two sides shall identify/establish the
appropriate communication mechanism for this purpose.
4. The two sides shall continue to abide by their respective unilateral moratorium on conducting further nuclear test explosions unless either side, in exercise of its
national sovereignty decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests.
5. The two sides shall conclude an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea in order to ensure safety of navigation by naval
vessels, and aircraft belonging to the two sides.
6. The two sides shall periodically review the implementation of existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and where necessary, set up appropriate consultative mechanisms
to monitor and ensure effective implementation of these CBMs.
7. The two sides shall undertake a review of the existing communication links (e.g. between the respective Directors General, Military Operations) with a view to
upgrade and improving these links, and to provide for fail-safe and secure communications. [Already the two countries have signed agreements to minimize the risk of war, such as establishment of a hotline between the Prime
ministers, prevention of violation of airspace and prior notification of military maneuvers.]
8. The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues within the context
of negotiations on these issues in multilateral fora.
From the Pakistan's point of view, one of the most significant gains from the Vajpayee-Nawaz summit was the inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir in the list of issues to be
discussed and resolved. India has often resisted such a reference to Kashmir. The fact that India now recognizes the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir as an issue to be resolved is seen as the important step forward in Indo-Pakistan
From India's point of view, the reciprocal gain is that Kashmir will be effectively put on the backburner, to be negotiated slowly, even as substantial progress is registered on arrange of other matters first.
During his stay in Lahore, Vajpayee visited Minar-e-Pakistan, the spot where the All India Muslim League in March 1940, under the chairmanship of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed the Lahore resolution, which finally led
to the partition of the subcontinent and the establishment of Pakistan. "From this historic Minar-e-Pakistan, I wish to assure the people of Pakistan of my country's deep desire for lasting peace and friendship. I have said
this before and I say it again. A stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest. Let no one in Pakistan be in doubt about this. India sincerely wishes the people of Pakistan well," wrote Vajpayee in the
At the Lahore summit, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and its Pakistani counterpart launched an Indo-Pakistan chamber that would target impediments to the freer movement of
businessmen and commodities between the two countries. The removal of these impediments will raise bilateral trade, most of which is currently unofficial and conducted via third countries from a meager $162 million annually to
about $810 million. While this was small compared to the total volume of each country, it was seen nonetheless a step in the right direction.
Nawaz Sharif's second stint in office - I
Nawaz Sharif's second stint in office - II
Nawaz Sharif's second stint in office - III
Nawaz Sharif's second stint in office - V
1. Dawn 26.1.1999
2. Dawn 27.2.1999
3. Dawn 9.7.1998
4. Dawn 10.7.1998
13. Dawn 6.10.1997
14. Dawn 7.11.1995
15. M.H. Askari, Stranded or abandoned? Dawn 17.3.1999
17. Dawn 6.5.1999
18. M.P. Bhandara, Shame, Dawn 20.4.1999
19. A. H. Askari, Op. Cite.