Flashpoint – 20 August 2019

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Media Coverage of Conflict in Pakistan

What’s Happening?

The news stories update on Pakistan’s compliance report to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on its anti-terror financing and anti-money laundering measures, government’s report on implementation of National Action Plan (NAP), security arrangements for Muharram and de-listing of thousands of NGOs in Punjab. Op-eds focus on rise in terrorist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, an academic initiative for image building of Pakistan and the recent lynching incident in Karachi.

Today’s News Stories

Suspects booked for sectarian violence in last 10 years to be arrested
City Police Officer (CPO), Rawalpindi Mohammad Faisal Rana directed police to arrest all suspects who have been booked on charges of sectarian violence and under the National Action Plan (NAP) during the last decade but are still at large. The directions were issued to ensure security during the month of Muharram.  The CPO also directed police to ensure daily attendance of all fourth schedulers at the relevant police stations.
Pakistan presents compliance report to FATF group
A Pakistan delegation, headed by Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, reached Australia and commenced negotiations with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) Asia Pacific Group to exit its grey list. The delegation presented its 21-page report before the inter-governmental organization regarding the measures which have been taken to prevent money laundering, terror financing and other recommendations. The report has collectively been prepared by five institutions and implementation on sixteen objectives will be analyzed.
Over 250 thousand counter terrorism operations conducted under NAP
A government report on the National Action Plan (NAP) has revealed that more than 250 thousand counter terrorism operations have been conducted since its inception after the APS tragedy. 75 percent in KP while 85 percent Madaris in the tribal areas were registered by the government. Over 3800 suspected terrorists were arrested, 486 were convicted for terror related charges, while 6 terrorists were hanged to death. 2868 terrorists were killed in operations. The report said there has been marked decrease in sectarian violence in the country.
Punjab government cancels registration of over 18 thousand NGOs
The government of Punjab has cancelled registration of over 18000 NGOs in the province. The provincial Social Welfare Department has issued notification of the cancellations. The government announced that NGOs will not be registered without the NOC of the provincial interior ministry in the future. The rule is already in place at federal level.

Opinion

Editorial: Mob mentality
This editorial piece in Dawn says the recent lynching of a 16 years old in Karachi over accusation of stealing has reignited painful memories of similar incidents in the past including the lynching of Mashal Khan in Mardan and Shama and Shehzad in Kot Radha Kishan. The editorial says “these incidents point to the brutalisation of society and a seething anger and frustration in the public psyche exacerbated by the steady erosion of its faith in the state’s justice system”. It however emphasizes that there can be no excuse for the violence perpetrated by the collective against vulnerable others, and that too on the mere basis of accusation.
Editorial: IS in Afghanistan
This editorial comments on the increasing terrorist activities by global terror outfit, Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan. Dawn says it is a menacing development for Pakistan as three of the four Afghan provinces where IS has found a foothold are contiguous with its western border. It says Pakistan has already experienced the outcome of a nexus between the terror outfit and its homegrown violent extremist groups. The newspaper reminds that terror groups such as the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and several TTP factions have pledged allegiance to IS and jointly carried out several attacks in the past. Dawn stresses on the urgency to stop a resurgence of militancy in the country.
Editorial: Heinous attack
The News also comments on the recent suicide attack on Shia Hazara community in Kabul claimed to have been perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State (IS). As per the newspaper, apart from IS’ usual terror activity against the Shia Hazara community of Afghanistan, the act is also being seen as an act to derail the ongoing peace process. The News reminds that in the past, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, peace deals struck with militants have broken down, adding to complications and allowing time for militants to regroup and reorganise. It says the recent horrendous attack is also a reminder that terrorism remains a threat for the entire region and Pakistan and Afghanistan must act together to defeat it.
Opinion: Rebranding Pakistan
In his opinion piece for The News, Dr Manzoor Ali Isran writes about the SZABIST University’s project ‘Rebranding Pakistan’ that seeks to involve students in the debate focusing on issues that damage Pakistan’s reputation globally. The writer says Pakistan is identified with growing fundamentalism, extremism, militancy, terrorism, persecution of minorities, etc. and these labels have isolated us at the global level. He says global narratives portray Pakistan as a terrorist state and accuse it of being a sanctuary of militant groups. He says the project concluded that youth can counter negative perceptions about Pakistan if their potential is harnessed properly for the socioeconomic transformation of the society.
Editorial: Bomb blasts in Pakistan and Afghanistan
An editorial in Daily Jang says that the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, Kuchlak, Balochistan and Dir Bala, K-P seem to be part of an organized campaign against the peace process in Afghanistan. It says the sabotage activities are apparently being run by forces that believe peace and stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be detrimental to their strategic goals. The editorial says this force can be none other than India and its myopic incumbent leadership. The newspaper says it is the responsibility of the international community and leadership to stop India’s hostile ambitions.
Editorial: Terrorism in Dir Bala
This editorial piece in Daily Nawaiwaqt comments on the remote-controlled bomb attack on a vehicle that killed seven including 3 policemen in Dir Bala. The newspaper says the provincial government termed the incident an outcome of personal enmity but it could be an extension of the new wave of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan to derail the peace process in Afghanistan, which is facilitated by Pakistan. The newspaper urges the authorities to look into possible involvement of forces averse to the Afghan peace process. The newspaper stresses that Pakistan needs to remain vigilant to counter the machinations of its archenemy, India.
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