Flashpoint – 26 August 2019

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What’s happening?

The news stories over the weekend report on formation of a high powered committee to help meet FATF targets, bomb attack outside Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan, fresh developments in Afghan peace process and the Supreme Court’s judgement in a hate content case. Op-eds discuss the recent rumours of Pakistan’s blacklisting by FATF, Pakistan’s recent success at FATF review meeting and the alleged role of a minority community in Kashmir dispute.

Today’s News Stories

Finance Ministry rejects Indian reports of Pakistan being blacklisted by FATF

The Finance Ministry has rejected Indian media reports as ‘incorrect’ and  ‘baseless’ that claimed that Pakistan had been blacklisted by the Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Though the APG admitted Pakistan’s Mutual Evaluation Report, it also downgraded the country to its “Enhanced Follow-up” category over technical defici­encies to meet normal international financial standards in force by October 2018. This means the country will now be required to submit quarterly progress rep­orts, instead of biannual ones, to the APG. The next quarterly report will be due February 1, 2020 to show improvements in its technical standards against money laundering and terror financing.

Read more in Dawn

4 hurt in IED blast near Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

The Pakistani staff were safe after a bomb exploded on Sunday night near the Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad city, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said. At least four people were wounded. There were no reports of loss of life or damage to property near the consulate. “All Pakistani staff are safe. We are in contact with Afghan authorities to ensure strengthened security for the Consulate General’s premises and personnel,” said Dr Faisal.

Read more in The News, The Nation

Supreme Court dismisses Qari Ishaq’s appeal in hate content case

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the petition of Qari Mohammad Ishaq Ghazi a Lahore High Court order for possessing pamphlets, fraught with incendiary contents aimed at inciting hatred towards a particular sect. He was arrested by police contingent in Okara and was later sentenced to five years imprisonment with a fine of Rs100,000 under Section 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act were no less credible witnesses to drive home the charge in a milieu of pervasive apathy towards civic responsibilities.

Read more in Dawn

PM sets up body to help meet FATF targets

Prime Minister Imran Khan has set up a high-powered 12-member National Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Coordination Committee to ensure execution of all FATF-related tasks till Dec 1. Led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar, the committee comprises federal secretaries of finance, foreign affairs and interior besides heads of all the institutions and regulators concerned with money laundering and terror financing. “The committee is mandated to steer the national effort on FATF,” said a notification issued by the Prime Minister Office.

Read more in Dawn

Afghan Taliban, US agree on troop pullout time frame

The Afghan Taliban and the United States have reached an agreement on a time frame of pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan, Taliban chief spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said on Friday. “We have an agreement on a time frame for the withdrawal”’ he told media. “Discussions are now focused on its implementation mechanism.” “We have had general discussions today,” he said about the day two of the ninth round of talks between the United States and the Taliban representatives that started on Thursday in Qatar. “Tomorrow, we shall have discussions on the implementation part.”

Read more in Dawn

Opinion

Blacklisting rumours

This editorial in Dawn says that the Indian media news about Pakistan being blacklisted by the FATF have been proved a malicious propaganda, initiated by the Press Trust of India. Dawn says the Indian media deliberately masked facts to portray Pakistan in bad light. It says the propaganda campaign hurt Pakistan’s stock market due to investors’ anxiety regarding the possible blacklisting. Dawn points out the delay on Pakistani government’s part in responding to the propaganda campaign.

Read more in Dawn

FATF and Pakistan

This editorial in Express Tribune also comments on the Indian media’s false claims about Pakistan being black-listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The newspaper says we live in an era where propaganda wars carry utmost value and where perceptions have to be manufactured to overshadow facts. It says Pakistan once again survived the harsh action of being ‘blacklisted’ for its estimated shortcomings to address the issues of money laundering and terror-financing. However, as long as Pakistan is on the ‘grey list’, it will continue to suffer on several counts, especially in the economic, trade, finance and defence sectors. The newspaper mentions that Pakistani officials have claimed substantial progress in implementing the FATF action plan in letter and spirit.

Read more in Express Tribune

Pakistan evades ‘Blacklisting’

This editorial piece in Daily Nawaiwaqt writes that the threat of Pakistan being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has been evaded for now. It says the Asia Pacific Group of FATF has expressed its satisfaction with Pakistan’s measures against money laundering and terror financing in its recent review of Pakistan’s report. The newspaper says on one hand our archrival India is engaged in non-stop propaganda to have us blacklisted by the FATF and on another hand our own people seem to abet their machinations. The newspaper condemns an earlier statement of the Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari where he had alleged that extremist elements have made into the federal cabinet.

Read more in Daily Nawaiwaqt

‘Qadianis are staunch opponents of Kashmir freedom’

This opinion piece in Daily Ummat by Wajih Ahmad Siddiqui alleges that Qadianis (derogatory reference to Ahmadi community) have always worked to damage Pakistan’s interests since its independence. He says Pakistan’s first foreign minister, Sir Zafarullah Khan, who was an Ahmadi by faith was in cahoots with Indians and the boundary commission to protect Indian interests, instead of Pakistan’s. He says he helped India get half a dozen Muslim majority states in Indian during partition. He further alleges that Qadianis helped India have Gurdaspur by putting their weight behind Hindus and hence provided India land link to Kashmir. He alleges that Qadians also helped British bring down the Turkish Caliphate.

Read more in Daily Ummat

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