Flashpoint – 28 August 2019

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What’s happening

The news stories today report on developments in cases against JuD head Hafiz Saeed, Facebook’s clampdown on anti-polio campaign in Pakistan, antiterrorism measures in DI Khan and peace and security related developments in KP. Op-eds review Pakistan’s progress on FATF commitments, the need of redefining terrorism and the growing threat of war in South Asia.

Today’s news stories

Facebook blocks 31 pages in Pakistan over propaganda against polio vaccine

Facebook has blocked as many as 31 accounts/pages involved in propaganda against vaccination in Pakistan on the request of the government’s polio programme, after a vicious campaign was launched on social media against the polio vaccine. On Monday, rumours were circulated on social media that a one-year-old girl had died in Swabi due to the polio vaccine. Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta said the girl died due to suffocation as a peanut got stuck in her throat. Just after getting the report we contacted Facebook and officially launched a campaign against those accounts which were involved in propaganda against the vaccine,” he said.

Read more in Dawn, The Nation

LHC sends notice to ministry, CTD on Hafiz Saeed’s plea for cancellation of cases

A Lahore High Court two-judge bench has issued a notice to the interior ministry and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on a petition for cancellation of 23 FIRs registered against Jamatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and other leaders on charges of using different properties for terror financing. The bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Chaudhry Mushtaq Ahmad also summoned the CTD station house officer on next date of hearing. Malik Zafar Iqbal, secretary of Al-Infal Trust (subsidiary of JuD), challenged the cases against 65 leaders and members of the organisation.

Read more in The News, Pakistan Today

Law enforcement agencies killed 12 alleged terrorists in DI Khan operations

The Regional Police Officer DI Khan, Captain (R) Feroz Shah said that in joint operations against terrorists and miscreants, the police and Pak Army killed 12 terrorists who were involved in various terrorist activities including attacks on security forces. Addressing a high level meeting to review security arrangements here at his office, he said that the terrorists were planning to carry out terrorist attacks during the month of Muharram and operations were carried out on strong intelligence reports.

Read more in The Nation

Apex committee reviews security situation in KP, border fencing

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Apex Committee on Tuesday reviewed the overall security situation in the province, particularly in the tribal districts as well as the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border. A handout said that a meeting of the apex committee was held at the Governor’s House with Governor Shah Farman in the chair. CM Mahmood Khan was also present at the meeting. Chief Secretary Saleem Khan, Inspector General of Police Muhammad Naeem, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt-Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood and others attended the meeting.

Read more in The News

Section 144 to be enforced in Hangu during Muharram

The district administration Hangu has announced to enforce Section 144 from September 1 to keep law and order during Muharram. An official communiqué stated that the district administration would enforce Section 144 in the district in the wake of Muharram on pillion-riding, display of arms, aerial firing, wall-chalking, provocative speeches, public gathering, sale of firecrackers, patrol, use of loudspeakers, banned pamphlets, posters, tinted glasses, entrance of Afghan refugees in the markets, stay of unidentified and suspected people in hotels, inns and homes.

Read more in The News

Opinion

Defining terrorism

Raja Hamza Anwar says the Anti-terrorism Act 1997 has added a bulwark of confusion in defining terrorism. He says as a result, courts have had varied responses to this law and no proper parameters have since been able to be set, causing legal uncertainty. The writer highlights that the Section 6 of ATA does not clearly delineate between achieving committing crime to achieve political ends and common criminal delinquency. Resultantly, the courts have become muddled by the language of it and have at times sought to broaden the definition of terrorism to include all serious offences like rape, dacoity, murder etc, he writes. In order to end this confusion, an amendment to the existing definition by the Parliament is imperative to reflect that terrorism is a violent enterprise to achieve a political change.

Read more in The Nation

FATF progress

This editorial in The News comments on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to form a high powered committee to help Pakistan meet the deadlines of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to end money laundering and terror financing in the country. The News says Pakistan is getting serious about ending its not so glorious place in the FATF grey list. It says Pakistan faces little danger of being relegated to the blacklist, however if failed to come clear from the FATF, the country may not be able to secure the private sector lending from IMF it needs in this fiscal year. The newspaper question why are the authorities unable to convince FATF of their measures despite claims that substantial steps have been taken to stop money laundering and terror financing in the country.

Read more in The News

An Indo-Pak war would bring disaster to the entire world

This editorial in Daily Nawaiwaqt says a potential war between two nuclear armed neighbors, India and Pakistan would bring disaster to the entire world. The newspaper says that the latest security related developments in Kashmir have brought the two nations at the brink of war. It says the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected US president Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between the two countries. It says the world should realize that India is taking the situation to the ‘point of no return’. It says Pakistan wants no war but India’s belligerence can lead to one, which would be disastrous for the entire region and the world.

Read more in Daily Nawaiwaqt

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