Flashpoint – January 23, 2020

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What’s Happening?

The news stories today report on the ongoing FATF meeting in Beijing, China, KP government’s decision to de-register thousands of NGOs, and developments in court case against the alleged facilitators of the attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi. Op-eds discuss the government’s decision to halt release of film Zindagi Tamasha due to TLP pressure and the five ‘curses’ that affect the people of Pakistan with intolerance at the top the list.

Today’s News Stories

KP de-registers 65pc NGOs, freezes their bank accounts

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has de-registered 65 per cent of the non-governmental organisations functioning in the province before freezing their bank accounts over failure to provide their funding and project details to the government to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global illicit financing watchdog. Sources in the industries and social welfare departments told Dawn that a total of 5,931 NGOs operated in different sectors across the province and 3,851 of them were de-registered. They said the de-registration came in light of the government’s NGO mapping efforts to meet certain FATF requirements.

Read more in Dawn

FATF satisfied with Pakistan’s compliance report

Pakistan’s team led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Wednesday defended country’s compliance report during the joint group of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting held at Beijing, China as the watchdog showed satisfaction over Pakistan’s report of compliance. Now Pakistan requires mustering up diplomatic support for its efforts to come out from grey list and land into the white as Islamabad needs 12 votes out of total 39 in the plenary meeting of the FATF scheduled to be held in Paris on February 16, 2020. Only the Indian side raised tough but mostly irrelevant questions during the joint group meeting held at China, however, contrary to the past, the US and European countries did not extend their support to New Delhi in its efforts to defame Pakistan.

Read more in The News

Indictment of facilitators in Chinese consulate attack case deferred

An antiterrorism court deferred on Wednesday indictment of five alleged facilitators in the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi. The Counter-Terrorism Department booked and detained Mohammad Aslam, Ahmed Hasnain, Ali Ahmed, alias Hashim, Nadir Khan, alias Arif Buledi and Abdul Latif — all said to be associated with the banned separatist Baloch Liberation Army — for allegedly facilitating three heavily armed militants, who were killed while attempting to enter the Chinese consulate on Nov 23, 2018 in Clifton. On Wednesday, the matter came up before the ATC-VII judge, who is conducting trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, for indictment of the suspects in identical cases pertaining to the main attack, illicit arms and explosives.

Read more in Dawn


Film release blocked

This editorial in Dawn comments on the government’s decision to block release of a Pakistani film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ after it received flak from rightwing extremist organization, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). The editorial says the film release was held despite being cleared by various censor boards due to the growing pressure from religious hardliners, based on assumptions they formed while watching a minute-long trailer. It says the director of the film, Sarmad Khosat was threatened continuously by the extremist and forced to clarify that he is a “believer”. “Far too often, the state cedes to the demands of undemocratic mobs,” Dawn says, “A refusal to look at reality with all its nuances or have honest conversations about sensitive issues has resulted in a distinctive hypocrisy that permeates Pakistani society.” It is tragic that art threatens some so deeply, it concludes.

Read more in Dawn

The five capital curses

In his opinion piece for Dawn, I.A. Rehman names fives curses that are affecting people’s lives, their thoughts and their conduct: intolerance, hypocrisy, selective memory, premium on nonsense and the culture of obedience. He writes in detail about how intolerance is widespread in the society. He says the Multan District Bar Association has ruled that no non-Muslims, including “Qadianis”, will be allowed to take part in the district bar elections. The candidates, as per the bar, will be obliged to file an affidavit about their being Muslim. He says the government did not repudiate this uncalled-for assault on the rule of law and basic rights. The writer also highlights the instance of rights activist Jalila Haider’s detention at Lahore Airport, the ban on the Urdu translation of Mohammad Hanif’s novel, the suspension of Sarmad Khosat’s film as evidence of the growing intolerance in the country. “Who will rid the people of Pakistan of the capital curses listed here?” the writer asks, “No one except they themselves”, he responds himself.

Read more in Dawn

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