Today’s news stories report on the FATF review meeting in Beijing, China’s call for acknowledging Pakistan’s anti-terrorism financing efforts, and the conversion case of a Sikh girl in Nankana Sahib. Op-eds discuss threats against freedom of artistic expression in Pakistan, state of media freedom and the reality of fifth generation warfare.
Today’s News Stories
Lahore High court summons DPO in Sikh girl’s conversion case
The Lahore High Court summoned the Nankana Sahib district police officer (DPO) in a matter relating to the custody of Sikh girl Jagjeet Kaur, who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, and determination of her age. Responding to the court’s queries, Jagjeet Kaur reiterated that she did not want to meet her family but wanted to live with her in-laws. The girl’s brother, Manmohan Singh complained about alleged unfair treatment being meted out to the members of the minority community. However, the Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi assured Singh that everyone was equal before the law. The judge adjourned further hearing until Friday and summoned the Nankana Sahib DPO and director of the FIA.
Read more in Dawn
Pakistan almost ready to get off FATF grey list
As Pakistan and Asia-Pacific Joint Group of the Financial Action Task Force’s meeting ends in Beijing, Islamabad hopes to acquire the Unites States’ cooperation in next month’s plenary aimed at avoiding any further adverse action by the global body. The face-to-face meeting between Pakistan and the FATF took place at a time when the US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells was in Islamabad with a message of cooperation. In her off the record discussions, she tried to dispel the impression that the US was changing the goalposts of the FATF. Ambassador Wells assured that Pakistan’s case would be purely treated on technical grounds but said that the country still had to make efforts to ensure convictions in terror-financing cases.
Read more in Express Tribune
China urges world to recognise Pakistan’s counterterrorism financing efforts
Expressing satisfaction over visible progress made by Pakistan to strengthen its domestic counterterrorism financing system, China on Thursday said that Islamabad’s political will and active efforts ought to be recognised and encouraged by the international community. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang was commenting on Pakistan’s National Action Plan report, which was discussed during the joint group Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting held in Beijing. A high-level Pakistani delegation, led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, presented the country’s compliance report during the three-day talks with the global money-laundering watchdog, which commenced on Jan 21.
Read more in Dawn
Media in chains
This editorial in Dawn says the Pakistan Media Freedom Report 2019 by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors underscores the intimidating conditions in which Pakistani journalists are compelled to work. According to the report, at least seven media persons were killed and around 60 journalists were booked in 35 cases under anti-terrorism and other laws. The editorial also quotes from the report that “mysterious and unidentified actors” posed the biggest threat to press freedom, followed by non-state elements and outlawed militant groups. Dawn says the fact is that whichever quarter the threat emanates from, the buck stops with the government and unfortunately the media environment has deteriorated further under the current dispensation.
Read more in Dawn
Life in a circus
This editorial piece in The News comments on the government’s decision to have the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) review a film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ after it drew ire of the extremist outfit Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). The country’s main censor board and the provincial censor boards, comprising individuals from many walks of life, had already approved the film, the editorial says. Contrary to the allegations of TLP, the director of the film, Sarmad Khosat has said that the purpose of the film was to build tolerance in society and that he had no intention of mocking religion or clerics. The editorial says the main question is how a single group or mob can be allowed to intervene in the question of whether or not a movie should be released. “It means that any group that has the threat of violence on its side can arm twist the state into stopping a TV production, a book, a theatrical performance or a movie from reaching people,” it adds.
Read more in The News
The reality of ‘Fifth Generation Warfare’ in Pakistan
In his opinion piece for Daily Express, Ali Ahmad Dhillon says the Fifth Generation Warfare has become a buzzword these days. He says we are reminded constantly that we have to prepare for facing this challenge. He says for common understanding, now the style of fighting wars has changed unlike old times where the greater the number of forces, the stronger the army. Later, arms, technology and then economy also started playing a role and the world experienced different generations of wars. He explains how the fifth generation war uses internet to sow the seeds of discord, confusion and chaos to weaken and divide a nation. The writer raises questions on the veracity of the 9/11, Iraq war and the Arab Spring and says they may be a result of the US fifth generation warfare. He calls for strict monitoring of social media to avoid any harm to the country.
Read more in Daily Express