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Daily Briefs


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25 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.58

On complying with the FATF requirements, extraditing Altaf Hussain and improving COVID situation



On complying with the FATF requirements, extraditing Altaf Hussain, improving COVID situation, economy and media freedom

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

COVID-19
Cases on a decline for the last five days
Data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported that the number of cases has been declining over the past few days. An official of the National Institute of Health stated that the trend could be an outcome of smart lockdowns or could be the possible move toward herd immunity. However, there is still a concern as the number of deaths may increase, for 90 per cent of the patients on ventilators are not likely to survive. Further, the official commented on the reducing number of tests that were being conducted as well as the declining number of positive tests. Further, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health stated that although the data spoke for itself, it was still too early to talk about it. (Ikram Junaidi, "Glimmer of hope as number of cases goes down slightly," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

INTERNAL
Pakistan to extradite Altaf Hussain
The Anti-terrorism court (ATC) had passed a judgement to imprison three accused criminals and issued a lifetime warrant for the MQM founder for the murder of Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader. Therefore, the federal government will be sending a letter from the Attorney General to Britain to extradite the founder of MQM and others involved in the murder case. ("Imran Farooq murder case: Govt to go for repatriation of MQM founder, others," The News International, 25 June 2020)

Pakistan to comply with 13 conditions of FATF to exit the grey list
Pakistan became part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list in 2018 with a total of 27 conditions and till now 14 such conditions have been met. This year the FATF has extended the deadline to October 2020 to comply with the remaining conditions. It has laid its focus on the amendments related to Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) which is yet to be decided as separate legislation by the government. Only upon the meeting of the conditions, Pakistan will be excluded from the grey list of FATF. In regards to this, the Minister of Industries has stated in the budget speech that "Our government has put in unprecedented efforts at all levels to improve its AML/CFT regime to meet the requirements of the FATF Action Plan and a comprehensive process of legislative, technical and operational improvements has been initiated." (Mehtab Haider, "To comply with FATF conditions: Pakistan needs to amend foreign exchange laws within 3 months," The News International, 25 June 2020)

150 pilots to be grounded for dubious licences: PIA
The minister for Aviation revealed that a large number of commercial pilots possessed 'dubious licences.' Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesperson stated that about 150 pilots are to be grounded on these bases. The PIA management has written to the Civil Aviation Authority to provided the list of other pilots with similar licences stating that those found at fault will be terminated from service. Further, the spokesperson stated that some flights may be cancelled due to this process, however, asserting that safety takes precedence over commercial interests and only pilots with perfect service records and clear credentials will be allowed to operate flights. Additionally, to ensure safety a Flight Data Monitoring Unit has also been established through which the PIA will measure, analyse and identify trends of PIA flights network-wide to look for corrections or preventative measures based on international established commercial aviation standards. ("PIA to ground 150 pilots with 'dubious licences'," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

Dawn editorial on media freedom
In the property case, editor-in-chief of the Jang group was arrested in March by NAB and has appeared twice to answer the questions in the last five hearings, but every hearing has been adjourned or postponed due to petty reasons. This gives a message that "All manner of outrageous accusations, including treason, have been levelled at journalists for doing their duty." It also shows that organisations like NAB have the power to bring restraints to the functioning of the media. ("Unjustified detention," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

JI Senator says only Islamic system will solve Pakistan's issues
On 24 June, during a press meet, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Emir Senator Sirajul Haq said that Pakistan would undergo real change and derive feasible solutions only after the Islamic system is imposed in the nation. He said load-shedding, inflated bills, and insufficiencies in transportation, health and education were all due to the lack of the Islamic system. ("Only Islamic system can provide solutions to country's problems: Siraj," The News International, 25 June 2020)

ECONOMY
Growth forecast revised to 1 per cent for the next fiscal year: IMF
On 24 June, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered the growth forecast for Pakistan by half to one per cent for the next fiscal year amid the devasting impact of the pandemic on the global economy. The fund initially estimated the country's GDP is going to -1.5 per cent for the FY2019-20 and a 2 per cent growth rate for FY2020-21 in its World Economic Outlook (WEO). However, it revised it to -0.4 per cent for the current fiscal in line with the government's estimates. Further, the fund also revised the next year's growth forecast to 1 per cent from 2 per cent. The IMF also stated that there remains uncertainty around these forecast as a result of the depth of contraction in the second quarter of 2020 and the intensity of the economic shock given that global activity is expected to be challenging in the second quarter of 2020. (Khaleeq Kiani, "IMF lowers country's growth forecast to 1pc," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

ON INDIA
Islamabad warns New Delhi against attacks
On 24 June, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi sternly warned India to refrain from initiating attacks on Pakistan, saying the latter would respond forcefully if India embarked on such military "misadventures". The FM accused India of plotting attacks on Pakistan to reduce the emphasis on the recent India-China escalation. ("Pakistan warns India against attacks," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

Pakistan-India Spate
The Dawn Editorial says India's call for halving Pakistan's diplomatic footprint in India is an attempt to initiate attacks on Pakistan to divert global attention from the recent escalation of a territorial dispute between New Delhi and Beijing, and India's internal issues. The Editorial also links the accident in Islamabad by two Indian High Commission officers and their alleged possession of fake currency to the recent development. ("Diplomatic spat," Dawn, 25 June 2020)

 


"It is an ordeal designed to test the patience and break the will of the individual at its centre. But as everyone in the media knows, this is about far more. It is about sending a message to ‘troublesome’ journalists and media houses who dare to question the modus operandi of powerful organisations like NAB, that such ‘investigative instincts’ could cost them dearly, where both revenue streams and peace of mind are concerned. Our dysfunctional judicial system further exacerbates the travails of the targeted individuals."

- Dawn Editorial on the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, editor-in-chief of Jang group (Dawn)

 

In Focus and In Brief sections are prepared by Lakshmi V Menon, Abigail Miriam Fernandez and A Padmashree.

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