Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

08 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.100

National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

FATF debate in the National Assembly, responses to Foreign minister's bold statement on the OIC for its failure to support Pakistan's position on J&K, latest statement by Gen Asim Bajwa on CPEC

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

What happened?
PM's Finance Adviser Hafeez Shaikh made his parliamentary panel meeting debut on 7 August during which the panel cleared two Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related government bills. However, a crucial anti-money laundering bill was blocked by the opposition, with the latter calling out a "suspicious" National Accountability Bureau (NAB) role. Previously, the National Assembly's finance committee refused to take up the government's legislative business over the absence of Mr Hafeez; and panel's chairman Faizullah, a PTI member, had threatened to resign unless Hafeez showed up. Dr Shaikh stated his respect to the parliamentary committee; said he would like to brief the committee on the state of the economy in an upcoming session; and pointed out that exiting the FATF grey list was Pakistan's priority. Also, the Financial Management Unit's director-general mentioned the AML (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020's salient features. ("NA body clears two FATF-related bills as Hafeez shows up," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

Bills cleared so far
While the Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2020 was cleared without any issues, amendments put forward by opposition MNAs were allowed for the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020. Finance ministry officials explained that similar amendments would enhance the authorities' ability to trace actual owners of businesses and companies. Previously, on 29 July, the National Assembly passed two more FATF-related bills, both moved by the Prime Minister's Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan. They were the Anti-terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the United Nations (Security Council) (Amendment) Bill, 2020. ("Govt gets two FATF-related bills passed through NA amid opposition protest," Dawn, 30 July 2020) FM Qureshi had claimed on 24 July that the federal government had prepared eight such bills to ensure Pakistan's exit from FATF's "Grey-list".

The controversial ones
The blocked bill lured serious apprehensions and reservations from Opposition members (from PPP and PML-N). They said the haste the government showed to pass the bill was highly suspicious. PPP's Naveed Qamar and Nafeesa Shah, and PML-N's Ali Pervez Malik and Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha expressed concern over the proposed customer due diligence (CDD); opined that the blocked bill in its current form would be economically catastrophic; and sought NAB's exclusion saying that other specialized agencies were sufficient. Dr Aisha Pasha said the federal government was "crushing economic activity through such laws".

An analysis by Tariq Butt says that previously included "offences of political nature and corruption were taken out of the purview of the new law". It has been limited to FATF obligations. The article speaks in length regarding the sweeping amendments made to the bills – such as decentralization of power from Interior Secretary, changing of "definition of the assets confiscation order", and so on. Butt explains that with the removal of the offence of corruption from the act, "NAB has nothing to do with the present legislation". ("No law ever experienced such sweeping amendments: MLA Act restricted to FATF requirements," The News International, 8 August 2020)


CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa is confident that the Rashakai Special Economic Zone would be finalised in August

(Image Source: Dawn)

On CPEC and Gwadar port development:
Gen Aseem Bajwa says CPEC has not slowed down

No slow down
Dismissing the impression that the CPEC has slowed down, Gen Bajwa while chairing a special dialogue 'Gwadar Port, free economic zone's role in the prosperity of Balochistan and AMP; regional connectivity' organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) stated that the second phase of CPEC would pick up and divides of the project would go to the people of Pakistan through the creation of more job opportunities. Further, he noted the progress made by through the Gwadar Port, where investors are now showing their interest for investing into Gwadar Free Economic Zone. (Mehtab Haider, "No or least displacement for Gwadar Port City development," The News International, 8 August 2020)

"We are working for development of Southern Balochistan as Gwadar Port will be connected to bring prosperity for Balochistan. The development agreement for Rashakai's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be signed in third week of ongoing month" says chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

What next on CPEC?
Gen Bajwa also stated that the government has been planning to convert it into Gwadar Economic District of Balochistan. Adding that the government aims at ensuring more development for southern Balochistan where Gwadar and Khuzdar region could get the dividends of connectivity. Further, PM Imran Khan constituted a special committee for bringing development for Southern Balochistan to make it possible for people to be a part of the development, in this light one such initiative is that the government would incentivize fisheries sector in Balochistan, further adding that security would not be an issue.

China on the project: Chinese ambassador says Iran-Pakistan-China gas pipeline is possible
Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing stated that the CPEC would not only provide bilateral connectivity, but it would also allow for regional connectivity, noting that the transit trade which has just started from Gwadar is a huge milestone for the future economic activities and connectivity in the region. Further, he highlighted that it would also help connect western Asia, Central Asia and the western part of China, thus the benefitting the whole region. He also stated that Qatar and Afghanistan wish to be a part of the CPEC projects, further adding that the upcoming SEZs, would be opened for all countries and joint ventures would be offered to all companies across the globe.

The ambassador also spoke of the possibility of converting Iran-Pakistan and India (IPI) gas pipeline into Iran-Pakistan and China gas pipeline if regional connectivity is developed and strengthened. ("Chairman CPEC Authority, Chinese Ambassador stress importance of Gawadar Port in the region," The Nation, 8 August 2020)


Foreign minister Qureshi was harsh on the OIC during an interview recently. He was quoted to have stated: "I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation. If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir"

(Image Source: Dawn)

On FM's remarks regarding the Saudi-led OIC
PML-N criticizes it as "highly unfortunate and irresponsible"
National Assembly Opposition leader and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif severely criticized FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi's remarks regarding the Saudi-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Sharif called the remarks "highly unfortunate and irresponsible", the height of irresponsibility and a diplomatic folly; said PTI's "cavalier" attitude would undermine Pakistan's core relations with friendly nations; and tweeted "It flies in the face of history and Pakistan's trusted relationship with the Kingdom." During his speech at the "AJK" legislative assembly, he said that PML-N would keep aside political issues with PTI and render complete support to the issue of Kashmir. However, in a separate statement, Sharif questioned PTI's Kashmir policy. Sharif was referring to FM Qureshi's unusually sharp warning to OIC asking the latter to stop procrastinating a meeting on the Kashmir issue. ("Shahbaz assails Qureshi's remarks about Saudi Arabia," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

An editorial reflects on foreign minister's criticism of the OIC
An editorial in the Dawn critical of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's recent blunt criticism of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and then the Foreign Office's reiteration of the same states that foreign policy goals must be clear and should ensure that Pakistan takes a moral stand without annoying their friends and benefactors. The editorial notes that although no former government has criticized Saudi Arabia in this manner, Saudis' lack of interest in taking up the Kashmir dispute has caused the frustration among the ruling elite in Pakistan. Further, the editorial states that maybe the PM should explain in detail the road map that Pakistan now intends to follow, given the many geostrategic blocs in the Muslim world, questioning, does Pakistan intend to ally with any of these formations, or does it aim to create a new bloc with like-minded states? However, this decision must be made with caution. ("OIC criticism," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

In Brief
Ahead of Muharram, government issues fresh SOPs
A National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting, presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and held on 7 August, discussed the roadmap to tackle the pandemic and measures adopted to open different sectors and the enhance preparedness before Muharram and the Independence Day celebrations. This is in light of the peaking COVID-19 cases in Punjab post-Eidul Azha. Punjab's provincial government also brought about fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs). Additionally, a complete code of conduct was devised to ensure compliance with SOPs and social distancing. He credited the citizens for the reduction in the pandemic cases. Federal Minister for Interior retired Brig Ejaz Ahmed Shah and SAP on Health Dr Faisal Sultan were also in attendance. ("Fresh SOPs issued for 14 August, Muharram," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

Govt appoints retired Brig Shujah Hassan as new PSM chief
On 7 August, the government-appointed retired Brig Shujah Hassan as the new chief executive officer of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). As per the notification issued by the Establishment Division the appointment of the new chief will be for one year with immediate effect until further orders, however, the appointment is subject to termination on one month's notice by either side. Brig Hassan was shortlisted by the PSM board of directors on account of his strong commitment to supporting the government and its vision to review the largest industrial unit in the country. This appointment is the first since 2016 that a full-time PSM chief executive officer has been appointed by the federal government. ("Ex-serviceman appointed PSM chief," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

International flights operations to resume from all airports 
Aviation Division spokesman announced that the government has authorized all types of international and domestic flight operations to and from all airports across Pakistan to resume as per authorization granted to all foreign and domestic operators pre-COVID-I9 summer schedule 2020, including cargo and special flight operations, with effect from 9 August. Further, the spokesman stated that these operations will be conducted as per the established guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs). This decision comes after all international and domestic flight operations were suspended in March amid the outbreak of the pandemic. (Mohammad Asghar, "Govt to resume international flights from all airports on 9th," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

Chaman clashes to be discussed in Balochistan Provincial Assembly
Amid furious verbal exchanges and uproar, Balochistan Assembly's deputy speaker admitted the adjournment motion of the PkMAP's Nasrullah Zerey for a debate on violence in Chaman (Af-Pak border) that claimed six lives. Mr Zerey informed the assembly that the people of Chaman had been conducting protests against the trade corridor's closure over the two previous months. ("Balochistan PA to debate Chaman clashes," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

WB says that it cannot mediate the water dispute between Pakistan-India 
The World Bank WB has stated its inability to take an independent decision on the appointment of a neutral expert or court of arbitration for settlement of a long outstanding water dispute between Pakistan and India, stating that the two countries would have to bilaterally choose one option. Pakistan requested for the appointment of a Court of Arbitration (COA) while India sought a neutral expert to resolve their dispute on two hydroelectric projects, due to these conflicting positions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, the World Bank was facilitating the two governments to find ways in resolving differences. Former WB Country Director of Pakistan stated, "Both India and Pakistan should come together as to which option to take forward" adding "There is no provision in the treaty for the World Bank to take an independent decision." (Khaleeq Kiani, "WB says cannot mediate in Pakistan-India water dispute," Dawn, 8 August 2020)

Mike Pompeo and FM Qureshi discuss the Afghan peace process, US-Pak cooperation and Kashmir
On 7 August, a Loya Jirga met in Kabul to further the Afghan peace process. On the same day, US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi discussed Pakistan's role as a peace promoter/enabler in Afghanistan. Pompeo tweeted that he had a "productive call" with FM Qureshi and said he looked forward increasing US-Pak partnership and furthering shared bilateral goals. According to the statement issued by Pompeo's office in Washington, the two discussed "the importance of US-Pakistan cooperation on the Afghan peace process and the importance of efforts to support regional stability". Additionally, Pompeo urged the Loya Jirga attendees to utilize the "historic opportunity for peace"; welcomed developments to expedite the release of Taliban prisoners; and reiterated Trump administration's commitment to the Afghan peace process, reduction of US' tax payer's burden and risk to US troops. As per Pakistan's FO, the two bureaucrats discussed Pak-US partnership and FM Qureshi apprised Pompeo of India's regressive policies in Kashmir. ("FM, Pompeo discuss peace process as jirga meets in Kabul," Dawn, 8 August 2020)


"This is a political map as opposed to the administrative map that we are more familiar with. There was a need for the political map which has been fulfilled on August 4. Pakistan’s stance on Jammu and Kashmir is anchored in the UN Security Council resolutions under which we await final settlement of this dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. There is no change in our principled position"

-  Foreign Office Spokersperson on Pakistan's new map (Dawn)

Other Daily Briefs

25 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.142

The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:

24 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.141

Establishment and the PML-N:

23 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.140

For the US, the priority in Pakistan is to advance human rights :

22 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.139

One day after the All Parties Conference:

21 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.138

Nawaz Sharif goes on an offensive and talks about

19 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.137

Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

17 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.135

The need for a twin strategy in south Balochistan:

16 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.134

A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:

15 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.133

The CPEC march continues:

11 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.130

Pakistan and the SCO

10 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.129

Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

09 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.128

Federal-Provincial divide over Karachi increases

07 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.126

On Karachi, PPP and PTI divide comes to open

05 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.125

Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

02 September, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.122

Court directs Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court

01 September, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.121

Rains and Floods continue to haunt Pakistan

27 August 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.117

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

26 August 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.116

"General Bajwa stabilized Pak-Saudi ties"

24 August 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.114

Pakistan, China and J&K

22 August 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.113

Pakistan and China pledge to safeguard common interests

20 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.111

The tragedy of Scientists from Pakistan's minority communities

19 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.110

"Pakistan can never recognise Israel," says Imran Khan

18 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.109

PTI's two-year report card

15 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.107

Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma

14 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.106

Pakistan at 73: Celebrating the Independence Day

13 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.105

COAS Gen Bajwa to visit Saudi Arabia soon

12 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.104

Government and opposition agree on six FATF bills

10 August 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.102

The FATF divides within Pakistan

09 August 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.101

Pakistan This Week

08 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.100

National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

07 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.99

Govt decides to lift restrictions as COVID cases decline

06 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.98

Pakistan's continuing Kashmir frenzy

05 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.97

Pakistan's new Map of J&K

04 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.96

Kashmir obsession in Pakistan

31 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.94

Two FATF bills passed in the National Assembly

30 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.93

Religiosity in Pakistan: From Creeping to now Galloping

29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad

19 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.82

Pakistan This Week

17 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.80

The licences are not fake but only dubious

16 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.79

On building Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan

15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

On Af-Pak Transit Trade

12 July 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No. 75

Pakistan This Week

11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

FATF action plan to be completed at the earliest: Shaikh

08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

Pakistan This Week

27 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.60

PTM accepts the dialogue offer, but wants CBMs

24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

Reviewing Pakistan's Space Programme

23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown

21 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.54

Pakistan This Week

20 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.53

Budgets presented in KP, and in Gilgit-Baltistan

19 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.52

PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

15 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.48

The PTI government invites the PTM for a dialogue

14 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.47

Pakistan This Week

13 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.46, Special Brief

Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;

6 April 2020, Monday

Punjab: Surge in Covid-19 cases

2 April 2020, Thursday

Centre extends lockdown to 14th April

25 March 2020, Sunday 

Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan

24 March 2020, Tuesday 

Curfew last option: Imran Khan

21 March 2020, Saturday

Pakistan fights CoronaVirus

5 March 2020, Thursday

26.5 per cent drop in trade deficit

27 January 2020, Monday 

PTI's Punjab problem

27 January 2020, Monday 

For the PTI, all is not well inside Punjab

25 January 2020, Saturday

Pakistan successfully tests Ghaznavi 

16 January 2020, Thursday

PTI's coalition conundrum enlarges

25 November 2019, Wednesday

Terrorism declines in Balochistan during 2019

07 November 2019, Thursday

Azadi march and sit-in

04 November 2019, Monday

Pakistan rejects India's new J&K map

29 October 2019, Tuesday 

Karachi signs a MoU with Qingdao