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Daily Briefs


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

The FATF divides within Pakistan



The FATF divides within Pakistan, COVID lockdown comes to an end

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
The FATF divides within Pakistan

Govt plans to pass five FATF bills amid resistance from the opposition
The National Assembly is to witness another round of proceedings as the government plans to get five more FATF-related bills passed from the lower house of parliament with the Opposition vowing to resist the move, terming bills ‘draconian’, beyond FATF requirements. The bills on the agenda are the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Limited Liability Partner­ship (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Com­panies (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Control of Narcotic Substances (Amend­ment) Bill 2020. This comes after the government successfully managed to get two FATF-related bills last month. (Amir Wasim, “Fireworks in NA likely over more FATF-related bills,” Dawn, 10 August 2020)

JI rejects FATF-related legislations
On 9 August, the provincial head of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan rejected the recent FATF-related legislations and said the Center passed the UNSC Amended Bill 2020, Mutual Legal Assistance Criminal Matter Bill 2020 and Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill 2020 under pressure from FATF. He said the legislation would provide legal cover from handing over Kulbhushan Jadhav to India, Shakeel Afridi to the US and blasphemy accused to foreign countries. Adding that PPP and PML-N agreed with PTI regarding the legislation, he said: “we reject the legislation and condemn the act of the three major political parties”. Khan said the unnecessary legislation mortgaged Pakistan’s freedom and sovereignty and handed over the economy to the IMF. (“JI leader rejects legislation under FATF pressure, announces protest campaign,” The News International, 10 August 2020)

INTERNAL
Pandemic lockdown ends
On 10 August (today), Pakistan’s Covid-19 lockdown was lifted. As the federal government announced the end of the pandemic emergency, the tourism industry is slowly reviving. After the hiatus of over five months, tourist destinations are reopening and preparing to cater to visitors while ensuring safety measures. Government has adopted measures to revive the economy. Meanwhile, health experts warned that reopening may cause another spike in the pandemic. (“Corona lockdown ends today,” The News International, 10 August 2020)

PROVINCES
Sindh govt states that 70 per cent of land in Karachi is not in its control
On 9 August the Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government along with the Minister for Education and Labour made an unexpected disclosure by stating that the Sindh government had no authority to control up to 70 per cent of Karachi’s area that was controlled by different federal land-owning agencies. According to the minister, federal land-owning agencies that control up to 70 per cent areas of Karachi include cantonment boards, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Karachi Port Trust and the Pakistan Railways. Further, the minister stated that certain illegal encroachments in the city had been regularised as adding that “now a transparent probe will be conducted into this issue and no concession will be given to the officials who abetted this unlawful practice.” (“Sindh concedes it doesn’t control up to 70% land in Karachi,” The News International, 10 August 2020)

ON GILGIT-BALTISTAN
Claims over Gilgit-Baltistan
An opinion in the Nation critical of India’s claim over Gilgit-Baltistan and its many attempts to sabotage the projects in the region states that India is doing so only to divert the attention of the international community from its atrocities in Kashmir and the recent humiliation in Ladakh at the hands of the Chinese army. The author notes that Gilgit-Baltistan has become the centre of a new great game played by foreign powers, especially India, because of the CPEC projects that have increased its importance, further adding that these projects would not only benefit the people of Gilgit-Baltistan but the rest of the country as well. The opinion stated that Pakistan will not let the people of Gilgit-Baltistan fall prey to Indian conspiracies. Further noting that friendship between China and Pakistan is very strong and this close relationship is of key importance for peace, development and stability within the region. (Masud Ahmad Khan, “Gilgit-Baltistan, China and Indian propaganda,” The Nation, 10 August 2020)

EXTERNAL
FO hails Afghan decision to release Taliban prisoners
The Foreign Office welcomed the council to release the remaining 400 Tali¬ban prisoners by the Afghan Loya Jirga on 9 August. Both sides hope that the decision would commence the Afghan peace talks that would end the 19-year-long war. FO said, “We hope that with implementation of this step relating to the prisoners’ release, as envisaged in the US-Taliban peace agreement, the intra-Afghan negotiations will commence at the earliest”. The meeting was convened by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and over 3,200 Afghan politicians and community leaders gathered for the decision making. “Pakistan has consistently supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. Pakistan’s positive contribution to the process is internationally recognized,” the FO added. Previously, on Feb 29, the US and Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha. However, the deal had collapsed when Afghanistan refused to release the Taliban prisoners. (“Afghan jirga decision on Taliban’s release hailed,” Dawn, 10 August 2020)

Only $1.8 billion under KLB law received, $2.3 billion has gone back
Former US diplomat Robin Raphel stated that only $1.8 billion has been disbursed in Pakistan under Kerry Lugar Berman (KLB) law and remaining over $3.2 billion went back to Washington DC at source through contractors, foreign consultants and other means. She stated that disbursement data was released in a complex manner on a different website which became impossible to bring together disbursement amounts from the USA. Further, she predicted that the aid money would most likely be decreased in the future but fewer amounts with effective implementation could deliver goods at the grassroots level. (Mehtab Haider, “Pakistan got $1.8 bn under KLB law, $2.3 bn went back,” The News International, 10 August 2020)

UNGA President-elect arrives in Pakistan 
United Nations General Assembly’s President-elect Volkan Bozkir arrived in Pakistan on 9 August on a two-day visit to conduct talks with Pakistani leaders. According to Foreign Office, FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi will hold wide-ranging talks with Mr Bozkir (the first Turkish national to hold the post) on issues relating to three main pillars of UN – peace and security, human rights and development; will brief the head on the Kashmir issue. The FM had reminded the head of “historic brotherhood that is without any parallel in inter-state relations” shared by Pakistan and Turkey. (“UNGA President in Pakistan for two-day visit,” The Nation, 10 August 2020)

ON INDIA
Amb Maleeha Lodhi on Pakistan's strategy in the UN, after 5 August 2019
Following are the excerpts from her writing in Dawn today.

"Hours after India’s Aug 5 action, I approached his office to stress the need for a public statement to underline the criticality of addressing the situation. Guterres was away, but I met his chief of staff on Aug 7 to convey the urgency for a swift public position and linked this to his ‘Conflict Prevention’ agenda. The secretary general’s statement came on Aug 9. He said the UN position on the decades-old dispute was governed by the UN Charter and “applicable Security Council resolutions”.

This timely reiteration helped to frame the issue for UNSC members and persuade some of them of the need for a meeting. As Islamabad launched vigorous efforts in their capitals, I met repeatedly with representatives of all 15 Council members. Meetings followed with the UN’s department of political affairs. We agreed with China that the proposed meeting start with briefings from DPA and Department for Peace Operations on the political and human rights situation and the volatile conditions along the Line of Control.

US consent was crucial. Its position would also swing its friends on the Council. This was secured after much diplomatic effort in Islamabad and New York. Russian support was equally critical and, fortunately, they responded positively. The UK wasn’t hard to convince and conveyed its support on the eve of the meeting. The only opposition to the meeting, which China persuaded us would be a closed one to garner maximum support, came from France. Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Paris and a defence deal likely lay behind this. Among non-permanent members the most helpful was Kuwait. Indonesia came around once it saw consensus emerge for the meeting." (Maleeha Lodhi, “When Kashmir held centre stage,” Dawn, 10 August 2020)

 


"As Islamabad launched vigorous efforts in their capitals, I met repeatedly with representatives of all 15 Council members. Meetings followed with the UN’s department of political affairs. We agreed with China that the proposed meeting start with briefings from DPA and Department for Peace Operations on the political and human rights situation and the volatile conditions along the Line of Control"

-  Amb Maleeha Lodhi on her role at the UN on J&K (Dawn)

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