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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

24 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.167

Do More, says the FATF to Pakistan



The FATF decision to keep Pakistan in the grey list until February 2021, the Supreme Court verdict on Justice Isa reference and the role of National Accountability Bureau on accountability

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Do More, says the FATF to Pakistan:
Pakistan to stay on the 'grey list' until February 2021

On 23 October, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced that Pakistan would remain on the increased monitoring list, the so-called grey list for another four months, adding, "to date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021." Further, the watchdog said, "The FATF takes note of the significant progress made on a number of action plan items." This comes after the FATF held a three-day virtual plenary session, which started on 21 October to review Pakistan's progress. The next plenary is due on 21-26 February. (Khaleeq Kiani, "Pakistan to stay on FATF grey list till February," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

FATF president ask Pakistan 'to do more'
Dr Marcus Pleyer, president of the FATF while appreciating the commitment and efforts made by the country said, "It needs to do more" and carry out reforms to meet targets, adding, "Pakistan needs to complete six outstanding items" and report back after which FATF would send a technical team for on-ground verification as these were "very serious and risks are not over until the government of Pakistan repairs all six outstanding items."

Pakistan welcomes the decision
Pakistan welcomed the outcome, saying "this is indicative of the confidence of the FATF on the efforts of the Pakistani government." FM Qureshi said, "Considering all this progress, the FATF forum should view Pakistan's measures positively and create room for Pakistan," adding that he hopes the world will "acknowledge" the steps taken by the country. The industries minister, who led by the Pakistani delegation to the virtual plenary, said: "Blacklisting Pakistan was now off the table." The finance ministry went on to state that the FATF has recognized Pakistan's sustained and irreversible efforts and upgraded overall nine items. "There is no item remaining in the incomplete category," ("'To remain on grey list': FATF urges Pakistan to complete action plan by Feb 2021," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

Strategic deficiencies in four major areas need to be worked on 
Pakistan has to continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies in four major areas.

First, to show that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror financing (TF) activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities and those acting on behalf of or the directive of the designated persons or entities.

Second, to address TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.

Third, to demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists under 1267 and 1373 resolutions of the UN Security Council and those acting for or on their behalf, preventing the raising and moving of funds, including in relation to NPOs (non-profit organizations), identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable) and prohibiting access to funds and financial services.

Fourth, to look into enforcement against targeted financial sanctions (TFS) violations, including in relation to NPOs, of administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases.

Action Plan items addressed thus far
The action plan items which have been addressed by Pakistan include highly important areas of the financial sector, illegal hawala/hundi, cross-border currency regime, international cooperation in terrorist financing cases, amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act, implementation of targeted financial sanctions by financial institutions, applying sanctions for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) violations and controlling facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons and entities.

 
Supreme Court on Justice Isa reference
Finds procedural irregularities and glaring lapses
Image Source: Dawn

 

As noted by the Supreme Court in its 23 October verdict, and stated by The News, "judicial reference filed against the Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa was filed in complete disregard to the law". The SC also delivered an intense rebuke of how the allegations against Justice Isa had been handled. Meanwhile, the apex court ruled out any ill intent behind the reference on the part of the PM and the President of Pakistan. However, it mentioned procedural irregularities and glaring lapses in the filing of the reference.

The SC judgement 

i. The president and the PM never gave the needed authorization to investigate the affairs of Justice Isa. Instead, the authorization of the law minister was obtained;

ii. No notice was issued to Mrs Isa as required under Section 116(1) of the Income Tax Ordinance prior to the filing of the reference;

iii. It was assumed that Justice Isa was to be under the obligation to declare the assets of his independent wife and adult children based on an unsettled and disputed interpretation of Section 116(1)(b) of the Ordinance;

iv. There was no evidence or a previous offence recorded against Justice Isa to support the allegation of money laundering brought against him;

v. Likewise, there was no evidence that Justice Isa had violated the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and even the relevant provisions from the said law were not specified in the reference;

vi. The president received wrong advice from the attorney general and the law minister, described as "the chief architects of the reference", on the strengths and weaknesses of the reference;

vii. The president failed to get considered, fair and objective advice from a third party on the questions of law noted in the reference;

viii. The president failed to notice the various legal and procedural defects in the reference;

ix. The president did not form a considered opinion under Article 209(5) of the Constitution;

x. As there was no valid authorization for an investigation against Justice Isa, the government's Assets Recovery Unit illegally accessed the tax records of the petitioner and Mrs Isa; and

xi. Firdous Ashiq Awan, who was then the information minister, had made contemptuous remarks about Justice Isa in public during a press conference. ("Presidential reference against Justice Faez Isa: Govt errors amounted to wanton disregard of law, says Supreme Court," The News International, 24 October 2020)

 
PM's actions "reek of personal vendetta"
The prime minister's directives to accountability bodies reflect a flawed and deeply troubling approach to justice," says Dawn
Image Source: The News

An editorial in the Dawn says that it is no coincidence that the National Accountability Bureau has increased its efforts against the opposition parties' members as the latter is going "full throttle" in criticizing the incumbent PTI government. The editorial opines that the incumbent government and PM Khan's strategy of hurling threats, stamping of fresh cases and revoking production orders solidify the opposition's allegations of "personal vendetta" against Khan. Since the commence of PTI's rule, opposition members have accused the Center and the NAB of unleashing a politically motivated, biased and one-sided "witch-hunt". The recent claims by ex-DG FIA Bashir Memon where he says that Imran Khan ordered him to prosecute members of the opposition without evidence, is a further blow to the credibility of the accountability drive. The article says that the negation of "principles of independent, impartial accountability that form the basis of any equitable justice system" is a "dangerous trend" that will backfire. Further, it will destroy the trust of the civilians in the judicial system of the country.

Previously…

PM Imran Khan had expressed frustration with the procrastination of the accountability process and demanded its speedy conclusion. According to Dawn, following Khan's fiery speech, NAB approved references against "PML-N leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, his ex-secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad, former minister Ahsan Iqbal, former foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and former IB chief Aftab Sultan". Meanwhile, responding to Khan's public plea to Pakistan's Chief Justice, the Supreme Court has ordered all 24 accountability courts to not grant any adjournments to parties in corruption references and to expedite the proceedings. ("NAB on the rampage," Dawn, 24 October 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL 
Imran Khan speaks about Opposition, food crisis in a TV interview
On 23 October, Imran Khan, in a televised interview, said meeting opposition parties' leaders was 'a big mistake' because he did not gain a substantial outcome from the meeting. Further, he said the Opposition leaders are using "such language against the army that even the enemies do not use." He assured that Pakistan was in contact with the UK government to deport Nawaz Sharif, and he would speak to Boris Johnson if need be. When asked about the IG House incident, he termed it a comedy and said it is unfortunate that Pakistan's enemies including India and Israel are involved in the fiasco. 

Imran also talked about the increasing food prices and said wheat flour prices increased due to as ill-timed rains, prices of ghee and pulses increased because of the international prices (Pakistan imported 60 per cent of its pulses and edible oil) and blamed the sugar cartel for rising sugar prices. (Hassan Sheerazi, "PM terms meetings with opposition leaders' mistake'," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

On World Polio Day, Pakistan needs to introspect, says editorial
An editorial in Dawn expressed that polio cases in Pakistan are rising with a "vengeance." This year alone, Pakistan recorded 80 cases. The editorial cites the Independent Monitoring Board report and other studies and says though the Covid-19 pandemic places other health issues at lesser importance, the polio problem started before the pandemic. The IMB report identified negligence in key areas and failure to appoint doctors to lead the polio response in Karachi's super-high risk union councils. The editorial suggests expanding the existing community health network to include local doctors to combat Covid-19 and polio. ("World Polio Day," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

SC seeks report on minorities' commission progress
On 23 October, The SC inquired if Dr Shoaib Suddle's one-member commission to implement the 2014 verdict on the protection of minorities' rights made progress. Dr Suddle said neither the Religious Affairs Ministry nor the civil society cooperated with him. He said the Ministry set up a separate commission and its secretary nominated himself as its chairman. Further, he added that the majority of the members in the Ministry's commission were Muslims. Directing the government to cooperate with Suddle, the SC has sought a report on the progress within a month. ("State must protect minorities: Supreme Court," The Express Tribune, 24 October 2020)

Interior Ministry presents statistics on terrorist incidents from 2015-2020
On 23 October, The Interior Ministry briefed the Senate that 3,990 incidents of terrorism took place from January 2015 to September 2020. As many as 1,139 incidents occurred in 2015; 785 in 2016; 741 in 2017; 584 in 2018; 482 in 2019; and 259 till September 2020. The civilian and security personnel casualties over the five years stood at 3,384 and as many as 8,436 were wounded. ("3,990 terrorist incidents between Jan 2015, Sept 2020 in Pakistan," The Daily Times, 24 October 2020)

ON PDM
Baloch government warns PDM of security threat, four terrorists killed
On 23 October, the Balochistan government spokesperson asked the PDM to postpone its public meeting, scheduled on 25 October saying there was "credible information" about security threats. He emphasized the government was not afraid of the PDM but requested them to take the Nacta warnings seriously. 

Later in the day, four alleged terrorists were killed and two security personnel injured in an exchange of fire during a joint operation by the CTD and intelligence personnel in Mastung district. The CTD recovered suicide jackets, a huge quantity of explosives, arms and ammunition from terrorists' hideout. They were allegedly members of a banned outfit and were wanted in various cases of attacks. ("Govt urges PDM to delay Quetta rally amid 'threat'," Dawn 24 October 2020)

ON CPEC
Senate questions CPEC Authority's validity
On 23 October, the Senate raised concerns over the legal status of the CPEC Authority as its Ordinance expired in June 2020. PPP Senator Raza Rabbani also said he regretted that the government promulgated the Pakistan Island Development Authority (Pida) Ordinance without discussing the matters involved with Sindh and Balochistan. However, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs said that CPEC would be "taken forward" even though some people wanted it to fail. On the delay in tabling of the Pida ordinance, the government could lay the ordinance within 120 days of its promulgation as per Article 89. ("Legal status of CPEC Authority questioned in Senate," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

ON GILGIT-BALTISTAN
Bilawal Bhutto addresses meeting in GB
In an election address in GB, Bilawal Bhutto said GB needs to be protected from the destruction Imran Khan carried out in Punjab and KP referring to unemployment, lack of educational and health institutions. He recalled the contributions of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto to GB - wheat subsidy and Lady Health Visitors program - and asked the people to help PPP win in all GB constituencies to fulfil their demands. (Asim Yasin, "GB to be protected from Imran's destruction: Bilawal," The News International, 24 October 2020)

EXTERNAL
Will not make a decision compromising stance on Kashmir, says Foreign Minister
On 23 October, Foreign Minister Qureshi said dialogue with India does not seem possible. He said conditions are not conducive due to India's actions in "occupied Kashmir." He said the future course, if any, includes India reviewing its "illegal and unilateral" decision on Kashmir. On Gilgit-Baltistan, he said any decision regarding the provincial status would be taken after consulting stakeholders and emphasized that Pakistan would not make a decision that could compromise its stance on the Kashmir dispute. Qureshi also mentioned that India failed to push Pakistan into the FATF's blacklist and The world acknowledges Pakistan's progress in the matter. ("Conditions not conducive for talks with India, says Qureshi," Dawn, 24 October 2020)

 


"The President received wrong advice from the attorney general and the law minister, described as “the chief architects of the reference”, on the strengths and weaknesses of the reference.”

 Supreme Court on Justice Isa reference

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