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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

13 February 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.44

FO claims Pakistan made progress on remaining FATF items



The Foreign Office statement of Pakistan's FATF progress, the Aman-2021 naval exercise, and the announcement of candidates for the Senate elections.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

PR Editorial, 12 February 2021
Progress in the FATF
In the weekly media briefing, the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office has been quoted by Dawn to have commented: “FATF had assessed Pakistan to have completed 21 of the 27 Action Items under the current Action Plan. In the remaining six partially addressed items, significant progress has been made by Pakistan, which is duly acknowledged by the wider FATF membership.” 

Pakistan has been living on the FATF’s grey list edge for the last few seasons. In 2020, the PTI government passed a series of resolutions in the Parliament aiming to get out of the FATF grey list. For this government, getting out of the grey list has become one of the primary foreign policy goals. For the FATF, it is not only passing resolutions in the Parliament, but also following it up with actions, in terms of investigations leading to convictions in a court of law. This is a challenge that the PTI government has to address.

The next FATF review is due; the government would need the support of the Opposition as well to follow up, both within the Parliament and outside.

 

 

In Focus
FO claims Pakistan made progress on remaining FATF items
Plenary session to begin on 22 February
 
Image Source: The News International

 

 

On 12 February, the Foreign Office spokesperson said Pakistan has made “significant progress” on the remaining six items in the FATF Action Plan. He said the FATF membership also acknowledged the progress. He said, “As a responsible state, Pakistan remains firmly committed to peace in the region.” 

The upcoming FATF session
From 22 February to 25 February, the FATF will carry out a reassessment of Pakistan’s progress; after this, it will decide the status of Pakistan which is currently of the ‘grey list.’

Pakistan and the FATF: A recap 
Under the current Action Plan, Pakistan had previously fulfilled 21 of the 27 action items. In October 2020, the FATF retained Pakistan in the grey list under ‘jurisdiction under enhanced monitoring.’ During the assessment, the FATF maintained that Pakistan had not fully taken action against organisations linked to the terror groups listed by the UNSC, and against terror financing through smuggling. Further, Pakistan had also not taken measures regarding prosecution and conviction of banned individuals. (Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Substantive progress made on FATF items, says FO,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

 

Aman-2021 naval exercise begins in Karachi
Navy Chief emphasises on regional maritime cooperation

Image Source: Dawn

On 12 February, Pakistan flagged off the seventh edition of Aman, a multinational maritime exercise, at the PN Dockyard in Karachi. A message from the Chief of the Naval Staff was read out during the inaugural ceremony; he emphasised Aman-2021 would “provide a medium to develop doctrinal synergy to tackle maritime security challenges and enhance interoperability among navies...” 

Further, he mentioned that the Regional Maritime Security Patrols (RMSP) initiative by the Pakistan Navy meets international obligations while also “protecting national interests in the Indian Ocean Region.” Similarly, the Commander of Pakistan Fleet hoped that Aman-2021 would be a rewarding exercise for all and thanked the participating navies for their support.

Theme for Aman-2021
The exercise will have a harbour phase and a sea phase. In the harbour phase, from 13 February (today) to 15 February, seminars and discussions will be held on the theme -  ‘Development of Blue Economy Under a Secure and Sustainable Environment: A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region.’(Shazia Hasan, “Maritime exercise Aman-2021 opens,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

 

Parties announce candidates for Senate polls
Yousuf Gilani nominated as PDM’s candidate

Image Source: Dawn

On 12 February, major parties announced their candidates for the Senate elections scheduled for 3 March. Party leaders took to Twitter to announce their candidates. Minister for Science and Technology announced that the PTI has chosen its candidates through a parliamentary board headed by PM Imran Khan. 

Bilawal announces PDM’s joint candidate
On the same day, Bilawal Bhutto announced that former PM  Yousuf Raza Gilani and Farhatullah Babar will be the PDM’s joint candidates. Apart from the above, the PPP and PML-N have also fielded their respective candidates for each province. 

The ECP schedule is too tight, says PPP
Meanwhile, the PPP maintained that the schedule issued by the ECP is too tight; the candidates will submit nominations by 13 February (today) and the preliminary list of candidates will be published on 14 February. The Sindh Information Minister said two days is a short time to complete the formalities as there is a weekend in between with government offices remaining closed. (Imran Ayub, “PPP announces Senate polls candidates,” Dawn, 13 February 2021) (“Polls race begins with naming of Senate hopefuls,” The Express Tribune, 13 February 2021)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Earthquake of 6.4 magnitude hits various parts of Pakistan
On 12 February, the Met Office state that a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit parts of Pakistan, as jolts were felt in Islamabad, parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces as well as PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The office stated that the epicentre of the quake was in Tajikistan. Further, the Met Office issued a warning that aftershocks of minor intensity were expected. (“Strong earthquake hits parts of Pakistan,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

Drap approves another Chinese vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan
On 13 February, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) issued authorisation to the Chinese company Cansino Biologics Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. The supply of the doses will start in a few weeks making it the fourth vaccine to be allowed for emergency use in the country. Further, Cansino Bio is the only company to have conducted clinical trials in Pakistan and has shown a 74.48 per cent efficacy rate in preventing symptomatic cases and 100 per cent in preventing severe disease. (Ikram Junaidi, “Another Chinese vaccine approved for emergency use in Pakistan,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

IHC dismissed petition filed against Justice Azmat’s appointment 
On 13 February, the Islamabad High Court dismissed the petition filed against the appointment of retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed as head of the one-man commission constituted to probe the controversy related to the NAB and Broadsheet LLC. While dismissing the petition the court observed, “The conduct of the petitioner is not reasonable nor can he be extended the privilege to insist upon fixation of his case before particular benches, without a just and valid reason.” (Malik Asad, “Plea against Justice Azmat’s appointment dismissed,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

PROVINCE
Four soldiers killed in South Waziristan terrorist raid
On 12 February, four soldiers along with four terrorists were killed in South Waziristan in an exchange of fire. According to The News International, the ISPR said that terrorists attacked a security post in Makeen, South Waziristan. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office strongly condemned the use of Afghan soil to target Pakistan's military personnel and civilians, after a series of recent attacks. (“Four soldiers martyred in South Waziristan terrorist raid,” The News International, 13 February 2021)

EXTERNAL
Taliban had no legal authority to decide cases in Pakistan says SC
On 12 February, the Supreme Court issued a verdict stating that the Taliban had no legal authority to decide cases and their decision did not apply to Pakistan. The statement was made during the hearing of a petition filed by Gul Nawaz and others against the 2019 Peshawar High Court order in a land dispute case. Further, the judgement said that the Taliban had no legal authority to decide cases since they had infiltrated into Pakistan and by mid-2005 illegally occupied and assumed control over a part of the territory of Pakistan, including parts of Waziristan. Further, the judgement stated that the physical possession of any part of the territory of Pakistan taken over by the Taliban breached the Constitution and any decision given by the Taliban would be unconstitutional, unlawful and of no legal effect. (Nasir Iqbal, “Taliban have no authority to decide cases in Pakistan: SC,” Dawn, 13 February 2021)

 
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Fahd Husain writes about the timing of releasing an old video of legislators taking bribe in KP to vote in 2018 Senate elections. Pervez Hoodbhoy questions the rationale behind making Arabic a compulsory subject for students between Grade one and five. He argues, “forcing students to learn Arabic won’t make them virtuous.”

An editorial in The News analyses delay in making the 2017 census results public and official, and underlines the need to have it to conduct the local elections.

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