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Pakistan to be placed on FATF ‘grey list’ in June, confirms FO

Tariq Ullah Wardak

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office Spokesman on Wednesday said that a new foreign policy would be devised as per recommendations from National Security Committee aimed at strengthening the relationship with regional countries.

Addressing weekly briefing at Foreign Office, Dr Faisal said that although Pakistan has come into the grey list of FATF but there are no chances of coming on to the blacklist of FATF.

Faisal revealed that a decision to place Pakistan on the watchlist was taken at the FATF plenary held in Paris last week. He, however, ruled out the possibility that Pakistan could even be placed on the international watchdog’s blacklist over a lack of compliance.

“Pakistan will be placed on the [FATF] ‘grey list’ in June, but there is currently no chance of [its] placement on the blacklist,” the spokesman said, adding that Pakistan will cooperate with FATF in every possible way.

An action plan to eradicate terrorist financing is being prepared and will accordingly be shared with the international body, he said.

According to Dr Faisal, the FATF has asked Pakistan to take additional steps to curb money laundering and terror financing.

He said Pakistan has already taken steps to remove the deficiencies in these areas and cited the presidential ordinance that was quietly passed days before the FATF plenary to amend the anti-terror legislation in order to include all UN-listed individuals and groups in the national listings of proscribed outfits and persons.

All matters related to FATF will be dealt with by the finance ministry, the FO spokesman said, adding that all matters relating to the terror financing issue except for press releases are of a “sensitive nature”.

About Pak-US relations, Dr Faisal said Pakistan and the United States desire to move forward and find common ground for continued cooperation.

Responding to questions at the weekly news briefing, he said the latest visit of Senior Director at the US National Security Council Lisa Curtis was an indication of this desire. He said during the visit, both sides expressed the desire to work together to pursue the common objective of stabilising Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan has always maintained that the only solution of Afghan conflict lies in the politically negotiated settlement, which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. He pointed out that military approach of seventeen years has failed to render desired results and increased miseries of Afghan civilians.

To a question about belligerent statements by the Indian army chief, the spokesman said these reflect the unfortunate jingoistic mindset in India. He said as a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan exercises restraint but our armed forces are fully capable of responding to any threat.

About the development of drone technology by India, he said its use should be consistent with the principles of UN Charter and international human rights law and established norms of a responsible state.

He, however, said development of drone technology by India is worrying in the context of its expanding military capabilities in conventional and non-conventional domains.

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Punjab Assembly passes resolution against NAB

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday and termed the bureau recent actions a violation of basic human rights.

Provincial Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah presented the resolution which was passed with a majority and criticized the NAB actions.

The resolution also demands for ending the ‘plea-bargain’ clause in the NAB Ordinance which allows accused persons to accept their crime and return some of the looted money and run away from punishment.

However, the opposition members in the Punjab assembly protested against the resolution.

Last week, NAB detained a senior provincial bureaucrat and former head of the Lahore Development Authority in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.

The move had resulted in a severe backlash from members of the Punjab bureaucracy, especially those belonging to the Pakistan Administrative Service.

 

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CJP takes suo motu notice of provincial governments media campaigns

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of publicity campaigns by the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Wednesday.

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar observed that provincial governments including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab are doing publicity campaigns on the taxpayers’ expense and termed it pre-poll rigging in the light of upcoming elections.

While hearing a case related to the prices of medicines, CJP directed the provincial chief and information secretaries to submit a report on the campaign in a week and adjourned the hearing until March 12, when he himself will hear the case.

He remarked during the hearing that provincial governments have no funds for providing the medicines to the people in hospital however they are utilizing public money.

 

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Kabul ready to start new chapter with Pakistan, says Ashraf Ghani

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani has said that Kabul is ready to forget the past and want to start new chapter with Pakistan and resolved the issue through dialogues.

This he said during his speech at the opening of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation which was started in Kabul on Wednesday.

Ghani said that the best way of resolving issues among countries is hold government-to-government talks and we are ready to hold negotiations with our neighbor country.

The aim of the meeting is to find a settlement to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

Afghan president added that peace is in their (Taliban) hands today and advised them to accept peace and come together to save this country and work for the prosperity of Afghanistan.

Ghani laid out several olive branches to the Taliban in his speech, saying the government will provide facilities and security to those who join the peace process, work on freeing prisoners, provide passports for Taliban members and their families and will issue visas, open an office for them including in Kabul and will also work to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders, according to Tolo News.

Earlier, the Afghan president said consensus is still needed to take coordinated action among states to counter the threat faced by Afghanistan.

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Contempt of Court: Nehal Hashmi likely to be released today after one-month in prison

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Former Senator and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Nehal Hashmi is expected to be released on Wednesday (today) after completing his one-month prison sentence in contempt of court case.

On February 1, the Police officials had arrested Nehal Hashmi from the courtroom after a three-member apex court announced the decision. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa headed the bench.

Nehal Hashmi had used derogatory remarks for the court and also threatened the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) team, who were interrogating Nawaz Sharif and his family members over their ownership of foreign properties.

A video of Nehal Hashmi speech went viral on social media and the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP)  Mian Saqib Nisar took suo moto notice. Hashmi, who led PML-N Karachi, was summoned before the court on May 28, 2017.

During the hearing Nehal Hashmi submitted apology and asked the court to forgive him for his remarks and an unconditional apology was then made by Hashmi’s counsel.

The court had reserved its decision on January 24 after Nehal Hashmi submitted an unconditional apology. The final decision was announced on February 1. He had also been disqualified from holding public office for five years.

 

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Afghanistan defeats West Indies in WC Qualifiers Warm-up

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Afghanistan defeated West Indies in a warm-up match of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers by 29 runs which is played in Zimbabwe.

West Indies elected to field first and inviting Afghanistan team to bat after winning the toss.

Afghanistan managed to score 163 runs for the loss of nine in the 35 overs with the help of some good low order batting performance.

Samiullah Shenwari was the highest scorer for Afghanistan and he scored 42 runs.

In reply, the West Indies batsmen were not in position to chase the target and the Afghan bowlers makes the harder which was initially looking very easy to them and they were all out on 110 runs.

Dawlat Zadran who took 4 wickets along Rashid Khan and Sharafuddin Ashraf taking 2 wickets each to restrict the West Indies Batsmen to 110 only.

Mohammad Nabi and Shah Zadran also took one wicket each on the bowling side.

 

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Kabul Process II summit to begin today

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Kabul Process II summit is expected to start today as the arrangements were finalized and the security was beefed up in the capital to ensure any untoward situation.

The local Afghan media reported that the Afghan Reconciliation process is expected to top the agenda of the summit.

While talking to media, the officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan said that government will share a comprehensive plan regarding the peace process during the summit.

Similarly, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani shared his views on social media and adding that he will present detailed peace offer to Taliban and Pakistan on behalf of the Afghan people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Corruption reference: Accountability Court adjourns hearing against Ishaq Dar till March 5

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the corruption case against former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar adjourned the hearing of supplementary reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till March 5.

The judge of the accountability court was informed that only one accused is present in the court and Judge Mohammad Bashir then adjourned proceedings for later today until the other accused appear in court.

Later resuming the hearing, the court adjourned the proceedings until March 5 and ordered that the other accused be provided copies of the interim and supplementary references.

Earlier on last Monday, the accountability court had accepted NAB’s supplementary reference, which includes 24 additional witnesses and three new accused persons.

Ishaq Dar, a close aide of former premier Nawaz Sharif is facing corruption for possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income.

An interim reference was filed against him by NAB in September last year in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

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PM Abbasi chairs NSC meeting, reviews international, regional situation

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) has agreed to readjust the foreign policy framework and focus more on the regional countries.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of NSC in Islamabad. The meeting reviews the current international and regional situation.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Interior, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three Services Chiefs were present in the meeting.

The NSC meeting also agreed to take promote the economic ties with the friendly countries in the region and establish a powerful and fruitful relation with these countries in the better interest of the Pakistan and region.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif briefed the members on his recent successful visit to Russia and recalled the desire of the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relations in all areas.

The NSC meeting reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding interest in lasting peace in Afghanistan. It stressed the importance of peace among the Afghan people through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation process.

The NSC meeting condemned the unprovoked Indian ceasefire violations along the LoC and Working Boundary. It agreed that Pakistan will continue its fight against terrorism and extremism in the interest of its people. Our policies will continue to be formulated and implemented in light of our national interests.

 

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Two policemen martyred as attackers open fire on DSP’s vehicle in Quetta

F.P. Report

QUETTA: At least two policemen were martyred after an unknown attacker opened fire on police officer convoy on Wednesday morning.

Local media reported that the vehicle of DSP Hameedullah Dasti was attacked by unidentified personnel on Samungli Road in a result two policemen were martyred in the attack and the DSP remained unhurt.

The rescue teams and security forces reached the site of the incident and started search operation in the area for the arrest of the criminals/

Police and security officials are often targeted in the Balochistan capital.

Four security personnel were martyred on Feb 14 when they were attacked near the city’s Sariab Road area.

On January 28, a policeman was killed in Quetta’s Hazarganji area in a targeted attack while on January 18, two Balochistan Constabulary officials were killed in Quetta.

Similarly, a police constable was shot dead by unidentified attackers on the city’s Raisani Road on January 16.