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Exit from FATF grey list: Pakistan so close, yet so far

 (18 Jun, 2022) ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Friday acknowledged that Pakistan has substantially completed all 34 items of the two separate action plans, bringing it nearer to finally exit the country out of its grey list in October 2022 plenary, contingent to recommendations of its technical team’s onsite visit likely next month to verify the implementation of the reforms. The FATF reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the Action Plans in its plenary meetings held in Berlin on 13-17 June 2022. The FATF has acknowledged the completion of Pakistan’s both action plans (2018 and 2021) and has authorized an onsite visit to Pakistan, as a final step to exit from the FATF’s grey list. In a statement issued at the conclusion of the plenary meetings, the FATF stated that since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan’s continued political commitment to combating both terrorist financing and money laundering has led to significant progress. “In particular, Pakistan demonstrated that TF investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upward trend in the number of ML investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile,” it stated. In addition, the statement added that Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times. At its June 2022 plenary, it added that the FATF made the initial determination that Pakistan has substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, and warrants an on-site visit to verify that the implementation of Pakistan’s AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future. “The FATF will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date,” it added. Earlier in February 2018, the FATF placed Pakistan on its grey list with effect from June 2018 and given it a 27-point action plan for implementation required for exiting from the grey list. (Courtesy:Business Recorder)                                                                                                                                   ——————————————————————————————————

Pakistan requests Iran to increase electricity exports to Balochistan

Minister of Development and Planning Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday 7th Juune, met with Iranian Ambassador Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, seeking an increase in electricity exports, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. Hosseini received Iqbal at the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad.  The meeting was also attended by Mohammad Sorkhabi, deputy ambassador of Iran, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, deputy minister of development and planning and head of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and some officials of the Ministry of Energy and Maritime Affairs. Emphasising the importance of neighbourliness with the Islamic Republic of Iran and bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, Ahsan Iqbal requested an increase in Iran’s electricity exports to Balochistan. The minister requested Iraninan ambassador to expand economic cooperation, especially to increase the export of electricity by 100 MW in addition to the current 104 MW of electricity to the province from Iran. Hosseini, while emphasising the development of cooperation between the two countries, announced Tehran’s readiness to supply electricity to Balochistan. The two sides reviewed the latest developments related to Iran-Pakistan bilateral relations, economic cooperation, especially in the field of energy, and regional development plans, including CPEC. In addition, considering Iran’s need to provide specialised personnel in the field of technology, he proposed bilateral cooperation and establishing a joint science and technology park on the common border. He also expressed readiness to exchange experiences and educate young people in the field of technology and knowledge-based technologies on behalf of Iran. These proposals were welcomed by the Pakistani side. The ambassador mentioned Iran’s capacities in supplying energy, construction materials and road construction in completing development projects, especially economic projects like CPEC. Iqbal expressed gratitude to Tehran for its cooperation in the energy sector, especially in the export of electricity to Balochistan, and stressed the commitment of Islamabad to further increase and deepen cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. The minister said in the meeting: “We are trying to provide electricity to Balochistan province, including Makran coast, with the help of neighbouring and brother country of Iran.” The meeting comes in the wake of the recently increase d petrol prices as well as electricity tariffs. Additionally, the electricity shortfall has risen to over 7,000 MW following which, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held an emergency meeting on June 4 and issued strict instructions to curtail frequent power outages.(Courtesy: Express Tribune)


Pakistan Navy Commissions 2nd Type 054 A/P Frigate ‘PNS Taimur’

The Pakistan Navy formally commissioned its second Type 054 A/P frigate, PNS Taimur (266). The ceremony took place at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, China, on June 23, 2022. The ceremony was attended by senior dignitaries of BOMETEC, OIMC, SASTIND, PLA (N), and CSSC and chairmen of CSTC and HZ Shipyard along with prominent representatives of the Pakistani community in China. The head of the Pakistan Navy Mission in China, Commodore Rashid Mehmood Sheikh, attended the event as a guest of honor. In his speech, he stressed that the introduction of the state-of-the-art 054 A/P frigates will greatly enhance the Pakistan Navy’s capabilities in defending maritime borders. He also lauded the joint efforts of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC), China Ship Development & Design Centre (CSDDC), HZ Shipyard and PLA (Navy) for setting a milestone by delivering the well-equipped and capable frigate on time. After the Admiral’s speech, the Deputy Director-General of China Military Products Department in his address highlighted that Pakistan and China are aware of the changing geopolitical environment and are taking effective measures to jointly address the added responsibilities and evolving challenges. He stressed that friendship between the two countries is a pillar of peace and stability in the region. PNS Taimur is the second of four frigates of Type 054 A/P being built for the Pakistan Navy. The lead ship of the class, PNS Tughril, was commissioned on January 24, 2022. PNS Taimur was launched on 29 January 2021, and the Chinese shipyard completed the ship in 17 months. The ship’s weapons, with a displacement of more than 4,000 tons, include HQ-16 surface-to-air missiles with a 32-cell vertical launch system, as well as a CM302-supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with a range of 290 km, anti-submarine torpedoes, and close-in weapon systems are noteworthy. PNS TAI MUR is a technologically advanced and highly capable sea asset having hi-tech weapons & sensors, the latest combat management, and an electronic warfare system to fight in a multi-threat environment. These ships will provide a sustainable boost to the combat capability of the Pakistan Navy and enable it to meet emerging challenges in the domain of maritime security and regional peace.


India warns Sikh pilgrims against accepting Pakistani hospitality

By: Asif Mehmood | June 24, 2022

LAHORE: Now in true Bharatiya Janata Party style hostility, the Narendra Modi-led government has issued an advisory for Sikhs and Hindu pilgrims coming to Pakistan directing them to desist staying as a guest of any Pakistani citizen. The advisory further warns that the Indian pilgrims who accept the hospitality of Pakistani citizens will be blacklisted for the future. The advisory comes at a time when 495 Sikh pilgrims from India are presently visiting Pakistan to celebrate the anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Even apart from the current pilgrimage, typically, Sikhs and Hindus who come to Pakistan prefer visiting their ancestral hometowns with the permission of Pakistani authorities and to meet long-lost friends and family. Sardar Amir Singh, the head of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, while talking to the Express Tribune, said, “This is a sad step taken by the Indian government.” Sardar Amir was of the view that the fascist Indian government was trying to deprive Sikhs of a chance to see the lands of their ancestors. The advisory has been on the cards for a while now as earlier, the Indian government had raised objections that some pilgrims visiting Gurudwara Darbar Sahib via Kartarpur Corridor meet their friends and conduct business. Member of the Punjab Assembly, Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora, referring to the Indian government’s advisory, said that Indian agencies have been trying to prevent Sikh pilgrims from coming to Pakistan with various tricks and excuses for a while now. “Previously, they told pilgrims that their lives are in danger in Pakistan. They also said that a visit to Pakistan might hurt pilgrims’ chances of getting visas for other countries. Thankfully, Sikhs have rejected such baseless propaganda,” the lawmaker said.  “The purpose of these instructions from the Indian government is to ask pilgrims to be cautious while going to Pakistan and to limit themselves to religious rituals only.” However, Sardar Amir, the Pakistani representative of the Sikh community, does not see Parmajit’s logic. “Sikhs who come here for religious pilgrimage often want to visit the bazaars and reunite with family members and friends they might not have seen for decades. The Indian government cannot just root out the love we have for each other by such absurd measures,” Sardar Amir told the Express Tribune. (Source: Express Tribune)

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