Pakistan News

SLAMABAD: The Finan­cial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided in principle that Pakistan will remain on its grey list till next February and directed Islamabad to take ‘extra measures’ for ‘complete’ elimination of terror financing and money laundering.

An FATF meeting in Paris on Tuesday reviewed the measures that Islamabad has already taken to control money laundering and terror financing. However, the meeting observed that Islamabad will have to take further steps in these four months.

The FATF has linked the blacklisting of Pakistan with unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing. The FATF will make final decision in Feb 2020.

A formal announcement about these developments will be made on Oct 18 this year.

The spokesperson for the finance ministry, Omar Hameed Khan was approached to verify the news but he said that “it is not true and nothing before October 18”.

Islamabad urged to take extra measures to avoid plunging into black list

But, Paris-based correspondent of Aaj TV Younus Khan confirmed to Dawn on phone that the FATF has decided to give an additional respite of four months to Pakistan to help her implement remaining recommendations.

“My sources have confirmed to me about these developments,” Mr Khan said, adding that a formal statement in this regard will be issued on Friday, the last day of the latest FATF session.

A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar told the meeting that Islamabad has made positive progress in 20 out of 27 points. The FATF ex­­pressed satisfaction on the mea­­sures taken by Pakistan and its progress in various areas.

Mr Azhar could not be contacted to get official response despite attempts.

Six days of FATF meetings will focus on disrupting financial flows linked to crimes and terrorism and discuss ways to contribute to global safety and security.

China, Turkey and Malaysia appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan.

Meanwhile, representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions around the world, the IMF, UN, World Bank and other organisations are attending the meeting.

At the Tuesday meeting, India has recommended to blacklist Pakistan on the plea that Islamabad has allowed Hafiz Saeed to withdraw funds from his frozen accounts.

Concerns were also raised on the tax amnesty scheme offered in Pakistan.

On the outright support extended by Turkey, China and Malaysia, the FATF decided not to include Pakistan on the blacklist and give it more time to implement the remaining measures.

The decision to stay on grey list is still considered a success of the government. Moreover, the FATF also acknowledged the steps already taken by Pakistan to prevent money laundering and terrorists’ access to financial sources. The FATF stressed the need for further implementation of the action plan by Pakistan.

According to the FATF charter comprising 36 countries, the support of at least three countries is required to not blacklist any country.

In August 2019, the Asia-Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the FATF, also expressed concern over Pakistan’s performance due to technical flaws. Islamabad is obligated to report its performance to the Group every three months.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday.

They were received by the premier at the Prime Minister House, where a lunch is being hosted for the guests.

William's late mother, Diana, was a friend of the prime minister and visited Pakistan twice — 1996 and 1997 — to help raise awareness and funds for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

 

 

Prior to meeting the prime minister, the couple was welcomed by President Arif Alvi and his wife Samina Arif at Aiwan-i-Sadr.

The British royal couple was received by President Arif Alvi and his wife Samina Arif at Aiwan-i-Sadr. — Photo courtesy FO
The British royal couple was received by President Arif Alvi and his wife Samina Arif at Aiwan-i-Sadr. — Photo courtesy FO

 

Middleton, who earlier donned a royal blue kurta, changed into a green and white attire for the formal receptions.

The royal couple was accompanied by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan; Simon Case, the Principal Private Secretary to the Duke; and Christian Jones, the Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

 

The president commended the visiting dignitaries for their endeavors to raise awareness about mental health, climate change, and poverty alleviation, said a press release by the president's secretariat.

The Duke of Cambridge thanked the president for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his entourage. The royal couple appreciated the initiatives undertaken by Pakistan's government to combat climate change and to alleviate poverty, added the statement.

Visit to school, Margalla Trail 5

Prince William and Kate Middleton with students of Government Girls High School in Islamabad.
Prince William and Kate Middleton with students of Government Girls High School in Islamabad.

 

This is the first visit of the duke and duchess to Pakistan, during which they aim to "meet as many Pakistanis as possible and build a lasting friendship with the people of the country".

The couple kicked off their engagements on the second day of their five-day visit to Pakistan with a visit to the Government Girls College on Tuesday morning, where they interacted with the staff and students and visited classrooms.

Clips shared by British media show one of the schoolgirls telling William that "they were fans" of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. "I was a big fan of my mother too," he replied with a smile.

 

 

After their visit to the school, they arrived at Trail 5, Margalla to attend an event regarding environmental protection. Strict security arrangements were made prior to their arrival.

 

 

A visit to the Pakistan National Monument is also part of the royal couple's agenda.

Arrival in Pakistan

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, receives a bouquet from a child upon arrival in Islamabad on Monday night. — Reuters
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, receives a bouquet from a child upon arrival in Islamabad on Monday night. — Reuters

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Islamabad on Monday night and were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife Mehriene Qureshi at the Nur Khan Airbase. British High Commissioner in Pakistan Thomas Drew was also present on the occasion.

The five-day visit, which will end on October 18, has been organised at the request of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

According to a handout from Kensington Palace, the British royal couple will visit Islamabad, Lahore, Gilgit-Baltistan and rugged border regions to the west. The visit will span over 1,000 kilometres, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes, the handout said.

Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, will make their first visit to Pakistan today and are expected to arrive in Islamabad at 9pm.

The five-day visit, which will end on October 18, has been organised at the request of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This will be the first royal tour to the country since 2006 when Prince Charles and Camilla, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, travelled to Pakistan.

Taking to twitter, British High Commissioner in Pakistan Thomas Drew said that the primary focus of the visit was to showcase Pakistan as a "dynamic, aspirational and forward looking nation".

 

He added that the royal couple is looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan.

During their time in Pakistan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Islamabad, Lahore, Gilgit-Baltistan and rugged border regions to the west, an official handout from Kensington Palace had stated. The visit will span over 1,000 kilometres, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes, the handout said.

“Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan,” it added.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said the visit would further improve ties between Pakistan and Britain.

Qureshi said Prince William’s mother Princess Diana visited Pakistan in the 1990s to participate in a fund-raising event for a cancer hospital built by Imran Khan, adding Pakistanis still fondly remember Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997.

MANSEHRA: The police and local residents recovered the bodies of three tourists who died after being trapped in heavy snowfall in Kandia valley of Upper Kohistan district on Saturday.

“The bodies of three youngsters, who were trapped because of sudden snowfall in Kandia valley, have been recovered and dispatched to their native area in Kalam,” Arif Khan Yousafzai, deputy commissioner Upper Kohistan, told reporters on Saturday.

The tourists sneaked into Kanida valley, a difficult and high altitude terrain from neighbouring Kalam area of Malakand division some three days ago on a creational tour, but the weather suddenly became rough and snowfall trapped them in the thick forest in the valley.

Mr Yousafzai said that three youngsters, including Aziz Ahmad, Safoor Ahmad and Inam Khan, all residents of Ashuran village of Kalam, had come to Kandia valley, but were trapped in heavy snowfall.

The district administration shifted the bodies to the police post at Thoti in the Kandia valley.

Also in the day, the body of district education officer, Kolai-Palas, was found in his room.

“The body has been shifted to hospital for autopsy,” district police officer Iftikhar Ahmad told reporters. He said that what caused his death would be cleared after the autopsy. He said that a pistol was found near the body of the district education officer.

Source: Dawn

ISLAMABAD: Following completion of the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Joint Working Group of China and Pakistan on Infr­a­structure Develop­ment has decided to expedite work on the western route.

A delegation headed by the transport minister of China called on Minister for Communications Murad Saeed and discussed the infrastructure development projects in detail, according to a statement issued by the Press Information Depa­rtment on Saturday.

The Joint Working Group has signed a memorandum of understanding for transport infrastructure development.

The statement said under the CPEC’s second phase, around 1,270km highways would be constructed and the roads from Gilgit to Chitral, Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob, Peshawar-Dera Ismail Khan and Swat Expressway Phase-II would also be developed.

The Chinese delegation appreciated the performance of the ministry of communications for timely completion of the first phase projects.

Source: Dawn

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi has announced that the government has granted tax exemption to the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) for 23 years to facilitate establishment of its industrial units at Gwadar Port.

Accompanied by COPHC Chief Executive Officer Zhang Baozhong and Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Mr Zaidi told a press conference on Tuesday that the COPHC that had already been operating at Gwadar Port would get tax exemption for installation of machinery and other equipment at the port.

The initiative was a step towards relocation of the Chinese manufacturing industry in Gwadar and engaging the local labour, he said, adding that the move would ultimately boost Pakistan’s economy.

The minister said the COPHC would also set up a desalination plant with the cost of Rs1.95 billion to provide 5,000 gallons of water per day to the people.

He announced that China would build Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute in Gwadar at a cost of around $10 million, which would open job opportunities for locals. “About 360 students equipped with technical skills would pass out from the institute every year,” he said.

Mr Zaidi said Pak-China Friendship Hospital would also be established on 68-acre land at an estimated cost of $100 million. Besides, he added, a coal power plant for generating 300MW electricity would also be set up in Gwadar.

On the issue of Gwadar Port’s connectivity with Makran Coastal Highway, he said the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved construction of three bridges on the Eastbay Expressway to resolve the grievances of local fisherman.

Around 40 per cent construction work on the Eastbay Expressway had been completed while the rest would be completed by December 2020, he added.

COPHC CEO Zhang Baozhong said the present government had resolved the tax exemption issue that had been pending for the past seven years. He expressed the hope that due to the business-friendly policies of the government, more foreign investment would come to the country.

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who arrived in China on Tuesday morning, while addressing an event in Beijing said that he wished he could follow the example of Chinese President Xi Jinping and send 500 corrupt individuals in Pakistan to jail.

Speaking at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, the premier said that one thing he had learned from China was how the country's leadership tackled corruption.

"One of President Xi Jinping's biggest crusade has been against corruption," he said, adding that he had heard that some 400 "ministerial-level people" had been convicted on charges of corruption and put behind jail in the last five years in China.

Imran was referring to Xi's ferocious anti-corruption drive launched in 2012 that reportedly netted more than 1.3 million officials at various levels, from the elite to the ordinary.

"I wish I could follow President Xi's example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail," remarked the premier, saying unfortunately processing [cases] in Pakistan was "very cumbersome".

He counted corruption as one of the biggest impediments to investment in a country.

Prime Minister Imran said that the most important thing that Pakistan could learn from China was the way it lifted people out of poverty.

"What inspires me most about China is the way they have lifted 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years," he said. "This has never happened in human history."

The premier said that since his government had come to power, it had taken a conscious decision to make it easier for investors to come to Pakistan.

"We will want them to make profits in Pakistan.

"The Prime Minister's Office is driving opportunities for people to invest in our country. The ease of doing business is driven from the Prime Minister's Office. We have just formed a CPEC Authority because we were having problems in CPEC projects because they were under a lot of different ministries.

"We have now decided that there will be one authority which will resolve all the problems of CPEC, and that authority will be the Prime Minister's Office, so that my office can make it easier for people investing in Pakistan."

The premier recounted various steps that Pakistan had taken including the completion of phase one of the Gwadar Free Zone.

 

He said that there were various reasons for people to invest in Pakistan including its strategic location, its young population and the economic revival taking place in the country — particularly the strides made in the ease of doing business as well as the industrial clusters through special economic zones (SEZs).

Prime Minister Imran named the sectors Pakistan wanted Chinese investment in: textile, manufacturing, IT and financial services, physical and technological logistics, tourism and hospitality, food processing and agriculture, housing as well as in oil and gas.

The premier emphasised that now was the time to invest in Pakistan.

"The Prime Minister's Office will dealing with the major investors in our country and CPEC will be dealt again from the Prime Minister's Office.

"It's an exciting time in Pakistan because as we open up our country for business, it is a great opportunity for people to come and invest, and as we change the mindset in Pakistan, we want businesses to come and make money."

PM Imran Khan reviews a military honour guard with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP
PM Imran Khan reviews a military honour guard with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP

 

Later, the premier arrived at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing where his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang received him.

According to Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent at the official welcome ceremony where the national anthems for both China and Pakistan were played.

The Chinese premier was also introduced to members of the Pakistani delegation.

Earlier, China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang, among other businessmen, called on the premier.

As per an FO press release, the China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) — one of the most competitive listed companies with very strong financing capabilities in China — showed keen interest in exploring new business avenues in Pakistan particularly in the energy sector.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtiar, Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gillani, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industries, Production and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar were present in the meeting.

'Strengthening economic relations'

Later in the day, Foreign Minister Qureshi while talking to media said that Pakistan is trying to further cement bilateral relations with China.

Talking about the interaction with the Chinese business community, the minister said that the Pakistani delegation apprised them about the measures taken for the security of foreigners. He said that the Chinese were informed that Pakistan has raised a special division for their security.

Qureshi noted that the CPEC Authority has also been established to facilitate projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

"We have also talked about incentives for Chinese businessmen in Pakistan," he said.

He added that Islamabad wants to bring a balance in bilateral trade between the two countries. He expressed the hope that economic connectivity between the two countries will facilitate the region, particularly its land locked countries.

PM's arrival in Beijing

Prime Minister Imran arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning. According to a Foreign Office (FO) press release, the premier was received by China's culture minister Luo Shugang, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and Pakistan's ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi.

Upon his arrival, the prime minister was presented with the Tri Services Static Guard by a smartly turned out contingent.

Read: Imran to discuss Kashmir situation, CPEC with Xi

On Monday, PM office said during his October 8-9 visit to China, Prime Minister Imran would meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing to discuss the security situation in the disputed region of Kashmir as well as economic ties.

"The visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan’s economic, investment and strategic ties with China," PM Office said in a statement.

 

Ahead of the premier's departure, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in China on an official visit, the military's media wing said.

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