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Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Pakistan Deaths
15,501
5824hr
Pakistan Cases
725,602
458424hr
Sindh
269,126
Punjab
250,459
Balochistan
20,321
Islamabad
66,380
KPK
99,595

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday expressed the hope for a positive outcome with regard to getting removed from the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its forthcoming virtual plenary scheduled for Feb 22-25.

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told in his weekly media briefing that Pakistan was given 27 actionable items of which 21 items have already been addressed largely while the remaining have also been addressed partially.

“We believe that Pakistan has worked considerably [on the FATF action plan]. There has been a considerable progress and we remain engaged with the process and we look forward to our complete engagement with FATF towards this process,” he added.

In Oct 2020, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ until Feb 2021 after reviewing Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan for addressing anti-money laundering and terror financing.

Responding to a question about the recent contact between US President Joe Biden with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US strategic partnership with India to contain China and Pakistan, Chaudhri said Pakistan is fully cognisant of its security needs and it is closely watching the developments taking place in the region.

To another query about the US State Department’s tweet on resumption of internet services in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Chaudhri said that the tweet was in contrast to the ground situation in the occupied valley.

About the seventh edition of the multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-2021’ being held in Pakistan’s North Arabian Sea from 11 to 16 Feb 2021, he said AMAN is a major multinational exercise, organised by the Pakistan Navy, every two years since 2007.

He said the exercise aims at collectively working against human trafficking, smuggling of narcotics and weapons, and terrorism in the region, intensifying operational drills and maneuvers countering non-traditional threats.

He said the objectives also include improving upon joint operations at sea through effective Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), enhancing operational skills and interoperability in a diverse maritime environment as well as discussing development of Blue Economy under a secure and sustainable environment, and highlighting the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar port.

With 45 countries participating, he added that the exercise will help foster shared vision for maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

On the situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), he said that the Kashmiris continue to remain under the inhuman military siege for over 18 months, adding that extra-judicial killings of young Kashmiris in fake encounters and staged cordon and search operations is becoming a new normal in the IIOJK.

He pointed out that even the bodies of Kashmiri martyrs are not handed over to their families for proper burial in violation of all humanitarian norms.

In a new low, he added that India has started charging the family members asking for bodies of their loved ones.

“Pakistan strongly condemns registration of a case under draconian laws against the father demanding the dead body of his son, Athar Mushtaq Wani, who was martyred, along with two others during a fake encounter in Lawaypora area of Srinagar on December 30, 2020,” he added.

About the cross border attacks from Afghan territory, he said that 15 mortar shells were fired from across the border on the second of this month into Pakistan’s territory in Bajaur by terrorists, targeting Pakistan’s security forces and civilian population.

“The frequent attacks from Afghan’s territory are condemnable. Pakistan believes that rather than resorted to blame game, the two sides must work together against any elements that aim at jeopardizing peace and also affecting relations between the two countries,” he added.

To another query about the Ladkha standoff between China and India, the spokesperson said that India’s expansionist policy is impeding the peace and security in the region.

“India should adopt a responsible behaviour and the issues should be resolved through the available mechanisms,” he added.

About Prime Minister Khan’s forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka, the spokesperson said that the visit will take place at the end of this month on the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021