Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to hold talks with Maulana Fazlur Rehman

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has decided to form a committee under Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to hold talks with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, as the latter is set to march to the capital against the government, it emerged on Wednesday.

The core committee session of the ruling PTI was held under Prime Minister Imran Khan today, where the matter related to the upcoming march was discussed.

The PTI government has formed a four-member committee to deal with the issue of the march under the JUI-F, sources had informed earlier, although PTI leader and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed the news during his media talk later.

The four members will be party representatives from the four provinces and their names will be finalized today. The committee will also approach the opposition parties, sources had said.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan is of the opinion that there is no harm in holding talks with the JUI-F to reach a political solution.

The committee under Khattak will in its capacity decide whether to hold talks or proceed accordingly.

Earlier today, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said his party has decided to throw weight behind Maulana Fazlur Rehman and support his decision going against the PTI government.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman earlier said that participants of his march would enter Islamabad on October 31.


Police in capital on high alert ahead of farmers’ protest

RAWALPINDI: Police will be on high alert in the territory of the federal capital ahead of a protest by Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) against the rise in prices of pesticides and fertilisers and the low prices of their crops, which they say are causing them significant losses.

According to police sources, additional personnel will be deployed at points of entry and vehicles will be randomly checked starting Sunday night.

Nobody will be allowed into the Red Zone as part of the security measures, and traffic will be diverted because of the police presence.

Farmers’ leader Abdul Samad Chaudhry told Media that farmers have been facing significant losses because of the heavy rainfall, which has damaged cotton and maize crops among others, and because of the considerable increase in pesticide prices.

The cost of diesel and fertiliser has also risen, while the prices of crops are low, he said.

The PKI has decided to hold a peaceful protest in Islamabad, he said, to invite the government’s attention towards their problems.

“We will gather outside the National Press Club (NPC) and hold a peaceful protest,” he said, adding that the protesters do not plan to move towards the Red Zone. He said the protesters would prefer to register their protest outside the NPC and have someone from the government’s side listen to them.


Shahbaz, Fazl meeting now on 18th

LAHORE: A meeting between PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been deferred to Oct 18 (Friday) because of the latter’s engagements with regard to the ‘Azadi March’ preparation.

“The duo’s meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday (today) has been put off till Friday to discuss a strategy on the march. Both will hold a press conference after the meeting to inform the public about important decisions regarding the protest,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said here on Tuesday.

The PML-N on Monday cleared the air of uncertainty about its participation in the JUI-F protest, deciding that the opposition party will join the march whether it remains a rally or turns into a sit-in against the government.

Shahbaz Sharif had asked the party leaders at the meeting to mobilise workers in the light of party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s instructions to fully participate in the march of the Maulana on Oct 31.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz notified leaders against the vacant party posts as part of the PML-N preparations for the march.

Sheikh Aftab has been made senior vice president Punjab. Saira Tarar, Saud Majeed, Manshaullah Butt, Zakiya Shahnawaz and Amanullah Shadikhel have been made vice presidents in Punjab. Zeeshan Rafique has been made additional general secretary and Rana Arshad and Khwaja Waseem have been notified as joint secretaries.

Sheikh Waseem Akhtar and Malik Abrar have been made divisional presidents of Lahore and Rawalpindi, respectively. Chaudhry Abid Raza, Shahnawaz Ranjah, Akram Ansari, Abdul Rahman Kanju, Mian Yawar Zaman and Mehr Ijaz Ahmed have been made presidents of Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Multan, Sahiwal and D.G Khan, respectively.

Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list till February

ISLAMABAD: 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.