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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan could be blacklisted by the FATF. Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to “lobbying by India”, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Lahore this week. Qureshi said he estimated that the country could suffer USD 10 billion loss annually if it remains on the watchdog’s grey list. A group of experts from the FATF recently visited Pakistan to review whether Islamabad has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list. During its three-day visit to Islamabad last week, a delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the FATF, expressed reservations over insufficient physical actions on the ground against banned groups to block the flow of funds and activities. The FATF noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate a proper understanding of the risks posed by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-i-Insania, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.

 

BANGLADESH

Jute mill workers go on protest. Jute mill workers in Dhaka launched a three-day strike on Tuesday, April 2. The blockades created traffic congestion, causing inconvenience to commuters. Workers of two jute mills in the Demra area of Dhaka blocked a road while observing the 72-hour strike. The workers of Latif Bawani Jute Mills and Karim Jute Mills blocked the road near the Demra Staff Quarter area for more than five hours. The workers have announced that they will continue their protests today. The Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation has agreed to implement the wage commission long demanded by the workers of the state-owned jute mills, hours after the workers launched a fresh strike to press home their demands. But unless the company issues a more concrete assurance, the protests could persist and spread, gaining support from workers of other jute mills around Dhaka. Clients are advised to avoid all protests. Check on the status of roads in the southern and eastern parts of Dhaka, where several jute mills operate, before attempting travel.

 

INDIA

Congress promises review of AFSPA. The Congress party released their election manifesto yesterday ahead of the general elections in April and May this year. The Congress party has promised to review the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in their manifesto. The party has promised to amend the law that gives special powers to security forces in conflict zones, taking into account humanitarian issues. In insurgency-hit areas, AFSPA allows security forces to arrest and open fire on anyone breaking the law. There have been allegations of excesses, including extra-judicial killings in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeastern states where the law is in force. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party criticized the move and accused the Congress party of catering to terrorists and anti-nationals.

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