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Pakistan Press ( 23 Sept 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Press on Rape Culture, FATF, Pakistan Military and Halal Exports: New Age Islam's Selection, 23 September 2020

By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

23 September 2020

• Reporting Rape

By Beenish Zia

• Halal Exports: A Solution To Pakistan’s Trade Deficit

By Syeda Nazish/Zahra Bukhari

• Is Pakistan’s Military Spending Just Right?

By Nasir Khan

• Passage of FATF Bills Sans Consensus

By Syed Akhtar Ali Shah


Reporting Rape

By Beenish Zia

23 Sep 2020

HAVE you ever wondered what a rape survivor goes through post-incident? Let me walk you through their journey and encourage readers, in particular policymakers and state officials, to imagine themselves in the shoes of the survivor. And to keep this feeling in mind when they take their next steps.

The first torture for the survivor, if conscious, is to report the crime. There is no universal access number in Pakistan. Therefore, depending on where you are, you have to be in your complete senses to know where to call to report. The longer the delay between a crime committed and its reporting, the weaker the case.

Within the state machinery, the police are typically the first responders. Yet they are a product of the same society that reeks of patriarchy and misogyny. We are naive to expect them to behave differently, unless trained and under strictly enforced protocols. As you can imagine, that is not the case.

Unsurprisingly, the police engage with survivors in an insensitive and judgmental manner — their questions reveal they are mostly on the lookout for things that the survivors must have done to ‘invite’ such ‘behaviour’. Although police protocols require that a female officer be part of the investigation team, this is often not the case due to a number of reasons, including shortage of female officers.

Every step of the way, the system is a monster.

Next comes the investigation process. What is the first step, you ask? Demanding the survivor prove her virginity. A survivor who was just assaulted is then subjected to an intrusive, outdated and wicked procedure known as the ‘two-finger test’ (TFT). It has no legal or medical basis but is followed more rigorously than any existing laws. Recently, Punjab health authorities indicated their intent to ban this horrendous practice. However, as of writing, it is still customarily enforced across the country.

After reporting, the survivor needs to undergo a medical examination as soon as possible. The most authentic evidence that can prove rape is said to be gathered within the first 24 hours — without taking a shower or changing clothes. According to official Punjab Police statistics for this year, 2,043 rape cases have been registered to date, with only 295 (a mere 14 per cent) being under investigation. One ray of hope in the investigation process has been the growing use of forensic labs (particularly in Punjab), but the quality and usage varies across provinces.

Let’s say you get this far, and the case goes to trial. The torture doesn’t end here. Rape has been criminalised under Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code. It mandates death penalty for gang rape, and 10-25 years’ imprisonment or death penalty for rapists. The case begins at the sessions court but, like all other cases, it can be appealed in the superior courts as well.

While the law since 2016 requires that a rape trial be concluded within three months, this is rarely the case. The final decision could take years, given the backlog of cases. The mortifying treatment a survivor endures is also psychologically tormenting. Imagine being in a courtroom filled with strangers (mostly men) and having to narrate the horrific incident in as much detail as possible. Imagine being cross-examined while men snicker around you. Every step of the way, the system is a monster.

Today, I don’t want to aim for the sky, but to at least be able to look up. I want to feel hope. Today, I want to recommend small changes, not big wins.

Firstly, first responder police teams should be trained and given strict protocols to follow. We need to criminalise brea­ches of protocol.

Secondly, we need a universal helpline that works throughout Pakis­tan. If the state doesn’t have the resources, then it should find a development partner. It makes reporting easier and also generates useful statistics for informed and targeted decision-making. The command centre should inquire about the issue and pass on the complaint to the relevant and nearest team for immediate relief. This is likely to eliminate possible confusions and delays caused over territorial disputes.

Thirdly, Pakistan should immediately ban the use of TFT across the country. There is no legal reason for it, besides being traumatising and humiliating. Finally, police stations in every province should have the numbers of listed NGOs that can send professionally trained female facilitators to accompany first responders to the crime scene, with her prime purpose being to ensure the welfare of the survivor.

In conclusion, if we can’t do anything else, we should at least improve the quality of state-citizen engagement post-incident. We can at least try to ease the pain and help the survivors and their families begin healing through our handling of the situation.


Beenish Zia is a lawyer at the Asma Jahangir (AGHS) Legal Aid Cell.


Halal Exports: A Solution To Pakistan’s Trade Deficit

By Syeda Nazish/Zahra Bukhari

September 23, 2020

In the coming future, the trillion-dollar global halal market will be captured by countries that were proactive enough to recognize the emergence of this highly lucrative and fast-growing global Muslim consumer market. The global halal market is not only substantial in terms of the size of its consumer base; it also encompasses a broad array of potential products and services. Currently, we are witnessing Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia trying to capture the halal vaccination market and Non-Muslim countries like New Zealand, Singapore and Australia gaining a share of the global halal logistics and supply chain industry. Innovations in halal industries include several offerings such as halal pharmaceuticals, halal hospitality, Islamic Fintech, halal tourism, and modest fashion. But where is Pakistan in this whole halal market equation?

Muslims in Pakistan account for approximately 96% of the country’s total population and represent 11% of the global Muslim population. This makes Pakistan not only an attractive market for the rapidly expanding global halal businesses but also identifies a promising opportunity for the country in terms of halal market exports. However, current statistics do not validate this hypothesis. According to the data, Pakistan has a meagre 0.25% share in the global halal trade which vastly falls short of the country’s halal export potential. This gap has been recognized by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who has repeatedly shared his vision of broadening the halal export base of our country. Halal exports can have a significantly positive impact on the country’s trade deficit especially if we are able to tap into the halal meat market.

Out of the all the Muslim countries only a few countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE are exporting Halal meat to various Muslim and Non-Muslim countries. This creates an enormous potential for Pakistan. According to some estimates Pakistan can earn up to PKR90 billion through the export of halal meat to various international markets. It is among the top 10 global beef and veal producers and produces 1.8 million tons of beef and veal annually. The country’s livestock exports account for around 3.1% of its gross exports. Within this the halal meat accounts for only 1.1% of the country’s total export base. Pakistan has a large rural community having large potential for the production of halal meat. However, its inability to capture the halal meat export market can be traced back to a number of issues currently existing in our local market place.

Brands do not follow the halal standards from raw material to the selling point as being done by the rest of the halal hubs all around the world. Majority of the stakeholders are unaware of the concept of Halalan Toyyiban or the halal value chain

In Pakistan, majority of the stakeholders equate the concept of halal with the Shariah specified method of slaughtering animals and the absence of pork and alcohol from products. Globally the concept of halal has surpassed the premises of halal manufacturing. Muslim consumers want the products to be manufactured, stored, transported, sold and advertised according to Shariah principles for them to be considered Islamic brands. Brands are being developed on the Islamic concept of Halalan Toyyiban. It relates to the products and services that are “allowed and permissible for consumption with relation to Shariah law as long as they are safe and not harmful”. If Pakistan wants to capture the halal meat market it needs to develop a halal value chain for the halal meat.

Non-Muslim countries have captured a major portion of the halal meat market by gaining expertise in various halal supply chain activities. Brazil is the largest exporter of halal meat to the OIC countries followed by Australia, India, France and China. Countries are tapping into various stages of the halal value chain process for products and services such as halal supply chain management, halal logistics and warehousing, halal packaging and Islamic branding. Brazil has developed halal chicken slaughtering houses, New-Zealand is the largest exporter of halal lamb and has developed halal logistics facilities according to international standards and Netherlands have created halal warehouses for storing halal shipments according to halal storage standards. Such halal supply chain facilities are non-existent in Pakistan.

Currently, majority of the brands being sold in Pakistan fall in the category of Traditional Islamic brands in which the halal status of the product or service is assumed and not explicitly stated by the seller. This creates a problem since research shows that almost 90% of the products being sold in Pakistan are not certified halal by a credible authority. Based on the recent developments in the halal market, this seems plausible since the concept of halal logistics; warehousing, transportation and storing are almost non-existent in our country. Brands do not follow the halal standards from raw material to the selling point as being done by the rest of the halal hubs all around the world. Majority of the stakeholders are unaware of the concept of HalalanToyyiban or the halal value chain. With the large amount of imported products present in our local markets and our local brands targeting the global export market, Pakistan is in a drastic need to develop centralized halal standards and certification requirements for all industries and value chain activities. The development of trade relations with other Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Turkey can be strengthened through the formation of standardized Islamic brands. This is the stepping stone for the development of a substantial halal export base for any country.


Syeda Nazish Zahra Bukhari is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT), University of the Punjab, Lahore


Is Pakistan’s Military Spending Just Right?

By Nasir Khan

September 23, 2020

Pakistan’s military is the only actor in most of the today’s pressing security challenges because it has been facing these issues from last many decades. Pakistan’s military has been simultaneously combating the ferocious internal insurgency, revolts and suppress international terrorist groups. This is the only real institution that responds in the worst flood, earthquake or any other problem that affect from last 70 years. The region is strategically complex because we have at our borders and the main rival is India. In such difficult conditions, this is Pakistan’s army that has been protecting and securing the sovereignty of the state.

Being the strongest organ of the state, army has an influence on Pakistan’s foreign policy and its internal politics. It has analysed that corruption is existed in most of the public institutions and the politicians protect the corrupt and crooked people so army must intervene in to curb this menace. This is the transparent institution and has a clear vision to promote the safety and security of the public. Nothing is wrong that they influence the governmental policies because they are the well-wisher of our homeland.

Many so called scholar call them ‘FA Pass’ and how they can intervene in public policy development. For those, army has a mechanism of training, education and learning within the institution, so all army officer are well trained, educated and even they have many foreign trainings related to devise the policies and administrative strategies. No doubt in it, the army officers have more administrative skills than others. If we look at the national and multinational organizations, they also prefer to hire retired army officer, you know why because they are more disciplined, regimented, honest and good administrator as well.

Army has been battling vicious and nasty domestic adversaries who have killed many civilians and targeted the whole nation. Furthermore, they are putting efforts to repress international terrorist groups who are funded by our rival India. Furthermore, Pakistan’s armed forces manage the world’s fastest-growing nuclear armoury amidst significant concerns about its safety and security because there is a domestic insurgency existed in the form of non-state actors funded by the rival and foreign organizations to destroy our nuclear weapons. Pakistan army is in the flux of strategic competition with all powerful states including India and USA. The safety and protection of the nuclear weapons is as important as to be alive. Pakistan is the only Muslim Nuclear state so the powers of the world want to demolish our nuclear programs but due to our strong and dedicated army; we and our nuclear program is safe and secure.

A debate about the ‘military spending’ has created hype due to vague and false statistics at social media. According to the real statistics, Pakistan’s defence budget is 3% of its total GDP. In this 3% they manage all their activities and operations. This is not fair to manipulate the statistics of defence budget. It is quite expensive to maintain advanced military as war can be pricier than ensuring the state’s defence power. State security and safety, and the development of economic upliftment options are also indispensable. India, China, USA and many other countries have been spending much more on their defence. So, in this scenario, Pakistan is spending less on defence that is even less than India.

Technologically advanced military forces could have the ability to serve as players in assigning states a higher role in the international hierarchical structure, thus providing them with greater political influence in the political arena

Due to the dynamic, uncertain and unpredictable strategic climate of the world, military spending is imperative for Pakistan. Security tribulations in Pakistan have become complex as juxtaposed and contrasted with inter-state border challenges, intra-state socio-religious and ethnic conflict and war against radicalised insurgent groups in Pakistan and across the region, terrorist organizations, syndicates, and the brim over effects of protracted asymmetric warfare in Afghanistan. The larger states in the region are China and India, due to their military, geography, natural features and demography. The predominant and principal geopolitical location of India in the region that shares borders with many South Asian states aflame its desire to be a powerful state or the region’s “big brother.” With ample military ability and ‘strategic will,’ China and Pakistan have dissuaded such hegemonic Indian designs.

Classical economists like Adam Smith acknowledged: “The sovereign’s first responsibility to protect society from other societies’ aggression and inequality is steadily expanding as society progresses in civilization.” Throughout Pakistan’s history, it has been acknowledged that every government’s prime responsibility is to build its forces in order to make sure its national survival, sovereignty, control and focus on its national interest. Pakistan geo-strategic location is the important to explore the need of strong armed forces. So the defence budget must be considered the influential and indispensable to meet the requirements of the region. Pakistan army is the strongest organ and this is the only institution that is protecting Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Conservative military strategy analysts argue that sustaining an appropriately sized, trained, and well-equipped military force capable of deterring, dissuading, and, if possible, overcoming a diverse range of potential adversaries is a realistic approach to national security. According to this view, all other diplomatic, developmental and monetary achievements seem fragile when military stability is undermined.

It is important to analyse that improving infrastructure and its effects due to which military expenses will indirectly contribute to the economic betterment of states by the development of public infrastructure and mega projects such as highways, bridges, railways , canals, dams, airports and other engineering projects of alternative civilian use.

In addition, technologically advanced military forces could have the ability to serve as players in assigning states a higher role in the international hierarchical structure, thus providing them with greater political influence in the political arena.

Military has the greatest interest in national survival in developing countries, and has gradually become a player in national governance and politics due to massive corruption and malpractice. Military-related institutions in Pakistan, including the Fauji Foundation, the Shaheen Foundation, the Bahria Foundation, the Army Welfare Trust, and DHA have employed civilians in addition to retired military personnel, and are also engaged in programmes of social uplift, including the establishment of educational institutions, health facilities, etc., thereby helping Pakistan develop its economy. Military as also invested in industries such as cement and fertiliser, building works, electronics, and electrical industries, etc.The ultimate objective is to make Pakistan self-reliant and saving foreign exchange, these factories meet the needs of the civilian economy, thus reducing the import burden to boost Pakistan’s economy. All military related institutions in Pakistan are transparent and accountable.

The overall rise in the South Asian states’ defence budget since 1990 can be due to the changed perceptions of security in the post-Cold War period, with Pakistan and India’s defence budgets steadily multiplying. Despite these trends, in comparison to other states in the region, Pakistan’s military spending remains low.


Nasir Khan (Ph.D. Scholar in Media and Crime, CSS Coach and author of different books on International Relations, Criminology and Gender Studies)


Passage of FATF Bills Sans Consensus

By Syed Akhtar Ali Shah

September 22, 2020

A joint session of Parliament last week passed three bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) amid noisy protest by the opposition and a walkout later. The opposition accused the government of not allowing them to bring amendments and speak on the vires of the bills. Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, speaking on the occasion, termed it as a landmark achievement in the context of efforts to prevent money laundering and meet the conditions to get rid of the FATF grey list.

FATF, a global monitoring agency, sprang up in 1989, in the backdrop of the horrors of terrorism. The international body was tasked to set standards to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system, based on a coordinated strategy to meet such challenges. Also associated with it is the Asia Pacific Group (APG) which implements anti-money laundering policies and initiatives besides securing an agreement to establish a more permanent regional anti-money laundering regime. Both FATF and APG now act as watchdogs to assess the capacity and efforts of member countries in combating money laundering and terror financing.

Pakistan, being a member and under jurisdiction and increased monitoring of the two bodies, is under an obligation to overcome the strategic deficiencies, within a timeframe as pointed out by the FATF and APG. The statement on Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, adopted in February 2020, would remain in effect for countries that besides Pakistan included Albania, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Myanmar, Jamaica. Nicaragua, Panama, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Pakistan found a breathing space for compliance with the FATF conditionalities as time for evaluation was extended due to Covid-19.

The FATF webpage suggests that it was in June 2018 that Pakistan made a commitment to working with FATF and APG in order to strengthen its Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Finance Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic deficiencies related to counter-terrorist financing. Towards this, Pakistan has made progress in a number of areas in its action plan, including risk-based supervision and pursuing domestic and international cooperation to identify cash couriers. It was however still found to be lagging behind and was therefore asked to demonstrate that remedial actions and sanctions were applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, relating to Terror Finance (TF) risk management and Targeted Financial Sanctions (TFS) obligations; and demonstrate that competent authorities were cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS).

It was also asked to demonstrate the implementation of cross-border currency and BNI controls at all ports of entry, including applying effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. It was also to show that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and those acting on behalf of or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.

It was further required to demonstrate that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services; demonstrate enforcement against TFS violations, including administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases; and demonstrate that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.

In this context, the concern of the policymakers in Pakistan appeared to be that all deadlines had already expired with FATF calling upon Pakistan to meet its obligations by fully implementing the action plan, and a failure in the context might lead to crashing of business and other relations with member countries. It was in this backdrop that the government in order to allay the fears of FATF resorted to amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act; the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill; and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill.

The question in this respect is whether the mere passage of amendments to the laws will bring any significant change. The other associated issue is of duplication of laws. Pakistan already has laws in place to deal with terror financing and money laundering, such as the Pakistan Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Qanun-e-Shahadat (Law of Evidence), Anti Money Laundering Act 2010, Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, Investigation of Fair Trial Act 2014, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Act 1997, State Bank, Companies Act 2017, Societies Registration Act 1860, and the likes. But the problem lies in their efficient and effective implementation. Until and unless the capacity of those civilian institutions is enhanced, desired results are difficult to achieve. The powers via amendments to Anti-Terrorism Act carrying provisions that the investigating officer, with the permission of the court, can conduct covert operations to detect terrorism funding, track communications and computer system by applying latest technologies in 60 days are also available in Investigation of Fair Trial Act 2014 but police officials have not been endowed with powers under the rules made therein.

The apprehensions of the opposition and civil society are that many of the provisions are essentially against the fundamental rights and liberties. They are also critical of the role given to NAB and other such institutions, which may use these arbitrary powers for political engineering. Another area of concern for opposition is the insertion of the provision empowering the government to notify a National Executive Committee. In all probability, besides others, the committee is likely to be composed of NAB and intelligence agencies. In the past, persons like Dr Asim had been grilled using powers under anti-terrorism but later on he was charged for corruption. Similarly, the experiences of forming JITs, while inquiring into the Panama cases, have also not gone well.

Legislation, that has national and international ramifications, should always be done with national consensus after ensuring that all stakeholders are onboard.



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