Volume 23 Issue 11, November 2019
By Javed Jabbar

While the UNGA speech by Prime Minister Imran Khan on 27th September 2019 was both unusual and compelling for its being extempore and for its pungency, it was not meant to be a magic wand that instantly transformed or resolved the crisis. Nor was it meant to present tangible solutions --- except to remind the world that it owes a debt to the people of Kashmir who have been caged like --- or worse --- than animals, as well said by the Prime Minister.

Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the wife of detained Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik, talks to SouthAsia in this exclusive interview.
(This interview was conducted on Oct. 5, 2019).

Click this photo to view
the 'Genesis Awards' video.


Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Javed Ansari

S. G. Jilanee

Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

Noor Javed Sadiq

Aneela Shahzad
Cynthia Ritchie
Dr. Ahmed Saeed Minhas
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Faizan Usmani
Javed Ansari
Javed Jabbar
Kelton High
Khalid Hussain Mir
Laura Schuurmans
Major General (r) nam Ul Haque
Maryam Sadriwala
Meriam Sabih
Muhammad Atif Ilyas
Murtaza Talpur
Nighat Kamal Aziz
Professor Arshad Syed Karim
S. M. Hali
S. Mubashir Noor
S.G. Jilanee
Sabria Chowdhury Balland
Samia Shah
Sikandar Taimoor
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

Haroon Rasheed
Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Riaz Masih

General Manager-Marketing
Syed Ovais Akhtar

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Shehryar Zulfiqar

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



By Laura Schuurmans
After more than seven decades of a simmering conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region, once again Indo-Pakistan relations have reached their lowest level after the two came close to war following the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019. As the security conditions between the two archrivals somewhat calmed down in the months that followed, the heat flared up again after India took a decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution in August 2019.

The recent decision taken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to keep Pakistan on its grey list till February 2020 is another setback for this cash-strapped country. It exposes the level of complacency shown by the country’s economic managers to deal with a matter that has turned into a crisis-like situation. Meeting in Paris on June 28, 2018, the FATF Plenary took the highly anticipated decision on the basis of a monitoring report of the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) that found several ‘strategic deficiencies’ in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering (AML) steps and in combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regimes. Other than Pakistan, the other states placed on the FATF grey list last year were Sri Lanka, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago.

At that time, the task for Pakistan was quite simple and clear-cut: to come out of the grey list and to further avoid being downgraded to the blacklist. It would have done this by fulfilling its 27-point action plan until the October Plenary this year. However, the task appeared to be too formidable for the PTI government. It was obvious that they had not done their homework. To control terrorism financing, the government was tasked with devising corrective measures, as specifically recommended by the Financial Action Task Force. A team of economic and financial experts was hired at high salaries to fulfil FATF’s 27-point agenda. Some efforts were made by the finance ministry to remove the loopholes in the financial transaction system and form a flawless mechanism to stop money laundering and curbing terrorism financing. However, much to everyone’s chagrin, the FATF decided in October to still keep Pakistan on its grey list. This indicates the harsh reality that the country has miserably failed to complete its action plan, as in the given 16-month period, it has just been able to work on only five out of the 27 tasks given to it to control alleged funding to terror groups. As per the latest statement issued by the FATF, it acknowledged Pakistan’s commitment to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies and to comply with the FATF and APG requirements to strengthen its AML/CFT regime. However, the FATF statement came with a caution as it expressed serious concerns over the lack of progress made by Pakistan in addressing terror financing and mitigating money-laundering risks. In addition, the global financial watchdog clearly warned this already grey-listed country to take decisive action soonest possible.

Pakistan’s continued placement in the FATF’s grey list depicts a doomsday scenario for the country. It is now almost on the verge of being blacklisted as a terror-financing state, an infamous tag that is currently associated with only two countries in the world - Iran and North Korea. The Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) ranks Pakistan at 5th position in terms of countries most affected by terrorism. Issued by the Basel Institute of Governance, the Basel AML Index 2017 ranked Pakistan at 46th position among 146 countries in the world in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing risks. Now, with a mere 4-month lifeline at Pakistan’s disposal to complete the unfinished 27-point action plan, its Ministry of Finance, in tandem with all concerned financial regulatory authorities and agencies, such as the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, needs to expedite collective efforts on a war-footing. Despite the dire situation, somehow things don’t seem to be working in the desired direction. Knowing that India is making sinister efforts to damage Islamabad’s endeavours and push it to the brink so that it is blacklisted by the FATF, Pakistan needs to move fast, set its house in order and make significant and sustainable progress to escape the financial doomsday. There is a feeling that some of those people in the government responsible for financial decision-making have a lop-sided approach towards the next actions that FATF could take against Pakistan. They need to realise in no uncertain terms that black-listing would lead this already economic-hit country to a freeze in official and private capital inflows as well as tough sanctions would be imposed on its banks and financial institutions. Time is really running out and it seems as if doomsday is just around the corner.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


Challenges Ahead

This is related to last month’s cover story on ‘Whither World Bank?’ The World Bank is an international organisation that helps emerging countries reduce poverty. It focuses on improving education, health and infrastructure while providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants. So far it has successfully addressed social sector development in South Asia but some regions are behind others, especially in terms of adult literacy and eradication of poverty. The situation is perhaps more challenging in Pakistan where poverty, terrorism, high fertility rate and a generally conservative attitude towards women education and their low participation in workforce create an onerous set of constraints. The development stays in flux as the World Bank Group approaches the end of the third half-century of involvement in the process of development. Will the World Bank change its policies towards such countries?

Fatima Saeed,
Karachi, Pakistan

Deteriorating Education System

This is with reference to the article ‘Price of Indiscipline’ by Syeda Areeba Rasheed. Ragging is a menace that is deeply embedded in the minds of young adults. Despite the fact that ragging is a criminal offence in Sri Lanka, it has become a part of university life where the seniors shatter the excitement and the confidence of the newcomers to impose their superiority. A collective initiative should be taken to eliminate this mess. Everybody has a right to education and if the terror of ragging prevails, it will directly affect the quality of education and the mentality of new students. The aftershocks of ragging can even lead to students suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Rashmi Singhe,
Colombo, Sri Lanka


Inefficiency of Public Transport

Dhaka’s chaotic public transport service is a major headache for city-dwellers. The city is notorious for its never-ending gridlock and critical lack of road safety. Rapid population growth and urbanisation, extreme inequality, inadequate road space, unplanned roads and an archaic traffic management system are among the reasons behind this problem. Usually, buses and minibuses are the preferred modes of travel for the majority of residents. In the absence of better alternatives, they often have to endure long delays, overcrowding and sometimes lengthy walks to be able to get into a bus. All these translate into tremendous sufferings and loss of health and money daily. We need to remember that the basic prerequisite for a good economy is the mobility of the people with access to an efficient public transport system. If the city is to survive with any degree of success, the city-planners must fix its transport system first.

Azmol Fuad Talukdar,
Dhaka, Bangladesh


Malicious Practice

This is concerning the article ‘Violence Against Women’ by Irshad Ahmed. The article primarily discusses the sadistic practice, said to be a gynaecological test, women undergo to determine whether they had vaginal intercourse or not. Such an examination leaves a long-lasting impression on the life of the women. Many experience physical, psychological and social consequences and, in cases of rape, the practice causes additional pain to the original act of sexual abuse, leading to re-traumatisation and re-victimization. WHO very strongly condemns the practice and claims that there is no evidence that the method can produce accurate results. Unfortunately, forced virginity tests remain legal in Afghanistan despite President Ashraf Ghani’s pledge to end the invasive examination in May 2017.

Marzia Durani,
Kabul, Afghanistan


Man of Words

Zarrar Sehgal is an international economist and renowned legal consultant. It was really impressive to see his views as part of your cover story in SouthAsia. It is good he shared his views regarding the World Bank and the developments it has made during the years in Pakistan and South Asia. Zarrar Sehgal holds the view that the current agenda and policy goals of the World Bank will need a massive influx of capital to sustain and promote growth in the lesser developed countries. In his interview, he also pointed out that the World Bank is an active supporter of CPEC as this initiative will lead to large economic gains in infrastructure and transport growth in the coming years.

Muhammad Ali,
Islamabad, Pakistan

Words of Wisdom

Prime Minister Imran Khan forcefully raised the Kashmir issue during his address to the UN General Assembly. There can be no peace in occupied Kashmir so long as Indian troops continue to terrorise the Kashmiri people. Therefore, it has become incumbent upon the United Nations to exert maximum pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to not only lift the curfew in occupied Kashmir but also withdraw troops from Kashmir. Thereafter, it should allow the UN to hold a plebiscite as agreed to by Pakistan and India. The UN must act quickly or the entire region will descend into chaos and strife, bringing miseries to hundreds of millions of people.

Hatib Ali,
Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan



Rain in Karachi

While the world eagerly awaits rain as one of the blessings of the Almighty, it is the other way round in Karachi, where the news of a rain spell is considered more as a warning rather than an intimation from the meteorological department. This is largely due to the weak infrastructure of Karachi, which exposes its true loop-holes during prolonged rain spells. Mountains of garbage invade the city, destroying the fragile civic infrastructure while the stakeholders and administration continue to blame each other for lack of funds and resources. The water that accumulates everywhere destroys roads, enters homes, damages vehicles and endangers power infrastructures and street lights potentially causing serious accidents. As the mayhem continues, authorities seem to be sipping on their teacups or resting under the bridges while the city slowly steps into its grave.

Gulshan Naz,
Karachi, Pakistan


Global Warming

According to the International Labour Organisation, countries which depend on agriculture are at risk of a serious water shortage and Pakistan is among them. In coming years, the water crisis will aggravate and the countries which run their economy by selling agricultural products will face high unemployment, inflation, poverty and gaps in incomes. Many countries, including Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen, which are already facing the spectre of global warming, will be the first to face global warming effects. To overcome the consequences of climate change and to save the agro-economy, Pakistan should start water management practices. It should build dams, stop water-logging and monitor the distribution of water among all provinces.

Sajjad Wazeer,
Shikarpur, Pakistan



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