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Final phase of talks between FATF and Pak govt to decide country’s fate on terror financing charges

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Imran Khan hints at a possible IMF bailout; Snow leopard population declining in Pakistan.

FATF’s last phase of talks to determine Pak’s status on terror financing and money laundering

The final round of talks between The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international watchdog of money laundering and terror financing, and the Pakistan government is set to commence Monday, reports The News International.

FATF’s Asia Pacific Group team has arrived in Pakistan on a week-long visit to assess if the country has implemented its much promised 27-point action plan undertaken by various institutions to tackle issues of money laundering and financing of terror activities.

The objective of the visit is to review whether the country has complied with the technical requirements in this regard as of 21 October.

The negotiations are being considered crucial as it is after these that FATF will compile a final report based on its observations confirming Pakistan’s success/non-compliance with countering charges of money laundering and terror financing. FATF would subsequently decide if Pakistan should be removed from the grey list or remain there.

Imran Khan says IMF bailout imminent but loans from friendly countries is first preference

After months of speculation over whether Pakistan would opt for an IMF bailout, Prime Minister Imran Khan admitted Sunday that the country might have to knock at the IMF’s door to sort out its balance of payments crisis. He, however, added that his government prefers financing from friendly countries first, The News International reported.

 “We may go to IMF for loan to handle the country’s financial issues,”…but, first we will try to get assistance from other countries as we have requested three countries to deposit money in Pakistan’s State Bank that would help boost national reserves,” Khan was quoted as saying.

Khan put the onus of Pakistan’s debt crises on its “former rulers” by acts of their “corruption”. An IMF bailout could likely expect Khan’s government to reduce its spending that would be against his vision for an Islamic welfare state.

The premier also justified the hiking of prices of gas and power had become necessary in the wake of the country’s on-going financial crunch. He termed this policy as a compulsion and said there was no immediate remedy available for tackling the economic challenges.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank, the Manila-based international financing body, has made public its decision to provide a $7.1 billion financial package to Pakistan for its inclusive and sustainable growth in a span of the next three years, reported Daily Times.

Wencai Zhang, vice president of ADB, said that this package was part of a country partnership strategy for the 2018-2020 period and that efforts by the body were being realigned to focus on the country’s key areas such as education, health and income support.

Population of already endangered species- snow leopards decreasing in Pakistan

Wildlife experts in Pakistan have brought to attention the worrying decline in the population of the already endangered snow leopards in the country, reported Dawn. They have held responsible factors such as climate change and lack of eco-friendly tourism responsible for the constant threat to the species.

Experts have also pointed out that the species is an integral part of the ecosystem and this is being continuously challenged as the livestock for which the leopards depend on is being snatched away from them by shepherds.

Safdar Mirza, an environmental activist, said that due to the combined impact of factors like inadequate policies, lack of proper implementation of existing laws and some awareness campaigns, the leopard population was falling in Gilgit-Baltistan. He expressed his grave concerns towards the fact that while the current government was actively making attempts at boosting the tourism industry, it was neglecting the adverse impact this would have on the leopards.

Bangladesh turns down Pakistan’s choice for high commissioner

Bangladesh has allegedly refused to accept new nomination for the Pakistani high commissioner to Dhaka, reported The Daily Times. The post was left vacant after the retirement of Rafiuzaman Siddiqui in February this year.

Following his retirement, Islamabad had designated Saqlain Syedah as the new high commissioner to Bangladesh. The nominations were sent after all the diplomatic procedures were completed, however, there was no response from Dhaka’s side.

According to the former high commissioner Saddiqui, the approval to agreement hardly takes a month’s time. “The delay is indeed a refusal of her acceptance by the Bangladesh government,” he was quoted as saying.

He also went on to claimt: “The reason is obvious… the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka can’t move without the approval of Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena, who is anti- Pakistan and dancing to the tunes of New Delhi.”

Noble laureate’s dream of seeing Shah Rukh Khan might soon turn to reality

It seems like Noble laureate and Oxford student Malala Yousafzai’s long-held desire to meet Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan may soon become reality.

The principle of Oxford University Alan Rusbridger had back in November 2016 tweeted to SRK asking him if he could visit the university and address students there as they loved him. Malala to this replied Sunday saying “still waiting”.

The Bollywood icon in turn responded to Malala’s tweet by expressing that he would “love” to meet her and that this would be his “privilege”. He also promised that he would instruct his team to schedule his visit “sooner than soon”.

Afghan woman to be treated free in Imran Khan’s cancer hospital 

As an extension of its gesture of goodwill to an Afghani cancer patient, Pakistan has decided to provide her treatment free of cost.

According to this Express Tribune report, Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Zahid Nasrullah Khan, had filed a request for a special assistance to Noorziya, who was diagnosed with cancer.

The patient will cross the Torkham border crossing point Monday along with her three attendants and will be then taken to Prime Minister Imran Khan founded Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Peshawar. This hospital has been offering free of cost services to more than 75 per cent of its patients.

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