–Imran plays down FATF deadline, says it’s just a ‘pressure tactic by groups’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that the government would act strictly against “fake news”, appointing former Punjab chief minister spokesperson Shahbaz Gill to spearhead the campaign to curb disinformation in the country.
According to a PM Office statement, the meeting discussed the national challenges, the government’s measures to address the issues and role of media particularly social media in the modern era. The participants also deliberated over the opportunities for youth in the digital media sector, allied challenges and their resolution.
Talking to the delegation, the prime minister said the country had come out of the toughest economic condition with the reduced fiscal deficit and revival of the investors’ confidence.
He said after 1960, it was the incumbent government that had prioritized the industrial sector which would create job opportunities and grow the national economy.
Discussing the PTI-led government’s strategy and initiatives regarding the growth of digital media, the prime minister said the medium had emerged as the most effective communication tool in this technological era. Even owing to the swift growth of digital media, the information flow knew no boundaries, he added.
‘NOT SCARED OF FATF’:
Speaking about Pakistan’s placement on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list in 2018, the PM said the inclusion in the list was not a ‘danger’, but a ‘pressure tactic’ from [certain] groups.
Pakistan must complete the FATF’s action plan by February 2020 and will remain on the grey list until then. When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming deadline, the Prime Minister dismissed the concerns and said that the deadline and the FATF were being used as a pressure tactic against Pakistan.
The FATF is a ‘watchdog’ body, designed to combat money laundering and terror financing around the world.
The body placed Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ in June 2018, for failing to combat terror financing. The country was then given till October 2019, to make progress and implement a 27 point action plan.
However, by October 2019, Pakistan had only addressed five of the 27 action items. The FATF extended the deadline to February 2020 for the remaining 22 action items.
A joint group of the FATF will review Pakistan’s performance report in a scheduled meeting between January 21 to 23, 2020. The final decision is expected to happen in mid-February.
Special Assistant to the PM Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari and Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media Dr Arsalan Khalid along with a delegation of youth from different fields, including the digital media attended the meeting.