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Snippets from UK: FATF Scrutiny Causing Pakistan to Mend Its Ways on Terror Financing

File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

From Mehul Choksi's associates seeking a Scotland Yard probe into his alleged abduction to Team India's blank calendar, a roundup of what's making news today.

Grey matter: There can be little doubt that over the past three years the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has made at least a little headway in curbing financing of terrorism by Pakistani agencies. But that is well short of a certificate that Pakistan has begun to do almost all things right. The FATF itself says no more than noting that Pakistan has “largely” complied on several counts. But at the least, given the close and comprehensive FATF watch that has unravelled many Pakistani disguises attempting to beat the FATF’s eyes, we could say with some uncertainty that it could have been a lot worse without the FATF scrutiny.

No Scotland Yard intervention yet in Choksi case: The group Justice Abroad had called a press conference in London in defence of Mehul Choksi, and accusing Indian government agents of abducting Choksi to the Dominican Republic. One of the claims made, among the oddest of the lot, was that a complaint had been made to the Scotland Yard in London who would investigate the whole matter because they have some special expertise to do so. That seems to have gone no further, and now the Antiguan Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has said Scotland Yard has not contacted his government over Choksi. Under Britain’s Universal Jurisdiction law, a person who has committed an offence, such as torture, even if abroad, can be arrested and prosecuted in the UK. Choksi acquired the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017. The final court of appeal for Antigua is the Privy Council in London, since Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is still the island’s head of state. The group Justice Abroad was clearly representing Choksi, but Scotland Yard seems to have no role here at all.

More deaths than births in 2020: Britain has reported a higher death rate than birth rate for the first time in 40 years, with 683,000 births last year compared to 690,000 deaths. Certainly, Covid was a major factor in that outnumbering. But birth rates have been falling on average over recent years. The fertility rate is now down to 1.6, below the level a society needs to sustain itself, and it would be even lower but for the minorities. That points to a thorny political trend. Birth rates are higher than average in Britain among many minority groups than among native British people. But on average, the lockdown last year did not lead to a baby boom.

Loomba Trust marks Widows Day: The International Widows Day was marked on Tuesday this week with an online event organised by The Loomba Trust. Marking a Widows Day was the initiative of Lord Raj Loomba who took up the cause of widows following his own mother’s widowhood. The Loomba Foundation now has set up several programmes to support widows in India and at other places across several countries.

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After Ultimate Test loss, Team India can take it easy: Thursday, June 25, was the first of 41 Rest Days the Indian cricket team earned itself after losing The Ultimate Test to New Zealand. The players are a little constrained over sightseeing because of rain predicted over the south of England over the next week. Scotland, however, is due to have clear skies ahead, and it would be much recommended for the cricketers and their families who are accompanying them. The Scots don’t play much cricket but the Indian team have no cricket lined up at all until the Test series against England begins August 4. There’s plenty outside of cricket the team could get in before then.

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