Pakistanis express solidarity by raising Kashmiri flags on Independence Day

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Flag of Azad Kashmir flutters in the wind outside a house in Chak Shahzad neighborhood of Islamabad on Aug. 13, 2019. (AN photo by SJ)
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Azad Kashmir flags along side Pakistan flags as seen near Rawal Town area of Islamabad on Aug. 13, 2019. (AN photo by SJ)
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To see AJK flag alongside Pakistani flags on Independence Day is “an emotional and proud moment for Kashmiris” says activist, Fatima Anwar. Photo taken at Park Road, Chak Shahzad, on Aug. 11, 2019. (AN photo by SJ)
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Islamabad city brimming with flags of Azad Kashmir along with Pakistan flag ahead of Independence Day. Photo taken at Park Road, Chak Shahzad, on Aug. 11, 2019. (AN photo by SJ)
Updated 14 August 2019

Pakistanis express solidarity by raising Kashmiri flags on Independence Day

  • Government had urged the nation to hoist Kashmir flag along with Pakistan's national flag to express support for Kashmiris
  • Hundreds of Kashmir flags were sold in just three days in Islamabad, vendor says

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in decades, the capital city of Islamabad is brimming with flags of Pakistan alongside a different flag with the similar star and crescent on green background, green and white stripes and gold color. This is the flag of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) that can be seen at stalls and shops all across the country ahead of the 73rd Independence Day symbolizing the emotions of Pakistanis toward the Kashmir issue and the right to “self-determination.”
“It is surprising to see the number of people buying AJK flags here in Islamabad. We run out of Kashmir flags every day” says a flag vendor, Abdul Khaliq, who has sold about a hundred flags in three days in Chak Shahzad neighborhood of Islamabad.
To see Pakistanis raising flags of Azad Kashmir alongside Pakistan’s national flag is “an emotional and proud moment for Kashmiris”, Pakistani Kashmiri activist, Fatima Anwar, told Arab News. “The two flags together symbolize the love and affection among Pakistanis and Kashmiris. It proves that the support of people and government of Pakistan for Kashmiris goes beyond verbal and moral rhetoric.”
Anwar, the 26-year-old activist, has also requested Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the Muslim world leaders to play an active role in resolving the current crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. “We want Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to come forward [for Kashmiris], otherwise peace in South Asia and rest of the world will remain only a dream,” she appealed. Fatima described the Indian government’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution without the approval of Kashmiris as “illegal,” adding that the Kashmiri people would never accept it.
Pakistan has announced to observe its Independence Day on August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day and August 15th as Black Day to express solidarity with Kashmiris after India altered the status of disputed Jammu and Kashmir. 
Pakistan supports what it describes as the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council through a free and impartial plebiscite. Pakistan has strongly condemned India’s “illegal and unilateral” move taken on August 5 and also downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India.
The flag of Pakistan is raised in Indian-administered Kashmir during protests and festive occasions such as Pakistan’s win over India in cricket matches but now Kashmiris are asking Pakistanis to raise their flag to show support. 
“By holding the Kashmiri flag with the Pakistani flag on Independence Day, Pakistanis can send out a strong message of solidarity to the world” said a young Kashmiri student from Indian-administered Kashmir requesting anonymity. He urged Pakistan to play its role in Jammu and Kashmir’s “struggle for right to self-determination.”
The passions are running high in Pakistan as flags of Kashmir can be seen fluttering all across the country including the southern-most city of Karachi battered by heavy rain.
“There is in fact a shortage of AJK flags in my neighborhood as I was told by the vendor to go to Lighthouse in Saddar area to get one” Rayyan Mirza, 20, resident of Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi, told Arab News. In the busiest Lighthouse market, he claims, the vendors have sold thousands of AJK flags of all sizes in a week’s time. “This shows our love for Kashmir which is our “sheh rug” (jugular vein),” he claimed.
Recalling a conversation at the flag stall between a boy and his father, Rayyan said, “when this little boy asked why everyone is buying Kashmir flags this year, his father replied ‘because our Kashmiri brothers and sisters are struggling for the rights that we already have and we raise their flag to support them’.” In that moment, Rayyan says, he felt more proud than ever as a Pakistani. “I have never felt as grateful on an Independence Day as now. This August 14 has become such a significant day for me as I realized that the freedom and privileges I enjoy as Pakistani are not accessible to millions of people.” 


Pakistan won’t be blacklisted, makes tremendous progress — Citibank

Updated 09 December 2019

Pakistan won’t be blacklisted, makes tremendous progress — Citibank

  • Blacklisting is not likely, Pakistan has made great strides, says Nadeem Lodhi
  • Greylisting of Pakistan is a geopolitical issue, according to Citibank

KARACHI: Citibank Pakistan has expressed its confidence that the country would not be further downgraded by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on the back of progress it has shown.
“Blacklisting (of Pakistan) is not probability now or any other time,” Nadeem Lodhi, CEO of Citibank Pakistan told journalists at Pakistan Media Roundtable held in Karachi on Monday. 
“Pakistan is making tremendous strides on the list provided by FATF and our regulator is very strong and they have made whatever they have to implement in the financial industry,” he added.
Citibank, which operates in 98 countries and acts as a correspondent bank in Pakistan offering services to corporate and public sector clients – making payments around $4 trillion per day to other banks – says its operations have not been impacted by the greylisting of the country.
“We as a correspondent bank operate on the same alert level (as before greylisting) and it is unchanged for us and business is not impacted or that the business of our client including financial institutions is not impacted,” Lodhi said, explaining that the greylisting of Pakistan is “more of a geopolitical issue.” 
“When Afghanistan is on the white list how can Pakistan be on the grey or black list?” said Moiz Hussain Ali, Citibank Pakistan country treasury and markets head.
In October, the Paris-based FATF expressed concerns with regard to “overall lack of progress” by Pakistan in addressing its terror financing risks, and gave Islamabad time until February 2020 to complete its full action plan or risk further downgrading.
“Should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their FIs (financial institutions) to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan,” the FATF warned.
Citibank officials say Pakistan may remain on the greylist till the end of the upcoming year.
“The list given to Pakistan is quite long and it is not that you can do it overnight,” Ali said.
He expressed satisfaction with the government’s current economic policies and called for their continuation.
According to the Citibank officials, if the current political regime, where the army and political leadership look united, continues for the next two years, things should improve.
They said that a number of multinationals are planning investment – estimated at $500 million – in various sectors of the economy, ranging from consumer goods to energy.