After Senate defeats, Pak govt passes all FATF-linked bills via joint session
The Imran Khan government’s desperate move is part of efforts to get Pakistan out of Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’ and to prevent it from going further down to a ‘black list’.Updated: Sep 16, 2020 21:14 IST
After a series of defeats in Senate, Pakistan government on Wednesday pushed all pending legislations on terror financing linked to FATF compliance through a joint session of parliament amid loud protests and a walkout by Opposition members.
The Imran Khan government’s desperate move is part of efforts to get Pakistan out of the Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’ and to prevent it from going further down to a ‘black list’. The global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering is set to review Pakistan’s compliance in October.
FATF put Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action by the end of 2019, but the deadline was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The joint session of parliament was convened just hours after the Senate rejected the Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 in a 34-31 vote, a day after it was passed by the lower house, National Assembly.
That was the third legislation rejected by the 104-member upper house in the past one month. The bill aimed to give powers to investigators to conduct undercover operations, intercept communications and access computer systems. It sought the insertion of Section 19-C in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) relating to application of investigation techniques.
At the joint session, all outstanding FATF-linked bills were moved by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan. This included The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020, The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, and The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Prime Minister Khan was present in the house in a rare appearance to show his support for the passage of the bills.
The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020 is aimed at proper management, supervision, and administration of waqf properties in the territorial limits of the country’s capital.
The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 is aimed at streamlining the existing anti-money laundering law in line with international standards prescribed by FATF.
As the session started, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari sought Speaker Asad Qaiser’s permission to address the floor. But the request was denied, prompting many opposition leaders including Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif of PML-N to walk out.
Pakistan has to meet a 27-point action plan to escape getting blacklisted by FATF as a non-compliant nation.
Last month, Khan’s government enacted several laws and designated over 100 people as terrorists, in its efforts to evade the possible blacklisting.