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Pakistan

Joint session of parliament underway to pass FATF-related bills

  • The legislation aims to enable law enforcement authorities to take certain encountering techniques with authoritative support of the courts of law to curb terror financing
Updated 16 Sep 2020

(Karachi) A joint session of the parliament is underway as government tables Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related bills on Wednesday. Prime Minister Imran Khan is also attending the session.

Update: The bills have been passed by the parliament.

The session is being presided over by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser while the bill was presented by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.

As soon as the session began, Babar Awan tabled the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill which was initially passed through a voice vote.

However, the NA speaker asked for a vote count with members being asked to stand up from their seats after the opposition shouted in protest. The bill was passed with 200 members voting in favour and 190 voting against it.

A clause by clause reading was done with each clause being approved by the house. Amendments to certain clauses were proposed but rejected by the house through a voice vote. The ruckus continued as opposition members chanted slogans during the voting on amendments in the clauses of the bill.

Later, the opposition walked-out of the session after the speaker did not gave them permission to make amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act (amendment) Bill, 2020.

The bills presented in the parliament included the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill and the Anti-Terrorism Act (amendment) Bill, 2020, all of which were previously rejected by the Senate.

If approved, the legislation aims to enable law enforcement authorities to take certain encountering techniques with authoritative support of the courts of law to curb with these menaces.

As per details, Section 19-C (application of investigation techniques) has been inserted in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Under the new law, the investigating officer with the permission of the court, within 60 days [will be allowed to] use techniques including undercover operation, intercepting communications, accessing computer systems and controlled delivery for investigation of financing terrorism under the law in force.

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40019007/senate-rejects-anti-terrorism-act-amendment-bill

The law also gives the federal government the power to “make rules to regulate the procedure and execution of orders. The bill states that funding for terrorism was a major obstacle in the country’s development and was benefiting those elements which a threat to internal and external peace of the country.

Earlier, the Senate where opposition enjoys majority, rejected the bill. During the vote today, out of 104 members, 31 voted in favour of passing the bill on terror financing while 34 voted against it. Under the 18th Amendment, if a bill passed by one house of Parliament is rejected by the other, it can become a law only if it is passed by a joint sitting of the two houses.

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