- National Assembly passes the National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority Bill, 2023
ISLAMABAD: In a bid to deal with the offences pertaining to money-laundering and to further strengthen the existing laws to effectively check illegal/corrupt practices which have a negative impact on the economy, the National Assembly on Thursday passed the National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority Bill, 2023.
The House closed its legislative business by passing eight bills- one private and seven important government bills.
Speaking in the house, Hina Rabbani Khar – who also moved the National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority Bill, 2023 – said that it is a very important piece of legislation, which if enforced and implemented in letter and spirit, the country will get rid of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list once for all.
She said that the bill envisages the establishment of a National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority, which is a wonderful initiative, adding the chairman of the authority will be appointed by the prime minister.
Khar said that the authority will comprise of secretaries of finance, foreign affairs, interior, governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), chairmen Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), directors-general (DGs) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), national coordinator of National Counter-terrorism Authority (Nacta) and all provincial chief secretaries.
The house also passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Bill, 2023, the National Logistics Corporation Bill, 2023, the Gun and Country Club Bill, 2023, the Pakistan Air Safety Investigation Bill, 2023 and the Institute of Gujrat Bill, 2023.
Speaking on a point of order, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain emphasized the paramount importance of fulfilling legal prerequisites and obtaining a no objection certificate (NOC) for the establishment of universities instead of putting the future of students at risk.
He stressed the significance of obtaining official approval, specifically NOC from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) prior to granting charter approval.
He expressed concern over several universities operating without the necessary NOC, despite having charter approval. This incongruence has led to the issuance of degrees that lack the HEC’s attestation, rendering them essentially void.
He underscored that degrees from such institutions hold no credibility and leave students, their families, and guardians in a state of distress even after completion of degree, despite heavy financial investment.
He clarified that while the National Assembly possesses the authority to legislate the establishment of universities within the confines of Islamabad Capital Territory, it does not extend to granting approvals for universities in provinces. However, the assembly can deliberate on legislation pertaining to institutions and new campuses affiliated with Islamabad-based universities.
He also pointed out that several universities had been granted charters by Punjab during the tenure of former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi without obtaining approval from the HEC.
The minister also highlighted the stance taken by the Senate, declaring that university-related bills lacking HEC’s NOC would not secure passage.
He championed the establishment of universities but stressed that their educational quality and operational standards, including infrastructure and faculty, should be meticulously ensured.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023