Joint Parliament session passes FATF-related bills

By: News Desk      Published: 06:02 PM, 16 Sep, 2020
Joint Parliament session passes FATF-related bills
Joint Parliament session passes FATF-related bills
Joint Parliament session passes FATF-related bills

The Parliament at a joint sitting on Wednesday passed all the crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related bills amid oppositions’ strong protest. 

The bills moved by Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, include: “The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill” and “The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020”, while “The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 was tabled by Faheem Khan. 

Initially, Speaker Asad Qaiser announced that the motion to table the bill had been approved by the House in a voice vote, but ordered counting as the opposition demanded it after starting a protest while chanting slogans against the government.

And the opposition members continued chanting slogans even during the counting process, forcing the speaker to repeatedly call for order in the House. “Respect the Vote” remained the most audible slogan. 

After the motion was approved by a majority of 200 votes against 190, the opposition continued their protest and demanded counting even for the clause-wise approval process. 

Pakistan People’s Party Senator Raza Rabbani, who is also former Senate chairman, objected on Babar Awan’s presenting the bill as according to him the rule says advisers cannot present the bill in the parliament.

However, Law Minister Farogh Nasim rejected the objection and cited the relevant clause that allows advisors to present or attend on the behalf of the prime minister or federal ministers but cannot vote on the matter during a parliament session.

After this, the Speaker rejected the objection and continued with the clause wise approval of the “The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill”.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ghani, who introduced amendments in several clauses, angrily accused the speaker of "passing legislations illegally". He also claimed that the speaker had not allowed him to speak on his turn.

Opposition members also insisted on speaking while amendments were being introduced but Qaiser insisted that only lawmakers who wanted to move amendments should address the parliament. 

When opposition lawmakers continued to make noise, the Speaker asked Awan to read out the rules regarding addressing while voting was underway. According to Rule 130, Awan said, only lawmakers who wanted to move amendments were allowed to speak while voting was underway.

When PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto tried to speak on the flour, Shah Mahmood Qureshi raised the objection saying according to the rules only those members can speak during the passing of a bill who have proposed any amendment. Babar Awan also read out a rule regarding the matter and Speaker stopped Bilawal from speaking.

Moreover, Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif also came to in front of Speaker’s dice to persuade the Speaker to let him address the session but Speaker did not budge.

Latter during the passing of Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbassi objected on conducting of the session by the Speaker and said there should be a debate before presenting the amendment.

However, Speaker was adamant that after voting to allow the bills to be presented in the Parliament, no discussion can be made as pert rules. He asked Abbassi to present his amendment but Abbassi insisted upon debate on the bills. Upon this, Speaker continued with clause-wise approval of the bill and conducted a voice vote on the amendments proposed by Abbassi, which were all rejected.

Amid the ruckus, PTI MNA Maleeka Bokhari introduced amendments in several clauses of Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, all of which were passed.

While Bokhari was reading out proposed amendments, opposition feeling being cornered and realising their failure to stop the passage of bills from the joint session staged a walkout from the Parliament after creating a huge pandemonium and ruckus.

The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, which was then tabled by Awan, was also passed through voice voting without any opposition.

PTI MNA Faheem Khan tabled the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was also passed without opposition.

After that, it was an easy business to conduct for the Speaker as he continued with the approval of the Bills.

The Joint sitting also passed “The Surveying and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020” and “The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2019”.

Other bills passed by the Joint Sitting of the Parliament include “Pakistan Medical Commission Bill, 2019”, “The Medical Tribunal Bill, 2019” and “The ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2020”.

The bills

The details of the important bills that sailed through the joint session of the Parliament is as follows:

According to the statement of subjects and reasons, “The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020” is aimed at proper management, supervision, and administration of Waqf properties in the territorial limits of Islamabad Capital Territory.

“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.

It reflects the government's firm resolve to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering regime.

“The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020” is essential to address the issue of terror financing, one of the major obstacles which is not only playing a degrading role against the development of the country but also imbuing such elements with the financial means which are an ultimate threat to the internal and external peace of the country.

It enables the law enforcement authorities to take certain encountering techniques with authoritative support of the courts of law to curb terror financing. 

The major objective of “The Surveying and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020” is to stop and prohibiting printing, displaying, dissemination or using the incorrect and unofficial map of Pakistan.

“The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2019” is aimed at increasing the number of judges in IHC from seven to ten, including the Chief Justice to overcome difficulties of the litigant public qua early disposal of long-pending cases.

Other bills passed by the Joint Sitting of the Parliament include “Pakistan Medical Commission Bill, 2019”, “The Medical Tribunal Bill, 2019” and “The ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2020”.

  

Categories : Pakistan, National