ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Amendment Bill, 2020 and the Anti-Terrorism Act Amendment Bill, 2020, in an effort to take the country’s name off the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list.
The session of the Upper House was chaired by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and both bills were presented by Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Babar Awan.
Earlier, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice, chaired by Chairman Javed Abbasi, unanimously approved the said bills with the proposed amendments.
During the committee’s meeting, the Foreign Office’s special secretary said the directives of the FATF were being implemented.
The FO official further said some shortcomings were identified in the UNSC bill and amendments to it were proposed by the FATF. The FO added that an implementation report for the same is to be submitted by August 6.
Senator Farooq Naek said that under the amendment, the federal government can delegate its powers to anyone.
“I suggest that the name of a Pakistani national or institution should be included in the assignment of powers so that they are not delegated to any non-Pakistani,” the Senator Naek suggested.
Members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and government officials supported Senator Naek’s amendments.
To this, the FO official said that the cabinet would decide on the matter of delegation of powers.
The committee had also unanimously approved UNSC Amendment Bill, including an amendment proposed by Senator Naek.
Whilst discussing the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill, 2020, the interior secretary said that the fine has been increased from Rs10 million to Rs50 million and a sentence of up to ten years has also been proposed.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem said FATF Pakistan agrees with the proposed amendments and its consultant welcomed the amendment via an email.
“Under the bill, action will also be taken against negligent government officials,” Naseem said.
Pakistan was earlier placed on the FATF grey list and is supposed to fulfil the body’s 27-point action plan in order to come out of its grey list and to avoid its blacklisting as a non-compliant countries.
On July 29, The National Assembly passed the two government-sponsored bills with a majority vote amid a loud protest by opposition parties.
Both the bills aim at fulfilling various requirements of the FATF which is an inter-governmental organisation that sets global policies against money laundering and terror financing.
The bills include measures of freezing and seizure of assets, travel ban, and arms embargo on the entities and individuals, who are designated on the sanctions list of the United Nations.