Joint session of Parliament underway to vote on FATF-related legislation

A joint session of parliament is currently under way to vote on crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related legislation.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan is also attending the joint session which is being chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

As soon as the session began, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr 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 by 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.

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.

PPP Senator Raza Rabbani raised objections over Awan tabling the bill, saying that according to a court judgement, advisers do not have the power to move bills in the assembly. Law Minister Farogh Naseem, in response, said that the judgement quoted by Rabbani was regarding the special assistants of the prime minister.

Naseem said that there was no law against advisers tabling bills in the National Assembly, however, they cannot vote.

Earlier today, the Senate had rejected the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a day after it was passed by the National Assembly, making it the third FATF-related legislation to have been blocked by the opposition-dominated upper house

Thirty one members voted in favour of passing the bill on terror financing while 34 voted against it.

Last month, the 104-member Senate had rejected the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, objecting to some of the provisions and linking its cooperation to retraction of remarks made by Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem about certain leaders.

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