ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020, days after the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance approved it.
The Bill was one of the five moved by Law Minister Farogh Naseem along with Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Bill, 2020.
All the Bills were passed by the Lower House.
Speaking on the floor of the House, Naseem had said it was a historic day that the FATF-related legislation was being carried out with consensus in the larger interest of the country.
“Whitening the economy and checking terror financing is important to take the country forward on the path of development,” Naseem said.
Earlier while addressing the floor of the House, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said terror financing and money laundering was a menace that the country needed to confront and eradicate.
“Long deliberations were held with the Opposition parties to reach consensus on the FATF related legislation,” he said referring to Opposition parties complaints about the Bill being approved National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance on Monday.
Qureshi said that the suggestions put forward by the Opposition had been incorporated in the Bill as part of the amendments.
Members of the Opposition parties had called National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance approval of the Bill as “bulldozing” after it had taken under half-an-hour to pass it on Monday.
Opposition members had said none of their proposals, including parliamentary oversight through the inclusion of parliamentarians from Opposition in high powered National Executive Committee for curbing its misuse for political victimisation, granting powers to NAB, making money laundering as a cognizable offence, placing jewellery, real estate and other services and business activities into more difficulties, were included in the Bill.
The NA Standing Committee on Finance under the chairmanship of Faiz Ullah Kamoka had cleared the Bill within 25 minutes with a majority as nine votes from the treasury benches supported the Bill while six members belonging to the Opposition benches, had voted the amendment down.
Kamoka had said that they deliberated on the Bill for seven hours during the last meeting so the objections raised by the opposition would be made part of the approved bill. However, opposition members were of the view that there was dictation from somewhere for approving the Bill so the treasury benches ‘bulldozed’ it without listening to anything.
In the proposed second amendment AML law, the penalty on money laundering on an individual has been increased from Rs5 million to Rs25 million, and for institution and company to Rs100 million. The law also envisages a National Executive Committee (NEC) for implementation on the recommendations.
Financial institutes would be required to provide information for suspicious transactions and also, required to maintain records of financial transactions for a five-year period.