ISLAMABAD: A joint sitting of the Parliament Wednesday passed three bills to meet the requirements of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for bringing the country out of its grey list, besides passing five other bills.
Addressing the joint sitting of the Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government is ready to cooperate with the opposition for the sake of the country and democracy but emphatically stated that no compromise will be made on corruption. He said FATF-related legislation passed by the House is very important for the country’s future and to steer it out of the grey list.
He said that Pakistan will get out of the FATF grey list like it fought COVID-19 pandemic successfully when compared with India or Europe.
The Prime Minister said that he was confident that opposition will support the government in FATF-related bills, but his all doubts against opposition leaders proved correct when they opposed bills in the sitting as they don’t want to see Pakistan making progress.
He accused the opposition of sabotaging the government’s efforts to exit the FATF grey list.
Thanking his party members and allies for getting passed FATF-related bills, he said their conduct has proved that they stand by Pakistan. He was of the view that failing to pass these laws could push Pakistan to blacklist which could have serious economic consequences for the country.
The Prime Minister regretted the posture of opposition parties, saying they created hurdles in the way of this legislation. He said the opposition tried to blackmail the government to protect their vested interests and the looted money of their top leaders. For this purpose, they proposed 34 amendments in the NAB law. He questioned how a country could progress when billions of dollars were laundered abroad. “This only puts pressure on our foreign exchange reserves,” he added.
He said if the top opposition leaders are not involved in money laundering then why they were opposing the anti-money laundering bill.
Talking about the recent incident of rape on motorway, the Prime Minister said that a comprehensive legislation will be enacted to award exemplary punishment to the sex offenders. He said that this piece of legislation will also provide protection to the women and the children. He said it will also ensure protection of the witnesses to convict the persons involved in such ghastly acts.
The Prime Minister said that the rape incident on motorway shook the entire nation. He said one accused person has been arrested while the other will also be arrested soon. He stressed the need for registration of the sex offenders as is the case in the rest of the world.
The bills moved by Advisor 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. All three bills are related to FATF.
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 an authoritative support of the courts of law to curb terror financing.
The Joint sitting also passed “The Surveying and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020” and “The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2019”.
Major objective of “The Surveying and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020” is to stop and prohibit printing, displaying, dissemination or using 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”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the cricket system in the country needs to be restructured which will make Pakistan unbeatable in the world.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing the signing ceremony of agreements among Pakistan Television (PTV), Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and cable operators regarding Pakistan Cricket broadcast and cable distribution rights here on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister, while terming the agreement as a positive step, said it will provide lead to PTV in cricket broadcasts. He said that it is also important for cricket fans in the country. Imran Khan said the cricket broadcast will increase PTV’s coverage and quality.
He said that there is a lot of cricket talent in Pakistan which needs to be polished, adding the cricket system in the country needs to be restructured. He advised the PCB to increase the competition level of players.
Regarding possible increase in license fee of PTV, the Prime Minister said the government is waiting for its business plan. – TLTP