Monday July 15, 2024

NA passes bill to stay off FATF list

House protests passage of a volley of bills to set up private universities

By Our Correspondent
August 04, 2023
The inside view of the National Assembly. The News/File
The inside view of the National Assembly. The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Thursday passed the National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority Bill 2023, and six other government bills.

The bill was moved by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. Taking the floor, she said the legislation was of immense importance and if enforced and properly implemented, it would make sure that Pakistan did not see the FATF’s grey list again.

Hina Khar said the bill envisages the establishment of a National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority. She said the chairman of the authority would be appointed by the PM, adding the authority would comprise the secretary finance, secretary foreign affairs, secretary interior, governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, chairman NAB, DG FIA, DG Anti-Narcotics Force, chairman FBR, DG Financial Monitoring Unit, national coordinator of NACTA and the chief secretaries of provinces.

Other government bills, which were passed by the house, on Thursday included ‘The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, ‘The Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, ‘Pakistan Civil Aviation Bill, 2023’, the ‘National Logistics Corporation Bill, 2023’, ‘The Gun and Country Club Bill, 2023’ and the ‘Pakistan Air Safety Investigation Bill, 2023’.

Earlier, the National Assembly proceedings saw debates and protest over attempts to pass and passage of volley of private members bills to set up over two dozen private educational institutes and universities in different parts of the country.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami questioned whether Members of the National Assembly had taken contract of setting up private universities and get the bills passed on their behalf.

“A single member of the house is mover of the bill for setting up 10 private universities in Islamabad and other parts of the country while compromising on quality of education,” he said.

He also pointed out lack of quorum in the House in attempt to prevent passage of bills leading to adjournment of proceedings till Friday.

Only one private member bill titled Institute of Gujrat Bill, 2023 moved by Armaghan Subhani could be passed by the House.

Federal Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain also agreed to point of view of the JI parliamentarian, saying that some members wanted to get the charter of universities approved through Acts of Parliament.

He said it had happened in the past that charter of 11 universities was also approved by the Punjab Assembly without completing codal formalities and now the Higher Education Commission was not attesting degrees of those universities.

He said the National Assembly was passing the bills which were stuck in Senate standing committees. He agreed that quality of education could not be improved through mushroom growth of universities in the private sector. He agreed that the National Assembly could approve bill relating to setting up of an institute and not the university.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti of the PMLN, who wanted to move the Kings Universities Bill, 2023, said he would withdraw his bill if an assurance was given that bills of universities having no NOC of HEC were also not passed.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali also prevented passage of another bill relating to setting up a private university. “The university being set up in Lahore is being given name of Islamabad,” he said.

The JI parliamentarian raised question of lack of quorum, leading to adjournment of proceedings till Friday (today). The JI MNA made his presence felt as he also threatened to point out lack of quorum earlier while protesting against treatment meted out to him by the interior ministry officials.

He said the other day he visited the ministry to check updates relating to cases of arms licences already submitted, but he was treated harshly by officials there.

He asked the speaker to defer a bill sponsored by the ministry; otherwise, he would point out lack of quorum in the House.

On his demand, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who wanted to move the Federal Prosecution Bill, 2023 on behalf of the interior minister agreed to defer the same.