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September 17, 2020

Opp rejects Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Senate

National

September 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition in the Senate Wednesday blocked an FATF-related the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, as they rejected the draft legislation with 34 votes against the treasury’s 31 votes.

The bill was adopted by the National Assembly a day earlier. Already, the opposition had rejected previously Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, both of which are also FATF-related, 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.

Prior to its rejection, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Senator A Rehman Malik presented the committee report on the bill and then Chief Whip Sajjad Hussain Turi moved it for consideration and adoption. However, after voice vote, Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani went for head count, leading to its rejection.

Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan moved the Cooperatives Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and adoption and it faced no hurdle and was passed straight away. Awan thanked the opposition for cooperation to ensure passage of the bill.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, whose party opposed this legislation, retorted that the nation was being enslaved to the international financial institutions through these legislations, as these were not indigenous ones. He advised both PPP and PML-N to stop having the behind the door consultations on such bills. “All these consultations should be done in the Parliament. Public hanging of rapists is the voice of masses and there is no need for prime minister to be afraid of foreign pressures,” he noted.

He claimed the prime minister had announced to become Tipu Sultan and not Bahadur Shah Zafar but he had reneged on that. He said 80 percent senators had no idea about FATF-related legislation. “I will not speak on the award given to a model last year but we should know on what grounds recently an award was given to Javed Afridi of Peshawar Zalmi, if cricket is the factor then why not other such PSL teams were not awarded. And, if it is because of business or payment of tax, then it should be explained to us,” said Senator Mushahidullah Khan of PML-N on a point of public importance.

The chair referred the matter to the concerned committee of the House for debate and report. However, a treasury Senator Muhammad Ayub rose to explain that the award was given on merit, as the Haier company paid Rs20 billion tax and directly employed 6,000 Pakistanis and indirectly 60,000 people were related to it.

During the question hour, in a written reply to a question by JI Senator Mushtaq, Minister for Interior Ijaz Ahmad Shah told the House that the provincial home departments had frozen properties of proscribed organisations under UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He explained in all, 907 properties of JuD and 57 of JeM were frozen, which included 330 masajid/madaris, 262 ambulances, 186 dispensaries of JuD and 53 masajid/madaris of JeM and two dispensaries.

Replying to supplementary questions from Senator Mushtaq, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan made it clear that Prime Minister Imran Khan would never take dictation and said that these entities were frozen on the order of UNSC and mosques and madaris were being duly unfrozen after clearance. He added the government wanted to strengthen the madaris, which had been serving the nation on their own for the last 70 years.