Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill and the Anti-Money Laundering Bill have been passed

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The joint session of the parliament on Wednesday approved Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill amid ruckus to meet the requirements of Financial Action Task Force to steer the country out of grey list.

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

The bill was moved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member National Assembly Maleeka Bokhari. The opposition staged a walkout of the House while the PTI MNA was reading out the bill. 

The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 suggests higher sentence and fines for offenders of money laundering and terrorism financing.

The bill proposes that anyone committing the act of money laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment of upto 10 years and fine of upto 25 million rupees and shall also be liable to forfeiture of property. It also states that investigating officer with the permission of the court may use techniques, including undercover operations, intercepting communication and assessing computer system for investigation of money laundering and terrorism financing.

“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 government s firm resolve to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering regime.

As the session begins, Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan tabled the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill 2020.

Despite the opposition parties opposed the bill, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill 2020 was approved in the joint session of the parliament.

The bill was passed with 200 members voting in favour and 190 voting against it.

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 House also adopted amendments proposed in the bill by Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Development Kanwal Shauzeb and rejected those suggested by Senator Muhammad Mushtaq.

Pakistan People s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani raised objections over Babar Awan tabling the bill. He said that the under the court ruling, the advisers do not have the power to move bills in the assembly.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 moved by PTI MNA Faheem Khan which was also passed without opposition.

The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to insert section 19C after section 19B in the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The new section 19C is about application of investigation techniques and states: “The investigation officer, may with the permission of court, within sixty days of such permission, use techniques, including undercover operation, intercepting communications, accessing computer system and controlled delivery for investigation of financing of terrorism under the law in force.

The aforementioned period of sixty days may be extended upto further period of sixty days by the court on a request made to it in writing. The court may grant extension, if it is satisfied, on the basis of situation/reasons given in the written request.

The provision of this sub-section shall be addition to and not in derogation of any other law for the time being in force. The federal government may make rules to regulate the procedure and execution of orders for the purpose of this section.”

According to Statement of Objects and Reasons,”Terror financing is one of the major obstacles, which is not only playing a degrading role against the development of a country but also imbuing such elements with the financial means which are an ultimate threat against the internal and external peace of the country and the allies to the extent.

The genuine purpose behind the introduction of this bill is to enable the law enforcement authorities via aforementioned insertion to take certain encountering techniques with an authoritative support of the courts of law to curb with these menaces.”

The Survey and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020 aims at transforming Survey of Pakistan as National Mapping Agency, ensuring efficient technical functioning of the departments and stop prohibiting printing, displaying, dissemination or using incorrect and unofficial map of Pakistan.

The statement of Objects and Reasons of the bills says: Survey of Pakistan (SOP), a National Mapping Organization, is responsible to meet the surveying and mapping requirements of Armed Forces as well as other civil organizations / departments.

In line with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Judgment reported as PLD 2016 SC 808 the Cabinet in its meeting held on 8th November 2017 has decided that all ministries and divisions should in consultation with Law and Justice Division, make amendments in the respective acts/ rules and replace the words “federal government” with appropriate authority (ies)”.

The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2019 aims at increasing number of judges in the court from seven to ten, including the Chief Justice.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill say, “The existing sanctioned strength of judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) is six plus one Chief Justice.

As intimated by the IHC, the present strength of judges compared to number of pending cases is not sufficient, besides the institution of fresh cases which is increasing every year.

“It is, therefore, necessary to increase the strength of the judges of the IHC from seven to ten judges, including the Chief Justice to overcome the difficulties of litigant public for early disposal of long pending cases.”

The Pakistan Medical Commission Bill, 2019 aims at regulating and controlling the medical profession and to establish a uniform minimum standard of basic and higher medical education and training and recognition of qualifications in medicine and dentistry.

The House also passed the bill after adopting all amendments proposed by Amjad Ali Khan in its various clauses.

The Medical Tribunal Bill, 2019 aims at deciding disputes arising out of matters pertaining to the medical and health sectors.

The House also passed the ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill 2020. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill states: “The Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights of all citizens, including persons with disabilities without discrimination.

As state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Pakistan is obliged to ensure and promote the full realization of rights and freedoms for persons with disabilities by taking appropriate legislative, administrative and policy measures.”

Earlier today, senate rejected Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill 2020 . The bill is aimed at addressing the issue of terror financing.

According to details, the Anti-terrorism bill was tabled by Senator Sajjad Toor. 34 votes were casted against the bill while 31 senators supported the bill after Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani ordered voting on demand of the opposition.

Senate session has been adjourned till Friday 10am.

On the other hand, The National Assembly has passed the “Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020.”

No rules, constitution violated to run proceeding of NA

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Zaheer ud Din Babar Awan said no rules and constitution was violated to run the proceeding of the National Assembly.

Speaking in the National Assembly, the advisor said worldwide parliaments were being run through certain rules and procedures which were framed under the constitution.

Citing Article 55 of the constitution, Dr Babar Awan said that the speaker had two options if the House was not in quorum- either adjourn the session or suspend the proceeding for certain time.

He said let the house to run under the constitution and it should not be hostage to the wishes of any person.

He categorically said no rule and procedure was violated in today’s house proceeding. Referring to rule 288 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007, Babar Awan said any member of the house could move a motion for suspension of the rules with the permission of the speaker.

Earlier, lawmakers from both sides of aisle in National Assembly developed difference of opinion over the assembly rule related to suspension of sitting due to lack of quorum for more than one hour.

PML-N MNA Sheikh Fayyaz Uddin pointed out the quorum at 11:08 hours following which the sitting remained suspended for an hour and 18 minutes.

The House passed a motion moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan under Rule 288 to suspend the Rule (5) for consideration of the agenda.

The opposition protested over it and sitting was again suspended by the Speaker Asad Qaiser.

On resumption of the proceedings, Babar Awan quoted Rule 288 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly and Article 55 (2) of the Constitution. The Article 55 (2) says that “If at any time during a sitting of the National Assembly the attention of the person presiding is drawn to the fact that less than one-fourth of the total membership of the Assembly is present, he shall either adjourn the Assembly or suspend the meeting until at least one-fourth of such membership is present”.

The House failed to transact regular agenda but passed a motion for consideration of the Anti-Terrorism (3rd Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the joint sitting of the Parliament. The bill was passed by the National Assembly on September 15, 2020 but rejected by the Senate on September 16, 2020.