September 21, 2020

Joint session of parliament to take up FATF-related bills today

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has summoned the joint sitting of parliament today to vote on crucial bills related to Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) obligations.

The joint session of the National Assembly and the Senate will take up the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) bill and Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill to meet the requirements of the FATF for passage.

The two FATF-related bills were rejected by the Senate last month.

Read more: NA lawmakers pass amendment in bill to curb terror financing

Adviser to the PM on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan also moved a motion on Monday under Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House to refer two bills to the joint sitting as provided by the Constitution. The motion was adopted by the House.

The joint session is scheduled to meet at the Parliament House at 4pm.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of combined parliamentary parties of the ruling coalition to discuss the strategy for the important legislation.

According to sources, the prime minister has directed the lawmakers to ensure their presence at the meeting to be held at 02:30pm at the Parliament House.

Bills rejected in Senate

On August 25, the opposition-ruled Senate had rejected the bills earlier adopted by the NA, as two major opposition parties – the PML-N and PPP – declined to support them.

The two parties insisted that the Leader of the House should withdraw his remarks against their leadership and the laid-down procedure concerning the bills be followed.

However, Dr Shahzad Waseem, who represents the prime minister in the House, maintained that he had not named anyone and made a general statement that Pakistan had not been put on the grey list during the PTI government.

The PPP legislators were adamant that Dr Waseem should clarify that no political leadership but the Foreign Office had issued a notification against other persons and outfits, including Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Awan had moved the bills for consideration and adoption. However, both were rejected through the voice vote.

Babar was of the view that the chair could use its discretionary power for consideration and passage of the bills, keeping in view the national security and interests, as members of all parties had already debated and considered the bills.