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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Pakistan’s Senate passes bills to amend Anti-Terrorism Act

PTI got the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed from the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament. The bill is required to fulfill certain requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to get the country off the grey list.

The Senate of Pakistan on Thursday passed two important bills regarding the amendment in Anti-Terrorism Act. The bill seeking amendment in the Anti-Terrorism Act was presented before the Senate by Adviser to PM on Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Babar Awan. The government had announced to amend Anti-Terrorism Act long ago.

Meanwhile, bill seeking amendments in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) laws moved by Babar Awan on behalf of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also passed.

Statement of Objects and Reasons of the anti-terrorism bill: The Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 though comprehensive in its scope lacked certain provisions concerning the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRS) 1267 and 1373. The UNSCRs 1267 and 1373 were adopted under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter making them obligatory for all members of the United Nations.

Through UNSCR 1,267, member states of the United Nations implement the sanctions and take measures for assets freeze (targeted financial sections), arms embargo and impose a travel ban on the entities and individuals who are designated on the sanction list. UNSCR 1373 requires member states to implement counter-terrorism measures, especially countering the financing of terrorism through their domestic laws.

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It may be noted that yesterday, Federal Law Minister Senator Farogh Naseem laid six ordinances before the upper house for approval including the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020; Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020; Public-Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020; Corporate Restructuring Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and Companies (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Farogh Naseem had said that the ICJ decision on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was 80 percent in favor of the country. “I wanted to appreciate PML-N for accepting the jurisdiction of the ICJ in the Jadhav case,” he said.

He had asked the opposition parties to support the government over the FATF bills and said that even an anti-money laundering body had also expressed its satisfaction over the draft of legislation prepared by them. He also urged the opposition to help the government to amend Anti-Terrorism Act.

Read More: FATF battle: US asks Pakistan take tangible actions against banned orgz

FM Shah addresses the Senate

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while addressing the floor of the House, thanked the Senate members for approving the legislation. Qureshi said Pakistan had undertaken this legislation in compliance with its obligations to implement the International Court of Justice’s judgment in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Speaking about the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020, the foreign minister said it was also a step to fulfill Pakistan’s international obligations. “No concession has been granted to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav by making new laws,” he said.

The foreign minister also expressed confidence that after this legislation Pakistan would stay off the FATF’s grey list. Earlier, the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice passed the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

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During the meeting chaired by Senator Javed Abbasi, the committee was told by government representatives that all the efforts to amend Anti-Terrorism Act were FATF’s demands. To which the committee asked the government representatives to turn in a copy of the global watchdog’s demands. Briefing the committee members on the UN Security Bill, the special secretary said that the Asia Pacific and the FATF were monitoring the situation and understood that some changes were needed in the country’s laws.