LAHORE: Giving reasons behind ‘unconditional’ support of the FATF-related bills in the Senate, a close aide to former premier Nawaz Sharif said the opposition did so to get Pakistan out of the grey list.
“Had we not supported the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related bills (the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the United Nations Security Council Amendment Bill, 2020) and if Pakistan was put in the black list subsequently, the opposition would have been blamed for it,” PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid told Dawn on Friday.
Senator Rashid said it was not only this reason but also both laws existed here in some form and there was nothing objectionable in them. “The opposition voted for both the bills on merit. Now after the passage of these bills it is the test for the PTI government to pull the country out of the grey list,” he said.
The government on Wednesday last got both the bills passed through a majority voice vote amid opposition protest as the amendments it had proposed were not accommodated. The opposition, mainly comprising PML-N and PPP, has majority in the Senate and however on Thursday it supported both bills after ‘some’ of its amendments were adopted.
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), another opposition party, protested against the act of the PML-N and the PPP for helping the government in getting the FATF-related bills passed in parliament.
Pervaiz Rashid said the opposition had not supported both bills in the National Assembly because the government had not adopted a laid-down procedure.
“We supported it after the government adopted the procedure and sent the bills to the standing committee before its laying in the Senate,” he said.
To a question about the future of the opposition alliance to oust the Imran Khan government as claimed by Opposition Leader in National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif after the JUI-F’s annoyance, Mr Rashid said: “The JUI-F is not going anywhere. It had reservations for not being consulted by the PML-N and PPP over this matter. We have tendered an apology to it (JUI-F) and it will be with us in any movement against the PTI government,” the PML-N Senator said.
According to sources, the establishment remained in contact with both the PML-N and PPP regarding the passage of the FATF-related bills.
“And this contact helped the passage of the two bills,” they said and added that the JUI-F was not contacted by the establishment for the purpose.
Meanwhile, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal told a presser in Model Town that the government wanted to put Pakistanis in jail and target the opposition in the name of FATF which it did not allow.
He said the government had proposed such a law under which it could have arrested scientists.
“Ministers and advisers created confusion over this matter, even Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi tried to give some other colour to the opposition’s amendments,” Mr Iqbal said, adding whenever the opposition exposed the government’s corruption, incompetence and failures on all fronts Mr Niazi would start the rant that he would not give NRO to it.
“Who is seeking NRO from him,” he asked and said the PML-N leadership would not budge from its principles and was not afraid of going to jail.
The former interior minister said the government was keen to frame new laws keeping in view Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020