Sindh opposition, treasury join hands to pass five FATF-related bills

Updated 22 Aug 2020

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Provincial ministers say new laws are made to fulfill the requirements of FATF on Centre's recommendation. — PPI/File
Provincial ministers say new laws are made to fulfill the requirements of FATF on Centre's recommendation. — PPI/File

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday smoothly and unanimously passed five bills in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to prevent money laundering through trusts, auqaf and cooperative societies.

The bills were: The Sindh Seized and Freezed Facilities (Hospitals and Dispensaries) Bill, 2020; The Sindh Seized and Freezed Institutions (Madaris and Schools) Bill, 2020; The Sindh Trusts Bill, 2020; The Sindh Co-Operative Societies Bill, 2020; and The Sindh Waqf Properties Bill, 2020.

Giving the introduction of the bills, provincial ministers Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, Jam Ikramullah Dharejo and Sohail Anwar Sial said that the new laws were made to fulfill the requirements of the FATF on the recommendation of the federal government.

They said that the new laws would enable the provincial government to monitor and oversee the money generated by madressahs and dargahs (shrines).

The opposition parties, however, protested over the hasty manner in which the bills were passed and their members said that they were not even supplied the copies of the bills.

PTI, MQM-P, MMA stage walkout after deputy speaker does not allow them to discuss creation of Keamari district

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmaker Mohammad Hussain was of the view that the copies of the bills should have been delivered to the lawmakers’ residences in advance so that they could discuss them on the floor.

Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that a proper procedure should have been adopted in accordance with parliamentary practices before the passage of the bills.

“We are supporting the provincial government this time in view of the importance of the bills, but we hope that due process would be adopted in future for legislation,” he added.

Earlier, at the outset of the proceedings the house echoed with strong protests by members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, MQM-P and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal who wanted other matters to be taken up before the business on the agenda.

The PTI and MQM-P wanted the matter pertaining to the creation of Keamari district in Karachi, while the lone MMA member, Syed Abdul Rasheed, was of the view that the report of a house committee on his privilege motion should be presented first.

Walkout over ‘division of Karachi’

PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman rose to oppose the Sindh cabinet’s decision to create Keamari district and said that his party was against the division of Karachi just as it opposed the division of Sindh.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari calmed down the PTI member, asking him to take his seat and assuring him that he would be given the floor, but after completion of business.

MQM-P’s Hussain also stood seeking chair’s permission to table the resolution against further division of Karachi.

Chaotic scenes followed as the chair turned down his request.

Mr Hussain was joined by the lawmakers of the PTI and MMA as the opposition members gathered in front of the speaker’s dais.

Opposition Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) stayed away from the protest.

The chair tried to calm down the protesting members, repeatedly assuring them that they would be given hearing, but to no avail.

“When I have assured you that you would be heard then why you are creating this scene?” she asked.

The protesting members, carrying placards inscribed with slogans Karachi ki taqseem na manzoor (division of Karachi is unacceptable) and Siyasi zila na manzoor (a district for political motives is unacceptable), staged a token walkout but came before the bills were passed.

Question Hour

Earlier, the opposition continued their protest during Question Hour as Agriculture Minister Mohammad Ismail Rahu could answer only two supplementary questions, that too asked by treasury member Ghazala Sial.

The minister admitted that incidents of sale of counterfeit fertilizer were reported in the province during the past five years.

He said that to combat the occurrence of such incidents inspectors of the department in all districts regularly visited and checked outlets of fertilizer dealers and warehouses of different companies in their respective jurisdiction.

Mr Rahu said that 4,368 samples of fertilizer were drawn across the province and sent to fertilizers’ testing laboratories during last five years. “Out of above, 488 samples were declared as substandard and actions were initiated against the accused dealers as per the Fertilizer Control Act 1994 and Rules 99,” he added.

Tributes to Hazrat Umar

Meanwhile, the assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to pay rich tributes to Hazrat Umar Farooq on his martyrdom day.

The resolution was jointly moved by Sarwat Fatima of the TLP, MQM’s Waseem-ud-din Qureshi, Mohammad Hussain, PTI’s Mohammad Shabbir, Rabistan Khan, Khurram Sher Zaman, PPP’s Heer Soho, Abdul Rasheed of MMA and Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of GDA.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020