NA passes FATF-related bill on terror financing

Published September 16, 2020
The session of the lower house of parliament lasted for six-and-a-half hours in which other important issues were also discussed. — APP/File
The session of the lower house of parliament lasted for six-and-a-half hours in which other important issues were also discussed. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a Financial Action Task Force-related bill, the Anti-Terrorism Act (amendment) Bill, 2020, while another bill was laid in the house that suggested punishment of up to two years, or up to Rs500,000 fine or both for “maligning” armed forces of the country and their personnel.

In a related development, President Dr Arif Alvi summoned a joint sitting of parliament on Wednesday (today) apparently to get the FATF-related legislation passed that was blocked by the opposition in the Senate last month, sources said.

However, no official notification was issued in this regard till the filing of this story.

The session of the lower house of parliament lasted for six-and-a-half hours in which other important issues were also discussed, like the recent rape of a woman on the Motorway near Lahore, flooding in Karachi and Sindh and increasing beggary in the federal capital.

According to the ATA (amendment) Bill, 2020, the investigating officer, with the permission of the court, can conduct covert operations to detect terrorism funding, track communications and computer system by applying latest technologies in 60 days.

Another bill introduced in National Assembly provides for up to two-year imprisonment or Rs500,000 fine or both for defaming armed forces

Written requests would be made to the court for extension in investigation and the court may extend the period for another 60 days.

The current law will not contradict any other law and the federal government will strengthen the procedure and formulate rules for the implementation of orders.

The bill said funding for terrorism was a major obstacle in the country’s development and a source of disgrace to it. Terrorism funding was benefiting those elements which were not only a threat to internal and external peace of the country but also its allies, the bill said.

“The main purpose of introducing this bill is to enable law enforcement agencies to eradicate these curses by adopting certain preventive techniques with the empowered assistance of the courts of law.”

The Criminal Law (amendment) Act Bill, 2020 was laid in the National Assembly to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, that suggested punishment to those who would malign armed forces and their personnel. This may be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2020.

In Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, Section 500A is inserted which said: “Whosoever, intentionally ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the armed forces of Pakistan or a member thereof, he shall be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with a fine up to Rs500,000 or both.”

Later, the house discussed the horrible Motorway incident near Lahore in which a woman was raped by some criminals a few days ago.

The house witnessed anger expressed by legislators over the incident who demanded exemplary punishment to the rapists.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry did not endorse the idea of public hanging of rapists to avoid such heinous crimes in future. Instead, he called for strengthening of the judiciary.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s view that sex abusers should be subjected to chemical or physical castration and asked what if a woman raped a man. He suggested that Islamic punishment should be given to the culprits and Islamic courts should be established at district level.

In a call-attention notice, the house was apprised about devastation of floods in Sindh and Karachi.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020

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