FATF-related, other bills likely to be tabled in NA, Senate


ISLAMABAD: A fresh session of the National Assembly will commence on Monday (today), while the Senate session will start on Tuesday (tomorrow) in which the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other important bills are likely to be tabled.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan will introduce the FATF-related Anti-Money Laundering (second amendment) Bill, 2020, the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020, the Companies Amendment Bill, 2020, and the Limited Liabilities Partnership Amendment Bill, 2020.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak will present the Joint Maritime Information Organisation Bill, 2020, for constitution and regulation of the Joint Maritime Organisation.

The National Assembly’s agenda for Monday said there would be two calling attention notices — one for not opening schools on cold areas from August that caused grave concern among the public, and the other regarding an increase in the prices of essential items, specially sugar and wheat flour.

According to the agenda, 10 reports of standing committees related to the country’s economy in 2019-20, right of access to information, Council of Common Interests, culture, defence, law and justice, commerce, housing & works, planning & development and interior will be laid before the National Assembly.

The decision to call fresh sessions of the two houses of parliament was taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan when Dr Babar Awan called on him on Sept 7.

Dr Awan met the prime minister after postponement of sessions of the Senate and National Assembly due to flood situation in the country.

Regarding the bills related to the FATF, Dr Awan had said the government would not allow any delay in passage of bills of national interest.

Responding to a question about calling of the joint sitting of parliament to get FATF-related bills passed if the opposition intends to oppose them again, he said no date for the joint session had so far been decided.

Interestingly, the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill were rejected by the Senate in its last session.

After the passage of the 18th Constitution Amendment, if a bill passed by one house of parliament is rejected by the other, it can only become a law after being passed by a combined sitting of the two houses.

The 104-member opposition-dominated Senate had on Aug 25 rejected the two bills through a voice vote after it objected to some of the provisions of the laws and linked its cooperation to retraction of the remarks made by Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem about its leadership. These bills had been passed by the National Assembly only the previous day.

A day after the rejection of the two bills, the opposition had questioned the legality of the entire proceedings leading to the voting process and said the bills could not be sent to the joint sitting of parliament.

The opposition has a thin majority of nine votes in the joint sitting of parliament, but the government is hopeful of getting the two bills passed.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020