The National Assembly has passed “The Anti-terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020” and “The United Nations (Security Council) (Amendment) Bill 2020” with a majority vote amid uproar from the opposition.
The legislation fulfills certain requirements of the Financial Action Task Force in order to bring Pakistan out of FATF’s grey list.
The legislation is also aimed at empowering the federal government to direct authorities in Pakistan to implement various measures in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions including the freezing and seizure of assets, travel ban and arms embargo on entities and individuals who are designated on the sanctions list of the United Nations.
Both bills were presented by the Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.
In the statement of objects and reasons, “The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020” stated that the UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373 require member states to implement counterterrorism measures, especially countering the financing of terrorism through their domestic laws.
The penalties already described in the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 were not dissuasive for violations of assets seizure provision in Section 110 and the provided amount of fine was insufficient.
“The United Nations [Security Council] (Amendment) Bill, 2020”, states in its statement of objects and reasons that the already existing Act does not contain an indemnity clause to provide protection to the persons implementing in good faith the orders passed under the Act.
There is also a requirement to give powers to the federal government to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act.
The power to issue orders under the Act needs to be delegated by the federal government to ensure that the orders are issued in a timely manner, within a matter of few hours, as required by the Security Council.