The federal government managed to pass all three Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related bills in the joint session of the Parliament on Wednesday.
All three bills had been adopted by the government-controlled National Assembly and were rejected by the opposition-ruled Senate. They got enacted despite the opposition enjoying an overall majority in the Parliament.
With the FATF body’s annual revision approaching next month, the government had no choice but to call for a joint session to get the bills through. Had it failed to do so, there were fair chances of the country entering the FATF blacklist – something India has been pushing for.
Prime Minister Imran Khan attended Wednesday’s important session in person. Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, PPP chairman, Bilawal Bhutto, and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, were also present.
As soon as the session began, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Babar Awan, presented the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill. The draft proposal was first passed through a voice vote, and then through vote count. It received 200 votes in favor, and 190 in opposition.
Former Senate Chairman, Senator Raza Rabbani, objected the move, saying that it was against the law to allow an advisor to table a bill in the Parliament since he is not a member.
Law Minister, Farogh Nasim, responded with the explanation that the law Rabbani was quoting was for special assistants and not advisors. His objection was overruled.
All three bills were read clause by clause and approved through voice votes. Opposition introduced various amendments to certain provisions, which were rejected.
However, when the PTI MNA Maleeka Bokhari introduced amendments in some clauses of the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, all were adopted, irking the opposition parties.
There was an uproar in the House. As she read amendments, the opposition parties staged a walkout. As a result, the remaining two bills were passed without any opposition.