National Assembly passes anti-terror financing bills

national assembly
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed two crucial bills regarding amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act to fulfill commitments and requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Minister for Interior Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah had moved the two bills seeking amendments to sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 and insertion of a new section. The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020 was approved by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior in February.
The government has defined the term “economic terrorism” as ‘the transfer of money or funds from Pakistan to destinations abroad through any informal channel, including Hundi or Hawala, where the total amount transferred by anyone agent, through a single or multiple transactions over a period of one month, is equal to or exceeds fifty million rupees.”
The bills had been introduced by the government to meet certain requirements of the FATF and in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions No. 1267 and 1373.
The bill will be applicable in cases of transferring money through informal channels and giving broad powers to law enforcement personnel to keep the accused under detention for three months during the inquiry period and carry out a search operation at suspected premises.
The government has inserted a new section 9A titled ‘Preventive detention for inquiry’ in the ATA. The bill empowers the federal and provincial authorities to detain the persons for inquiry as well as to review the applications against detention orders.
This detention period can be extended for another three months subject to the provisions of Article 10 of the Constitution. The aggrieved person has been given the right to appeal to the interior minister and the interior secretary.
The bills have also increased punishment including fines from existing Rs10 million to Rs25 million, besides introducing a ten-year jail sentence for those found involved in terror financing through illegal money transfers.
The statement of objectives and reasons attached to the bill seeking amendments to sections 2 and 11O and insertion of new subsection 11000 states that the ATA 1997 lacks certain provisions in relation to the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1267 and 1373.
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