After days of heated debate, the parliament has accomplished in passing the third FATF-related law. Following a difficult session of parliament, where Murad Saeed and several members of the opposition exchanged verbal blows, the coalition government has further strengthened Pakistan’s laws relating to financial corruption and its role in financing terrorism.

The global watchdog on money laundering and terror financing had warned Pakistan that it had accomplished only 14 items of the 27-point action plan it had committed itself to in order to be taken off FATF’s ‘grey list’; the need for passing more laws to keep in check financial crimes and amend the loopholes in the law that allow extremist outfits to access funding was more apparent than ever. There were certainly strategic deficiencies in Pakistan’s financial system, which extremist right-wing groups exploited in order to carry out terrorist activities.

Being placed on FATF’s grey list has, in a way, united even the opposition and government in passing measures to crack down on such groups. While the progress has been slow, it has been happening; in March 2019, for instance, provincial administrations took control of hundreds of madrassas, schools, mosques, run by extremist organisations. The JuD chief, Hafiz Saeed being sentenced for five years for terror financing, was also a big development.

While the contents of these bills have yet not been published, their passing indicates a further tightening of terror financing laws, which puts us in a much better position with the FATF. It is also good that the opposition, while eventually agreeing to pass the law, contested the problematic parts of the bill. Cracking down on the financing of terrorism is indeed an imperative task but it is also one that gives a lot of power to the government, power that should not be used against political opposition or those that are innocent. According to the parliamentary session, 80 percent of the opposition’s amendments to the law have been included, which lends credibility to the bills that these measures will not be misused in political ways.