ISLAMABAD - The Opposition-dominated Senate on Wednesday rejected the Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 blocking the third Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related proposed law from the House.

The House rejected the bill with 34 members of opposition voted against it and 31 lawmakers from treasury favouring the bill.  

However, the House passed another FATF-related bill—the Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with majority of votes of treasury and major opposition parties in the house. Both the bills have already been passed by the National Assembly.

Last month, the 104-member Senate had rejected the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill.

The Opposition had linked its cooperation over passage of bills to withdrawal of remarks made by Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem about their certain leaders.

The proposed amendment in the Anti-Terrorism Bill says that the investigating officer may, with the permission of the court, can use techniques including undercover operations, intercept communications, and access computer system to conduct investigation of financing of terrorism under the law in force.

Meanwhile, the house passed the Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 whose statement of objects and reasons says that FATF requires to amend the act in order to bring more control and transparency in registration and regulations of cooperative societies of Islamabad.

“The prime objective of proposed amendment is to control terror financing through this channel.”  

According to the proposed amendments, the registrar will provide details of the society's beneficial owners, officers, members, nominees of the members, employees and management committee when requested by relevant authorities and the failure will result in suspension of the registration of the society.

The relevant society officer will have to pay Rs 1 million in case of violation of the law, says another amendment. If a member, employee, officer or secretary of a cooperative society doesn’t provide the required information, he will face a punishment of maximum five years alongwith a fine of Rs 2 million or both.  

According to another amendment, if society fails to provide information, then it will be liable to a fine up to maximum one-fourth of its working capital or Rs 10 million, the bill says. 

The opposition Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed opposing the bill said that he was surprised to see the consensus of government and major Opposition parties over this bill while there is “an acute polarisation” between both of them.

“I ask PPP and PML-N to leave practice of behind the scene consultations,” he said, adding, that whether the established has played its role in developing this consensus or the opposition was being offered some NRO-like deal. “You are changing acute polarisation into partnership,” he alleged.  The Parliamentary leader of PML-N in the House Senator Mushahidullah Khan on a point of public concern objected for conferring Sitara-e-Imtiaz with Javed Afridi, the owner of Pakistan Super League franchise—Peshawar Zalmi—by the federal government. He said that the house should be informed the reason for conferring civil award with him.