‘Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Bill 2020’ approved

ISLAMABAD – The Parliament on Thursday passed the Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Bill-2020 aims at providing legal support to the requesting state (foreign country) by executing necessary actions on its territory in criminal cases warranting shared assistance. 

The government initiated the bill in the National Assembly on September 13, 2019 and it was passed there on January 6, 2020.  However, it was not passed by the Senate within 90 days and tabled in the joint session of Parliament. The PPP lawmaker Agha Rafi Ullah and PML-N lawmaker Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha withdrew their amendments in the bill. The government agreed to consider and accommodate their amendments in the bill.

All the amendments moved by the Minister for Law and Justice Faroogh Naseem were passed by the House. Two new clauses 27 and 28 were inserted in the bill, which were passed by the House. The law proposes exchange of information and criminals with countries to meet a requirement of the Financial Action Task Force.

According to statement of objects and reasons of this act, increase in transnational organized crime has made it imperative for the international community including Pakistan to improve effectiveness of legal instruments. Lack of uniformity in law and weak coordination mechanisms between countries affect combating of crime across borders. In order to overcome these challenges legal cover is essentially required. International cooperation in criminal matters through mutual legal assistance is intended to bridge existing gaps in respective countries towards effective law enforcement. The requested state will provide legal support to the requesting state by executing necessary actions on its territory in criminal cases warranting shared assistance.

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