ISLAMABAD - The PTI government yesterday managed to approve ‘The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020’ with majority of votes in the National Assembly.

The House saw rumpus as the Opposition members blew hot and cold over the clause of the bill related to arrest of suspects of money laundering without ‘warrant’. The members from Opposition parties termed the bill as ‘black law’. They feared that the proposed amendments in the bill could be misused against the politicians in future, but the government with majority of votes passed the bill.

The government, in the amended bill, proposed to regulate the jewellers, lawyers, real estate agents including builders, developers, property dealers and housing authorities, chartered accountants and people involved in businesses related to precious stones.

Adviser to Prime Minister Dr.Babar Awan said that the government would not compromise on the matter of national sovereignty.

“The government is not taking any step against national sovereignty,” he said and offered the Opposition to sit with the government on the matter of regulating arrest order.

However, the Opposition did not listen to him and opposed the amended bill. Minister for Law and Justice Faroogh Naseem clarified that this law was not against Islamic laws. Taking part in the debate, Special adviser to PM on accountability Shahzad Akbar said that the government wants to move the country out of the grey list by the legislation. “There is confusion only on putting the NAB as an investigating agency in the list,” he said, giving reference to some money laundering related cases including ‘Manzoor TT’ case and ‘Faloda seller’ case.

We are not in favour of closing the NAB but want a balanced legislative system, says Khawaja Asif

“We are ready to discuss clauses of the bills with the Opposition” he said, inviting rumpus from Opposition benches.

The Opposition members stood up on their seats in protest as they were interested to take the floor. The House witnessed rumpus when PML-N’s MNA/ former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi used insulting words against the chair.

“You have been Prime Minister of the country. Avoid this language,” said the chair, adding, that this was not the way to address the chair.Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi intervened to cool down the situation. He requested to expunge words used against the chair by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. 

The government members from backbenches raised slogans of ‘Chor [Thief]’ against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Former Prime Minister responded to the members in the same manner. The chair also gave the floor to the senior member to express his stance on the bill.Abbasi, taking the floor, said that the chair had given the floor to an unelected member in the House. “If this black law is passed in the House, it could be used against the politicians in future,” he added.

Earlier, PML-N’s Parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the government and the Opposition should adopt any legislation with proper consultation and deliberation. “We are not in favour of closing the NAB but want a balanced legislative system,” he said and blamed the biased role of the NAB. “Is NAB not being used against Opposition? What action was taken against the thief of sugar?,” he posed a volley of questions. About clauses of the amended bill,  Asif said that they [Opposition members] had faced NAB in the past and were ready to face it in future.

PPP-P’s Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, opposing the clauses of the proposed legislation ,  said that this bill was against the basic rights of citizens.  “It is definitely a black law, if the proposed amendment is not included in the bill,” he commented. “How can a person arrested without any warrant?,” he raised a question, about the clause of the bill.

PPP-P’s senior leader said the right to arrest a person for investigating agencies would be unfair. “Human rights are being ignored in this bill,” he said.

REOPENING OF EDUCATION INSTITUTES EXPECTED 

oN SEPT 15

Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood said that the final decision about opening the schools would be made on September 7. “It is in the plan to open schools by the mid of September,” he said, mentioning that coronavirus [COVID-19] had badly affected education and other departments.Responding to a call-attention notice, he said the government was planning to introduce a special package for education institutes. “State Bank has given a package of three to five per cent which would help school administration,” he said,