ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly yesterday passed ‘The Companies Bill, 2017’, aimed at taking adequate measures against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The 348-page bill, moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, was opposed by the major opposition parties. The government side rejected amendments proposed by the lawmakers from the opposition.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says it will ensure maximum participation of members in decision-making process of the company through use of modern electronic means of communication and address the issues relating to protection of interests of minority shareholders and creditors.

“The bill provides adequate measures against money laundering and terrorist financing,” it says, mentioning necessary provisions have been proposed regarding powers of the commission, including joint investigations and provisions requiring officers of a company to take adequate measures against violations.

“In order to give immediate impetus to the economy and stimulate economic growth there is an emergent need to make law and provide relief and incentives to the corporate sector,” says the bill.

The house saw interesting scene when the chair sought permission of opposition parties to club all the clauses of the bill for the legislative process. As Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, PTI’s Shireen Mazari and PPP’s Naveed Qamar raised objections for not reading the bill clause by clause, Speaker NA Ayaz Sadiq asked ministers Pir Aminul Hasnat,Barjees Tahir and Sheikh Aftab to request Shireen Mazari to allow the government to club all the clauses to save time. Almost all the lawmakers were laughing when these ministers went to the seat of the PTI member to woo her.

The opposition lawmakers pointed out some drafting mistakes in the bill. PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood read out clause 311 on page 167, indicating confusion in drafting of the bill. Shazia Marri proposed to refer the matter to Council of Common Interests (CCI) to resolve it amicably.

Although the opposition leader allowed the chair to club the clauses of the bill due to its length, he strongly criticised the government about absence of ministers.

The lawmakers from both sides of the aisle paid rich tributes to late MNA Abdur Rahim Mandokhel from PkMAP for his contribution to strengthening democracy in the country.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement strongly criticised the federal government for putting restrictions on social media. “MQM strongly condemns the action of FIA for not taking action against proscribed organizations’ members on the social media,” said MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi.

With the onset of the proceedings, the house condemned the terrorist attack in Manchester and observed one-minute silence over the incident.

Responding to a call-attention notice about non-recognition of unsung heroes, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said a formal request would be sent to the KP and Balochistan governments to send their nominations so that the federal government could give due consideration to their recommendations for civil awards.

A bill ‘The Juvenile Justice System, 2017’ was also introduced in the house. The statement of objects and reasons of the bills says it is to modify and amend the laws relating to criminal justice system for juveniles by paying special focus on disposal of cases through diversion and social reintegration of juvenile offenders.