ISLAMABAD - The Opposition-dominated Senate on Tuesday rejected two FATF-related bills that drew ire of Prime Minister Imran Khan who said that the “self-serving interests of the Opposition leaders and the country's interests are divergent.”

The House rejected the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill with the majority of votes of Opposition after the Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem refused to tender an apology for his earlier remarks allegedly made against opposition leadership.

The National Assembly has already cleared the two bills to fulfill the requirement of Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering and counter terror financing watchdog, to get Pakistan’s name off its grey list.

The bills would now be put to vote in the joint sitting of the Parliament.

After the Opposition parties defeated the bills, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a Twitter statement said that as accountability noose has been tightened, the opposition leaders have “become desperate to save their corrupt money by trying to prevent Parliament from functioning”; by seeking to undermine government’s effective Covid-19 strategy and now by trying to sabotage Pakistan’s efforts to exit FATF’s grey list.

“To blackmail for NRO by defanging NAB, they would even have Pak (Pakistan) put on FATF black list to destroy nation's economy & increase poverty. They keep threatening to bring down govt. unless given NRO,” PM said in a series of tweets.

PM reiterated his stance that no matter what happened, his government would not allow any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) like deal as “it would be betrayal of nation's trust in holding plunderers of public wealth accountable.”

Earlier in the Senate, the opposition stressed that it would only vote in favour of the bills if leader of the house retracted his remarks about the leadership of PML-N and PPP for their alleged involvement in money laundering and tender an apology.

However, Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem stood by his words and insisted that he just had narrated facts and had asked for a soul searching on the circumstances that led to inclusion of Pakistan in the grey list. 

He said that he had not mentioned the name of opposition leaders including PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari while talking about issue of money laundering.

Leader of the House Shahzad Waseem while speaking in the House on last Wednesday had attacked the PPP and the PML-N despite the fact that the two parties had supported the government in the Parliament on the FATF legislation.

Senator Waseem had said Pakistan was already in the FATF grey list when the PTI came into power due to the bad policies of the previous governments.

“This was a gift given to them by previous governments.” He had also said in a reference to PPP and PML-N leadership that everyone knew that who were those people facing money-laundering charges and appearing in the courts.

However, some opposition members in the House insisted said he did name Sharif and Zardari.