ISLAMABAD - Amid rumpus by the opposition, the PTI’s government Wednesday managed to pass two Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related bills including ‘The Anti-terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ and ‘The United Nations (Security Council) (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ with a majority vote.

The house saw hullaballoo throughout the proceedings during the speeches of members and in legislative business. The opposition members gathered around the speaker podium in protest and kept raising anti-government slogans during the legislation.

The opposition members, ignoring the continuous instructions from the chair, tore copies of agenda and bills and were seen throwing into the air to lodge their protest. The house saw a contest of sloganeering between the members of MMA [Opposition] and treasury members during the legislation on bills related to FATF.

The legislation is related to fulfill certain requirements of the Financial Action Task Force in order to bring Pakistan out of FATF’s grey list.

The legislation is aimed at empowering the federal government to direct authorities in Pakistan to implement various measures, in the Security Council resolutions including freezing and seizure of assets, travel ban and arms embargo on the entities and individuals, who are designated on the sanctions list of the United Nations.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 requires member states to implement counter terrorism measures, especially countering the financing of terrorism through their domestic laws. This obligation is implemented in Pakistan through Anti-Pakistan Act, 1997.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif, responding to the speech of foreign minister about the FATF related bills, said they were interested to put an end to the wrong practice of accountability. “We want a flourishing economy and Pakistan should come out of the grey list,” he said, mentioning that they were not afraid of any strict law proposed by the government. “We have faced prisons of Attock Qila. But keep in mind, you [Government] will not be spared,” he said.

About the amendments in NAB law, he said the word extendable was written in the draft of the government. Asif strongly criticized the accountability process of NAB. “This is political victimization not pure accountability,” he said.

Asif in his speech was much critical on foreign minister Shah as compared to the clauses of the presented bills.

“Shame on him,” was the main attack from PML-N’s parliamentary leader which mainly caused clamour in the house. He said there should be accountability of all without any discrimination. “Like assets beyond means, there is need to make reference of assets beyond graves,” he said, mentioning that Shah Mehmood Qureshi had tried to approach PML-N before joining the PTI.

Minister for foreign affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi was interested to give a response to Khwaja Asif but the opposition members created rumpus. “I will not allow anyone to speak here if opposition continues to create mess in the house,” he warned, but the members from opposition gathered around the speaker podium.

PPP-P senior MNA and former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that there should be accountability across the board. “There should not be selective accountability,” he said adding that the standing committee had not carried discussion on FATF related bills in six months. He came down hard on the government for targeting opposition members in the name of accountability. “Abuse us [Opposition] but please give jobs to the people,” he said, adding that the opposition had never been afraid of accountability.

Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed said there would be no compromise on accountability and no NRO would be extended to anyone.

Earlier, MQM-P and PTI’s members from Karachi staged a walkout from the proceedings of the house on the current situation of Karachi due to rains.

A PPP-P member Shagufta Jumani asked the chair to issue a production order of PPP-P’s senior member Khursheed Shah. She also placed a picture of Khursheed Shah on the seat.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary on Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas said that around 95 percent of stranded Pakistanis have been brought back home in about two and half months in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.