Friday, August 04, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly has passed seven government bills, including the National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority Bill 2023, The News reported Friday.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar moved the bill that was passed on Thursday.
She said the legislation was of immense importance and, if properly enforced and implemented, it would make sure that Pakistan did not see the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list again.
Hina Khar said the bill envisages the establishment of a National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Authority.
She said the chairman of the authority would be appointed by the prime minister, adding the authority would comprise the finance secretary, foreign affairs secretary, interior secretary, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) DG, Anti-Narcotics Force DG, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, Financial Monitoring Unit DG, NACTA national coordinator and the chief secretaries of provinces.
Other government bills, which were passed by the house, on Thursday included ‘The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, ‘The Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, ‘Pakistan Civil Aviation Bill, 2023’, the ‘National Logistics Corporation Bill, 2023’, ‘The Gun and Country Club Bill, 2023’ and the ‘Pakistan Air Safety Investigation Bill, 2023’.
Earlier, the National Assembly proceedings saw debates and protest over attempts to pass and passage a volley of bills to set up over two dozen private educational institutes and universities in different parts of the country.
Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami questioned whether Members of the National Assembly had signed a contract of setting up private universities and getting the bills passed on their behalf.
“A single member of the house is mover of the bill for setting up 10 private universities in Islamabad and other parts of the country while compromising on quality of education,” he said.
He also pointed out the lack of quorum in the House in an attempt to prevent the passage of bills leading to adjournment of proceedings till Friday.
Only one private member bill titled Institute of Gujrat Bill, 2023 moved by Armaghan Subhani could be passed by the House.
Federal Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain also agreed with the point of view of the JI parliamentarian, saying that some members wanted to get the charter of universities approved through Acts of Parliament.
He said it had happened in the past that charter of 11 universities was also approved by the Punjab Assembly without completing codal formalities and now the Higher Education Commission was not attesting degrees of those universities.
He said the National Assembly was passing the bills which were stuck in Senate standing committees. He agreed that the quality of education could not be improved through the mushroom growth of universities in the private sector. He agreed that the National Assembly could approve bill relating to the setting up of an institute and not the university.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti of the PML-N, who wanted to move the Kings Universities Bill, 2023, said he would withdraw his bill if assurance was given that bills of universities having no NOC of HEC were also not passed.
Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali also prevented the passage of another bill relating to setting up a private university. “The university being set up in Lahore is being given the name of Islamabad,” he said.
The JI parliamentarian raised the question of lack of quorum, leading to the adjournment of proceedings till Friday (today).
The JI MNA made his presence felt as he also threatened to point out the lack of quorum earlier while protesting against the treatment meted out to him by the interior ministry officials.
He said the other day he visited the ministry to check updates relating to cases of arms licenses already submitted, but he was treated harshly by officials there.
He asked the speaker to defer a bill sponsored by the ministry; otherwise, he would point out lack of quorum in the House.
On his demand, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who wanted to move the Federal Prosecution Bill, 2023 on behalf of the interior minister agreed to defer the same.