ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior would meet today (Monday) to pass the anti-terrorism bill, which was put on hold some days ago because of reservation by opposition parties.
The passage of bill is necessary because of growing threat of country being blacklisted if legislation is not done by February 10, especially concerning anti-money laundering provisions.
The government’s uneasiness can be gauged from the remarks of Amir Khawja, National Coordinator NACTA, at the last committee meeting when he said that the anti-terrorism legislation should be passed by February 10 to ward off this threat.
The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2013 was laid before the Lower House of Parliament in the month of November and was referred to the committee for further deliberation before it is tabled in the House.
The committee, led by PML-N MNA Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan, will also discuss the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance.
The Anti-Terrorism Ordinance calls for more legislative measures to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies due to increasing terrorism in the country.
It reflects the government’s resolve to constantly review and strengthen counter terrorism financing regime and bring it at par with international standards.
It also addressed the shortcomings that relate to provisions on terrorist financing in Anti-Terrorism Act1997 and were highlighted by the Financial Action Task Force, an international body comprising many countries and international organisations that set and monitor international standards on anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.
In particular the legislation strengthens provision relating to offence of terrorism financing and for effective measures for law enforcement agencies to investigate such offences.
It also deals with conferring powers of investigation on Rangers, providing legal cover to Joint Investigation Team (JIT), enabling police to become complainants in extortion cases and special provision for protection of witnesses through video link.
A prominent feature of this bill states that any person arrested by the armed forces or civil armed forces under Section 5 shall be handed over to the investigating officer of the police station designated for the purpose by the provincial government in each district.
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