THE country’s parliament on Wednesday wrapped up the legislation needed to steer the country out of global money-laundering and terrorism financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list by passing three bills at a joint sitting of the two Houses. Between February and September, Parliament amended 10 Acts through 13 Bills as part of Pakistan’s efforts to exit the Paris-based financial watchdog’s grey list in line with its 27-point Action Plan.
Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem also confirmed that Pakistan has completed all FATF-related legislation before the deadline. He said there were no more amendments required for now adding that Pakistan would pass new laws or further amend the existing ones if required in future. The FATF had placed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018 and had asked Islamabad to implement the action plan by the end of 2019 but later extended the deadline because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has now met most of the conditions of the FATF by taking both kinetic and non kinetic measures including the legislation and taking firm action against the proscribed organizations. Though these measures were in the country’s own interest but such an ambitious action plan has not been handed over to any country by the FATF before. It is important that the FATF like forums are not politicized and they perform their functions fairly and transparently without playing into the hands of countries such as India which harbours evil designs against Pakistan and lobbied hard to push the country into the blacklist. Anyway time has come that Pakistan is removed from the grey list in recognition of its efforts. Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed the government’s commitment to soon introduce a three-tier legislation providing for registration of sex offenders, exemplary punishment for rape and child abuse and effective policing. Given recent increase in child abuse and rape incidents including the most recent happened on the motorway, such a piece of legislation has become need of the hour. The legislation should envisage such a punishment for the sex offenders and abusers so that nobody in future could dare to resort to such ghastly acts.