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> PILDAT asks National Assembly to pass Anti-Money Laundering Bill
   
 
Legislative Brief
September 11, 2007
Islamabad


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PILDAT has demanded of the National Assembly and its standing committee on Finance to shun legislative lethargy and pass the Anti-Money Laundering Bill pending with it for the last 2 years. While launching the Legislative Brief on the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, 2005, PILDAT noted that the bill was introduced by Omar Ayub, Minister of State for Finance in the National Assembly on 22 September 2005 and the Standing Committee which was supposed to submit its report on the bill to the National Assembly in October 2005 according to the Assembly Rules of Procedure has still not done so despite the lapse of 2 years. PILDAT Legislative Brief stated that both India and Bangladesh have enacted their Money Laundering prevention laws in 2002. PILDAT has drawn the attention of the members of the Parliament that almost twice (73) Presidential Ordinances have been issued during the past 4 years compared to the acts of parliament (42) and this state of affairs undermines the sovereignty of parliament and legislative lethargy of parliament further aggravates the situation.

 
 

The Legislative Brief indicates that Pakistan is under an international obligation to enact a legislation to prevent Money Laundering. The bill pending before the Parliament is a response to these obligations and the emerging needs. The Bill creates a mechanism to coordinate and focus various efforts to combat money laundering and prescribes punishment for the crime. The Bill gives the executive (i.e. the Government) the arbitrary power to add any offence to the schedules of predicate offences attached to the bill. PILDAT has demanded that this power should be subjected to legislative review. The Legislative Brief asks the legislators especially the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance to take necessary steps to wind-up their consideration of the bill expeditiously. The National Assembly is completing its 5-year term on November 15, 2007 and it will be appropriate if the National Assembly passes the bill in its remaining two months. A delay in the passage of the bill may not be in the interest of Pakistan as it may create unnecessary doubts in the mind of international community regarding the resolve of Government of Pakistan to combat and prevent Money Laundering. The Legislative Brief calls upon the National Assembly to delete the provisions of establishing Anti-Money Laundering Special Courts under the bill as it amounts to establishing a parallel judiciary. The system of Special Courts for Anti-Money Laundering crimes has not worked in India which introduced the system in 2002, the Brief added.

 
 

This Legislative Brief analyses the bill through presenting its Highlights at a glance for MPs and citizens, provides an executive summary and analysis of the Bill and offers recommendations for the Legislators, Citizens and Citizen Groups and the Media. The Legislative Brief is a part of the PILDAT Legislative Development Programme. The objective of the Brief is to assist the parliamentarians to understand the context, objective and the issues relating to the legislation and to enable them to participate in a more informed debate and take well considered position on the subject. The Brief is also intended to enhance awareness of the Citizens and Media in general so that they may also participate in the process as informed stake holders and communicate their views to the public representatives accordingly. A broad objective is to make the legislative process more open and participatory.