The National Assembly on Monday approved Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, amid strong protest by the opposition parties. The bill was tabled in the Lower House by Adviser to PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and was opposed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Speaking on the occasion, Babar Awan said that they would not tolerate any hindrance over legislation on matters pertaining to the national interest. He further offered the opposition to sit together to bring more transparency on the role of authority tasked to make arrests under the law. Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said that they have made an amendment in the anti-money laundering bill passed in 2007 in order to get Pakistan out from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “We took opposition parties into confidence over every amendment and accepted their proposals for bringing improvement in the bill,” he said. However, he said, certain amendments which the opposition demanded particularly benefit the opposition leader in National Assembly. Speaking on behalf of the opposition parties, former prime minister and PPP lawmaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that they had proposed certain amendments in the bill, especially regarding its Section 10. “We are against the power of arrest in the bill,” he said, adding that such powers could give anyone the authority to make arrests without prior approval of arrest warrants. He said that under the law, NAB is tasked to deal with anti-money laundering cases. “Even the apex court has termed the NAB’s performance as unsatisfactory,” he said, while terming it a black law and opposing its passage from the National Assembly. Mohsin Ranjha of the PML-N made it clear that the opposition could not make any point scoring over this important bills but suggested that it might be passed through consensus. PML-N leader Khawaja Asif was of the view that the opposition wanted to remove the role of NAB in this law because the NAB law itself require improvement. The NAB only took actions against opposition in last two years which badly affect its credibility, he claimed. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that under the new anti-money laundering law, the business community could be badly affected because the government can ask any person to stop its business due to apprehension of money laundering. The opposition strongly reacted but the government managed to pass the law without their support. The House passed four bills aimed at fulfilling the obligations of the Financial Action Task Force to bring the country out of FATF’s grey list. The bills moved by Prime Minister’s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan included “The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2020”, “The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020”, “The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020”, and “The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020.” “The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2020” and “The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020” will ensure compliance with FATF’s recommendations on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism by strengthening existing laws. “The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020,” is aimed at proper management, supervision and administration of waqf properties in the capital territory. Meanwhile, the House was informed that the government is planning to reopen educational institutions from the 15th of the next month. Responding to a calling attention notice in the House, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood said that a consultative meeting to take final decision regarding reopening of the school will be held on 7th of the next month.