Grant for FATF Secretariat
The National Assembly approved a demand for grant worth Rs.84 million for establishing FATF Secretariat, while rejecting cut motions on it and the others related to industries and production division. Opposing the cut motions on demand for grant for setting up this secretariat, Minister for Industries and Production told the lower house of the parliament that Pakistan was put on FATF grey list in the previous PML-N government. This is matter of record now and the real test is how the incumbent government succeeds in building robust institutional and legal frame work for strengthening the ant-money laundering and counterterrorism financing regimes for getting the country out of the grey list.
A proposal was on the table to incorporate some amendments to Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and Anti-money laundering law (AML) as a part of Finance Bill 2020-21. But it was dropped and perhaps decision has been taken to approve a separate legislation from the parliament to amend foreign exchange laws. It remains to be seen how the intended legislation will bring amendment to certain sections and provisions of “Protection of Economic Reforms Act” of July 1992, which pertains to the transfer into and transfer out of foreign exchange abroad by the political and business elite from their foreign currency accounts maintained in banks. At present the foreign exchange laws are very strict for the common man. The filer parents of students find it difficult to send few hundred dollars for paying the semester fee of their children who are enrolled in foreign universities to pursue the doctoral programmes in sciences, engineering, management sciences and other disciplines of contemporary knowledge. Let us hope the principle of equity and justice will apply to all and sundry.