The National Assembly was informed on Monday that Pakistan has fulfilled all conditions set by the authorities concerned in order to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list.
The NA resumed its session with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan informed the house, while responding to a question by a lawmaker in question hour, that the country has largely addressed 26 out of 27 action items provided by FATF.
He claimed that the country has undertaken enormous efforts to strengthen its anti-money laundering policies, combating the Financing of Terrorism regime, and addressed the strategic counter-terrorist financing related deficiencies. “All the ten action items pertaining to the financial sector and border controls have been addressed,” he added. The Minister of State informed that action items related to UN designated persons have been partially addressed and Pakistan is dealing with this matter as per its own laws.
In answer to a question, the Minister of State said the Foreign Exchange reserve rose from sixteen to twenty-five billion dollars in the last three years.
He further denied the reports that the government is going to impose a ban on the export of rice, adding that the government imported wheat to build strategic reserves to avert any shortage.
Meanwhile, the NA proceeding could not be continued and the speaker announced the adjournment of the house till Tuesday 4pm. According to the 14-point agenda issued by the NA Secretariat the previous day for the sitting of the assembly, not a single item was discussed out of that in the house.
The agenda list included some very important matters, such as the resolution to seek an extension of the constitutional life of the controversial Election (Second Amendment) ordinance 2021 for another 120 days which will expire next month, report of the Auditor General, and some key calling attention notices.
The Election ordinance authorizes the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to purchase electronic voting machines (EVMs) and enable overseas Pakistanis to participate in the election.
The main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had already moved a resolution seeking disapproval of the ordinance and the resolution was part of the NA’s agenda on July 30. However, the assembly session had been adjourned on July 30 without taking up any agenda item after holding a discussion on the women’s rights in the wake of growing incidents of rape and domestic violence in the country.
It was among those 21 bills which the government had literally bulldozed in the NA after suspending the rules of business amid the opposition’s strong protest and boycott on June 10, just a day before the presentation of the federal budget.