ISLAMABAD: The Senate rejected on Wednesday the Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020, a day after it was passed by the National Assembly (NA).
The bill received 31 votes in favour and 34 against.
The NA had, on Tuesday, passed the bill that allows spying powers to the investigators while probing into the case of terror financing, as part of the government’s efforts to enact legislation to help the country get out of the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Soon after the passage from the lower house of parliament, the anti-terrorism bill was introduced in the opposition-dominated Senate. The chair referred the bill to the relevant committee despite the objections raised by Senator Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020, was moved in the National Assembly by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker from Karachi Faheem Khan, which aimed at addressing the issue of terror financing.
The bill seeks insertion of Section 19-C in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) relating to application of investigation techniques. If becomes law, the bill gives spying powers to the investigators and allows them to conduct undercover operation, intercept communication and access computer systems.
“The investigating officer may with the permission of court within sixty days of such permission use techniques including undercover operation, intercepting communications, accessing computer system and controlling delivery for investigation of financing of terrorism under the law in force,” it said.
“The aforementioned period of sixty days may be extended upto further period of sixty days by the court on a request made to it in writing. The court may grant extension if it is satisfied on the basis of situation/reasons given in the written request. The provisions of this sub-section shall be addition to and not in derogation of another law for the time being in force,” it added.
According to the statement of objectives, terror financing was one of the major obstacles which had not only been playing a degrading role against the development of the country but also empowered such elements with financial means which were an ultimate threat to peace in the country.