Senate passes law to penalize terrorism financing

ISLAMABAD: Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to curb terrorism financing and penalize those involved in this act by confiscating, property and imposing fine and imprisonment.

The bill has already been passed by the National Assembly. After signatures of the President it would become an Act – to be implemented across the country.

The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2013 moved to the House by Law Minister Farooq H Naek to amend anti-terrorism act 1997 was not opposed by the opposition.

The bill will help penalize the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

The bill would pave way for the law enforcement agencies to take effective action against those who finance acts of terrorism and benefit from the proceeds of such acts.

These amendments shall improve the regime for freezing, seizure and forfeiture of property used for terrorism by terrorists and terrorist organisations.

The bills aims at amending the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 to strengthen the provisions concerning the offenses of terrorism financing and to provide more effective enforcement measures against such offenses.

According to statement of objects and reasons the bill reflects Pakistan’s resolve to constantly reviewing and strengthening its counter terrorism financing regime and to bringing it at par with the international standards.

Under the bill, the federal government or a provincial government may, from time to time, designate an officer of the government, by notification in the official gazette or direct any other person to freeze, seize or detain any money or other property for a period of 15 days, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is a terrorist property.

Furthermore, if illegal person commits an offence under sub section 4 it shall be liable to fine worth Rs five million and every director, officer or employee of such entity found guilty under sub section 4 shall be published in terms thereof.

The bill provides that the officer or person effecting freeze or seizure shall within 48 hours of the freeze or seizure, issue notice thereof to all person concerned with the money or other property frozen seized and cause publication of notice in one English newspaper and one Urdu newspaper having wide circulation in the area.

The bill addresses the shortcomings relating to terrorist financing provisions in the Anti Terrorism act 1997 that were highlighted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an international body comprising a number of countries and international organisations and which sets and monitors international standards on antimony laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT).