The Senate held an emergency meeting on Tuesday in order to discuss the Anti-Money Laundering Law that was passed by the Lower House on Monday.The law is considered a critical measure to keeping Afghanistan in good standing with the international community and ensuring continued flows of foreign investment to the country.
Parliament had come under heavy criticism over the past couple weeks for failing to pass the law quickly enough. Last month, the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued a warning to the Afghan government that unless it took legal action to curb money laundering and the financing of terrorism inside Afghanistan it would be added to a blacklist that experts have said could halt foreign investment and throw the country into an economic crisis.
“We have received the law, and the upper house will hold discussion this afternoon,” Senator Nafisa Sultani said on Tuesday.
Yet Senate Speaker Fazel Hadi Muslimyar cautioned that the Upper House would not rush the ratification of the law. He emphasized that the legislation would only be passed in so far as it served the interests of the country, not those of businessmen.
“We will approve the law in line with the national interests, and not for the interests of wealthy individuals and banks,” Muslimyar said. “It should be assessed thoroughly, it could even be discussed on Saturday or Sunday if not today.”
Other members of the Senate assured that the lawmakers appreciated the significance of the law, and the importance of passing it soon. Deputy Speaker Mohammad Alam Ezidyar said responsibility would also fall on the government, which he said he hoped would ratify it as quickly as possible.
“We realize the importance of the issue, but the main responsibility lies with the government,” Ezidyar said. “The law must be approved soon after it is referred to the president for signature, the law must not be dealt with like the population registration act,” he added, referring to another law that was stalled in the ratification process last year.