The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Sindh police has drafted a bill aimed at preventing banned terrorist groups from collecting donations and stopping misuse of charitable funds in terrorism in Sindh, according to officials and documents.
The bill titled ‘The Charitable Funds (Regulation of Collections) Act, 2018’ focuses mainly the charitable organisations associated with banned outfits, said additional inspector general of the CTD Dr Sanaullah Abbasi.
Abbasi said that it had been observed that the charity organisations functioned as a front for the militant outfits to collect donations, funds from philanthropists and the public to finance their nefarious activities.
“In some cases, it came to the knowledge of law enforcers that such charitable funds are being used by outlawed organisations for spreading terrorism and extremism,” he said.
The proposed law would not apply to income from collection boxes placed at mosques or shrines
Mr Abbasi revealed that they had proposed that all organisations, which had been banned by provincial and federal governments or United Nations, must not be allowed to collect donations by using any name.
The draft law suggested that violators be tried under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. “If any promoter, collector and recipient found using funds or donation for promoting, financing or executing any terrorist activity, the relevant sections of ATA shall be invoked against the offenders,” it said.
However, the proposed law would not apply to income from boxes placed at, and offerings or subscriptions made to or for the purposes of mosques, takias, khankahs, dargahs or other shrines whose administration had been taken over by the chief administrator of Auqaf, it said.
The draft law also proposed that the government might refuse to sanction collection of funds if the aim of the collection appeared to it to be immoral or contrary to public policy, or if the authority was not satisfied with credentials of the persons proposing to make the collection, or if the authority was not satisfied with regard to proper custody of fund or due administration of the fund for the purposes for which they were to be collected.
The authority concerned might sanction the collection when collection of any fund was intended for the benefit of an institution, association, society or undertaking on the condition that the institution, association, society or undertaking shall be registered under the Societies Registration Act.
“No request or demand is allowed for charities and fund collection on print, electronic and social media except with the permission of authority,” he said.
The draft law also called for proper maintenance and audit of the fund or donation collected. “The accounts of all charitable funds shall be audited and submitted to the authority concerned in the prescribed manner and at prescribed times or intervals,” it said.
It added: “The authority may at any time for reasons to be stated in writing require by order accounts of a charitable fund to be audited or re-audited by a specified auditor at the cost of any particular individual or individuals.”
In order to prevent misuse of funds, the draft said: “No part of any donations collected for any private or charitable fund shall be used for any purpose other than the object for which it was collected, except under the order of a competent court, or in the case of a charitable fund of the treasurer of Charitable Endowments.
In case of misuse, misapplication or misappropriation of funds, the draft proposed punishment for such offenders.
The proposed law also provided remedy in the shape of ‘appellate authority’ in case a person was not satisfied with the official order. “Any person who is dissatisfied with any order passed or direction given or refusal to make any order or give any direction by the sanctioning authority, may within 30 days of the order, direction or refusal, appeal against it to the appellate authority, and the authority may thereupon make such order as it thinks fit in accordance with this Act.”