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Dawn

Published Date: Jan 28, 2012

ILL-GOTTEN MONEY BEING USED FOR TERRORIST ACTS, SAYS MALIK

Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday called for international cooperation to curb organised transnational crimes and said that illegal money earned through drug and arms trade was being used by terrorists.
Speaking at the launch of a joint study on illegal economy, Mr Malik urged Western countries to help Pakistan strengthen its law-enforcement agencies by sharing expertise and providing equipment and training.
The study “Examining the dimensions, scale and dynamics of the illegal economy: a study of Pakistan in region” has been prepared by the Sustainable Policy Development Institute (SDPI) and UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The minister called for setting up an international body for investigating and taking actions against illicit money which was one of the primary sources of funding for terrorist organisations.
He said evidences suggested that terrorist organisations used sophisticated methods to strengthen their networks and to swiftly mobilise resources across the globe generated through smuggling of drugs and illegal economy.
He said Pakistan was a direct victim of the global war on terror and its mainstream economy and social fabric had been destroyed by terrorism.
He said that Nato and the United States had failed to get the cultivation of poppy stopped in Afghanistan and this money directly fuelled terrorism in the region and across the globe because it was widely used for weapons, training and other needs by terrorist organisations.
He said the government had also lodged complaints with Nato but action against poppy cultivation was avoided ostensibly because of their limited mandate.
He praised security institutions and law-enforcement agencies for their sacrifices and successes against crimes despite being short of modern equipment and training.
SDPI programme director Qasim Ali Shah said illegal economy was a subset of the informal economy and its size and scale in Pakistan had not been investigated so far.
Pakistan’s informal economy is estimated at $34 billion and the illegal economy at $1.2 to $1.5 billion. He said Pakistan’s location next to Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opiates, made it vulnerable.
“Around 44 per cent of the heroin produced in Afghanistan transits through Pakistan whose destination value is estimated at approximately $27 billion,” he said.
Senator Haji Adeel said militant outfits received money from Afghanistan and that allied forces must take actions because of their presence in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan was dragged into the war against terrorism and as long as this war continues, the illegal economy will also continue to prosper,” he said.
UNODC representative in Pakistan Jeremy Douglas said illegal economy was unfortunately a neglected area within the mainstream development discourse despite its impact on human security at various levels. He said the study was conducted for the first time in Pakistan and its primary aim was to estimate the scale and size, understand its dynamics which was subsequently undermining the prosperity of states and citizens.
SDPI executive director Dr Abid Q. Suleri said it was a shared responsibility of international community to collectively deal with the situation as no country or region could control this deep-rooted menace on its own.