Published Date: Jan 28, 2012
ILLICIT MONEY FUNDS TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN PAK
|Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday said money earned from trafficking of drugs and arms is being used to finance terrorist activities in the country.
“I have strong indicators and data that terrorists have a role in drug trafficking and other illegal activities to generate quick money,” Malik said at a ceremony where the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) released a report on Pakistan’s “illegal economy”.
Endorsing the findings of the report titled “Examining the dimensions, scale and dynamics of the illegal economy: A study of Pakistan in the region”, Malik said global cooperation is a must to curb organised transnational crimes.
He asked the world community to play its role in curbing the production and trafficking of drugs, which are linked with terrorism.
“Illicit trafficking of drugs, humans, timber and arms on a global scale fuels conflicts and encourages violence. “So the international community should take stringent measures to stop them,” he said.
Malik spoke on different dimensions of organised crime, the regional and global dimensions of their networks and funding and the absence of international cooperation to counter these crimes.
He asked Western countries to help Pakistan improve its law enforcement agencies through sharing of expertise, equipments and training.
He suggested the formation of an international body for investigating and taking action against illicit money, which is one of the primary sources for funding terrorist organisations.
Evidences suggest that terrorist organisations use sophisticated methods to strengthen their networks and to swiftly mobilise resources across the globe that are generated through smuggling of drugs and illegal economy, he said.
Malik also highlighted the need for united action to address problems originating in Afghanistan.
The NATO and US authorities in Afghanistan have failed to stop the open cultivation of poppy in Afghanistan and money from this trade directly fuels terrorism as it is widely used for weapons, training and other needs of terrorist groups, he said. The Pakistan government has lodged complaints to NATO but it avoided action against poppy cultivation “ostensibly due to their limited mandate”, Malik said.
Sharing the findings of a study, Qasim Ali Shah of SDPI recommended that efforts to curb the illegal economy should be made part of the development agenda framework, capacity-building of law enforcement agencies and international cooperation.
The illegal economy is a “subset of the informal economy and its size and scale in Pakistan has not been investigated so far”, Shah said.
Pakistan’s informal economy is estimated at USD 34 billion while the illegal economy is estimated at USD 1.2 to 1.5 billion.
Shah said 44 per cent of the heroin produced in Afghanistan transits through Pakistan.
Abid Suleri, executive director of SDPI, said it was the shared responsibility of the international community to collectively deal with this menace as no country or region can control it.
Jeremy Douglas, representative of UNODC in Islamabad, said the illegal economy is unfortunately a neglected area within the mainstream development discourse despite its impact on human security at various levels.
He said this was the first time such a study had been conducted in Pakistan and its primary aim was to estimate the scale and size of the illegal economy and to understand its dynamics.