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The Nation

Published Date: Jan 28, 2012


Endorsing the findings of SDPI-UNODC joint report, Rehman Malik, Federal Minister for Interior, said illegal money earned through drugs and arms trafficking is being used by terrorists. Therefore, global cooperation is necessary to curb organised transnational crimes.
He was speaking at the SDPI and UNODC joint study launch on illegal economy of Pakistan titled “examining the dimensions, scale and dynamics of the illegal economy: a study of Pakistan in the region” here on Friday.
Senator Haji Adeel of ANP, Jeremy Douglas, Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Islamabad, Qasim Ali Shah, Director Programme Development, SDPI and Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad also spoke on the occasion.
Rehman Malik urged western countries to help Pakistan to improve its law enforcement agencies through sharing of expertise, equipments and training. He also suggested forming an international body on investigating and taking actions against illicit money which is one of the primary sources of funding for terrorist organisations. He said evidences suggest terrorist organizations use sophisticated methods to strengthen their networks and to swiftly mobilize resources across the globe generated through smuggling of drugs and illegal economy.
He said Pakistan is a direct victim of global war on terror and its mainstream economy and social fabric have been destroyed due to it. He embarked upon the need for united actions on over-flow of problems from Afghanistan. He lamented NATO and US in Afghanistan have failed to stop open cultivation of poppy in Afghanistan and this money directly fuels terrorism in this region as well as across globe as it is widely used for weapons, trainings and other needs for terrorism by terrorist organizations. He said government of Pakistan has also lodged complaints to NATO but they avoided action against poppy cultivation ostensibly due to their limited mandate.
Qasim Ali Shah sharing the findings of study, recommended mainstreaming of efforts to curb illegal economy into development agenda framework, capacity-building of law enforcement agencies, international cooperation, education to address demand-side aspects, and further research. He said illegal economy is a subset of the informal economy and its size and scale in Pakistan has to-date not been investigated so far.
Pakistan’s informal economy is estimated at $34 billion whereas illegal economy is estimated at $1.2-1.5 billion. He informed that Pakistan’s location next to Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opiates, makes it vulnerable to drug and precursors trafficking. He said around 44 percent of the heroin produced in Afghanistan transits through Pakistan whose destination value is estimated at approximately US $ 27 Billion.
Senator Haji Adeel expressed that illegal economy and trade in FATA stems from the fact there are poor socio-economic conditions in FATA and the people have no other option of livelihoods but to resort to illegal economy. He added militant outfits factions receive money from Afghanistan and that allied forces must take actions due to their presence in Afghanista. He said Pakistan was dragged into war against terrorism and as long as this war continues, the illegal economy will also continue to prosper.
Jeremy Douglas deliberated that illegal economy is unfortunately a neglected area within the mainstream development discourse despite its impact on human security at various levels. He said value of global illegal economy in 2009 was estimated at US$1.3 trillion, which was growing now and thought to be 7-10 per cent of global economy.