Back bone of terrorists

Comment by
Jalil Afridi
The Interior Minister, Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan in his meeting with Director General Anti-Narcotics Force, Major General Khawar Hanif has said that drug money has remained the back bone for terrorists activities in the country and all efforts should be made to cut the financial backbone of the terrorists.
There is nothing to disagree with the Interior Minister but the fact remains till date that Pakistan is the biggest drug trade route to international markets and especially for heroin. Almost all of this heroin comes from Afghanistan and land, air and sea routes of Pakistan are used for their onward destinations. There is also no denial to the fact that terrorists make most of their earnings from the drug dealers and producers, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The second highest earnings of the terrorists are through extortion and kid napping.
The real achievement of the government should not be just busting hauls of narcotics every year but instead real success will be achieved when the root causes of drug trade are finished once and for all.
Pakistan can neither stop the terrorism in this region alone nor can it stop the menace of drug trade by itself. Both terrorism and drugs trade are common enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, it is up to the governments of both these countries to decide how seriously they want to address this issue.
One other group of criminals who are associated with drug dealers and terrorists are private lenders who are also called as \”sood khore\” in this region. These private lenders provide the financial resources to drug dealers to achieve their heinous goals. These private lenders mostly charge thirty percent for three months lending which they provide and there is no legitimate business which can give you thirty percent profit every three months. These private lenders are equal partners in crime with drug dealers and terrorists.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, our government should keep a strict vigil on inflow of goods from Afghanistan. The search of goods should be done at entry point from Afghanistan and also at entry point of tribal areas and settled areas. Services of sniff dogs and sophisticated X-ray machines are used all the world for tracing drugs which are kept hidden. Pakistan must acquire the latest technology for tracing drugs which are kept in differ compartments of couriers during their course of transportation.
According to different estimates every year almost five billion US dollars are earned by different drug dealers and growers who are mostly based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With such a huge amount at stake both the drug dealers and terrorists work hand in gloves with each other to achieve their evil goals. It is this black wealth which is earned through drugs trade that is the back bone of terrorists.
The leadership of both Pakistan and Afghanistan should sit together and find a long lasting solution to the menace of drugs trade. Both the governments should use spray technology through aircraft for destroying opium fields in far flung areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. State Banks of both the countries should also take action against private lenders and strict punishments should be awarded to them. Currency exchange businesses and those doing \”Hawala\” business should also be kept under strict observation and inward flow of money to Pakistan and Afghanistan should be to minutely monitored.
Success of operation Zarbe Azab and National Action Plan heavily depends on dismantling the financial sources of terrorists and their biggest source is the drug money. Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan and Director General Anti Narcotics Force should hold regular meetings with their Afghan counterparts in dismantling the menace of drugs trade from this region. Exceptional results will be seen if both the governments are successful in achieving this goal.