Authorities in Pakistan have frozen a number of accounts used to funnel Rs 10.2 billion in cash to terror and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) suspects, officials overseeing the National Action Plan (NAP) told The Express Tribune.
Law enforcement agencies also recovered Rs 101.7 million either from clerics or workers of banned organisations, they said.
These actions — taken with the assistance of the State Bank of Pakistan — are part of the overall efforts to throttle the flow of foreign funding to terrorists and proscribed organisations in the country.
Nine days after militants mounted a bloody attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the government formulated the action plan in a bid to purge the country of all kinds of terrorism.
“To choke terror funding [in all shapes] is our top priority, this is our strategy to weaken foreign-funded militants,” said Hamid Ali Khan, national coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). Under UN Security Council resolutions 1,267 and 1,373, he explained, Pakistan is bound to stop terror funding.
Another senior official of the interior ministry said both the UN resolutions bound member states not only to take measures against terrorists but also establish a global sanctions regime against designated individuals and entities associated with notorious global terror networks.
The official, who did not want to be named, revealed that civilian and intelligence agencies have arrested 150 people, half of them clerics, in violation of laws dealing with hawala, hundi, suspicious transactions and anti-money laundering by registering cases against 130 individuals who were getting money from foreign countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Australia, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.
The agencies held 83 people and registered 64 cases under hawala and hundi, 50 people were apprehended and 57 cases were registered under anti-money laundering and 17 were detained and nine cases registered under suspicious transactions, he added.
In an ongoing crackdown against those who delivered hate speeches and violators of loudspeakers, the law enforcement agencies registered 5,017 cases against clerics while 4,647 of them were arrested, he said.
Over 3,758 clerics were held in Punjab, 508 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), 197 Sindh, 94 Islamabad, 86 Balochistan and 30 clerics were detained in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), he said.
Police have confiscated more than 1,466 instruments from several mosques and madrassas across the country, according to the official. They have also sealed 40 shops that were selling and distributing hate material.
Senator Col (retd) Tahir Mashhadi of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) believes the law enforcement agencies, particularly the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), need to take tougher action to stop foreign financial support to seminaries/terrorist organisations. “Better financial regulation system can lead us to choke terror funding and this will, for sure, help our law enforcement agencies to net more criminals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the security agencies held 29,612 suspects who have alleged links with banned outfits since the crackdown started against the militants after the December 16 attack, the interior ministry official said.
The law enforcement agencies questioned 0.32 million suspects in more than 27,000 raids across the country, sources said. The K-P police took the lead over other provinces by arresting over 16,813 suspects while the security agencies detained 3,466 suspects in Balochistan, they pointed out.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2015.