Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has tracked down a gang of around 52 hundi and hawala dealers – all of whom are Afghan nationals and majority of them hold a Pakistani identity card. They have been accused of funnelling cash into terrorist organisations.
Top officials of the National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) helped the accused acquire forged Pakistani ID cards, reads the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) report recently forwarded to the NADRA chairman.
The report, available with The Express Tribune, states that “as these foreign nationals have attained Pakistani identities, it was quite difficult for the law enforcement agencies to track and apprehend them”.
The development resulted during the ISI’s ongoing counterterrorism operations, with special reference to hunting down financiers and facilitators of terrorists.
The report, however, does not speak about any transactions or the volume of money moved by the dealers, except that Pakistani identities were found on most of them.
The ISI claimed that a majority of the dealers had obtained CNICs on bogus verification and by bribing NADRA officials through local and foreign agents.
The dealers include Haji Habibur Rehman (CNIC No 17301-9568098-3), Yasir Khan (17301-1381046-3), Bismillah Jan (17301-2385719-5), Haji Shahzad (17301-1866167-5), Samiullah (17301-1529384-7), Mamoor (17301-1318330-7), Haji Abdur Rauf (21203-8195782-1), Naik Mohammad (17301-3983078-1), Haji Lal Din (17301-7827089-9) and Fazal Abdul Rehman Rabi (17301-8514582-5).
Intelligence officials also shared a list of 16 Pakistani and Afghan agents, who acted as middlemen between NADRA staffers and the Afghan dealers for the ID cards. The agents hail from South Waziristan Agency and Afghanistan, and operate out of Karachi.
The report also contains a list of nearly 40 NADRA officers and staffers, including retired servicemen working on senior positions. An intelligence officer said terrorist groups prefer to send money through Hawala because it’s difficult to trace the transfers. “The Afghan dealers were found involved in transferring money to anti-state elements.”
A spokesperson for NADRA told The Express Tribune that the organisation “will neither confirm nor deny the ISI report”, and refused to comment any further. However, an internal fact-finding report compiled by NADRA to ascertain the authenticity of the accusations, also available with The Express Tribune, reads: “Majority of the foreign nationals mentioned in the ISI report are found to be confirmed aliens.”
The fact-finding officers suggested blocking the CNICs of the confirmed aliens under the category of ‘Fraud Control System’. They also suggested investigation through the court of inquiry to fix responsibility on the individuals who issued the ID cards.
They said legal notices would be issued to the 40 or so NADRA officials, including the general manager projects and deputy general manager operations besides others.
A few days ago The Express Tribune had reported the involvement of NADRA’s top officials in facilitating terrorists, including those associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
At that time, a spokesperson for the interior ministry had confirmed receiving the ISI report and said an inquiry into the issue was under way.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2015.