ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Friday tasked the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) with conducting research on the footprints of the militant Islamic State group in Pakistan and its linkage with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met here under the chairmanship of Rehman Malik, also asked Nacta to take steps for capacity-building of the Federal Investigation Agency to effectively combat cyber terrorism and crimes.
Nacta’s national coordinator Ihsan Ghani presented a report on implementation of the National Action Plan over the last three years covering 20 salient points of the antiterrorism plan.
The report says 483 terrorists have been convicted since partial lifting of moratorium on death penalty in March 2015. It mentions extension in the term of military courts for another two years in March 2017 and constitution of 11 special trial courts and says: “These special trial courts serve as a cogent deterrent against terrorism, and the decrease in the incidence of terrorism can be attributed to quick trial and sentencing of terrorists.”
The report says the parallel administration in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by different factions of the TTP has been brought to an end and they are no more in a position to use the territory for plotting and executing terrorist attacks.
It highlights the steps being taken to strengthen Nacta and reveals that the joint intelligence directorate is being staffed and it has received its first office building as well as the initial batch of officers.
About funding without which terrorist activities cannot continue, the report says terrorists and terrorist organisations could collect funds from a variety of sources such as charity and other nondescript formal and informal financial channels.
“In countries where banking sector works in isolation from the counterterrorism apparatus, tracking terrorism financing is a gigantic task. Extremists primarily collect money as subscription from sympathisers and criminal activities like extortion, gunrunning and narcotics trade. Such groups transfer funds through the formal financial system, alternative remittance services, trade, cash, non-profit organisations and charities; this merits presence of an effective combating financing of terrorism regime which has investigative, analytical, deterrent and preventive roles,” it adds.
The report says Nacta has taken various initiatives to choke funding of terrorist elements and organisations. It refers to the National Task Force on Choking Financing of Terrorism — a coordinating body of over 20 federal and provincial organisations, concerned with the policy and operational matters pertaining to combating financing of terrorism, regulation and monitoring of cross-border movement of currency, effective regulation of branchless and internet banking and creation of units for countering financing of terrorism in provincial counterterrorism departments.
The report contains details of money laundering and other related cases and reveals that around Rs1.5 billion has been recovered in 919 hawala and hundi cases, under which 1,209 arrests have been made. It says 426 money laundering cases have been registered and 571 persons arrested.
Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2018