Stemming funding
April 22, 2015

We have known for a long time that the route to stopping terrorism probably lies in cutting off the funds available to organisations and individuals. The Sindh security apparatus appears to have reached just this conclusion at a high-level meeting in Karachi last week, presided over by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. Governor Ishratul Ibad also attended the session, along with the DG Rangers and senior officials from the police and bureaucracy. After the Rangers chief pointed out that terrorists appeared to fund their activities chiefly through three illegal activities – extortion, the running of illegal water hydrants and kidnapping for ransom – the CM agreed an operation was required to clamp down on these modes of making money. By doing so, it is hoped the terrorists would be starved of the cash and funds they require to carry out attacks on targeted persons or other violence. It is not yet clear precisely how the operation will be run, but it is a good sign that it has been planned with the coordination of both the civilian setup and the military establishment.

The real test, however, will be in how effectively measures to prevent funds flowing into accounts operated by terrorist outfits can be carried out. This has not proved very successful in the past, with personal bank accounts sometimes used to fund organisations. There will need to be cooperation with the banking sector, and means to clamp down on the other ways in which funds are transferred. Those involved in the dangerous game of extortion, which has terrorised Karachi for years, must also be detected and arrested. There was also mention at the meeting of dealing with land grabbing mafias, mainly through improving the manner in which revenue records were kept, and gaining better information about madressahs running in the city. All these are important steps, but they will need time and commitment to succeed. Nothing is possible in one swoop. A decision has been made. It must now be followed through swiftly and completely so that the intentions behind it can succeed.

Published in The News