NEW YORK: At the United Nations (UN), Pakistan called for collective efforts to choke sources that support terrorist outfits through organized crime.
Speaking in the Security Council debate on linkages between international terrorism and organized crime, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said that Pakistan’s resolve to eliminate this scourge was clear and unwavering as the country was one of the principle victims of terrorism.
Ambassador Lodhi told the fifteen-member world body that despite being next to the epicenter of the world drug problem and with limited resources Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies continued to make record drug seizures every year.
She pointed out that proceeds from the narco-trade, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, smuggling of natural resources and human trafficking were some of the key sources of finance for terrorist organizations in Pakistan’s region.
The Pakistani envoy said that it is apparent that criminal and terrorist outfits have cooperated to facilitate each other despite their divergent objectives. They have done so to acquire arms, ammunition and explosive materials. Terrorist outfits also rely on organized crime as a financial tool and to recruit criminals, in particular, marginalized youth, to advance their agenda.
She said that the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crimes was complex, and varies across different contexts with organized crime flourishing in areas outside government control, and under the patronage of terrorist outfits.
She underscored the instances, including in the region, where there was a nexus between drug production, instability and lack of alternative economic opportunities.
“It is important to re-establish government control over territories used for drug production, and promote development to provide alternative livelihoods”, she added.
To evolve a strategy to counter this nexus Ambassador Lodhi said that the international community should allocate proper resources to better understand the correlation between terror financing and transnational organized crimes.
These strategies, she emphasized, needed to be tailored to specific challenges presented by specific regional dynamics and conditions.
“In dealing with the world drug problem, it is important to focus on reducing both the supply and the demand of narcotics drugs through a well-integrated, comprehensive and balanced approach”, she stressed.
Ambassador Lodhi also called for effective border controls, calling them “a prerequisite to clamping down on transnational organized crime and terrorism”. “It is vital to build the capacities and capabilities of states facing these challenges. This is where the UN can play an effective role”, she added.
She cited several examples of Pakistan’s constructive engagement at the regional and global levels with various counter-narcotics initiatives.
“This”, Ambassador Lodhi said, “is a tangible manifestation of our consistent and dedicated efforts to not only protect our own country but also protect the rest of the world from this scourge”.
In conclusion, Ambassador Lodhi reiterated that Pakistan would continue to play its role to sever the vicious link between terrorism and organized crime in our region.
“This is critical for our own people, as well as for our neighbourhood and indeed the rest of the world”, she added.
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