Ever since the 1999 International Convention for Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, and adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 in 2001, there has been a universal outcry demanding criminalization of the collection of funds for terrorist purposes. FATF has developed recommendations for freezing funds and financial assets of persons associated with it. Irrespective of counter arguments by certain quarters in Pakistan, the fact remains that Pakistan, as a responsible member of the UN, must adhere to demands for countering terror financing, especially given its dire economic conditions and reliance for financial assistance and essential military equipment for minimum defense deterrence. It is also a universally accepted norm that a state alone must have monopoly over use of force and should never allow existence of armed private militias on its soil; otherwise its sovereignty stands compromised.

Unfortunately, Zia’s decision to indulge this country in the Afghanistan proxy war, and giving sanctuary to militant alien groups on our soil, achieved his selfish goal to prolong supra-constitutional rule; its aftershocks continue to create havoc for lives and security of citizens of Pakistan and national economy. Zia allowed this country to be used by America to avenge its Viet-Nam defeat, but in the process severely upset Two Super Power Balancing Concept. We have now witnessed the disintegration of Iraq, Libya etc. as well our own peace and tranquility, which has been rocked by terrorism.

The source of terror financing may be licit or illicit, but it has become a major concern for UN; the member states consider it a threat to their security, economic development and financial stability. We need to take concrete steps to curb loopholes for unchecked transfer of money, exploited both by corrupt elite and terror financing. There is no more room to maneuver through vested interests.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, February 25.