ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali yesterday directed FIA to gear up its efforts for disrupting financial network of the terrorists in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan and other financial institutions.

A high-level security meeting headed by PM Nawaz Sharif last week had stressed to choke funding of terrorists as part of the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter-Terrorism announced in December last year. Chairing a meeting on terror financing at the Ministry of Interior, the interior minister said, "Choking terror financing and getting hold of terrorists' financers and facilitators was critical to effectively overcome the menace of terrorism and disrupting their networks."

Secretary Interior, director general FIA and senior officers of FIA and SBP, besides officials of the Interior Ministry attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the interior minister said that the financial resources of the terrorists could not be fully choked under the existing framework and State Bank as well as its Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) alone could not achieve the desired goals and objectives. He said that a new strategy should be worked out within next few days that should also include provincial governments, intelligence agencies and FBR. He said that the strategy should be formulated keeping in view the information available regarding the financial sources of the terrorists, their facilitators, mode of money transfer and statistics available with the provinces.

The minister said, "The issue of terrorist financing was not confined to one country but was an international issue.” He asserted that he had been continuing raising this issue with foreign dignitaries and delegations and had been calling for action at international level by the international fraternity.

Nisar said that choking terror financing was an important aspect of National Action Plan and no effort would be spared in this regard. This, he continued, is a difficult task but not impossible. The interior minister directed FIA to keep an eye on financial transactions made through various formal and informal modes. He said that swift action should be taken on the report of any suspicious transaction. The minister also directed that it should also be ensured that no terror financing takes place in the garb of welfare organisations. DG FIA briefed the meeting about various steps taken so far to curb terror financing.

Chairing another meeting, Ch Nisar directed FIA to launch crackdown with the help of police and Rangers on elements and organised groups involved in human-trafficking and smuggling. He directed that swift action be taken against all those who were involved in sending Pakistanis abroad illegally and on forged documents.

The meeting that was convened to deliberate on the issue of human-trafficking was attended by senior officials of FIA and Ministry of Interior. The minister said, "Those involved in heinous business of human-trafficking, bonded-labour, selling human beings and violating human rights were not only bringing bad name to the country but were also exploiting innocent and needy people."

He said most of the time precious lives were lost in attempt to sending people abroad illegally which, he added, was a matter of great concern. He directed FIA to chalk out strategy that could yield noticeable results within one month.

Nisar said it was also important that illegal movement across Pak-Afghan border should also be effectively controlled.

Talking about various incidents of human-smuggling as indicated by the media, the minister said that all relevant departments should play their due role in this regard with the help of civil society and media. He directed FIA to collect relevant data and share that with the provincial governments also so that those involved in this business could be unveiled and such incidents could be controlled effectively.

He also directed FIA to establish helpline for information and address complaints regarding human-smuggling and trafficking.

FIA official informed the meeting that in 2014-15 FIA arrested 46 most wanted criminals and 1,236 proclaimed offenders involved in human-smuggling. It was informed that during this period 1,679 persons allegedly involved in human-trafficking cases were also arrested by FIA.