ISLAMABAD–A sub-committee meeting on Tuesday observed that law enforcement and security agencies lacked proper training to investigate the financing of terrorist activities.
The high-level meeting was headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who asked the participants to finalise their proposals to prevent financing for terrorist organisations and also describe a mechanism for their effective implementation, said an official statement.
It was observed during the meeting that the focus of security agencies was more on nabbing terrorists rather than looking for their sponsors, which was the root cause of the problem.
There was also no system to maintain consolidated data on prosecutions carried out by law enforcement, which could be shared by the agencies to further help their investigation.
The meeting discussed terrorist funding under the garb of charities, emphasising fresh registration and fool proof monitoring of all such organisations.
Deep concern on narco-trafficking, which it thought was a potent source of funding, was also discussed. There was also an emphasis laid on coordination with international agencies to curb terror financing.
The absence of proper legislation to regulate and monitor international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) working in the country added to the problems faced by investigators, the participants noted.
It was the consensus view of the participants that under the prevalent legal system, investigators, police, FIA etc, rarely invoked specific provisions relating to funding of terrorism as contained in the Anti-Terrorism Act and anti-money laundering laws.
Ishaq Dar urged the sub-committee to finalise recommendations which were practicable and could prove decisive in rooting out terrorist funding.
“We need coordination between the federal and provincial governments and agencies to deal with the problem of terrorist financing. We also need cooperation from the general public to put an end to this problem,” the finance minister said.
He said there was also a need to promote legal channels for transfer of money within and from outside the country and added “it will help us to completely discourage hawala and hundi system”.
Dar remarked that in the current scenario National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) should assume the leading role in gathering and consolidation of data for use by law enforcement agencies.
He said Nacta should be pro-active in countering terrorism and clearly state the help it requires in undertaking its official obligations.
The sub-committee, which is headed by the finance minister, was tasked to work out effective ways and means in rooting out terrorist funding.
Recommendations will be presented to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with proposals of other sub-committees for consideration.
The sub-committee was constituted by the PM in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre.
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Top officials from the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, interior along with the Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Nacta, security agencies and legal consultants also attended the meeting.
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