NationalVolume 12 Issue # 15

The concatenation between corruption and terrorism

The Pakistan Army is trying its level best to crush terrorism across the country. In this war against terror, the army is fighting with exemplary bravery, matchless commitment, professionalism and patriotism. Thousands of security personnel, including soldiers, captains and colonels etc., have already sacrificed their lives in this war against terror.

On March 7, two Pakistan Army officials, including a captain, were martyred during an intelligence-based operation in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa’s Swabi district. Five suspected terrorists were also killed in the operation. On March 6, five soldiers of the Pakistan Army had been killed in a terrorist attack on three Pakistani border posts along the Pak-Afghan border area in Mohmand Agency. Over 15 suspected militants were also reportedly killed during the attack.
“Sacrifice of our Shaheeds will not go [to] waste. Terrorist[s] will be brought [to] their end and held accountable for their fasaad,” Chief of Army Staff Qamar Jawed Bajwa said in response to the operation.
The army had already launched Operation Raddul Fasaad against the terrorists last month. The operation aims to eliminate the “residual/latent threat of terrorism, consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders”.

So far, thousands of militants have either been killed or arrested in raids carried out by the security personnel in different military operations like Operation Raddul Fasaad, Operation Zarb-e-Azb , Operation Rah-i-Nijat , Operation Rah-i-Rast, Swat Operation, Operation Brekhna in Mohmand Agency, Operation Black Thunderstorm in Buner, Lower Dir and Shangla district ,Operation Rah-i-Haq-III in Swat valley and Shangla , Operation Sherdil jointly launched with Frontier Corps in Bajaur Agency , Operation Sirat-i-Mustaqeem in Khyber Agency , Operation Rah-i-Haq-II in Swat valley and Shangla and Operation Rah-i-Haq-I in Swat valley and Shangla district.In spite of these operations, terrorism has not yet been fully defeated. Why? The reason is very simple. Corruption and terrorism go hand in hand. Without crushing corruption, we cannot defeat terrorism. Many studies, experts and think-tanks subscribe to the belief that corruption and terrorism go together. Corruption increases terrorist activities and hampers a country’s ability to fight terrorism. Ex-chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif has categorically said there “cannot be enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is uprooted. Therefore, across-the-board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan.”

The secretary-general of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also said, “corruption facilitates terrorism” and “corruption hampers countries’ ability to fight terrorism”.According to the secretary-general of the OECD, “Identifying connections between corruption and terrorism and the means to break them is crucial to fighting terrorism. There are four connections between corruption and terrorism. One, corruption helps terrorist funding. Two, corruption facilitates terrorist attacks. Three, corruption and terrorism financing share methods to hide money. Four, corruption and poor governance undermine the fight against terrorism”.

In its analysis on offshore companies, the OECD says: “Traffickers, corrupt politicians, and terrorists need ways to raise, move, conceal and spend money. One of their main means is the use of anonymous ‘shell companies’. Security experts and law enforcement officials all agree that shell companies, or other forms of legal entities like trusts, pose a threat to national security and can be ideal vehicles for terrorist financing.”

“State institutions weakened by engrained and deep-seated corruption are not only less effective in fighting terrorism but are also vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist groups. Corruption in institutions such as the army, the police and the judiciary and in the defense sector is of great concern…. Terrorist groups may seek funding through crimes out of financial necessity or because the potential profits associated with the criminal activity are too attractive to ignore. Terrorists may also be involved in some forms of criminal activities not only as a source of financing but also for logistics purposes in the context of terrorist attacks”, the OECD maintains.

Admiral (r) John Kirby, spokesperson for the US Department of State, was asked a question: “Sir, the political parties in Pakistan have launched a campaign against PM Sharif to resign after the accusations of corruption in the Panama Papers….will the US support the democratic elected PM of Pakistan, or do you want to see the corrupt leader go home?” He replied: “The Secretary has been very clear about the dangers of corruption…and what that does to fuel extremism and to increase economic instability…. So corruption is something we obviously take very seriously……” According to Ashraf Rifi, minister of justice of Lebanon and president of the Arab network for strengthening the integrity and the fight against corruption, “Terrorists benefit from corruption and promote it in order to finance their activities….. Terrorism and corruption are feeding each other”.

From the above-mentioned statements and studies, it becomes clear that corruption and terrorism are interlinked. In fact, corruption is a real national security threat because it is “the ‘enabling technology’ that makes many terrorist crimes possible”. It is an established fact that corruption has, tragically, become a part of Pakistan’s political, economic and social institutions. Our ruling elite, including political and religious elements, businessmen and feudal lords, is blatantly corrupt. It is plundering the country .

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who has himself confessed to indulging in money laundering for the Sharif family in the Hudabia case, told the National Assembly that at least $200 billion of “Pakistani money” was stashed away in Swiss banks. According to some economic experts, Pakistan can pay off all its debt with the money in Swiss banks and still have nearly a quarter of it left over. Pakistan also loses $10 billion a year to money laundering. The US State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released a couple of days ago, states that “Pakistan loses $10bn on annual basis due to money laundering . Tragically, it is happening in the country where nearly one-third of the population live below the poverty line and more than 1,77000 children die every year before their fifth birthday .”

But, unfortunately, no one can challenge the corrupt ruling elite in Pakistan. All the institutions, except the judiciary, like the NAB, FIA, ECP, FBR, etc., have become corrupt and they are protecting the ruling elite. All the people of Pakistan are looking towards the judiciary which has already heard the Panama case against PM Nawaz Sharif and his family. Only the judiciary can save Pakistan and its people from terrorists by giving exemplary punishments to the ruling criminals and corrupt officers. By eradicating corruption, Pakistan and its army can win the war against terrorism. There is no other way!