Pakistan pushes narco-terror strategy in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar : Pakistan’s ISI’s C Wing is constantly changing its strategy on Kashmir.Replicating their Punjab plan, given Kashmir is fast on track of normalcy, particularly seen in huge reduction in acts of terror and violence incited, aided and abated from across the border, it appears that Pakistani agencies are using terror modules to supply drug and narcotics so as to derail the process.

The Pakistani agencies intend to destroy the peaceful and constructive environment in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) that has seen acceleration in investment in development of infrastructure in recent times as well as creating newer opportunities for education and employment for the youth. As the economy of Pakistan is in a dire situation and funding to terror modules from state has stopped, Pakistan agencies are increasingly relying on mobilising funds by smuggling drugs and narcotics to India in connivance with Pakistan agencies.

In a recent investigation of the J&K Police, it has also surfaced that about 5 kg narcotics valued at Rs 5 crore in the market has been smuggled in from Pakistan by Tahmeed Khan, the head of such a module during the last three months. Out of this, about 2 kg has been recovered in the instant case, about a kg has been peddled among drug peddlers and addicts and about 2 kg remains to be traced.

During the current year, 85 cases have been registered against 161 persons in the district. 33 people involved in narcotics smuggling have been detained and lodged in different jails under PSA (PIT-NDPS Act).

The busting of the module has yet again exposed the direct involvement of Pakistan-based terrorist handlers in pumping narcotics into Kashmir Valley, aiming to destroy the Kashmiri youth.In this particular case, Shakir Ali Khan, a Pakistan-based terrorist handler originally hailing from Keran has surfaced to be the main supplier of narcotics to his son Tahmeed Khan on Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC).

After obtaining training in illegal arms and ammunition, he infiltrated back and remained one of the top active terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) for quite some time in Keran. Feeling the heat from security forces, Khan again crossed over the LoC and exfiltrated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and is now a top terrorist handler, who is also involved in pushing arms, ammunition and narcotics into the valley.

The phenomenon of drug and narcotics peddling aims at corrupting the young minds and promote the growth of hybrid terrorism, i.e. creating a terrorist mindset among ordinary citizens and youth who are otherwise engaged in their day-to-day and education businesses.

The task of indoctrination and injecting madness becomes easy if drug addiction is promoted among the youth. That is why the government of India is taking a serious note of the issue.The Pakistani terror modules are also using drone technology to skip border surveillance while delivering drug and narcotic substances as well as arms and ammunition to their handlers in India. In the month of December alone, the Border Security Force (BSF) of India downed nine drones along the LoC. Most drones are operated either from within the premises of Pakistan Rangers or special premises used by smugglers and terrorists just behind the Rangers’ posts.

Terror financing by Pakistan establishment is not unknown. Even at a multilateral forum Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan had to prove that it has taken action against money laundering and terror finance to avoid continuance of gray listing last year. In the part, Pakistan had been the fallen twice into the gray list of the FATF. The illegal channelisation of money from Pakistan was also penalised by US regulators as late as 2022.

Two large Pakistan banks Habib Bank Ltd. (HBL) and National Bank of Pakistan paid $225 million and $55 million in 2022, respectively, in fines imposed by US regulators for compliance failures and anti-money laundering violations.

The NATO Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) 2022 Report titled “Narco insecurity, Inc,” is on the convergence of Pakistan and Afghanistan narco-trade made possible with the help of Pakistan’s military spy agency, the ISI, which launched several covert operations with sympathetic jihadist groups, all of whom heavily relied on narcotics trafficking.

The illegal narcotic trade constitutes one of the main financial sources of the insurgency groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but more importantly, it feeds narco-terror globally. According to South Asia Press, Pakistan has established smuggling networks over the last few years into India and especially within the Kashmir Valley, so as to ensure a steady supply of narcotics and weapons.

Sharing a 2,400 km border with Afghanistan, Pakistani modules have easy access to opiates (opium, morphine and heroin) smuggled from Afghanistan by the terror outfits and smugglers.

Such consignments are first taken from Afghanistan to the Torkham border crossing, then sent enroute Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Lahore, and Faisalabad. These are reassembled into huge consignments thereafter and smuggled to other parts of the world including India.

Smugglers and terrorists are finding the territorial routes difficult as surveillance, monitoring and action from the Indian security forces has increased and so they are using drone technology for the purpose. It has been seen that the terror outfits have increased drone activities along India’s western international border.

In the state of Punjab, such drone activities, according to the BSF, increased nearly four times in recent times. From January 1 to December 28, 2022, there have been 254 drone activities in Punjab. This included 221 activities detected inside Indian territory and 22 inside Pakistan.

Most of such drones have obnoxious intent and objectives including dropping arms ammunitions and dug and narcotic substance for their handlers in India. Punjab recorded the highest number of drone incursions, followed by Rajasthan (29), J&K (25).

Drones of various sizes and payload carrying capacity are being increasingly used to smuggle narcotics, weapons & ammunition and fake currency from Pakistan as India has beefed up border surveillance on ground.

The European Foundation for South Asian Studies pointed out in its report that Pakistan, along with Iran, acts as conduit for drugs and narcotics from Afghanistan to be smuggled to European and Asian countries.

According to it,opium trade remains substantial source for financing the Jihad led by Al Qaeda and other terror outfits. The smuggling of opiates, it says, causes several vulnerabilities including disease in the children and youth, apart from helping the terror outfits to manage funds for terror acts or jihad against the so-called infidels or non-believers.

It concluded that drug traffickers have a symbiotic relationship with insurgents and terrorist groups. And Pakistan finds this trade and smuggling a convenient tool to wage a proxy war against India.



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