The funding of terror groups in Pakistan
In Pakistan a report by the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) in Pakistan, titled 'National Risk Assessment on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing 2017,' reportedly detailed how terror groups generated funds through criminal activities. Waves of crime in Pakistan - including extortion, smuggling and kidnapping for ransom - were major sources of terrorist financing for extremist groups in the country according to the report. The report, which had not been released publicly but had been covered by Pakistan’s media said over 200 local and international terrorist organizations generated billions of Pakistani rupees to fund their activities. 'Annual operational budget of terrorist organizations is from 5 million rupees [about $48,000] to 25 million rupees [about $240,000],' the report said, according to The News website, which published excerpts. According to the report, terrorist groups also received money through the hawala system which had largely been used in money laundering. The income sources included 'hawala/hundi,' cash couriers, [and] dealings in foreign exchange. A part of foreign exchange collected abroad might include funds for terrorist financing, and the rupee counterpart disbursed in Pakistan might help terrorist financing said the report. Some terrorist groups got rich by selling off military equipment looted from NATO supplies that passed through Pakistani land before arriving in neighboring Afghanistan. A U.S. Treasury Department report on terrorist financing last year said many militant groups in Pakistan, including those that 'continue to pose a direct threat to the U.S. interests and allies in the region,' funded their activities through proceeds from illegal businesses and charitable organizations. The Treasury report said the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba group, which was blamed by law enforcement for attacks in 2008 in Mumbai that killed more than 150 people, including six Americans, received millions of dollars through funding from several humanitarian organizations within Pakistan and private donations. 'The issue has been neglected within the framework of the war on terror in Pakistan,' said Fida Hussain, a finance expert in Islamabad. 'Combating terror financing and money laundering should have been a priority for the authorities but they don't seem serious in combating it.' Analysts said the government was well aware of the income sources for terrorist groups, though it did not go far enough to curb them. 'The government has the ability to combat the terrorist financing, but it lacks a strong a will to do so,' veteran Pashtun politician Afrasiab Khattak told VOA. 'It enacts laws, including anti-terrorism laws, but fails to implement them.'
Funding to Myanmar rebels choked
One of China's biggest state-owned lenders had suspended an account used to fund ethnic rebels fighting government troops in Myanmar, halting an arrangement that could have stoked diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Myanmar. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), which clashed with government forces this month, said Agricultural Bank Of China (AgBank) (601288.SS) (1288.HK) was no longer accepting funds into an account it used to receive donations from supporters. Reuters was unable to confirm what prompted AgBank's move. It came after Reuters sent AgBank a list of questions regarding the transactions, which compliance experts said could point to a weakness in controls aimed at stopping the global financial system being used to fund terrorism or facilitate crime. AgBank declined to comment on Reuters' specific questions about the MNDAA account, citing client confidentiality. It said in a statement that it paid high attention to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing work, and "diligently obeyed relevant laws, regulations and regulatory requirements". There was no evidence that Agbank, or other financial entities that handled transactions for the MNDAA, had broken Chinese law. The MNDAA was not designated as a terrorist organisation by any government or transnational body. The MNDAA had refused to disarm or play an active part in Myanmar's peace process, and defence analysts said it continued to acquire weapons. Its leader, Peng Jiasheng, had been identified as a major drugs trafficker by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, according to U.S. diplomatic cables, dated 2009, released by Wikileaks. Yan Zhen Kun, an MNDAA representative who oversaw donations for the group, said he was informed by AgBank of the account shutdown at the weekend. Myanmar said it accepted Beijing's assurances that it was not supporting the MNDAA. Zaw Htay, director general of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's office, said Myanmar was "fully convinced" by assurances from China's leadership that it was not backing ethnic armed groups on the border. Records on the MNDAA's website showed it collected more than half a million dollars over nearly two years after making a "crowdfunding" appeal for donations. The MNDAA claimed it was fighting for the rights of the Chinese-speaking ethnic Kokang people.
Sri Lanka willing to countenance foreign observers
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had told Parliament that the Government was agreeable to the presence of foreign observers and not to foreign judges to view the judicial procedures on human rights violations. He was responding to a question asked by joint opposition parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardane as to how the Foreign Affairs Minister was to be a signatory of a co-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council Sessions with the President and the Prime Minister clearly stating that Sri Lanka was not agreeable to include foreign judges in any judicial proceedings on human rights violations. Mr. Gunawardene said the government had co-sponsored a resolution which was harmful to the country and inquired whether it was going to do the same this year as well. The Prime Minister in his response said Sri Lanka would not permit foreign judges to participate in any judicial proceedings and would not agree to the setting up of hybrid courts. However, he said foreign observers might be invited only to view the proceedings and recalled that it was the previous regime which agreed to set up an internationally-accepted mechanism to into allegations of human rights violations.
Bangladesh says over 2,000 heavily armed 'jihadis' had entered India.
The Indian media reported that the government of Bangladesh had warned of an increase in infiltration of militants into India from across its eastern border.According to 'The Times of India', the Bangladesh government had informed the Indian Home Ministry that over 2,000 Hujl and JMB militants had possibly crossed into the Indian side from the Bangladesh border and were hiding in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The Bangladesh government's report also suggested a marked increase in the number of infiltrators, which the intelligence agencies pegged between 800 and 659 for 2014-15. The development came following findings by the National Investigation Agency, of links and the direct role of JMB in the October 2014 Burdwan blast at Khagragarh in which two suspected terrorists were killed. What was baffling the Indian authorities was a report that JMB Secretary Iftadur Rehman had entered India on 12 January this year on a fake passport and had established contact with other militants in Assam and Bengal.A meeting between jihadis from Assam, West Bengal and New Delhi and the top JMB and HuJI leadership was said to have taken place in the Mymensingh district of Bangladesh on January 18.