NEW DELHI: Narco-terrorism is one of today’s buzzwords in both foreign and domestic policy in South Asia, especially in the context of the contentious India-Pakistan relations, according to Siegfried O. Wolf, a Germany based specialist on South Asia.
“Pakistan’s involvement in state-terrorism and sponsorship of international Jihadism are well-known and documented. Moreover, there are increasingly numerous reports regarding Islamabad’s engagement in a phenomenon described as narco-terrorism,” writes Wolf in his latest paper ‘Pakistan’s bigger plans of narco-terrorism’.
“The notion of narco-terrorism originates from an understanding that the two occurrences of trafficking in narcotics and terrorism are interconnected. Narco-terrorism is here understood as an integral component of Pakistan’s state-sponsorship of cross-border terrorism used so as to fund and conduct asymmetric warfare against its neighbours -foremost India- and achieve certain foreign policy goals,” points out Wolf.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is paying increasingly attention to the fact that ‘terrorist organisations use narcotics trafficking for the purpose of gaining revenue’ and fund their activities, according to the scholar. “It is argued here that, although state-sponsorship of terrorism is already deeply entrenched within Islamabad’s policies towards New Delhi, the ‘Narco-type’ not only constitutes one of its most brutal forms (due to its far reaching and long-lasting consequences) but is also rapidly intensifying. Moreover, one can state that narco-terrorism in the Pakistani context blurs the line between narcotic traffickers, criminal networks (f. ex. D-Company), terrorists (f. ex. Lashkar-e-Taiba/LeT), and state agencies – foremost the country’s military and intelligence services (Inter-Service Intelligence/ISI).”
Pakistan’s primacy in the international narcotics trade and the funding of terrorist activities has been time and again confirmed by several investigation agencies worldwide, as well as by Pakistani sources, recalled Wolf. After the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in 1996, the ISI shifted the focus of financing terrorism towards Kashmir.
There are clear indications that Pakistani-based narco-terrorist networks have stepped up their activities on the Indo-Pakistan international border and are making incessant attempts to push intruders, arms, ammunition, and narcotics into India, claimed Wolf. “International observers have started to describe Pakistan as a ‘Narcostate’ – based on the state-sponsorship of illicit activities conducted by the ISI and the military. The combined activities of drug traffickers, terrorist organizations, and Pakistani state agencies constitute an escalating danger to India’s state and society.”