Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
In the South Asian region, Pakistan has been full of surprises since its inception, and within the span of just three decades, it started emerging as one of the worst patrons of terrorism and launch pad of global jihad. Islamists in Pakistan had attempted on the life of military ruler General Parvez Musharraf and started vitriolic propaganda against his government, singling it out as pro-America and anti-Islam. In July 2007, some radical clerics and their students from madrassas amassed weapons in the Red Mosque in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad with the agenda of waging jihad and establishing sharia rule. On the basis of the intelligence report, General Musharraf later ordered military actions against the Islamists inside the Red Mosque, which resulted in scores of deaths. This had angered Islamists around Pakistan and beyond, and Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri issued an order to his followers to wage further attacks on the Pakistan government. Not after the Red Mosque episode, Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) started a reign of terror in parts of Pakistan’s frontiers, which was seen as counterterrorism experts in the world as the impending Taliban takeover of Pakistan.
Thanks to the systematic and almost non-stop Islamization process of Pakistan, radical Muslims, including Jamaat-e-Islami and its ilk and umpteen number of Islam-loving and terror outfits committed to Islamize the polity gained enough power and influence in Pakistan to introduce Sharia law and start the systematic cleansing of religious minorities.
This deplorable situation of the rise of radical Islam, where religious hatred gained momentum, Dawood Ibrahim found his best allies in those Islamists and jihadist, which had opened the prospect for him in getting almost monopoly in buying opium from the farmers in Pakistani frontier and Afghanistan as a cheaper price, at the same time, the size of Dawood’s transporters and handlers of drugs had significantly increased with the active participation of the Islamists and jihadists. To the Islamists and jihadists, Dawood Ibrahim had emerged as the blue-eyed-boy, who would help in making millions of dollars from the narco-trade, at the same time would serve the purpose of being an arms supplier to various jihadist groups.
It may be mentioned here that, Afghanistan produces around 90 percent of world’s opium supply, and Dawood Ibrahim had succeeded in establishing his position as one of the top buyers of opium from this source.
One-third of the opium is transported to various destinations in the world via Pakistan, while other routes are Iran, Central Asia, and Russia. It also appears from the study reports that not only the Taliban and Al Qaeda activists but also the least reliable northern warlords are engaged in drug trafficking across the Afghan borders, that no longer a peripheral problem of law and order but a grave security threat in the entire region.
Another uprising base of narco-trade is Balochistan province in Pakistan, with the majority of its insurgency groups already joining various drug cartels due to acute poverty. Here again, Dawood’s D-Company operatives are taking full advantage of the economic vulnerability of the Baloch populace and gradually attracting them towards the drug trafficking community. Similarly, from the Balochistan borders, Islamists are expanding connections with Chinese Uyghur Muslims. It is also learned from intelligence sources that the Uyghur Muslims are taking secret preparations of waging jihad and are receiving weapons and explosives in exchange for collaborating in narco-trafficking. Similarly, in Russia, narco-cash is landing into the hands of Chechen Islamist groups with a similar agenda of launching jihadist attacks in Russia.
D-Company is diversifying
Dr. Louise Shelley, Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, at the George Mason University claimed, Pakistan-based crime syndicate D-company, like Mexican drug organizations, has diversified in many other fields.
He said, “Pakistan-based crime-terror group, D-company, whose origins lie in India, expanded Karachi’s historic role as a drug transshipment point, and built a powerful transnational crime-terror organization, in part from drug proceeds”.
Dr. Shelley further said, “D-company, like Mexican drug organizations, has diversified. They traffic weapons, counterfeit DVDs, and provide financial services through their extensive system of hawala operators”.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-jihadist journalist, counter-terrorism specialist and editor of Blitz