Reports have emerged that the Taliban and other militant groups, those fighting in Afghanistan, have re-commenced raising funds in Balochistan. Media reports that leaflets have been distributed in mosques calling on fellow citizens to donate to the Jihad in Afghanistan. Ironically, this comes in the wake of Pakistan’s National Action Plan, which had called for the choking of terrorism financing as well as the monitoring of donations made to militant groups. This also comes at a time when Pakistan is under scrutiny by an inter-governmental watchdog on terrorism financing. This is a clear violation of Pakistan’s stated counter-terrorism policy.
Balochistan, the most-sensitive of Pakistan’s provinces in terms of violence and unrest, has become a second home to the Afghan Taliban leadership. If media reports are accurate — then the Afghan Taliban have been convening in Balochistan for years to choose their new leader and formulate strategies. It is said that because of on-going conflict in Afghanistan, Islamabad looks the other way while the Afghan Taliban maintain their presence in Balochistan. However, Pakistan needs to a draw a red-line. The Afghan Taliban cannot continue using Pakistan’s soil to raise funds supporting the latter’s fight in Afghanistan. This has negative repercussions on Pakistan’s diplomacy and society.
After a long-drawn fight against militancy — Pakistan has evolved a national consensus against it. This country’s national narrative is that it supports peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s state position is that it abhors terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and will not provide its soil for any foreign group to launch strikes against neighbouring countries. Allowing the Afghan Taliban to raise finances undermines the national narrative. It undercuts Pakistan’s state policy objectives and the national effort. Let us hope that both Parliament and the cabinet take up this issue, thereby ending our doublespeak.