The World Customs Organisation (WCO), in coordination with Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has launched Programme Global Shieldto curb the supply chain of chemicals intended to be used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Despite the fact that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism,the IDEs are very easily manufacturedand accessible across the country due to availability of raw material and lack of security mechanism. Thousands of security forces personnel and common people have been killed in terrorism-related incidents and still the IDEs are being used in the tribal areas as a lethal weapon against security forces.The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is planning to launch a 20-day coordinated operation from December 15, 2014 to January 3, 2015 to identify chemicalswhich can be used in the IEDs. It is a good omen that the government is coming up with the plan to counter the terrorism threats and trafficking of chemicals and associated components identified in Programme Global Shield.
Under the plan, the authorities will monitor all suspicious activities, warning messages, feedbacks and seizuresof related to the chemicals. The officials of the Pakistan Customs, including Collector Muhammad Saleem of the Model Customs Collectorate Appraisement-West, Karachi; Deputy Collector Adeem Khan of the Model Customs Collectorate Peshawar;Assistant Collector Muhammad Adnan Khan of the Model Customs Collectorate-Preventive, Lahore; Additional Director Ziaullah Shams of the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation, Peshawar and Assistant Collector Yawar Nawaz of the Model Customs Collectorate, Islamabad attended an operational coordinationmeeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on September 2-4 to interact and coordinate with global customs officials.
The Pakistani authorities have decided to form a working group to monitor the progress of the plan, targeting the Global Shield identified chemicals and share information with officials of the global customs organisations during another meeting going to be held in Dushanbe in January next year.
The FBR has already received modern equipment and knowhow from the United States to prevent the entry of hazardous chemicals. On another note, a process has been launched to verify thousands of end users of fertilizersin Pakistan. Under the End Use Verification (EUV) project of the Pakistan Customs, the import of dual-use chemicals will be monitored across the country to limit the ability of terrorists to use the chemicals in IDEs.
It is unfortunate that the writ of the government is weak in various domains and areas of the country. The successive governments could not keep up pace with the changing circumstances at global, regional and local levels. No doubt we as a nation has institutional capacity, but we could not achieve functional capacity so far and rely heavily on temporary arrangements. Business and industry are key to progress, which need peace and stability. No one wants to put his money in an unstable country and that is the reason we lag behind many countries despite having skill and technology. We will have to root out terrorism from the country to stop capital flight and brain drain from the country.