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Who Funds the Killers?

by Newsweek Pakistan

File Photo. A. Majeed—AFP

Foreign funding for terrorism in Pakistan could be a reaction to Islamabad’s proxy jihad.

Addressing the Senate on Jan. 19, Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rahman said: “It was difficult to pinpoint with 100 percent accuracy the sources of terrorism funding.” However, he added, “the generally perceived sources include funding by foreign intelligence agencies apart from local extortion.”

The people and media of Pakistan generally think India funds terrorism in their country, which sits well with the dictates of Pakistani nationalism. Some sections of the state establishment add America, too, for good measure. After the capture of an Indian RAW agent in Balochistan, there has been a boost to the belief that India is stoking the Baloch insurgency. The U.S. Congress has also held hearings on Balochistan in the past, which has riled Islamabad.

India’s funding may be reactive, as it wants to punish Pakistan for its proxy jihad. In essence, the funding that once hurt India is now hurting Pakistan. However, the bulk of “bad money” that reaches madrassas in Pakistan comes from Arabs in the Gulf. The Jamia Faruqia and Jamia Banuria of Karachi both got massive amounts of cash directly from Saudi Arabia as part of its anti-Iran crusade after issuing fatwas of apostasy against the Shia community.

The Taliban in Afghanistan also rely on foreign funding. While Kabul is usually quick to accuse Islamabad, it is widely known that the wealthy denizens of Gulf countries send money to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban to retain their loyalty against Iran. Similarly, to retain the support of their sponsors after the deaths of five U.A.E. diplomats in a Kandahar bombing on Jan. 10, the Taliban have issued three detailed denials assuring they were not responsible.

Of course, as mentioned by the minister of state, a portion of terrorism funding comes from extortion, the drug trade, robbery, and kidnapping. Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, killed by a drone in 2009, reportedly drove around with a truck full of cash in rupees and dollars. Softened by a decades-old jihad, Afghanistan and Pakistan hardly know what goes on within their borders.

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