There were raids at the houses of Hurriyat leaders and businessmen who deal in hawala funding of agitations in Kashmir on Saturday morning. This is a part of PM Modi’s relentless crackdown on Hawala Traders in India. While the mainstream Indian media was busy swooning over what the celebrities wore at the Cannes festival and length of Priyanka Chopra’s skirt, a Sunday Guardian report on the Hawala-Narcos nexus in India has threatened to expose the biggest of the politicians and officials involved in the nexus. Not just the politicians but the report in fact also exposed the role of ISI in pumping illegitimate money through hawala.
PM Modi as his election promise is determined to clean the administrative mechanism come 2019. The biggest hindrance to his ambitious drive to clean up the administrative mechanism is the hawala-narcotics industry. The hawala-narcotics industry is estimated to be of Rs.186,000 crore annually. The industry has its roots in Rawalpindi controlled ISI which has a final say in the operations, which also has India’s biggest politicians in it’s net. The industry kingpins happen to be the biggest funders of the politicians cutting across party lines and ideology and in return getting patronage of a large number of officials and agencies in the economic sphere.
The notorious industry has set its sights to tarnish India’s image internationally and undermine its armed forces. For example, the ISI backed industry in 2012 through its channels in India planted a story of the military attempting a coup in India. The fake coup story was carried by Shekhar Gupta then editor of ‘The Indian Express’ which created a storm in the country and Shekhar Gupta till date maintains that the story was indeed true. Another example of the industry trying to undermine India’s image is the recent Pathankot terror attack. The industry has made constant efforts to get recruits from the armed forces which resulted in lapses in security and the terrorists gaining entry into several defence facilities in the past decade. The attack at Pathankot Air Base was cowardly but raised an important point. How did the terrorists gain entry into a high security air base? Numerous security parameters were ignored in Pathankot and army personnel were found to be sleeping in open. It’s long been a target of the industry to undermine the Indian army.
These were intricately planned events by the ISI to launch a periodical psy-war against India to bring disrepute to the country. What’s worse is that India’s very own elected representatives worked hand in hand with the ISI. A journalist of the stature of Shekhar Gupta running such a story reveals how deep-rooted the industry is in India. A senior minister say, Mr. X of the then UPA government urged some media outlets to run the fake coup story, providing them exaggerated descriptions and misleading the media and also lending some credibility to the fake coup. The funny side of the events that enfolded in 2012 was that the story was fabricated by Pakistan, (in)famous for its coups and martial law.
The politician in question, Mr. X was an important proponent in passing the NDPS act in 1985 which greatly facilitated expansion of narcotics in India for medical reasons but without any proper mechanism to check whether it was going to lawful channels or not. Numerous civil servants have received huge favours through Mr. X. The civil servants helped in the selection of directorship in public sector banks to the favourable men who would then lobby with the government to obtain loans for the corporates involved in the industry. In return, from expensive gifts to properties to fully paid trips to exotic locations the civil servants in connivance with Mr. X made merry till 2014, but no more. Come 2014, Narendra Damodardas Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister and unlike his predecessors he declared an all-out war to clean India from the hawala-narcotics industry. Those associated with government processes say that Modi has carefully and methodically examined the records of officials under suspicion of having links to the hawala-narcotics industry, and specifically to the politician in question, who, together with some of his family members, has been known for decades to be close to such interests. The same minister had dropped the LeT links of Ishrat Jahan from the affidavit. Recently, he was in the news for his house being raided by the CBI. More action is expected to follow up and PM Modi has made it clear that no amount of external pressure, political influence or officialdom will come in the way of accountability being enforced upon the politician. We all can take a wild guess who Mr. X is, it’s not that difficult.
The role of China and Pakistan:-
If there is any sort of illegitimate activity happening in India, China and more importantly Pakistan are never too far away from abetting the activity. After the North East insurgent group NSCN-Khaplag killed 18 army men in Manipur in 2015 , the government went into an overdrive to supress such elements. India conducted cross border raids on parts of Myanmar which has strong presence of NSCN, causing substantial damage to the terrorist group. Subsequent intelligence gathered by the Indian intelligence agencies, exposed the narcotics-hawala nexus controlled by China’s People’s Liberation Army and Pakistan’s ISI. The PLA is riddled with officers loyal to Jiang Zemin, who served as the President of China from 1993-2003, who presided over a regime which was notoriously famous for its corruption up to huge volumes, volumes that would bring even the Indian National Congress party to shame. The officers in the PLA loyal to Jiang Zemin along with the help of Pakistan’s army control the narco trade in South Asia and several warlords operating in western and northern Myanmar thus prompting India to conduct cross border raids on Myanmar. According to the evidence collected, the southern part of China is aiding and abetting several north-eastern militant outfits. The evidence was so damning that it had phone transcripts of conversations between personnel of PLA and NSCN. It is believed that the killing of 18 soldiers by NSCN was handsomely rewarded by the ISI in hard cash and thus proving the point that insurgent leaders both in Kashmir and Northeast are multi-millionaires whose families are enjoying luxurious lives abroad.
Illegal remittances and Dawood Ibrahim’s role: –
According to the estimates of the World Bank, India in the past three years received illegal remittances from Pakistan through hawala channels up to a tune of at least $14.36 billion.
A large part of the staggering Hawala amount is used to finance terrorists, radicals and smuggling of narcotics in India. India and Pakistan have not had any framework to carry out direct financial transactions ever since the 1965 war, coupled with the fact that there are obviously no NRI’s leaving in Pakistan.This makes extremely difficult for the concerned officials to track the huge money flow from Pakistan to India in the form remittances.
According to World Bank’s analytical estimates, in its report titled “Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016”, “India was the largest remittance receiving country, with an estimated $72 billion in 2015, followed by China ($64 billion) and the Philippines ($30 billion).” Although not all remittances are illegal but having such huge amount of money in remittances is dangerous to the economy of a developing nation. Of course, Dawood Ibrahim wasn’t to be left too far behind in ISI’s war against India. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible to pump such huge amount of money and narcotics through hawala channels without the help of Dawood Ibrahim. In 2004, FBI shared evidence with Indian agencies revealing that Dawood Ibrahim had been sharing routes in smuggling of contraband narcotics with the infamous terror outfit Al-Qaeda. By that time, the NDA government had been routed out at the Centre and Manmohan Singh had taken charge as the Prime Minister in New Delhi.At that very time, precise diplomatic pressure on Washington would have caught the bull by its horn but the UPA had other plans such as planning border talks with Pakistan. Despite a UNSC resolution and a notice by Interpol against Dawood, Indian diplomacy failed to mount enough pressure on the western agencies in its bid to catch its most prized criminal.
Dawood Ibrahim continues to bleed India by pumping huge amounts of fake currency through the borders of Nepal and Bangladesh and control the narco trade in South Asia and pumps the money earned through trade to terrorist organisations having the sole purpose of destroying India. It’s of little doubt that Dawood continues to be a strategic asset to the ISI in it’s operations against India.
While the World is awaking to the Islamic terrorism spread by the likes of ISIS, India not only faces the prospect of co-ordinated terror strikes by ISIS and ISI , it also faces the prospect of facing narco terrorism.
Narco terrorism has the potential to cause far more damage than Islamic terrorism, just look at Colombia who under Pablo Escobar faced one of the biggest incidents of narco terrorism in the 1990s resulting in deaths of thousands per year, something Colombia is still reeling from.
PM Modi faces an uphill battle ahead to cleanse the system as politicians form all parties and high ranking officials are said to be involved in the ISI’s game. The steps taken by him gives India a ray of hope.Officers relatively junior in age, but untainted by linkage to anti-national groups, have been identified by the PMO and marked for advancement, while care has been taken by the PM to ensure that sensitive agencies come under the control of those with a spotless record. Hopefully such steps will clean up the administrative system come 2019.