Dr. Qadeer registers party for elections

Updated 29 November 2012
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Dr. Qadeer registers party for elections

ISLAMABAD: The father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb has registered a new political party to contest for the first time general elections expected next year, officials said yesterday
Many Pakistanis regard Abdul Qadeer Khan, 76, as a hero for building the Muslim world’s first atomic bomb but in the West he is considered a dangerous renegade since admitting in 2004 to selling nuclear secrets on the black market.
In July, he set up Tehreek-e-Tahafuzz Pakistan or Save Pakistan Movement (SPM) to contest the 2013 elections and to campaign for an end to endemic corruption.
But attendance at his public meetings has been sparse and Khan is unlikely to emerge a serious contender at the ballot box despite his popularity.
A spokesman for the Election Commission of Pakistan confirmed to AFP that SPM was among 19 new political parties whose registration was approved on Tuesday.
The election is expected to mark the first time that a democratically elected civilian government in Pakistan completes a full term in office and hands over to a new, elected administration.
SPM secretary general Chaudhry Khurshid Zaman said Khan had yet to decide whether to stand himself for election but that as chairman, he would guide the party through the campaign.
“Our party has been registered, we will take part in the elections with full strength,” Zaman told AFP.
“The whole country is burning, price hikes, unemployment, the energy crisis, poverty and other heinous problems have made public life miserable.
“Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has joined politics to change this face of Pakistan and he is the only hope. All other political parties have failed.” Separately, Pakistan’s military said it has successfully test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
A military statement says the Hatf V or Ghauri missile was launched yesterday from an undisclosed location.
It says the missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads over a distance of 1,300 kilometers (810 miles).
Pakistan has previously test-fired this same missile. The country became a declared nuclear power in 1998, when it conducted underground nuclear tests in response to those carried out by its archenemy and neighbor, India.
The two countries have fought three major wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. They often conduct tit-for-tat missile tests.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 32 min 14 sec ago
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.