India

Pakistan using shrine donation boxes for terrorist-financing

08 Jun 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

Uncovering more evidence on Pakistan financing terrorism, intelligence agencies in Rajasthan have discovered that the ISI has set up donation boxes in shrines in border villages, to use the devotees' money to fund terrorist activities.

The discovery was made during the interrogation of ISI Agent Deena Khan who was arrested last week.

Let's know more on what the ISI has been up to!

In context: Terrorist financing and challenges to India's national security

08 Jun 2017Pakistan using shrine donation boxes for terrorist-financing

DetailsPakistan spy gets arrested

Khan, who was arrested from the Barmer district revealed that he distributed about Rs. 3.5 lakh collected out of a donation box in a small Mazar in Chohtan village to other spies including Satram and Vinod Maheshwari.

According to security officials, Khan was acting on the orders of his handlers in Pakistan, whom the security officials suspect to be ISI.

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Pakistan's Inter-services Intelligence

ISI, established in 1948 is Pakistan's largest intelligence agency. ISI has aided terrorism since the 80s when along with the US, it aided the Afghan Mujahideens to fight Soviets in Afghanistan, paving for emergence of organizations like Al Qaeda later on.

BackgroundISI: A state-sponsor of terrorism

Pakistan has been constantly criticized by countries including India and US for using state-sponsored terrorism as a tool to attain its political objectives.

ISI in particular has been accused of supporting separatist outfits in Kashmir and Taliban.

ISI is said to have connections with groups including the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba and played a role in the 2001 Parliament attacks and the 26/11 attacks.

IntelligenceWhat do we know so far?

Intelligence officials suspect the recent mushrooming of makeshift shrines be a cover for terrorist activities.

"It is difficult to distribute money through hawala network as it can be traced. Hence, the donation boxes are easy way to collect money and distribute it among the spies", official sources added.

Intelligence and police officials are keeping a close watch on shrines in border villages.

AnalysisWhat does this mean?

ISI has constantly resorted to carrying out terrorist activities under the garb of Islam, such as funding madrasas imparting extremist knowledge to children in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in order to condition their thinking against India.

New intelligence from Rajasthan substantiates accusations that India has made against ISI for being a state-sponsor of terrorism.

Plugging these funding channels can likely help curb cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.