Will Musharraf join Vajpayee in a balloon flight for peace' “I don’t mind, if Prime Minister Vajpayee is willing,” Musharraf said. The former commando did not forget to add that he has had several parachute jumps but he has not yet had an opportunity to take a shot at balloons.
Musharraf may be an old hand at parachutes but he knows he can’t beat Vajpayee on one count: poetry. “Sher--shayari mein woh bahut aage hain,”(In poetry and couplets, he is far ahead of me),” the Pakistan President said. Asked when he will visit India, he replied: “You invite me today, I will come tomorrow.”
Islamabad, Jan. 6: To deal effectively with the financing of terrorism, the seven member countries of Saarc today accepted a series of mutual obligations in tune with international ones to curb terrorism. It also firmly brings Pakistan in line with the Indian position on the subject.
The consensus on fighting terrorism has been achieved at two levels: by signing the Islamabad Declaration and by adopting the Additional Protocol on Terrorism. The former extols the need to counter the global threat. And the latter lists the specific obligations that the Saarc nations have to undertake to make the fight effective.
The new measures adopted by Saarc under the additional protocol designate the “provision, collection and acquisition of funds for the purpose of committing terrorist acts” as a criminal activity.
They would also henceforth have to extradite terrorists and refuse refugee status to anyone who has or is suspected of having committed a terrorist act.
This is a major movement forward and brings in its wake several legal and other responsibilities. The new measures, for example, specifically enjoin the member states to take responsibility for the terrorist acts committed by individuals under their jurisdiction.
They would now also be obliged to take steps “to prevent, suppress and eradicate the financing of terrorism”.
The steps would, first and foremost, include the setting up of a comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and other financial institutions that may be used for financing terrorism. A financial intelligence unit would be set up to monitor “money laundering and terrorist financing information”.
Banks in each country would have to keep a watch on their customers and report transactions, which are unusual or suspicious in terms of their size, complexity and pattern to the regulatory authority.
The member nations would also be expected to detect and monitor cross-border movement of “cash, bearer negotiable instruments and other appropriate movements of value”. They would have to provide assistance to each other in criminal investigations and proceedings relating to financing of terror.
Under the new obligations, the Saarc member states would have to develop mechanisms for “the identification, detection and freezing or seizure of any funds used or allocated” for the purpose of committing terrorist offences.
They have also been enjoined to exchange information to detect and prevent the international movement of terrorists, trafficking in arms, and narcotics used for raising funds for terrorism.
In all this, however, it has been made clear that all the obligations of the member countries to combat terrorism would be based on the principle of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of the states.