NIOC 6th Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

April 3, 2020

Since the start of the Project, from 1st of November 2019, all the five monthly advisory board meetings were held at Islamabad Club. However, due to lockdown and social distancing policy of the government, 6th monthly AB meeting was held on Friday 3 April at 2pm through video link. Everyone was digitally connected and made a contribution despite some technical glitches. Advisory Board Member Fiaz Khan Toru tried to connect from his home in Islamabad but could not succeed. However, he was available on WhatsApp through his iphone to endorse the decisions taken during the meeting.

Everyone else was present and contributed: President AB Tariq Parvez in Lahore; Zahid Hussain from Islamabad; Zubair Habib from Karachi; Fasi Zaka from Islamabad. Amir Rana, Ali Nekokara and Hassan Sardar were also present along with Consultant Kashif Noon.

Director NIOC Tariq Khosa presented the Agenda and sought approval after discussion on each item.

He also remarked: “In these testing times of Covid-19 related social distancing and lock downs, I must express my gratitude to all the Advisory Board Members, NIOC Directorate staff, and consultants and researchers, who have remained active and engaged in fulfilling the NIOC mission in contributing to the cause of combating organized crime in Pakistan.”

Below are the highlights of the meeting:

  • The minutes of the previous AB Meeting held on 6 March 2020 were approved.
  • AB approved to postpone the planned International Conference on Organized Crime, earlier planned to be held in Islamabad on 13-14 April, due to travel restrictions. It was decided that the conference may be convened in June 2020, subject to COVID-19 situation. In case situation does not improve, it was agreed that National Strategy against Organized Crime may be disseminated through printed report or through a few podcasts.
  • Paper on “Drug Situation in Karachi” was submitted by researcher Jameel Junejo and it was sent to GI-TOC Resilience Fund Manager Ian Tennant. The paper, with a Foreword by Director NIOC, would be printed and posted on NIOC website after feedback is received from ANF whose peer review was sought by AB Member Zubair Habib.
  • Paper on “Cyber Crime Legislation” could not be submitted by Barrister Asad Jamal during March as he fell ill. It would be finalized in April and shall be shared with all AB Members.
  • Consultant Kashif Noon submitted the first draft of Analysis Paper on “Human Smuggling and Trafficking” on 31 March. It was decided by AB that the draft paper may be shared with DG FIA for input on last five-years data as well as the feedback from the agency’s expert. In the context of data on domestic human trafficking, data from all the federal and provincial police departments will be collected. Consultant will draft a letter for IGs of Police that the Director NIOC will send soon.
  • Draft Analysis Paper on Terror Financing was approved with the suggestion to flag the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic will pose and opportunities that may exist for the militant organizations to exploit the situation in the garb of charity donations that could be diverted to criminal activities. Consultant Kashif Noon was tasked to prepare a shorter Policy Brief on TF based on the Analysis Paper.
  • In order to support Global Initiative’s CovidCrimeWatch, NIOC AB decided to launch Organized Crime and Pandemic Nexus in Pakistan Project. This would involve mapping and monitoring of criminal activities in the four categories of OC: terror financing; drug trafficking; human trafficking and cybercrimes. Secretary NIOC was tasked to compile a Weekly Update and Analysis that would be shared with GI-TOC Resilience Fund in Vienna.
  • It was also decided to start a NIOC Blog on related OC developments in April, May and June 2020. Secretary Amir Rana will initiate this effort and apart from AB Members and NIOC Directorate staff, some other prominent opinion-makers would be requested to contribute.
  • NIOC AB gave go-ahead to obtain membership/registration of NGOs Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice launched by the UNODC. An annual fee of Euro 60 would be paid. Secretary NIOC Amir Rana will submit application on behalf of NIOC/PIPS.
  • NIOC AB also approved that Director NIOC should seek an extension of two months of May and June 2020 for the Pilot Project completion of mission as COVID-19 had slowed down the activities being undertaken. Main justification for extension would be to launch OC and Pandemic Nexus monitoring. Some additional funds would be sought from GI-TOC Resilience Fund through a proposal to be sent soon. Secretary and Deputy Director NIOC will send the draft proposal as soon as possible.
  • AB welcomed the inclusion of 6th Member Ms Samina Ahmed who has consented to be part of the National Initiative against Organized Crime in Pakistan. She will formally join on 1 May 2020 and shall participate in next AB Meeting proposed to be held on Friday 8 May 2020.