MINUTES OF NIOC’S 9th Advisory Board Meeting

The ninth meeting of the National Initiative against Organized Crime (NIOC) Advisory Board (AB) was held on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 5 pm through Zoom video conferencing link.

The following AB members participated: Tariq Parvez, President, who joined a bit late due to a prior appointment with a doctor; Zahid Hussain; Samina Ahmed; Jawaid Akhtar; Zubair Habib; and Fasi Zaka.

Consultants/ Lead Researcher Kashif Noon and Communication Strategist Ammar Jaffri also participated.

NIOC Directorate was represented by Director Tariq Khosa, Deputy Director Ali Nekokara and Hassan Sardar. Secretary Amir Rana could not participate as he was travelling from Karachi to Islamabad.

Ian Tennant, Manager Global Initiative Resilience Fund joined for a short time from Vienna on special invitation from Director NIOC.

At the outset, Director NIOC welcomed and introduced Jawaid Akhtar, new AB Member. Jawaid, born in Pakistan, moved to the UK, studied there and joined West Yorkshire Police, 4th largest police force of the UK. He rose to Number 2 position as Deputy Chief Constable before his retirement. He is a recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Medal for his meritorious services as a police officer. He has expertise in the area of Organized Crime. Jawaid, in his introductory remarks narrated his experience of working with Police Services of Pakistan and assured of his meaningful contribution to promote the mandate of NIOC against transnational organized crimes.

Director NIOC then introduced Ian Tennant, Manager Global Initiative Resilience Fund whom he met in December 2019 in Bangkok at a GI-TOC regional meeting. Ian, originally from the UK, is based in Vienna to oversee and coordinate the initiatives launched by GI-Resilience Fund in different countries from 2019. NIOC was launched in November 2019 as a pilot project, initially for six months and was later extended till June 2020 due to Covid-19 and its adverse impact on the target completion. The Project had now entered Phase-2 of six months from July to December 2020. Director Khosa thanked the GIRF management for the trust reposed and continued support for the cause of building community resilience against OC in Pakistan.

Ian Tennant, in his remarks, expressed his pleasure at joining the AB Meeting and being introduced to all the NIOC Members. He informed that GI Resilience Fund was launched by GI-TOC in May 2019 and now for more than a year it has launched projects and initiatives in 17 countries. He described the National Initiative against Organized Crime in Pakistan as GI Resilience Fund’s flagship initiative that in a short span of time had earned national and global recognition. Responding to Director NIOC’s remark of a few professionals in Pakistan making a ‘humble’ effort to make a difference, he responded that the efforts being made by NIOC can make great contributions. On account of his prior commitment, Ian sought leave by wishing all the NIOC members success in their endeavours.

Director NIOC took up agenda items of the Board Meeting. He apprised the meeting that final draft of the policy brief on “Terrorism during Covid-19 in Pakistan” had been circulated to all AB members for final review before publication. Useful discussion followed with inputs from Zahid Hussain, Samina Ahmed, Zubair Habib and President AB Tariq Parvez. It was agreed that PB on Terrorism would be finalised within a week so that it could be released before end of July 2020.

Next item discussed was the draft on “National Strategy on Organize Crime” prepared by Lead Researcher Kashif Noon and circulated among the AB Members by Director. The 3Ps Strategy: Prevent, Prosecute and Protect was briefly discussed and its central delivery, coordination and implementation mechanism had to be debated before finalisation. Director requested all AB Members for their early feedback on the first draft of OC strategy.

Community Outreach Strategy prepared by Ammar Jaffri, Communications Strategist was also circulated by the Director to all AB Members. After some discussion, it was agreed that AB Member Fasi Zaka would lead this initiative and fine-tune the strategy. We expect a strategy document vetted by him to be presented within a week.

As part of Advocacy and Community Outreach Plan, NIOC has been holding Roundtable Conferences and Webinars since June 2020. Three Roundtables were held on June 4, June 18 and June 22 on Terrorism during Covid-19, Cyber Harassment during Coronavirus Pandemic and Advocacy for Police Reform Initiative Launch. During July 2020, two Roundtables on Advocacy for Police Reform on 2 and 9 July. Two more Roundtables on the subject are to be held on 17 and 24 July under the supervision of NIOC AB President Tariq Parvez. The Advisory Board endorsed NIOC’s plan for Roundtables/Webinars as part of Advocacy and Community Outreach Strategy to be followed during the second half of year 2020.

Manager Administration NIOC was asked to expand and organise the Mailing List for dissemination of NIOC publications.

Director NIOC raised the proposal to identify Champions of Change from amongst the civil society organisations, legislators, media and other sectors so that they can be motivated to pursue objectives against OC Networks. GI-TOC Network includes individuals serving in various government institutions as well. NIOC AB will deliberate to include some motivated officials who are serving in various organisations combating organised crime in Pakistan.

Director NIOC also raised the avenue of collaboration at both national and international levels by building partners for concerted efforts against the menace of OC. NIOC has already become a Member of UNODC-steered Alliance of NGOs working against OC. It is a matter of pride for NIOC to be accorded this opportunity as part of global efforts to meet the challenges posed by OC Networks.