In October 2018, UN member states finally adopted an implementation review mechanism for the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three protocols (human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and firearms trafficking).

Civil-society voices are important in this review mechanism process. By supporting the implementation of UNTOC, the role that CSOs can play in offering multiple sources of information and perspectives, bringing new data and broadening the scope of debates, is critical.  The involvement of civil society in the review mechanism seeks to strengthen the effectiveness and credibility of the review by bringing in an independent voice other than that of the member state. Civil society can contextualize the implementation of UNTOC, supplying analysis and expert opinion on organized-crime trends and bringing the experience of communities affected by organized crime to the fore. This differs from the primarily legalistic focus of the formal review mechanism, conducted by member states and their peer reviewers. An approach that cites UNTOC in a context of the multiple impacts of organized crime on communities and wider civil-society actors (who are ostensibly the ultimate beneficiaries of the convention) will best support member states in decision-making on UNTOC and response priorities going forward.

The National Initiative against Organized Crime (NIOC) working from the platform of the Centre for Governance Research (CGR) Pakistan is working closely with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as the custodian of UNTOC. In September 2021, NIOC and UNODC agreed to guide our joint work on this important issue. Together, we are undertaking a broad and multi-pronged strategy to help ensure meaningful civil society engagement in the review mechanism.

NIOC and the UNODC are cumulatively working towards achieving the following three outcomes:

  • That diverse, civil-society perspectives are incorporated into the UNTOC review mechanism process, in a visible, impactful, coherent and coordinated manner.
  • That the CSO community working against organized crime is brought together to enter a dialogue, and coordinate and engage with the review mechanism in an informed, collegial and strategic way.
  • That the CSO community understands the UNTOC review mechanism process and how the perspectives of non-state actors will be, and should be, incorporated into the process.

Voluntary Pilot Initiative

One of the key initiatives of UNODC is to initiate voluntary country-specific “Pilot initiatives” by interested Member States, aimed at strengthening cooperation between their competent national authorities, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), academia and the private sector at the national level. The pilot initiatives are a unique opportunity to provide space for dialogue between the concerned government and relevant stakeholders in preparation for the official Working Group meetings of the UNTOC, as well as in the information-gathering/self-assessment stage of the mechanism. This will enable representatives of governments, civil society, academia and the private sector to exchange views on how to work together on country-specific transnational organized crime priorities to ensure an effective review process.

In 2021, Pakistan was drawn in the first group of 62 countries to be reviewed over the next two years under the first review cluster – ‘Criminalization and Jurisdiction’. This cluster covers articles 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, and 23 of UNTOC.

Pakistan will be peer-reviewed by experts from Djibouti and Tonga. It was among the first few countries that nominated the National Focal Person for implementation of the UNTOC Review Process. Additional Inspector-General Police Ehsan Sadiq PhD, former Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency was appointed the National Focal person in 2021. He was earlier nominated as the National Expert on Organized Crime in Pakistan.   The self-assessment phase is already underway since early 2022 which is one of the key opportunities for civil society to engage with the government as it prepares its responses.  Indeed, the Rules and Procedures of the Review Mechanism agreed by Member States set out a clearly defined role for civil society in the review process, and therefore the Government of Pakistan is consulting with relevant stakeholders in the preparation of responses to the self-assessment questionnaire, including the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and academia.  NIOC-CGR, as the key national CSO against Organized Crime in Pakistan, is playing a facilitating role in this process, interacting with the government focal point and engaging with relevant local civil society organizations, experts, lawyers, academia and the private sector.

Pakistan is also among the first few countries keen to be involved in a pilot initiative, due to the proactive engagements of NIOC-CGR with the UNODC.  It will also strive to contribute to the global implementation of the mechanism through providing best practice examples to other states parties under the Convention.

Steps Undertaken

  • UNTOC Review Secretariat has been established in the National Police Bureau, Ministry of Interior to facilitate the National Focal Person to undertake coordination with the key stakeholders involved in the implementation of UNTOC Review Mechanism.
  • Various Government Ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have nominated Focal Persons to assist the NFP to accomplish the tasks being undertaken
  • NIOC-CGR has undertaken a mapping process to identify the key civil society stakeholders, including experts, lawyers, academicians and relevant public sector organizations who are to be invited to the meetings and/or engaged in the ongoing consultation process.
  • Self-assessment questionnaires are being filled under the supervision of the National Focal Person with full cooperation of the relevant government ministries, agencies and departments.
  • NIOC-CGR will coordinate and plan series of events in 2022 in coordination with the Government of Pakistan, UNODC and other partners to promote better understanding in meeting the challenges faced by the state and society in countering transnational organized crime.

UNTOC Constructive Dialogues

  • UNTOC Secretariat has organized two Constructive Dialogues at the UNODC Vienna on 6 and 27 May 2022 on Firearms as well as International Cooperation respectively. NIOC-CGR has the distinction of being invited to both the CDs to represent the viewpoint of the civil society. Formal statements made at the Dialogues have been appreciated by the participants.
  • A structured engagement strategy with the civil society is underway from June 2022 through a tripartite collaboration between the Government of Pakistan National Focal Person, CSOs, NGOs and experts through facilitation by NIOC-CGR and the UNODC Civil Society Unity (CSU).
  • Pakistan Mission in Vienna is in close contact with the key stakeholders to ensure that UNTOC Review Process is carried out professionally.


This UNTOC Review Mechanism Process will be updated on monthly basis.

NIOC Constructive Dialogue statement on Firearms

NIOC Constructive Dialogue on International Cooperation and Technical Assistance

CGR Director Tariq Khosa’s statement at UNTOC CD

Interview with Mr. Tariq Khosa in Constructive Dialogue on International Cooperation and Technical Assistance

Meeting minutes with UNODC Civil Society Unit

A meeting was held with the UNODC Civil Society Unit on Wednesday 15 June 2022 at 2 pm. The following participated: Ms Mirella Dummar Frahi, Anders Frantzen, Issam Alkhayat from UNODC CSU Vienna; Baitullah Khan from UNODC Islamabad; Ehsan Sadiq, National Focal Person; Tariq Khosa, Saroop Ijaz and Hassan Sardar from CGR-NIOC. The following important matters were discussed:

1) UNODC CSU is very keen to launch Pakistan UNTOC Review Pilot Initiative which will be second after Mexico and first in Asia. The launch is being planned during September 2022. UNODC CSU will convey the proposed dates soon.
2) GOP Focal Person, Rep UNODC Islamabad and Director NIOC-CGR will reach out to the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FIA, NPB and other key GOP stakeholders to take them on board for the launch which will be planned at one of the following two places: FIA Academy or NPB. My preference is for the FIA Academy.
3) NIOC-CGR have built a coalition of CSOs, experts, consultants, academics, lawyers and industry as part of the UNTOC Civil Society Engagement Strategy. Sarmad, Saroop, Kashif and Vaqas are committed to making a meaningful contribution as a model collaborative framework between the GOP and Civil Society. This model will hopefully be presented at the UNTOC Conference of Parties in October 2022 in Vienna.
4) Personal and virtual interactions have already started in June 2022 by Sarmad, Saroop, Kashif and Vaqas. Regional and focused discussions with CSOs, experts, lawyers, academics and others will be organised by NIOC-CGR during July-August 2022 at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.
5) GOP National Focal Person Ehsan, along with Azam and Nawaz are ready to finalise the first draft responses to UNTOC articles under review under Cluster-1. These responses will be shared with GOP stakeholders and selective responses along with a questionnaire will also be shared with the CSOs, experts, lawyers and academics by Sarmad and Saroop.
6) Saroop Ijaz and Azam Khan will write the parallel report on implementation of UNTOC by Pakistan on behalf of the civil society. They will be assisted by Kashif and Vaqas in this important report which will be finalised by mid-October 2022.
7) MOI will soon issue a letter of pledge for the civil society collaboration for the UNTOC Review Process. Nawaz will follow up.
8) A virtual meeting will be held with DG FIA Rai Tahir and Director FIA Sardar Zaheer to discuss the Pilot Initiative launch in September 2022. Ehsan, Azam, Nawaz and Baitullah will also participate in this virtual meeting proposed in the next few days, subject to availability of the DG FIA.
9) Mr Tariq Parvez, as the President of NIOC Advisory Board will write a Blog on Pakistan UNTOC Review for the CGR website.
10) Details of all the CSOs, experts, consultants, lawyers, academics involved in the review process will be posted on CGR website. Sarmad and Hassan will follow up.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC):  A Million Reasons to Act Now

By Tariq Parvez, President NIOC Advisory Board


Convention. In  the year2000, the UN General Assembly passed a United Nations  Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), to tackle the issue of transnational organized crime which was increasingly becoming a serious threat,  not only to the global financial system but also to good governance and rule of law. The implementation of UNTOC by all signatories started in 2003. Pakistan was one of the 189 signatories of the Convention.

The Convention represents a major step forward in the fight against transnational organized crime and signifies the recognition by Member States of the seriousness of the problems posed by it, as well as the need to foster and enhance close international cooperation in order to tackle those problems. States that ratify this instrument commit themselves to taking a series of measures against transnational organized crime, including the creation of domestic criminal offences (participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption and obstruction of justice); the adoption of new and sweeping frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation; and the promotion of training and technical assistance for building or upgrading the necessary capacity of national authorities.

The Convention is further supplemented by three Protocols, which target specific areas and manifestations of organized crime: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition. Pakistan has yet to ratify the three protocols.

Review: In its meeting held from 15-19 October 2018,the Conference of Parties (COP) to UNTOC in its 9th session adopted a country review mechanism, to evaluate the status of implementation of the UNTOC. In the following session held in Oct 2020, the COP, through resolution 10/1 titled Launch of the review process of the Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto[1].

The country review process comprises of the following steps:

  1. A self-assessment questionnaire is shared with the country’s government and the country responds to the questions contained in the questionnaire.
  2. Two other countries peer review the responses and share their feedback for any amendments or questions. Tonga and Djibouti will conduct the peer review of Pakistan
  3. In parallel, a coalition of CSOs also conducts an independent review using a standardized questionnaire as a tool. The Civil Society Report serves as a shadow report to augment or contest government responses as the case may be. The coalition of CSOs is being established by CGR/NIOC and initial contacts have been made.

Pakistan’s review is of significant importance and Government of Pakistan has already nominated a focal person for this review: Dr. Ehsan Sadiq, Additional Inspector General of Police, an officer of impeccable repute and knowledge. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is steering the process in Pakistan and I am happy to state that  Centre for Governance Research (CGR) is partnering with UNODC in this national effort.

Importance of TSOC: It may be pertinent,  to very briefly, discuss the importance of transnational organized crime, and how it affects the economy, governance, society and the country’s repute.

The global economy and well-being are  adversely affected by TOC.  According to UNODC’s estimates 870 billion USD were generated through organized crime operating in illicit markets, which is 1.5% of global GDP[2]. This is alarmingly large and can vary from country to country depending on local contextual factors like effectiveness of the regulatory authorities, demand and supply of illicit services/goods and state of competition. It is also argued that this may be the tip of the iceberg, because of the secretive operations of organized crime. There is an associated transactional cost to the TOC economy. The money being earned, stashed, laundered and used, elbows out the legitimate business and trade. No taxes are paid hence the fiscal space of governments shrink, curbing spending on human welfare. The economic negativities notwithstanding, there are social and human costs. Often young and poor individuals are lured in to transnational organized crime as foot soldiers. Social capital which can fuel the economic growth of countries end-up, spending a dangerous life. Many fall victims to the vagaries of this evil enterprise. South America leads the world in gun related homicides, with Honduras at the top with a ranking of 60 homicides per 100K population This high rate has been made possible because of firearm smuggling[3]. Similarly, trafficking in persons is another form of TOC, which destroys lives and darkens the future of victims. The most common form of trafficking is for sexual exploitation and according to a UNODC report about 155 countries, 79% victims of trafficking are women and girls. Another form of trafficking is forced labour and the victims are almost always children. The same report reveals that 20% of trafficking victims are children. Women and children are the most vulnerable and TOC preys on the vulnerable and weak.

Pakistan. Challenge of TOC and response: Pakistan faces serious challenges from TOC. Its geographical location has an unusually large impact on TOC in Pakistan. Being in the immediate neighbourhood of Afghanistan, which is not only the largest producer  in the world of  poppy and manufacturing of heroin, but has also been continuously involved in conflict in the last 42 years,  led to large scale migration to neighbouring Pakistan and also resulted in abundant availability of small arms. That makes Pakistan an attractive destination as well as transit for not only drugs and arms trafficking but also illegal migration and human trafficking. Not only that, the low per capita income in Pakistan, creates a demand for migrant smuggling as well as human trafficking from Pakistan to greener pastures. According to Global Organized Crime Index (2021), Pakistan falls in the category of countries which have a high risk of criminality of organized crime and low resilience to combat it. Also, Pakistan was placed on the “grey” list of FATF in 2018,  due to non compliance with some conditions of the FATF in dealing with money laundering and terrorist financing. The positive development, however, is that in 2018, the Pakistan government, showed a very strong political resolve to address the concerns of FATF as well as to improve its tackling of TOC including illegal migration, human and arms trafficking, drugs trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing. Not only were new laws passed but also enforcement of these laws was significantly improved . Acknowledging the efficacy of the measures of these measures taken, FATF has given positive signals in its plenary meetings in June 2022,  about moving Pakistan out of the grey list and into the white list. The final decision is expected in the forthcoming visit from FATF experts to Pakistan, later in 2022. Thus, it can be said that while the challenge of TOC remains huge in Pakistan, the government has shown political resolve to address it very seriously by taking very significant steps, in line with the UN Convention and that national effort is continuing with greater earnestness and vigour.

The current UNTOC review being undertaken by UNODC in partnership with Government of Pakistan, CGR and the civil society accompanied by peer review by Djibouti and Tonga, is in line with the UNTOC Review guidelines. The objective of the Review is not only to evaluate the progress made so far by Pakistan, in countering the TOC, within the guidelines of UNTOC and the three protocols but also to identify the way forward to tackle the global challenge of TOC, making the world, a better and a safer place to live in. Pakistan stands strongly committed to ensure the success of this global endeavour.





List of CSO for UNTOC Review

1 Centre for Governance Research/National Initiative against Organized Crime (CGR/NIOC), Islamabad Sarmad Saeed Khan 03228442321 Deputy Director


2 Pakistan Bar Council Mr. Abid Saqi 03009443423 Lawyers
3 Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Society Ms. Nida Aly 03008472177 Legal experts/NGO
4 Peace and Justice Network Mr. Raza Ali 03018559845 NGOs Network


5 Pak Institute of Peace Studies Mr. Amir Rana 03215007869 NGO/Security Experts
6 The Law and Policy Chamber Mr. Umar Gilani 0301 5011568 Law Firm /Expert


7 World Federation against Drugs Ms. Asia Ashraf 03316286820 Narcotics-related


8 SDGs Academy, Islamabad Mr. Ammar Jaafri 03008551479


SDGs Expert
9 Serving Police Officer DIG Sohail Habib Tajik 03459200400


Law Enforcement Expert
10 UNODC Islamabad Mr. Baitullah Khan 03156662959 Consultant / UNODC CSU
11 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Lahore Ms. Maheen Pracha 03008563329 Human Rights
12 Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) Dr Ali Cheema 03008404588 Academic/Expert
13 Center for Social Justice Mr. Peter Jacob 03004029046 TIP/NGO
14 Legal Aid Society Mr. Shahzar Ilahi 0331 6632583 NGO/Legal Experts
15 Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law (LUMS) Prof Angbeen Mirza 03008200969 Academia
16 Research Society for International Law Mr. Jamal Aziz 03345066666 Expert/ NGO


17 Youth for Human Rights

Pakistan, Gojra

Mr. Umair Ahmad 03336866297 Youth Affairs
18 NIOC President Advisory Board Mr. Tariq Parvez 03085550006 Expert/NGO
19 Public Policy Mr. Usama Bahktiar 03008466541 Consultant
20 Lawyer Mr. Umar Mahmood Khan 03426663999 Legal Expert
21 FC College University Dr Mohammad Vaqas Ali 03104028614 Academia
22 Lawyer Mr. Saroop Ijaz 03004007581 Legal Expert
23 Economist Dr. Ali Hasanain 03334270739 Academia/LUMS
24 Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Karachi Mr. Zubair Habib 0300 8260409 Chief CPLC/Law Enforcement
25 Hwa Foundation Mr. Gulam Nabi 03013252357 Women Rights
26 Human Rights Research Mr. Jameel Junejo 03363634698 Researcher
27 Institute of Peace and Conflict Study Peshawar Mr. Jamil Ahmad

0919222101 Academia


28 The Tribal Rights Watch Mr. Iftikhar Ahmad Mullagori 03029168285


Human Rights


29 Consultant NIOC Mr. Kashif Akram Noon 03115997586 Public Policy Expert
30 Youth Association for Development (YAD) Mr. Atta-ul-Haq Khaderzai 0334-2434598

+92 812872652

NGO/Human Rights
31 The Grief Directory Dr. Fatima Ali Haider 03008466541 NGO/Victims of OC



Policing Organized Crime in Pakistan

By Kamran Adil

Typologies of crime abound and evolve with societal structures and technological advancements. One category of crime, which is often misunderstood is organized crime. Most often than not, it is confounded with white collar crime. While motivation for both is to seek profits, white collar crime preys on legitimate businesses and opportunism as compared to organized crime that operates through illegal businesses and uses violence. Given these confusions, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has used a working definition of organized crime, which states:

“Organized crime is a continuing criminal enterprise that rationally works to profit from illicit activities that are often in great public demand. Its continuing existence is maintained through corruption of public officials and the use of intimidation, threats or force to protect its operations.”

In the context of Pakistan, policing organized crime is emerging as a new challenging area that seeks attention from policy makers and powers that be. In order to examine the policing challenges, it is important to first briefly and thematically examine how the international and national laws define organized crime that must be policed to protect life, property, reputation of people and the image of a country of Pakistan’s scale and geography; the overview of examination is stated accordingly:

International Law

With the ascendancy of international human rights law in the Post-Cold War era, globalization and international freedoms reached new levels. This multilateral legal framework of enabling freedoms also provided opportunities for organized crime syndicates to grow. In response, since 2000, there has been steady introduction of international legal instruments to tackle and police organized crime internationally. One of the chief legal instruments has been the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) that was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000. Pakistan, like many other nations, cautiously watched its growth and then eventually in 2010, ratified it and obligated upon itself the implementation of the UNCTOC in 2003. A eye bird’s view of the UNCTOC shows that it does not define ‘organized crime’; instead it defines ‘organized criminal group’. By choosing not to define the organized crime, the UNCTOC has provided the much needed space for sovereign nations to use their national definitions of the crime. Broadly, the UNCTOC has required states:

  1. to criminalize participation in an organized criminal group (article 5);
  2. to criminalize laundering of proceeds of crime (article 6);
  3. to introduce measures to combat money-laundering (article 7);
  4. to criminalize corruption in all its forms (articles 8 and 9);
  5. to take measures to introduce criminal liability of legal persons (like companies, trusts, firms and other forms of legal entities) (article 10);
  6. to take measures to introduce effective, proportionate, dissuasive criminal or non-criminal sanctions against legal persons (article 10);
  7. to prosecute, adjudicate and impose sanctions related to offences introduced in UNCTOC (article 11);
  8. to introduce confiscation and seizure of property linked to organized crimes of money laundering and corruption (article 12);
  9. to enter into international cooperation arrangements for confiscation of properties related to money laundering and corruption (article 13);
  10. to introduce universal jurisdiction for offences related to corruption, money laundering and proceeds of crime (article 15);
  11. to opt in or provide for legal basis of extradition of offenders related to the UNCTOC (article 16);
  12. to cooperate for transfer of offenders related to offences of UNCTOC by entering into bilateral or multilateral agreements (article 17);
  13. to introduce Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) regime for taking evidence, effective service of judicial documents, executing searches, seizures and freezing, examining objects and sites and other steps for affecting legal processes (article 18);
  14. to consider entering into agreements for joint investigations (article 19);
  15. to use special investigative techniques (controlled delivery, electronic surveillance and undercover operations) in other jurisdictions (article 20);
  16. to transfer criminal proceedings (article 21), to establish criminal records (article 22), to criminalize obstruction of justice (article 23) and protection of witnesses (article 24);
  17. to enhance cooperation of law enforcement cooperation (articles 26, 27 and 28);
  18. to settle inter-state dispute by negotiations, arbitration and in case of failure of arbitration, reference to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (article 35);

Pakistan has steadily implemented most parts of the UNCTOC. It has already criminalized corruption at both federal and provincial levels through the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947. Its money laundering law (the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 along with counter-terrorism financing related money-laundering as per the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997) is much elaborated and has a wider net. It already has its Extradition Act, 1972 that provides procedural safeguards and can by updated to include money-laundering as an extraditable offence. Insofar as the Mutual Legal Assistance is concerned, it has the latest Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal) Act, 2020. Its legislation on international cooperation is specifically covered in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The legislative cover is supported by implementing agencies in form of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Provincial Anti-Corruption Establishments and the Counter-Terrorism Departments of the Provincial Police Organizations. In addition, international cooperation to the extent of criminal matters is also carried out with International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) through National Central Bureau of the FIA.

National Law

As discussed above, at the national level, Pakistan has many laws that are in conformity with the UNCTOC and even predate the international legal obligations that come with signing of international instruments. These laws derive their strength from constitutional foundations contained in articles 142 and 143 that make criminal law, procedure and evidence concurrent subjects and involve both the federal and provincial governments to fight and police organized crime. Though Pakistan has not signed protocols annexed to the UNCTOC related to trafficking in persons of women and children and smuggling of migrants, it has introduced national legislation in form of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018 and the Prevention of Smuggling of Migrants Act, 2018. These legislative steps by Pakistan show its commitment to align itself with the international community’s priority areas.

Having stated the national and international framework applicable to deal with organized crime in Pakistan, it would be apposite to briefly outline challenges of policing the organized crime, which are:

First, policing organized crime has yet to be mainstreamed in Pakistan. While Pakistan has been doing fairly well in criminalizing organized crime, it has to do a lot insofar as the actual implementation is concerned. Its police, prosecution, judiciary and public safety administration have to put their acts together to bring organized crime to the centre of all their efforts. The asymmetrical relationship of provincial judiciary and prosecution departments with federal investigative agencies must be squared in a manner that all move in one direction instead of working at cross-purpose.

Secondly, the technological component of policing organized crime must be legally covered so that police organizations can use Information Technology (IT) based information and evidence in effective and efficient manner. Lack of legal cover of IT based Policing (ITP) provides good grounds of legal defence for organized criminals. This compatibility of law and technology must be properly attended to.

Thirdly, political diplomacy has to be sensitized about the latest trend of judicial diplomacy that places police/prosecutors as liaison officers in diplomatic missions. This placement helps in better international cooperation.

Lastly, international cooperation and organized crime is not at the centre of capacity building strategies of police, prosecution and judiciary. This needs to be prioritized.


Civil Society Alliance on Pakistan UNTOC Review Pilot Initiative-Islamabad, 15 September 2022-Statement by Tariq Khosa, Director CGR-NIOC

Ladies and Gentlemen: Here is the concise statement on behalf of the civil society alliance forged by Pakistani CSOs, Experts, Academia and the Private Sector as mandatory part of the Government of Pakistan’s UNTOC Review Process under Cluster-1 on Criminalization and Jurisdiction. We note with satisfaction that a very competent expert on Organized Crime has been nominated as the National Focal Person for the UNTOC Review Process. Dr Ehsan Sadiq has drafted responses to the 8 UNTOC articles under review with the active support of government departments and agencies concerned. National Initiative against Organized Crime has made all the efforts to provide him a team of professional experts on legal issues and practitioners who have dealt with the challenges related with serious and organized crimes. Such coordination and engagement have produced the desired results at the early stages of the review process.

We must commend the support and understanding displayed by the Government of Pakistan, especially the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially our Mission in Vienna and all the Focal Persons nominated by GOP Institutions. It is also matter of pride for us that the civil society, experts, academia and private sector have responded so positively in forging a Civil Society Alliance on UNTOC Review Mechanism. This is a long process and we have made a humble effort to build a strong and lasting alliance. Encouraged by our National Focal Person’s commitment to a transparent process, we have held series of debates, discussions and interactions with the civil society organizations. UNODC Civil Society Unit and the UNTOC Secretariat in Vienna have facilitated and encouraged during this initial review process that has mandatory stakeholder engagement and technical requirements. They are also facilitating the peer review by Djibouti and Tonga.

Mexico was the first country that launched Pilot Initiative for UNTOC Review. Pakistan is now second globally and first in Asia to launch the Pilot Initiative today. It is a moment of pride for all of us. As a precursor to this launch, UNODC facilitated a Scoping Meeting on 24 August 2022 with 46 representatives of the civil society represented in a marathon 4-hour virtual discussion on UNTOC provisions, serious and organized crime challenges facing Pakistan and perspectives of victims, human rights and gender issues. The deliberations were converted into a working paper that was discussed on 14 September 2022 in Islamabad in order to reflect the priorities and viewpoints to be conveyed to the Government of Pakistan. So, the following issues are being placed for further deliberations and follow-up by the relevant stakeholders:

  1. By and large, Pakistan under Cluster-1 is compliant in the three relevant areas of definitions, criminalization provisions and jurisdictional issues.
  2. UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime was ratified by Pakistan in 2010. However, it has yet to ratify the three Protocols under the Convention related with Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants and Weapons Trafficking. We are heartened to know that the Cabinet has recently approved ratification of Trafficking in Persons Protocol. We hope that ratification of Protocol on Migrant Smuggling will be the next move soon as Pakistan has legislated on comprehensive laws in 2018 on both human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
  3. We note that there is a gap in understanding of different dimensions of organized crime in Pakistan due to lack of research and data. State institutions like FIA, civil society, experts and academia can play an important role to address this gap.
  4. Organized crime is being handled in Pakistan in institutional and regional silos, without a holistic national effort to deal with it. This fragmentation of effort against OC debilitates a national and provincial concerted effort; therefore, the National Initiative against Organized Crime has, earlier this year, come up with a Strategy against Serious and Organized Crime in Pakistan, in furtherance of the National Security Policy of 2021 that recognizes OC as a national security threat. We propose creation of a Task Force against OC with FIA as the lead agency.
  5. Like the rest of the world, Pakistan is galloping towards greater digital technology, with the criminal actors making use of the technological advances and integrating it into their modus operandi. Therefore, cybercrime regulation and enforcement must be accorded a high priority in terms of development of expertise and allocation of adequate resources.
  6. Priority must be accorded to the victims of organized crime, human rights and gender issues. This is where engagement with the civil society will yield positive results. There is a need to improve services to vulnerable groups such as victim protection programmes and rehabilitation services.

The above 6-point agenda to deal with complex organized crimes can only be achieved through a firm national resolve. In tackling the menace of terrorism, Pakistan came up with a CT National Action Plan in 2015. A whole-of-society approach, enlisting all the elements of national power, will certainly make a difference. UNTOC Review Process provides us an opportunity to forge an effective and concerted state and society response against Organized Crime.

The first ever Pilot Initiative on UNTOC review process in Asia launched in Pakistan

Islamabad (Pakistan), 20 September 2022 – Transnational organized crime has devastating effects on global societies and local communities, directly undermines the public capacities of states and hinder economic development. The complexity of organized crime requires an interconnected multi-stakeholder approach from different actors, including the public and private sector, academia and civil society. Through the review of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supports State parties in tackling transnational organized crime, including through broad consultation with relevant stakeholders in accordance with Resolution 9/1.

On 15 September 2022, UNODC and the Government of Pakistan launched the first-ever Pilot Initiative in Asia, where the Director General of the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) Mohsin Hassan Butt, publicly announced the Cabinet’s ratification of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) protocol in Pakistan. The high-level event brought together 45 senior representatives from government, civil society, academic institutions, and the private sector.

“The Pilot Initiative is an excellent opportunity to facilitate a dialogue between the Government of Pakistan and relevant stakeholders on multifaceted challenges related to organized crime – highlighted Dr. Ehsan Sadiq, National Focal Person on the UNTOC Review Mechanism in his opening speech.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs of UNODC assured UNODC support to the Government of Pakistan and stakeholders in this pioneering initiative, stressing the role of UNODC in ‘connecting the dots’ to ensure that policies on countering organized crime have a positive impact at the national level.

During the Pilot Initiative launch, the Civil Society Alliance for the Pakistan UNTOC review, a network of over 50 civil society organizations led by Tariq Khosa, Director at the Centre for Governance Research (CGR)-Pakistan  presented concrete areas of recommendations to the Government, including:

  • Welcoming the recent ratification by the Government of Pakistan of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Protocol. Urging the further ratification of the remaining UNTOC protocols in Pakistan (protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants and protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms).
  • Emphasized the lack of research, calling for Increased research on organized crime and access to national data.
  • Addressing serious crimes and creating a centralized Task Force against organized crime to avoid fragmentation to approach the issue holistically at the national level.
  • Providing resources and regulations in addressing the rise of cybercrime.
  • Prioritizing the support to victims of organized crime, as well as to human rights, and gender issues.

“Pakistan faces significant challenges in the field of transnational organized crime, requiring coordinated efforts by the government, civil society, private sector, academia, and international stakeholders. Pakistan has an excellent relationship with the UNODC, jointly working on the areas of illicit trafficking and border management, the criminal justice system, legal reforms, drug demand reductions, prevention and treatment” – stated Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Minister of State for Interior. At the end of his speech, he emphasized that civil society has an important role to play particularly in safeguarding the rights of victims of organized crime. “We welcome the participation of civil society and their inputs to the Government of Pakistan in the implementation of UNTOC” – the Minister concluded.

UNODC will continue to support the Government of Pakistan and the Civil Society Alliance for the Pakistan UNTOC review in the follow-up activities related to the Pilot Initiative and hopes that other countries will be inspired to take similar actions in line with their national realities.




CGR Statement on UNTOC COP11

On behalf of the Civil Society, a National Initiative against Organized Crime in Pakistan was launched in 2019. We are working closely with the UNODC, as the custodian of the UN Convention on TOC. Together, we are undertaking a broad and multi-pronged strategy to help ensure meaningful civil society engagement in the review mechanism, for achieving the following outcomes:

1) Diverse civil society perspectives are incorporated into the UNTOC review mechanism process, in a visible, impactful, coherent and coordinated manner.

2) The CSO community working against OC is brought together to enter a dialogue, and coordinate and engage with the review mechanism in an informed and strategic manner.

One of the key initiatives of the UNODC is to initiate voluntary country-specific “Pilot Initiatives” by interested Member States, aimed at strengthening cooperation between the concerned national authorities, CSOs, academia, and the private sector. Mexico was the first country to launch the Pilot Initiative. I am proud to state that Pakistan is second globally and first in Asia to have launched the Pilot Initiative on UNTOC Review in Islamabad on 15 September this year, with active support and involvement of the UNODC CSU and the UNTOC Secretariat. A Civil Society Alliance of about 50 CSOs, experts, academics and representatives of the private sector has been formed to associate with the Pakistan UNTOC Review process. There is complete ownership and declared commitment by the Government of Pakistan.

It gives us satisfaction that advocacy by the civil society has also resulted in approval by the cabinet to ratify the UNTOC Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.

A trilateral cooperative framework between the Government of Pakistan, the Civil Society Alliance and the UNODC has provided the necessary impetus to lay a strong foundation for a long-term roadmap for UNTOC Review under the forthcoming review clusters.

The Civil Society in Pakistan is committed to making a difference.

Pakistan UNTOC Review Process 2022-
Civil Society Perspective

Pakistan UNTOC Review Mechanism 2023