Vol. 5 Num 694 Sat. May 13, 2006  

Combating terrorism and drug trafficking
Saarc home ministers pledge to embark on action
The pledge taken by the home ministers of Saarc member countries to work closely in various areas is commendable indeed. The message that emanates from within is that this time the forum means business. The strong resolve to tackle some serious law and order issues exist-ing commonly in almost all the member countries is amply reflected in the adoption of eight decisions, which include, among others, fighting terrorism and drug trafficking. We feel that the decision of the forum to work closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a practical one in the fight against the twin evils. Our concern is bolstered by the fact that Bangladesh is very much at the receiving end of the machination of these two evils and needs a powerful collective body like Saarc to fight them.

We noticed that the idea of forming "Saarcpol", to function as a regional law enforcement agency, had generated plenty of interest among the people in this country. But it appears that no decision could be taken in this regard this time for the lack of details and it has been re-ferred to the member states for further review. The other pertinent issues that have been raised in the conference were money laundering, terrorist financing and relevant laws to tackle these menaces. We feel no forum would be better than Saarc to address these issues with due seriousness regionally and work together with the common objective of uprooting the networks.

There is no denying that the accord reached for cooperation among the Saarc countries will not only help the people in many different ways, it will at the same time make the organisation more meaningful and vibrant. The Bangladesh home minister has rightly said that it was a good beginning and that the endeavour was laudable for the fact that all the home ministers of the member countries vowed to combat the scourge of terrorism in their respective countries to ensure overall economic prosperity of South Asia.