What are Pakistani terrorists doing in New Zealand?

On June 12, 2013 the Global Peace Index released a report indicating that New Zealand was the third most peaceful country on the planet, after Iceland and Denmark. Ironically, on the very same day, New Zealand showed up on the global terror map.

At a US Congressional hearing, Congressman Peter King, Chairman, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operates networks that ''span across South Asia and the Persian Gulf into Europe, especially Britain, as well as Canada and New Zealand''. For New Zealanders this should be a wake up call

The LeT has been designated a terrorist organisation by both the United States and the United Nations. ''The LeT is a terror proxy of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, which provides the LeT with a safe haven and funding to train and prepare for terrorist attacks,'' Congressman King said.

''While focussed on Pakistan's dispute over Kashmir, an issue over which it regularly kills innocent Indian civilians, the LeT's reach is broad and goes abroad. In addition to the 2009 plot in Denmark, LeT supported a planned 2002 attack on Australia by means of a trainer sent from France,'' he pointed out.

Stalking far away places

New Zealand is far far away from the world's troublespots. Bombs may explode in Boston, Moscow and Mumbai but what are the chances of explosives being planted in New Zealand? Smaller than small, you say? Guess again.

NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS: Young Muslim protester during rioting by Muslims in Sydney, Australia, in September 2012.


How London became a terror hub

Sometime in the early 1980s when the Russians installed a proxy regime in Afghanistan, the UK entered into a Faustian bargain with the Islamists. The deal was this - as long as the Islamists killed Russians, Ukrainians, Latvians, Tajiks and Kazakhs and other Soviets, it was just fine. ''Just don't do anything in England,'' they were told.

British Muslims, especially those who had migrated from Pakistan, went into a frenzy of fund gathering. Their goal was simple - buy weapons, travel to Afghanistan, kill communists. Frothing-at-the-mouth demagogues launched hate speech from street corners in Birmingham and London.

The British with their vast experience in dealing with these people, certainly knew they were playing it dangerously. But their hatred for Russia was so much, they kept it under wraps.

Islamic jehad even became a fashionable catchword in Britain, with pop singer Cat Stevens becoming its most visible votary.

Virus spreads

Encouraged by Britain's green light for international jehad, Pakistani and pro-Pakistani shops in London's Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods now started displaying posters exhorting customers and passers-by to contribute money for killing Hindus in Kashmir. When an Indian friend of mine saw this, he promptly informed a British bobby about the offensive posters.

The bobby did nothing, so the friend took the matter up with his superiors. Incredibly, the British police told him this was a South Asian matter and they didn't think it was necessary to clamp down on such banal activities. Today Islamic terrorists are running amok across Britain - train bombs, truck bombs, car bombs, and finally the brutal beheading of a British soldier. And they are certainly not finished. Remember, it was a Faustian bargain and like any Faustian bargain there comes a time to pay up.

A warning for Wellington

Exactly a year ago, New Zealand was struck off the White List. This is a prestigious list that includes a select group of countries such as Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa and the US. To be included in the list, countries need to have legislation, regulations and systems that keep tabs on the flow of cash through the financial system. Apparently New Zealand was so deregulated back then that crime syndicates laundered billions of dollars through New Zealand. There is also an urban myth floating around that a number of Indian politicians are using New Zealand for investing corruption generated cash in the real estate market. Now it doesn't take a genius to guess that Islamic terrorist outfits may have used - and are still using - New Zealand for laundering money.

Nobody's too far

Distance really doesn't deter some people. ''The LeT actively recruits Westerners, maintains social media sites in colloquial American English and has since the 1990s sustained support cells here in the United States,'' Congressman King further deposed. ''LeT members were arrested in the homeland as recently as 2011 when Jubair Ahmad was arrested in Woodbridge, Virginia. Eleven LeT members previously have been arrested in Virginia back in 2003. Suspected LeT operatives are reported to have surveilled several identified potential terror targets in this country,'' he said.

Islamic terrorists are quickly adapting to the changing environment and are finding havens in previously unheard of places. Places you thought were inaccessible or completely terror proof - like New Zealand. Or Virginia - the home of the CIA. You get the picture.

Safety first

One of the things I like about New Zealand is you can ride public transport without having to check under your seat. (Of course, you may not die in a bomb explosion, but you might die of frustration, waiting for the damn bus to arrive) They don't frisk you at train stations. There are no alerts about some terrorist sneaking in across the border to disrupt the lives of free people. There are no violent Muslim rallies as happened in Australia last year.

"Keeping New Zealand New" is a tired line now. How about keeping New Zealand safe?

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ABOUT:
Rakesh Krishnan's articles have been used as reference at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the Centre for Research on Globalization, Canada; Wikipedia; and as part of the curriculum at the Anthropology Department of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His work has been published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi; Oped News, Pennsylvania; and Rossiyskaya Gazeta Group, Moscow, among others.