Pakistan is ISI using crime syndicates in France, Thailand to further its agenda
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been using the services of Pakistani crime syndicates operating in several countries, including France and Thailand, to further its agenda, a report has claimed.
In a recent incident, Thailand Police arrested a Pakistan national named Baqar Shah for his involvement in multiple illegal activities in the country including money laundering for the ISI.
He was first noticed by Thai authorities due to his involvement in organising an anti-American protest outside the US Consulate in Chiang Mai in September 2012. In February 2016, his name again came up when Thailand Police busted a fake passport syndicate in the country in which an Iranian national, Hamid Reza Jafary, and five Pakistanis were arrested.
The six of them were found to be involved in the supply of fake travel documents and human trafficking. As per investigations, Jafary and his five Pakistani contacts were supplying forged passports that were being sold to people from Gulf countries for travel to Australia and Europe.
During the probe, it was found that Gohar Zaman, one of the five Pakistanis in custody, had close links to Shah.
As the Thai security agency put Shah under close surveillance, they discovered that he maintained regular contact with officials from Pakistan Embassy in Bangkok and his restaurant was being used as a meeting point for Pakistani officials.
“Shah’s main job appeared to be spotting potential assets for Pakistanis in the local police, immigration, customs and airlines and to develop contacts within the Muslim community in Chaing Mai and Mae Sot region,” according to the report.
Shah was blacklisted by the Thai immigration for five years and deported to Pakistan in 2018. However, he managed to sneak back into Thailand under the guise of ISI mentors on a fresh passport in the name of Syed Baqar Ahmed Jaffri. However, Thailand Police tracked him down again and he is currently in custody.
A similar syndicate, pertaining to the supply of forged passports, is reported to be operational in France. A person with the initials B.H., who is controlling the syndicate, is believed to have connections at the Pakistani Embassy in Paris.
According to the report, a Pakistani restaurant situated near Gare du Nord, the office of a welfare association in La Courneuve area and a travel agency in the 10th arrondissement in the Paris, are used as fronts to run the illegal activities of supplying Pakistani passports and resident permits of European countries including Portugal, Belgium and France.
During investigations, copies of fake travel documents held by a person linked to this network were found. The individual, who is based in France, has several British and Pakistani passports, all under different names.
It is well known that ISI has links with several terror groups of “jihadist tendency”. “It is not excluded that these types of criminal networks, manipulated by ISI’s branches in the Western capitals, may provide their ‘services’ to members of the terrorist groups in question infiltrated in the West,” the report said.