Pakistan Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Pakistan’s black market. Intelligence data and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

Organized crime gangs operating in Pakistan collect up to $2.5 Million (270 Million Pakistani Rupees) each year from extortion threats to truck drivers. According to the truckers union, over $37 Million (4 Billion Rupees) have been collected by organized crime groups in the past 15 years.

Drivers of 10 wheel trucks are forced to pay $18 (2,000 Rupees) in extortion, while 6 wheel trucks pay $9 (1,000 Rupees).

(More examples of extortion and racketeering by organized crime.)

Source:  Shakeel Anjum, “Extortionists ‘forcibly collect Rs750,000 daily from truckers’,” News International, September 25, 2013.

Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) stated in their annual report that 18.4 percent of total cigarette sales in Pakistan in 2012 were either smuggled or were counterfeit cigarettes.

The black market tobacco trade created over $1.9 Million (2 Billion Pakistani Rupee) in losses to the legitimate tobacco industry in Pakistan.

Between 2007 and 2012, the illicit trade increased over 60 percent.

Company officials claim that the high tax rate in Pakistan on cigarettes is the cause of the smuggling. The tax on a pack of cigarettes if sold in a retail store ranges from 68.5 percent to 81 percent.

Source:  Faroq Baloch, “Spreading like fire: One in four cigarettes sold is smuggled or counterfeit,” Express Tribune, September 1, 2013.

In the first 6 months of 2013, criminal justice programs in Pakistan reported there were 74 kidnapping for ransom cases in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

In 2012, there were a total of 132 people who were kidnapped for ransom in the city.

The Pakistani Supreme Court conducted an investigation and found that many kidnapping gangs in the country has sources and connections with the police and financial industry. (More examples of police corruption here.)

A reported 25 percent of police officers are estimated to have either been directly involved in kidnapping or assist the kidnappers in some fashion.

Along with the police, domestic servants and other low level workers for successful families are invoked in tipping off kidnappers. These workers are generally paid between 5 to 10 percent of the ransom.

(Additional prices and earnings on the black market.)

Source:  Javed Mirza, “Kidnapping for ransom big business in Karachi,” The News, August 31, 2013.


The Forced Marriage Unit in the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office investigates up to 1,500 cases a year.

Nearly half of the cases of forced marriage investigated involve marriages with individuals in Pakistan. 11 percent of the cases involve Bangladesh, and 8 percent involve India. The remaining cases are spread out to over 50 different countries.

The unit reported that the youngest victim that they have come across who was forced into marriage was two years old.

Source:  Andy McSmith, “Girls escape forced marriage by concealing spoons in clothing to set off metal detectors at the airport,” Independent, August 15, 2013.

Between October 2001 and June 2012, the Australian Crime Commission reported that 964 people died while attempting to reach Australia for asylum purposes.

605 of the deaths occurred between October 2009 and June 2012.

A majority of the people who died who were attempting to reach Australia originated from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The number of people who have been seeking asylum by boat in Australia has been increasing each year. In 2008-2009, a reported 985 people landed in Australia. In 2009-2010, criminal justice programs reported 5,327 landings, which, dropped slightly to 4,750 in 2010-2011, and then doubled to 8,092 people in 2011-2012.

Source:  “People Smuggling Has Led To Almost 1,000 Deaths, Says Report,” Bernama, July 30, 2013.

According to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW),  there are an estimated 51 million girls under the age of 18 who are married worldwide.

In addition to the minors who are already married, the ICRW estimates that an underage girl gets married every three seconds, or 10 million child marriages during the year.

In countries such as Pakistan, there is an illegal custom called Swara where young girls are forcibly married off to settle family and tribal disputes. According to figures collected by activists, at least 180 cases of young girls being forced into marriage occur. An article by Foreign Policy magazine reported on a 5 year old girl who was married off to an older man as compensation.

70 percent of girls in Pakistan are married before they reach the age of 16, according to UNICEF.

Source:  Adriana Carranca, “Malala’s Forgotten Sisters,” Foreign Policy, July 12, 2013.

An estimated 50,000 to 80,000 people in Pakistan abuse crystal meth, according to treatment officials in the city.

A typical meth user in the country spends between $5 to $10 (500 to 1,000 Pakistani Rupees) on purchasing the drug each day in the city of Karachi. In the country, meth is more expensive than heroin. A gram of meth can cost between $5 to $8 per gram (500 to 800 Rupees), while a gram of heroin costs between $3 to $5 per gram (300 to 500 Rupees). (More on how much meth costs here.)

There are an estimated 1 million drug addicts in Pakistan.

(More facts about crystal meth here.)

Source: Ammar Shahbazi, “In ghettos, a meth-merising addiction taking over,” The News, June 16, 2013.

A Canadian woman traveled to Pakistan in order to purchase a kidney transplant. The woman told the CTV News that she paid $10,000 for the operation. After returning to Canada, the kidney she received failed and later exams found that the kidney was no longer functioning.

(More prices of organ trafficking and illegal kidney transplants.)

Source:  “Canadians desperate for transplants turn to illegal organ trade,” CTV News, June 1, 2013.

According to the Chairman of the Pharma Bureau in Pakistan, the pharmaceutical market in the country is worth $2 Billion year. Out of the total legitimate market, counterfeit drugs is estimated to take up to 15 percent of the market, or $300 Million a year.

The 15 percent estimate of fake drugs in Pakistan by industry representatives is lower than the 30 to 40 percent estimate given by the World Health Organization in 2012.

Source: Farhan Zaheer, “Country badly needs a study to assess threat from fake drugs,” Express Tribune, May 20, 2013.

In March 2013, diesel smugglers in Pakistan were selling a liter of fuel in $1.06 (104 Pakistani Rupee), less than the official price of $1.14 (112 Rupee). The fuel was smuggled into the black market from Iran.

Traders of the black market diesel estimated between 100 to 130 fuel tankers that each hold between 25,000 to 40,000 liters of fuel are smuggled from Iran to Pakistan or Afghanistan each day.

Source:  Hamdan Albaloshi, “FEATURE-Iran sanctions spur boom for Pakistani diesel smugglers,” Reuters, March 31, 2013.