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.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 30 to 40 percent of all drugs and medicine in Pakistan is counterfeit. According to an official with a pharmaceutical organization, over 100 patients died at a single hospital due to taking counterfeit heart medications.

People in Pakistan spend up to 77 percent of their health budgets on medicines.

Source: Hina Mahgul Rind, “IPR challenges drive foreign pharmaceuticals away from Pakistan,” The News, May 12, 2012.

The black market in contraband cigarettes in Pakistan was estimated to be around 26 percent in 2011.

In 2011, an estimated 1,685,000 cigarettes were sold on the illicit market of Pakistan.

Source:  “2011 sees increase in sale of tax-evaded cigarette brands,” Daily Times, May 5, 2012.

Police in the Pakistani city of Karachi report the Taliban is generating revenue from kidnap and ransom activities, extortion and bank robberies.

In 2011, there were over 100 cases of kidnap for ransom cases in the city, an all time high.

Local criminals who kidnap for ransom generally hold their hostage for up to six weeks until some sort of payment or settlement is made. Hostages held by the Taliban are generally held between 6 months to 1 year and demand payment in foreign currency.

Source:  “Taliban’s brisk trade of kidnapping in Karachi,” BBC News, March 23, 2012.


Between January 1 to March 20, 2012, there have been as many as 400 reported cases of kidnapping across the Pakistani city of Lahore.

In 2011, there were around 2,954 cases of kidnappings reported in the city. In 2010, up to 2,831 people were kidnapped.

According to city residents, the most effective way to retrieve kidnapped family members is to pay the ransom.

Source:  Imran Chaudhry, “Kidnappings on the rise in city,” Daily Times, March 23, 2012.

An estimated 1,685,000 cigarettes were smuggling and sold on the black market of Pakistan in 2011, an increase of 65 percent from the previous year.

A smuggled pack of cigarettes is sold illegally for $0.27 to $0.33 (35 to 30 Pakistani Rupees), while a legitimate pack of cigarettes that included all taxes and duties would be sold for $0.77 (70 Pakistani Rupees).

Source:  “Sale of smuggled cigarettes up by 65 percent,” Business Recorder, March 10, 2012.

According to a report by the Associated Press, there are over 4 million people in Pakistan who are addicted to heroin. All of the heroin is trafficked in to the country from Afghanistan.

In the city of Peshawar, addicts purchase a hit of heroin for $0.20.

(How much does it cost to buy heroin on the black market?)

Source:  Associated Press, “Pakistan school strives to beat the Taliban trap,” Google News, February 27, 2012.

The Interior Ministry of Pakistan reported that there were 474 cases of kidnapping for ransom in 2010, and 467 kidnapping for ransom cases in 2011.

The average ransom demand is between $500,000 to $2.2. Million, although the amount paid out to the kidnappers is usually negociated down to one-tenth that amount.

Source:  Declan Walsh, “Taliban Gaining More Resources From Kidnapping,” New York Times, February 19, 2012.

Between July 2011 and January 2012, at least 7 foreigners have been kidnapped while in Pakistan, according to a tally by the Associated Press. 4 kidnappings of foreigners occurred in January 2012 alone.

Source:  Associated Press, “Kidnappings of foreigners throw spotlight on dangers in Pakistan, hampering aid efforts,” Washington Post, January 25, 2012.


Between January and November 2011, over 30,000 people from Afghanistan applied for asylum in countries around the world, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. Many of the who have left Afghanistan are believed to have paid a human smuggler to get them out of the country.

An Afghan pays around a few hundred dollars to be smuggled into neighboring Pakistan or Iran. The price increases to over $25,000 when attempting to be smuggled into London or Stockholm with fake identification.

In total, the human smuggling business out of Afghanistan and Pakistan is estimated to be a $1 Billion a year industry.

Source:  Associated Press, “APNewsBreak: Afghan asylum bids at 10-year high, human smuggling rife as troops begin to leave,” Washington Post, January 21, 2012.

During raids conducted in December 2011, authorities seized over 100,000 pirated books in Pakistan, with a majority of the book being seized in the city of Lahore.

Every year, the government of Pakistan losses up to $221 Million (20 Billion Pakistan Rupees) in tax revenue due to the pirating of intellectual property within the country.

Source: Aroosa Shaukat, “Intellectual property: Lahore declared ‘centre of book piracy’,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012.