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Narcotics Control in Pakistan: A collective responsibility

A comprehensive Drug Abuse Control Master Plan has been designed to achieve the objectives set in Anti Narcotics Policy which also carries the vision statement ‘Drug Free Pakistan by 2020’ however this is a shared responsibility of Government and Society.

Unfortunately Pakistan is a major transit country for heroin, opium and precursor chemicals. In 2009 Afghanistan produced 6900 ton of opium and accounted for 90% of the world opium supply. In 2009, 160 ton of heroin trafficked through Pakistan. It is estimated that 40% of all the heroin and morphine is trafficked under Afghanistan transit trade through Pakistan. Helmand Province of Afghanistan is the hub of opium crop and almost 60% of the entire Afghan crop comes from this single province. Over the years new routes of drug trafficking appeared in Pakistan which have profound implications for the drug control situation in Pakistan and have necessitated the need to strengthening the capabilities of law enforcement agencies.

To tackle the drug problem in Pakistan Ministry of Narcotics Control has formulated National Anti Narcotics Policy 2010 which is an integrated and balanced strategy based upon the United Nations standards The three prongs of this policy are (a) Drug Supply Reduction (b) Drug Demand Reduction and (c) International Cooperation. Though the Government is responsible for implementing Anti Narcotics Policy and ANF remains the major implementation partner, however this is a shared responsibility of Government and Society. It is imperative to alleviate the root causes of the problem and society as a whole should respond to promote socio economic environment and values to say no to drug abuse.

A comprehensive Drug Abuse Control Master Plan has been designed to achieve the objectives set in Anti Narcotics Policy which also carries the vision statement ‘Drug Free Pakistan by 2020’.

Now we briefly discuss the three main pillars of National Anti Narcotics Policy one by one

Drug Supply Reduction: – The objectives of drug supply reduction are to control the production and traffick ing of narcotics substances, limit smuggling, trafficking and distribution of illicit narcotics.

Pakistan was declared poppy free country in 2000, 01 and is still maintaining the poppy free status as per standard of UNODC. The success behind maintaining the status is the introduction of alternative development projects funded by multi lateral and bilateral donors while the large chunk of funds comes from USA.

On the other hand the situation in Afghanistan has not changed significantly and the areas that had been growing poppy in the past largely remained neglected and without the writ of the government. Since income from poppy and heroin is the main source of supporting terrorist activities by the Afghan war-lords in Afghanistan and still toady it remained the main source of raising money for the terrorists. Huge quantity of heroin produced in Afghanistan finds its way through Pakistan to various other destinations as far as North America. For Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs) in Pakistan the main challenge is to check the drug trafficking through Pakistan. There is acute need to enhance the interdiction capabilities of LEAs by providing them with better communication system and training that includes investigation of drug generated assets and advance intelligence gathering.

Drug Demand Reduction: – The success in drug demand reduction is rationally measured by reduction in the prevalence of drug use. There is a difference between licit and illicit use of drug. Apart from strictly checking the supply of illicit drugs there is also need to check the sale of licit drug sold over the counter. The chances of HIV/AIDS prevalence in drug injecting users is high, though right now Pakistan is a low prevalence high risk country for HIV/AIDS therefore more efforts are required to reduce the incidence of injecting drug users.

The number of treatment and rehabilitation centers is much less as compared to the number of drug users in Pakistan. To enhance the treatment facilities, number of beds reserved  for the treatment of drug abusers at District hospitals be increased. The rehabilitation centers should be set up with the help of NGO’s and philanthropists on the basis of public private partnership in those areas where the prevalence of drug use is high and community needs immediate intervention.

International Cooperation: -Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, 1961 and ratified amendment in it in 1999, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs. The 1988 Convention provides comprehensive measures in controlling trafficking of drug including precursor chemicals.  It also covers international cooperation like extradition of drug traffickers and transfer of proceedings.

Pakistan has responsibly met all its international commitments in tackling drug problem however remained short of funds committed by international community in achieving the desired results according to National Anti Narcotics Policy. Our efforts in this regard have also been badly affected due to war against terrorism and necessitated that International Community should come forward and provide Pakistan with the assistance required to further strengthening the capabilities of our Institutions to curb the menace of drug.

The situation has warranted that the community based programs should be launched with the help of NGO,s National and Multinational entities being a shared responsibility. All other government agencies which are partner in implementation strategy of National Anti Narcotics Policy should also vigorously contribute towards achieving the objectives of drug free Pakistan. Only concerted and coordinated efforts combined with political determination can make the difference in combating the menace of drug.

 

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