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Strict measures adopted to neutralise drug peddlers around education institutions: DG ANF

Strict measures adopted to neutralise drug peddlers around education institutions: DG ANF

Islamabad : Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), adopting strict measures to neutralise drug trafficking peddlers around education institutions, has so far registered 137 cases, arrested 163 criminals and seized 2,518 kg drugs.

Director General ANF, Major General Muhammad Arif Malik said on Wednesday that the force was following policy of zero tolerance towards drug suppliers to youth and education institutions and is striving for establishment of a drug free society. Listing ANF’s achievements and endeavours during just concluded year of 2018, the Director General briefed the media-persons that the youth, comprising 66 per cent of population, are our future and the greatest asset. He said to protect youth and coming generation from menace of drugs, ANF under insight of Ministries of Interior, and Narcotics Control is working tirelessly in coordination with other Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs). General Arif said ANF has been playing a leading role in mass awareness and community participation programmes to educate people against drug abuse.

All segments of society are urged to play their role in eradicating menace of drugs. In 2018, 400 awareness activities conducted with special focus on education institutions. These activities included seminars, lectures, awareness workshops, sports events, anti-drug art, painting speech competition, cultural show, stage play/drama, poster competition, free medical camps, anti-drug walks display of anti-drug awareness banners (including utility bills/tickets), distribution of awareness material and awareness through print electronic media/media talk and social media.

He said efforts are in hand to enhance capacity building of ANF in both strategic and operational domains. Exiting capacity of the force is planned to be increased from 3,148 to 10,000 in phased programme.

New Regional Directorate will be raised at Gwadar. Seven new police stations are being established. Legislative improvements have been processed for approval of cabinet. Modern equipment being procured through the government and donors.

The DG said, besides adopting numerous measures to counter menace of narcotics, the Force has recommended amendments in law and sent to Law Division which has approved legislation and dispatched to Federal Cabinet for final endorsement. Maj General Arif Malik said he also met with Prime Minister and briefed him about the measures being adopted to curb this menace.

“We have asked the Prime Minister for increase in strength of ANF so that challenges arising out in curbing narcotics could be tackled effectively,” he added. The DG said despite its constraints of manpower, equipment and financial resources, the ANF would will accomplish its mission.

He said since its inception in 1995, ANF has achieved major breakthroughs in combating this menace and through concerted efforts and ANF has been able to eradicate major portion of poppy from the country. As a result, he said, the country is enjoying status of poppy free state since 2001 as per standards of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He said ANF is deployed all over Pakistan with five regional departments, 29 Police Stations, 13 Airports, 17 dry ports, four seaports and six border crossing points. Though small in size with total strength of 3,148 personals and confronting many challenges, ANF is executing its mission of establishing ‘Drug Free Society’ with absolute commitment. Answering a question, the DG said efforts are in hand to conduct a fresh survey in collaboration with UNODC in the country to ascertain total number of persons using narcotics including injecting drugs.

The last survey of drug addicts was carried out in 2012 and published in 2013 and as per survey report, approximately 6 per cent of population or 6.7 million persons were using any illegal drug including misuse of prescription drugs.

He said, “We are well aware that menace of narcotics is not only a curse but it is one of the most damaging and life-threatening activity for humanity which has its effects not only limited to addict but his whole family suffers the results.

“The DG assured, “With dedication that we have, and with help of the electronic print media, we will continue to put in relentless efforts to uproot this menace. “The DG said Pakistan is more vulnerable to drug trafficking due to increased poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and added as per UNODC Drug Survey Report estimated cultivation in Afghanistan is 6,400 MT opium, which will produce 300 MT heroin along with 3,400 MT raw opium.

Moreover, General Arif said ANF is currently running three Model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres (MATRCs) in Karachi, Islamabad and Sukkur. The MATRC Sukkur has been established in 2018. The capacity of MATRC Karachi increased to 105 beds with inclusion of 50 bedded Women Juvenile Treatment Ward (25 each).

Uplifting and expansion of MATRC Islamabad is in process while four MATRCs are planned and will be functional soon at Quetta, Lahore, Hyderabad and Peshawar. ANF has provided free of cost drug treatment to 17,486 drug addicts at its drug treatment centres so far.

He said in 2018 in drug enforcement operations, 1184 cases were registered, 1376 culprits were arrested and 100.26 metric ton drugs and precursor chemicals worth of approximately $1,195.72 million were seized. Internationally, 31 coordinated operations were conducted, 15.494 metric tons drugs have been seized and 78 criminals were arrested while 18 drug trafficking organisations including five foreign organisations were busted.

During the year, prosecution progress remained encouraging with conviction rate of 95 per cent and Rs43.199 million of assets have been frozen.

He said ANF has also burnt a total of 244.837 metric tons of narcotics worth dollar one billion during multiple drug burning ceremonies in 2018. General Arif said in order to prevent smuggling of drugs into and through Pakistan number of operations were conducted in close collaboration with regional and other countries. International partners’ assistance in all fields has enhanced our operational efficiency which is highly appreciable.

During the year, General Arif said a number of foreign delegations visited Pakistan in conjunction with anti narcotics drive at international and regional level and added Border Liaison Offices have been established by China and Pakistan at Tashkurgan and Khunjrab.

After six years efforts, ANF was successful to host 13th Senior Officials Triangular Initiative Meeting in Pakistan which has strengthened the bilateral relations to counter drug trafficking with Iran and Afghanistan. Future road map for cooperation has been drafted to be approved in Ministerial meeting in Kabul this year.

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