Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Lt Gen (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi participated as chief guest while Secretary Iqbal Mehmood and Director General ANF Major Gen Musarrat Nawaz Malik welcomed the guests.
Foreign dignitaries, UNODC Country Head Cesar Guedes, officials of the law enforcement agencies, senior civil and military officials, international partners, NGOs, members of the civil society and sports organisations, celebrities, media persons and students from different educational institutions also attended the ceremony.
The DG ANF while addressing on the occasion said that the menace of drugs was one of the most damaging and life-crippling threat for the society and the ANF was striving for its absolute elimination to achieve the goal of a drug-free society. He added that the ANF was vigorously executing its assigned tasks with utmost dedication and determination.
He apprised that 1.805 metric tons of narcotics were burnt by the ANF . He said that during the current year, the ANF burnt a total of 135.064 metric tons of drugs valuing at around Rs3,951 million at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. The DG said that the force continuously launched anti-drug drives in major cities, with special focus on educational institutions.
While presenting a brief account of professional performance of the force, the DG said that during 2017, the ANF registered 1,063 cases, arrested 1,204 persons involved in drug trafficking and seized 31,811 kilograms of opium, 7,132 kilograms of morphine, 19,568 kilograms of heroin, 100,436 kilograms of hashish, 386 kilograms of cocaine, 1,881.9 kilograms of amphetamine, 35.9 kilograms of methamphetamine, 22.8 kilograms of ecstasy tablets and other tranquiliser pills, 57 kilograms of cannabis and precursor chemical comprising 917.5 litter acetic anhydride and other hazardous chemicals.
The DG ANF Major Gen Musarrat Nawaz Malik told the participants that during the year 2017, out of the 786 decided cases, 753 cases met conviction, making 96 per cent success rate. During the year, the force froze assets worth Rs933 million, out of which Rs21.14 million had been forfeited and Rs0.58 million realised.
Malik further added that during the current year, the ANF undertook 332 drug abuse prevention and awareness raising activities throughout the country.
Talking about drug treatment facilities, he said that in addition to the existing 145-bedded facilities at Islamabad, Quetta and Karachi, the same were being expanded to 178 more beds at Karachi, Sukkur and Peshawar, including establishment of 48-bedded female and juvenile drug treatment ward within existing MATRC Karachi.
The DG further said that the ANF provided free treatment to 697 addicts in 2017. He also highlighted up-gradation of ANF Balochistan in respect of deployment, intelligence ability, technical capability and mobility with special focus on Gawadar in view of the CPEC.
The minister, Lt Gen (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, said that Pakistan was facing both internal and external threats, adding that under such circumstances, drugs were badly affecting the society.
It is need of the day to tackle the menace with iron hands, he emphasised. The ANF is rendering extraordinary endeavours to counter drug trafficking at national and international levels, the minister said.
The UNODC Country Head Cesar Guedes highlighted enormity of the drug problem in the region and its resultant fall out on Pakistan and the world at large.
He added that Pakistan was a poppy-free country since 2001 but the region produced over 90 per cent of the world’s opiates, putting Pakistan in double jeopardy of being a victim as well as a transit country.