Islamabad - The Ministry of Narcotics Control, as part of its countrywide campaign to curb drug trafficking, has managed to register 2216 cases and nabbed 2585 accused during 21 months.

Of the total, the year 2016 witnessed registration of 1305 cases while during first nine months of this year, the authorities’ concerned registered 911 cases against drugs traffickers. Similarly, during year 2016, 1556 drug traffickers were arrested while 1029 have been nabbed during first nine months of current year. Statistics issued by Anti-Narcotics Force on Tuesday showed that during 2016, the authorities seized 240.1 MT of different kinds of narcotics while this year the quantity of narcotics seizure was 214.3 MT.

Upon contact, official sources said Pakistan has been enjoying status of “Poppy Free State” since 2001. However, poppy is still grown in remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan and Sindh by few locals. Special heliborne missions with assistance of 50 Aviation Squadron are carried out to survey and identify poppy cultivation. Eradication of Poppy Crop is ensured in coordination with respective provincial governments and FATA Administration. There is no known manufacturing laboratory of narcotics in the country. The source of narcotics drug is Afghanistan which is the largest producer of Opium and second largest producer of Cannabis in the world.

Listing steps taken by present government to eliminate manufacturing, smuggling and sale of narcotics in the country, the sources said these included destruction of Poppy crops in coordination with provincial governments and administration in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and also source/informers cultivation and acquisition of actionable intelligence at all entry and exit points of the country. The sources said 29 Police Stations of ANF are working in the country to control and stop smuggling/spread of narcotics, campaigns/crackdown has also been launched against drug peddlers involving Police and countrywide drive to root out this menace from educational institutions.

The other steps included establishment of Canine Units (sniffer dogs) at each Regional Directorate (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, capacity building of ANF officials and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) through training and provision of equipment for counter narcotics activities; intelligence network of ANF has been expanded inside main cities to locate and hunt drug smugglers peddlers; checking of international arrivals at all airports and checking of domestic flights at Quetta and Peshawar airports and conduct of precursors training for all users for effective precursor control/checking.

The sources said ANF Special Squads have been ensuring random/surprise checking at all Railway Stations; scope of Port Control Unit (PCU) at Karachi has been expanded and checking of imports at seaports has also commenced even facing paucity of resources, deployment of ANF personnel at all international airports, seaports and dry ports have been ensured to counter drugs trafficking through passengers and goods; use of CCTV cameras for effective profiling of passengers at all airports and frequent engagement with courier and parcel companies and extension of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Biometric Verification System to them.

Moreover, the sources said to monitor trafficking and use of synthetic drugs, stringent measures were being taken and with regard to control the diversion of precursors for manufacturing of narcotics drugs, an elaborate SOP has been formulated and is being implemented in letter and spirit.

Similarly, installation of state-of-the-art body scanners at entry and exit points has been made which is being planned to be extended to all international airports of the country including seaports and dry ports. Raising of Coastal Regional Directorate at Gwadar is also under process to overcome inflow of drugs from coastal areas, Inter Agencies Task Force (IATF) has been established under supervision of ANF to maximize effectiveness of Anti Narcotics Policy through coordinated implementation of Counter Narcotics Enforcement Strategy with a view to make Pakistan a drug free state while Pre-Export Notification (PEN) Online System is in practice to have check on misuse/diversion of precursors.