Rawalpindi  -  Director General (DG) Anti Narcotics (ANF) Lt Gen Arif Malik hinted to launch a prompt action against the drug supplying rackets as there were reports that drug peddlers are working freely in academies to corrupt the new generation with synthetic drugs. “Different teams of ANF as well as the intelligence wing personnel in plain clothes have been deputed around all the tuition and private coaching centres/evening coaching classes to compile a detailed report about the activities of drug supplying rackets,” he said this while responding to queries of media at a press briefing at ANF Academy on Wednesday. Arif Malik vowed that strict action  will be taken soon, against the entire drug rackets involved in supplying narcotics in educational institutions in the country.

He said ANF has also been focusing on all the educational instructions by organizing special awareness seminars, appointing youth ambassadors, training the teachers and taking the parents on board to get rid of menace of narcotics. He added the ANF has also held meetings with Law Ministry for amending the previous laws so that the smugglers of synthetic drugs could be awarded stricter punishments through courts.  “ANF will also request the government to enhance the numbers of rehabilitation centres for providing free medical treatment to drug addicts in order to bring them back to a normal life,” the DG mentioned.

He said ANF has been arranging meetings with the neighbouring countries to thwart the smuggling of synthetic drugs such as ice heron and ecstasy tablets inside Pakistan.  He said the ANF also shared complete intelligence with the law enforcement agencies of other countries to crack down against the international smugglers under control delivery operation.  ANF is following policy of zero tolerance towards drug suppliers to youth and education institutions. Strict measures have been taken to neutralize drug trafficking peddlers around education institutions. So far, 137 cases are registered, 163 criminals are arrested and 2518Kg drugs were seized, he 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, he said.   

Earlier, in his address, DG said ANF is fighting against drug mafia to make Pakistan “Drug Free Society”. He said the 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.  “I can assure you that with the dedication that we have, and with help of the electronic and print media, we will continue to put in relentless efforts to uproot this menace. Government of Pakistan and ANF are committed to thwart drug abuse and trafficking in country,” he said. He said not a single country or organisation can fight against drugs solely; but it is a shared responsibility at global, regional and national level. He said that it has become a global concern.

ANF is the leading Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Pakistan. ANF is deployed all over Pakistan with 5 RDS, 29 PSs, 13 Airports, 17 Dry ports, 4 seaports and 6 border crossing points, he said. He said though small in size with total strength of 3148 personals, confronting many challenges, executes its mission of establishing “Drug Free Society” with absolute commitment, dedication and passion.

He said in spite of the gravity of situation, ANF remains cognizant of its responsibility to counter drug menace through a three-pronged strategy to fulfil its mandate i.e. drug supply reduction, drug demand reduction and international cooperation. He said drug supply reduction is ensured by Prevention of Drug Trafficking, Poppy Eradication, Prosecution, Assets Investigation and Precursor Control Mechanism. He said drug demand reduction is done through awareness campaigns, community participation and treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and in International Cooperation being signatory of all UN conventions, we are working in close coordination with international partners to counter this menace.

ANF has achieved major breakthroughs in combating this menace. Through concerted efforts, we have been able to eradicate major portion of Poppy from the country. Resultantly, we are enjoying the status of a Poppy free state since 2001 as per standards of UNODC, he said. “Pakistan is more vulnerable to drug trafficking due to increased Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan. As per UNODC Drug Survey Report estimated cultivation in Afghanistan is 6400 MT Opium, which will produce 300 MT Heroin along with 3400 MT Raw Opium,” DG stated. He said ANF is running three Model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres (MATRCs) in Karachi, Islamabad and Sukkur.  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 approximate US $ 1195.72 Million were seized. Internationally, 31 Coordinated Operations conducted, 15.494 Metric Tons drugs have been seized and 78 criminals are arrested. 18 x Drug Trafficking Organizations including 5 x foreign organisations were busted. Prosecution progress remained encouraging with conviction rate of 95% and rupees 43.199 Million of assets have been frozen,” he informed.  ANF has also burnt a total of 244.837 metric tons of narcotics worth One Billion US Dollars during multiple drug burning ceremonies in 2018, he said. Growing trend of use of illicit drugs by the youth is a source of concern. ANF has been playing a leading role in mass awareness and community participation programs to educate the people against drug abuse. All segments of society are urged to play their role in eradicating the 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 and 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 and electronic media / media talk and social media, he said.