Rawalpindi-The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on Tuesday organised a drug burning ceremony in a private housing society along the GT Road in which the ANF officials set ablaze 1,725kg narcotics, according to spokesman of ANF.

On the occasion, Amjad Javed Saleemi, Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control, was the chief guest while Director General (DG) ANF (Pakistan) Major General Muhammad Arif Malik, foreign dignitaries, officials of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), high ranking military and civil officials, international partners on drug control, NGOs, members of civil society, sports organisations, celebrities, media persons and students from different educational institutions also attended the ceremony.

While addressing the ceremony, DG ANF Major General Muhammad Arif Malik said that menace of drugs is one of the most damaging and life-crippling threats for society, adding that the ANF is striving for its absolute elimination to achieve the goal of ‘Drug Free Society’. He stated that ANF is vigorously executing its assigned tasks with utmost dedication and determination.

He apprised that a total of 1,725kg of narcotics were destroyed, however, this year ANF burned a total of 453.902 metric tons of drugs worth 7716.334 million US dollars during recent drug burning ceremonies at Peshawar and Lahore. The DG ANF told that ANF is continuously launching “Anti-Drug Drives” in major cities, with special focus on educational institutions.

While presenting a brief account of professional performance of ANF, the DG apprised that during 2019 the ANF registered 1,405 cases and arrested 1,611 persons involved in drug trafficking besides seizing 28.720kg Opium, 92.788 kg heroin, 771.50kg Hashish, 3.113kg Cocaine, 64.748kg Amphetamine, 0.095kg Ecstasy pills, 10.754kg Xanax Tablets, 24.950kg Ephedrine, 728.50 Liquor and 0.353kg Intoxicative material.

He told the participants that out of 1,405 arrested accused, majority of them were given punishment, hence making 89 per cent successful conviction rate. Further, the ANF has frozen assets worth Rs10584.675 million during the outgoing year.

The DG ANF added that the ANF has undertaken 702 drug abuse prevention and awareness raising activities throughout the country in 2019. Talking about drug treatment facilities, he apprised that in addition to three MATRCs at Islamabad, Quetta and Karachi, ANF has established a 50 bedded female and juvenile ward (25 beds for women and 25 for children) at existing MATRC Karachi and a 25 bedded MATRC Sukkur has also become functional. He apprised that ANF has provided free drug treatment to 1,136 drug addicts at its Drug Treatment Centres in year 2019.

He maintained that Pakistan is a poppy free country since 2001, but the region produces over 90 per cent of the world’s opiates which put Pakistan in double jeopardy of being a victim as well as a transit country.

The recent inauguration of China-Pakistan Joint Border Liaison Office (BLO) at Sost Border is a great achievement which will help both the countries in countering border smuggling and sharing of experiences between the countries.

Addressing the ceremony, chief guest Amjad Javed Saleemi, secretary ministry of narcotics control, stated that Pakistan is facing both internal and external threats and under such circumstances, drug crime is badly affecting our society. Hence, it is mandatory to tackle this menace with iron hands. The ANF is rendering extraordinary endeavours to counter drug trafficking at national and international level. The secretary lauded ANF’s achievements and its role as a specialised force in combating trafficking of illicit drugs at national, regional and global level.

He assured his all-out support to ANF for addressing the inadequacies of the force to tackle the menace more vigorously.

At the end, DG ANF Major General Muhammad Arif Malik expressed gratitude to all the honourable guests with the determination of making the country, region, continent and the world completely free from drugs.