ISLAMABAD - Foreign drug traffickers have found new market in Pakistan as they are using novel methods to trick law enforcement agencies, forcing Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) to establish more checkposts across the country to fight out drug cartels.

The Nation has learnt reliably that drug traffickers continue to smuggle cocaine and precursors (chemicals) into the country employing new tactics to avoid arrest by police and other government agencies.

According to official documents, the ANF alone has arrested 34 foreigners in last seven months seizing cocaine, heroin and precursors used for converting poppy into heroin, morphine and opium.

ANF Joint Director Enforcement Lt-Col Nisar Mughal told this reporter that the force had arrested some foreign smugglers including men and women at Benazir Bhutto International Airport who had hidden cocaine inside their rectums and other sensitive body parts.

“We recently arrested a woman who pretended to be pregnant, but later we found she was possessing huge quantity of drugs inside a plastic belly. She refused to pass through the X-ray machine arguing the baby in her womb might be affected due to radiation. But in fact she was not pregnant at all,” the officer said.

Mughal said the drugs inflow was huge in Pakistan, more so because it happens to be a transit route for drug traffickers of Afghanistan. “This is why we are planning to increase the number of check posts and police stations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.

But Narcotics Control Division Secretary Akbar Khan Hoti said Pakistan is not only being used as transit country but it is also a consumer of different drugs, regretting that most of the youth from wealthy families were using drugs.

“Let me tell you that students in prestigious educational institutions in Rawalpindi-Islamabad are the biggest consumers of synthetic drugs. For them money does not matter. We are currently close to dismantling the ring that supplies those drugs,” Mr Hoti said.

The foreigners peddlers arrested this year include British, Pilipino, Dutch, Afghans and Zambians, but according to ANF most of them belonged to Nigeria.

Cesar Guedes, Country Representative United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime told The Nation that Pakistan being transit country for Afghanistan’s poppy products would suffer the most in days to come due to illicit narcotics trafficking.

“The rising upper middle class in Pakistan is the potential client for drug traffickers. Wealthy young guys want to do something new, to taste something new and they will definitely be attracted by the pleasure of narcotics,” Mr Cesar said.

He said there was greater need for the capacity building of law enforcement agencies to stop inflow of narcotics from Afghanistan through the porous Pak-Afghan border. “Afghanistan cultivates 90 percent of world poppy production. Pakistan is the shortest route to smuggle the substance to the rest of world,” he added.

Mr Cesar said there was greater need for creating awareness among public to inform about the menace of drug use as he said the illicit business would shoot up crime rate in the country. He said the injecting drugs like morphine and other lethal substances would take heavy toll on the lives of addicts, adding that recently an overdose of drugs took life of a young girl in Islamabad.

“Over 6 million people are drug addicts in Pakistan. For kingpins of narcotics, the vast population of the country is a potential market and a thriving business. We are doing out level best to inform the public about the harmful effects of drugs”. He said the UNODC was planning to arrange seminars across Pakistan to inform people about the hazardous effects of lethal drugs that were causing fatal diseases including HIV/ Aids.