ISLAMABAD/Lahore - To commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a drug-burning ceremony by Anti-Narcotics Force was held in Islamabad on Wednesday.ANF Director General (DG) Major General Malik Zafar Iqbal, high-ranking officials from law enforcement agencies, civil administration, diplomats, drug liaison officers of number of countries, media representatives, social workers, and representatives of NGOs were also present on the occasion.While addressing the gathering, the chief guest DG Major General Malik Zafar Iqbal reiterated the commitment of the government, ministry of interior and narcotics control, narcotics control division and Anti-Narcotics Force to fight against the menace of drugs.He said that drug burning ceremony held every year on 26th June was in relation with International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and main aim of celebrating this day in an organised manner was to create public awareness on dangers of drug abuse and highlight efforts being put in by LEAs all over the country in fight against drugs. He stated that Pakistan was fully aware of its harmfulness and we were determined to clean our country from this menace. "Especially we are committed to keep our youth, which is our future, away from drug abuse. Fight against drugs is a shared responsibility both globally and domestically, therefore we need definite cooperation of international community and whole nation, under the guidance and assistance of federal and provincial governments. Also, drugs-free Pakistan is only possible with joint cooperation of each citizen of Pakistan" DG added.Zafar Iqbal said that ANF was leading anti-narcotics law enforcement agency of Pakistan, which was though small in size and was facing many challenges, yet it executed the assigned mission with full commitment, dedication, and conviction.He said that ANF remained cognisant of its responsibility to counter the drug menace through a three-pronged strategy. Since its inception in 1995, ANF has been able to achieve major breakthroughs in combating the menace of drugs at national, regional and international levels. Growth of poppy in Pakistan has been drastically reduced over the years by ANF with the assistance of other LEAs and international donors. "Through concerted efforts, we have been able to eradicate major portion of poppy cultivated in the country. Resultantly, we have achieved the status of poppy Free State as per standards of UNODC. This aspect has been greatly admired at various international forums," he said.Unfortunately, strict drug enforcement measures in the country have been off set by huge increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan during recent years. This has resulted in increased trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan into Pakistan and beyond. The threat of drugs is enormous and law enforcement agencies need complete need of society. Therefore, inculcating awareness amongst the General Public to reduce the Demand of Drugs coupled with provision of Free Treatment and Rehabilitation facilities have been a priority of ANF. Similar functions were held across the country, repeating “Say-no-to-drugs  mantra. The Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) burnt narcotics of worth more than Rs 4 billion at Wagha border area. Senior officers of other law enforcement agencies like Police, Customs, Excise and Taxation and Pakistan Rangers Punjab were also present on the occasion. The burnt narcotics were seized during last year from July 2012 to till date. Burnt narcotics included heroin 61.649 Kgs, Hash 3358.952 Kgs, Opium 64.85 Kg, Toxic syrup, 324 bottles, and injections 2905. Force Commander ANF, Brig. Shahid Afzal speaking on the occasion said that ANF was playing its due role to curb production, transportation and smuggling of the narcotics. He said that narcotics could only be eliminated from the society only with active participation of public, youngsters and other law enforcing agencies. NGOs and other department were also playing their role to eliminate the narcotics from the society.  He stressed upon the need to fight against narcotics and to raise public awareness about negative effects of drugs in the society. Seminars and walks were organised both at the government and the private level to mark the event.  Institute of Mental Health arranged a walk to create public awareness on hazards of drugs use. Addressing the participants, speakers said that drug use was harmful for the entire society and there was need to promote healthy activities among youth. They stressed upon the need of launching large scale campaign against narcotics use. Punjab CM has announced a comprehensive youth policy and arranged sports festivals to promote health activities. He said that each and every individual should play his due role to eradicate the menace of narcotics use. Punjab Rangers Director General Maj Gen Hilal Hussain has expressed the resolve of Pak Army regarding not to allow any drug smuggler to undermine the image of Pakistan as a peace loving country and will safeguard the younger generation from becoming victim of narcotics at any cost. DG Rangers Punjab in his message said, Pak Army realises its obligations as savior of geo-political as well as ideological frontiers of Pakistan. The commissioned officers and Jawans of Punjab Rangers deployed at 1300 kilometer long frontier with India are performing their sacred duty to safeguard every inch of our beloved country. Maj. Gen. Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain lauded the efforts of Anti Narcotics Force, Punjab in curbing the drug menace with the collaboration of Investigation Branch of the Punjab Police and officials of Excise & Taxation Department, Punjab under Drug Free Lahore City Project and hoped that this successful project will definitely result in bringing the crime rate at lower side in the society as the money minted through drug trafficking is also used to promote anti-social activities and terrorism in the country.