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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday expressed concern about the growing drug addiction in the country, especially the use of ice narcotic (crystal meth), and asked the federal and provincial governments to submit detailed reports about their steps to rehabilitate such addicts and control drug trafficking.

During the hearing into a petition here, Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim asked additional advocate general Rabnawaz Khan to produce report on behalf of the social welfare department about the funds allocated for the treatment of drug addicts and the rehabilitation centres and the doctors working there.

The court also asked deputy attorney general Tariq Mansoor to file a report on behalf of the narcotics division about the steps taken for checking drug trafficking and the growing use of ice narcotic.

Asks govts about steps taken to treat addicts

The representatives of federal and provincial governments as well as Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (investigation) Nisar Khan informed the bench that ice (crystal meth) was a deadly drug, whose use had been on the rise.

They said the traffickers of that narcotic easily got bail from the courts due to flaws in the Control of Narcotics Substance Act.

The SSP and deputy attorney general informed the court that even a small quantity of the drug was very expensive and that when its sellers were arrested, they possessed the drug in small amount, which carried smaller sentence under Section 9 of the Control of Narcotics Substance Act.

They added that the suspects were freed on bail for the same reason.

The bench directed the DAG to consult the federal government for amending the law to introduce stringent sentences for possessing and smuggling ice drug.

The petition was filed by citizen Mohammad Waseem, who sought the court’s orders for different government functionaries to take stern measures against drug traffickers and provide proper treatment to drug addicts in the provincial capital’s hospitals and rehabilitation centres.

During hearing, Justice Qaiser Rasheed observed that instead of getting involved in horse trading and political manoeuvring to form own governments, the political parties should take interest in addressing the serious issue of drugs, including the deadly ice narcotic, whose incidence among youths was on the rise.

The bench observed that the government had been providing millions of rupees for rehabilitation of drug addicts but it was not clear how and where those funds had been utilised as the number of addicts on the streets was constantly going up.

It called for amendments to the relevant laws for awarding harsh punishments for the drug traffickers, especially ice’s.

Hazrat Said, lawyer for the petitioner, said the culprits had been providing drugs to youths, including students, through different ways and means and once they got addicted, they did illegal things to buy narcotics.

He said drug addicts could be seen in miserable condition near the high court building.

The lawyer said the government wasn’t taking interest in the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

A representative of Dost Foundation said 48 drug addicts were under treatment at the NGO’s rehabilitation centre and 20 of them were aged below 18 years.

The bench regretted that the drug addicts were seen lie on streets and sideways.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018