PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned to get the long-awaited proposed legislation against ice (methamphetamine) and other drugs approved by the provincial assembly until the end of the current month.

The issue of KP Control of Narcotics Substance Bill, 2019, came up for discussion in a high- level meeting on law and order chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

The chief minister informed the meeting that the government would ensure the approval of the legislation in the provincial assembly in its upcoming session.

The bill was tabled in the provincial assembly on July 19, 2019.

Provincial director general (excise and taxation) Fayyaz Ali Shah told Dawn that the assembly had held detailed discussions on the bill in the previous government and that they were hopeful that the house would approve it in next session.

Bill proposes death for possessing over 1kg crystal meth

The bill has been stuck in the slow lane since 2017 after the provincial assembly deferred it at the eleventh hour due to differences between the police and excise department over abolishing the former role in controlling narcotics. However, in the next draft, both the police and excise departments were authorised to play their role side by side.

The bill proposes to set up a narcotics control wing under the director general (excise and taxation) to deal with all matters related to narcotic substances.

Also, the bill proposes to establish special courts to try narcotics cases and impose heavy jails and fines for sale, purchase, delivery and distribution of crystal meth, which was long standing demand of law enforcement officials due to increasing use of the drug.

Section 10(a) of the bill proposes seven years imprisonment and Rs300,000 fine for possession of less than 100 grams of methamphetamine while those found in the possession less than one kilogrammes of the same substance would face imprisonment of 10 years and fine up to Rs500,00.

The bill proposes death sentence and life imprisonment for possessing crystal meth weighing over a kilogramme and fine up to Rs1 million.

The chief minister told the meeting that rehabilitation centres had been established in various districts of the province whereas currently efforts were underway to establish detoxification centers at these centers.

He said acquiring and distribution of chemicals used in synthesis of ice should be sternly regulated to check the menace at source.

The officials briefed the chief minister about the law and order situation in the province.

The details available with Dawn show that from May to August this year, 1,902 cases were registered against drug traffickers, while 2,060 people were arrested.

A total of 3,500kg charas, 217kg heroin, 10kg ice and 167kg opium were also seized during the period.

Also, 81 cases were registered against terrorists from May to August, while 64 were held and 10 were killed in operations.

The details show that 21 joint operations have been carried out since August 11, 2019, in four districts of Malakand over the reports of emergence of militants, while 44 suspects have been rounded up in those operations.

Also, 41 incidents of street crimes were reported in the province from May to August, while 26 kidnapping incidents took place in the period. Thirty extortion cases were also registered.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2019