Narcotics ministry develops databank of criminals

Published October 4, 2019
‘Aman Pakistan’ is expected to help check drug smuggling. — Reuters/File
‘Aman Pakistan’ is expected to help check drug smuggling. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Narcotics Control told a parliamentary body on Thursday that it had prepared a databank about criminals to monitor their movement.

“The new system called Aman Pakistan will help law enforcement agencies curb smuggling of drugs. Through Aman Pakistan, LEAs will also monitor accomplices of drug smugglers,” ministry’s secretary Amjad Javed Saleemi told the Senate Standing Committee on Narcotics Control.

According to Narcotics Control Minister Sheheryar Afridi, several countries in Europe and the Middle East, including the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, are seeking assistance from Pakistan to provide particulars of certain individuals maintained in the databank.

“Pakistan has acquired data of money launderers and drug smugglers from 250 internationally recognised sources. Pakistan is also in a position to assist any government about a criminal no matter which airport he lands at. The databank will be updated every 10 minutes,” the minister said, adding that with the databank they would be able to tell how many Indians in India were laundering money and smuggling drugs around the world.

‘Aman Pakistan’ is expected to help check drug smuggling

He told the committee members that former Interpol president Roland Robbin had requested for access to the databank. However, the minister lamented limited manpower to bring drug smugglers to justice.

“We have 2,900 anti-narcotics staff for the entire country. We have six anti-narcotics officers for the entire Gilgit-Baltistan. ANF staff for the entire Balochistan province is a mere 506 and some 543 for entire Punjab. Despite request for more than 300 new recruitment, the government has allowed induction of only 73,” the minister said.

Referring to the case of former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah, Mr Afridi maintained that he was caught red-handed.

“His arrest was nothing personal but based on credible intelligence. Rana Sanaullah was being monitored for three weeks. The government does not interfere in the functioning of the ANF. The ANF prosecution team will present sufficient evidence in the court of law,” said the minister.

He also informed the committee about binding private elite schools to take responsibility for rampant use of drugs such as ice and crystal meth.

“Synthetic drugs are supplied in schools in pizza delivery boxes. Private schools have become the hub for drug pushers. Every teacher, staff of schools, and student will have to undergo drug test,” the minister said.

He assured the committee that Islamabad would be made drug-free by 2020.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2019

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