KARACHI: The director general of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has said that the business and industrial activity has to be facilitated and to achieve this task the ANF “tries its level best to do so within the limited resources by inspecting a limited number of containers, out of thousands of containers coming in and moving out of the ports every month”.

A small percentage of just 0.60 per cent import-bound and 1.25pc export-bound containers were checked by the ANF out of thousands of containers that left from and arrived at the ports last year, Brigadier Mansoor Ahmed Janjua added.

He was speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

President of the KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, senior vice president of Arshad Islam, chairman of the export sub-committee Shoaib Sultan, former vice president Nasir Mehmood, KCCI managing committee members and others were also present at the meeting.

The ANF DG stated that Pakistan was a “transit and a victim state of drugs and narcotics mainly because of its neighbour Afghanistan”.

Since commencement of war on terrorism, every year the cultivation of opium poppy had been increasing and in 2018, opium poppy was cultivated on a huge area of 263,000 hectares as per survey conducted by the United Nations.

Fortunately, Pakistan is not an opium-growing country as since 2001, Pakistan is a poppy-free state as per the UN. “We have a couple of minor spots in Balochistan and KP where some poppy is often cultivated on a lower scale, but these are immediately destroyed whenever found and it was an ongoing process, he added.

Brig Janjua said: “There is no exact percentage available on how much opium poppy comes to Pakistan from Afghanistan and goes to the world through ports, seas and airports, but we are trying our best to strictly deal with this serious threat as we have to take care of world’s concerns and save Pakistan’s reputation.

“After terrorism, this is the second label which the Western world would like to put on us so all of us will have to make collective efforts. Like terrorists, these drug mafias also don’t have any religion, any caste, creed or any nationality. They are the enemies of humanity,” he added.

“We are sharing a huge border 2,611 kilometres with Afghanistan. On completion of the ongoing border fencing being done by the Pakistan Army, considerable reduction in transportation of drugs will occur,” he said.

He stressed that everyone, particularly parents and also the members of the business and industrial community, take the lead role as it could not be done alone by ANF or police.

A couple of years ago, just two types of drug addiction, including use of heroin and hashish, were common in the country, but now, Pakistani children and youth were getting addicted to party drugs and synthetic drugs, including ice, crystals, etc, so the whole community would have to make collective efforts and raise awareness of it, he added.

Highlighting some of the awareness events arranged by the ANF last year, he informed that a total of 70 awareness events were organised in Sindh, including awareness sessions in 20 universities, 20 colleges and 16 schools, majority of which were located in Karachi, where the ANF teams of professionals, including psychiatrists and psychologists, addressed children and youth.

Under ANFs ambassadorship programme, around 4,000 students have also been engaged to influence their colleagues to say no to all such bad things, he added.

He further informed that last year 72,000kg of hashish, more than 11,000kg of heroin and 504 tonnes of other drugs were destroyed by the ANF.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2020