KARACHI: The Sindh government and the federal ministry of narcotics control have joined hands to eradicate drugs from Karachi, particularly from educational institutions, and block different routes from where drugs are smuggled by evolving a joint mechanism and deployment of concerned forces.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held at the CM House on Monday which between Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Commander of Anti-Narcotics Force Brigadier Viqar Haider, Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah, Excise Minister Mukesh Chawla and others were also present.

The chief minister approved a task force comprising himself and the federal minister to monitor the situation once in a month.

He also constituted committees with representation from ANF, Sindh police and excise police to conduct intelligence-based crackdown on drug smugglers and peddlers.

The CM said that use of narcotics was emerging at an alarming pace in our society. “Drugs proliferation in Pakistan increased after the Afghan war,” he said and quoting a survey said that around 6.8 million drug users were estimated in Pakistan.

He said that the slum areas served as breeding grounds for drug abuse and trafficking, adding that the slums of Lyari and Sohrab Goth were the main hub of narcotics activity in Karachi.

The city police chief pointed out that the menace had now penetrated the educational system. He added that both men and women were using various narcotics substances in colleges and universities.

He said that the drugs used by addicts included hashish, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, crack, amphetamines, crystal/ice, ecstasy / barbiturates / benzodiazepines.

The meeting was told that the narcotics were neither cultivated nor manufactured in Sindh and they reached Karachi through four different routes.

They come from Balochistan through Qambar, Larkana, Dadu, Jamshoro to Karachi. Another route is from Balochistan through Quetta, Sorab, Khuzdar, Wadh, Uthal, Gadani, Hub and then to Karachi. The third route is from Punjab through Kashmore and reaches Karachi via Shikarpur, Larkana, Dadu and Jamshoro. The fourth route is from Punjab through Sadiqabad and reaches Karachi via Pano Aqil, Sukkur, Khairpur, Hyderabad and Thatta.

The chief minister said that the Sindh Assembly had passed Control of Narcotics Substance (Sindh Amendment) Bill-2021 and added that the new amended bill had included use of synthetic drugs as a crime.

“It defines narcotics drugs in two categories. The Category-I includes coca leaf, cannabis, and poppy straw, while in Category- II are cocaine, heroin and all manufactured drugs or any other such contraband substances,” he said.

878 peddlers are at large

The meeting was told 1,714 narcotics peddlers had been identified, of them 396 were in jail, 440 on bail and 878 at large.

The provincial prisons chief told the meeting that 22,970 prisoners, including 346 drug users and 22,624 drug traffickers, had been confined in different prisons of the province.

“Out of 346 drug users, two are convicted while out of 22,624 drug traffickers, 727 are convicted,” he said.

The chief minister said that the provincial government had established two rehabilitation centres at Haryana Colony in Orangi, and Landhi and added that he allocated four more buildings for drug rehabilitation centres.

The federal minister assured the chief minister that the ANF was at the disposal of the provincial government, and the federal government would work together to purge the society from the menace and mafia.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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