NAROWAL: Drug peddlers are operating in different areas of Sialkot city without any check by the police concerned, causing concern among the citizens, especially the parents of youngsters who are becoming addicts due to easy availability of drugs.

The issue was highlighted recently after a video clip showing a minor girl taking drugs under the Shahabpura overhead bridge in the middle of Sialkot city went viral on social media.

According to locals, the drug dealers are openly selling ice, heroine, marijuana, besides local and imported liquor, to the youth in the city, while the police were just looking other way or in some cases patronising such elements.

They say that a group of influential dealers has hired youngsters, who are called ‘shooters’, for delivering drugs to their customers at their doorstep on a phone call.

They deplored that instead of taking action against these drug dealers, some police officials were conniving with such elements to keep the illegal trade running.

They say that on being pressurised by senior police officers for action against big dealers, the officials at police station level only book addicts in drug cases, showing recovery of small quantities of narcotics to show their performance.

They say following such fake recoveries, local police issue press releases to satisfy their high-ups, but the actual peddlers keep operating freely.

They regretted that because of home delivery of drugs, a large number of youngsters are becoming addicts in Sialkot, adding that the girl’s video clip that went viral just showed the tip of the iceberg, while the ground reality was far more grave.

An other resident, Mujahid Ali, says the drug dealers enjoy police patronage and some police officials have also become investors in the narcotics business.

He says the boundaries of two police stations -- Agoki and Hajipura -- converge at Shahabpura overhead bridge, where dozens of addicts take drugs openly but no action is taken.

Sialkot District Police Officer Syed Zeeshan Raza said the police were taking strict action against the drug dealers, adding that he had sought a report on the girl’s drug taking video clip.

The citizens demanded Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi should take immediate notice of the situation and order the police to act against the drug peddlers.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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