Pubdate: Mon, 13 Jul 2015
Source: Pakistan Observer (Pakistan)
Copyright: Pakistan Observer 2015


Secretary Narcotics Control spells out steps

Interview Kaswar Klasra

Monday, July 13, 2015 - Islamabad-Meet the man whom Nawaz Sharif led
federal government picked up last year in November as federal
secretary Narcotics Control tasking him to save million of Pakistanis
from the brunt of Afghan drug.

Sitting on an un-easy wooden chair and putting on black Shalwar
Kameez, Pakistan's national dress, Ghalib A Bandesha looked fresh and
well determined.

Coming from Police Service of Pakistan, Ghalib A Bandesha's excellent
service record and achievements as head of 'Federal Investigation
Agency' prompted higher authorities to appoint him as federal
secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control which deals with making
policies to counter ever growing use of drugs by country's youth and
transit of Afghan drug worth multi-billion US dollars from Pakistan
through various routes especially air and sea.

Given that Opium production in Afghanistan has increased 36 times
since US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan which shares
longest border with Afghanistan in West, is worst hit by Afghan-made

According to a US report, 200 thousand hectares is being used in
Afghanistan to grow opium, an increase of 36 percent despite spending
$7.5 billion to tackle the problem.

With huge production of drugs including heroin, morpheme in
Afghanistan, Pakistan has become a hub for supply of Afghan drug to
rest of world. Afghan drug hit hard Pakistan, which has been battling
insurgency since 2001. Not only it increased number of drug users in
Pakistan manifold but also trafficking of drugs from Pakistan to rest
of the world brought bad name to Pakistan.

In order to tackle ever growing menace of Afghanistan-produced-drugs,
and making policy to control it, Nawaz Sharif-led federal government
appointed Ghalib A Bandesha as federal secretary Ministry of Narcotics

Known as a 'tough guy' among his colleagues and seniors, Ghalib A
Bandesha has history of taking the bull by the horns. And he had shown
his capabilities as head of Federal Intelligence Agency when it comes
to handling of mega corruption cases against the powerful and mighty
politicians and long-armed businessmen.

But this time, its gigantic task. With limited sources at hand, it
will be challenging for him to deliver. And Ghalib knows it.

"Aik aor darya ka samna tha Munir mujhko, main aik darya kay par utra
to main ney dekha"," Speaking to Pakistan Observer, Ghalib A Bandesha

According to him, Pakistan has incurred more losses by Afghan drugs as
compared to war against terrorism.

"Afghan drug is spoiling millions of Pakistan's youth. We need to
fight it at war-footing," said Ghalib adding that Afghanistan is
responsible for about three-quarters of the world's heroin production,
with much of it being cultivated in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces
in the south of the country.

According to data available with Pakistan Observer, of the total
production of approximately, 529 metric tons of opiates in
Afghanistan, 44 percent was being smuggled to Pakistan, 35 percent to
Iran and 21 percent to Russia; therefore, life-threatening drugs could
later be smuggled to various destinations around the world.

Ghalib believes, situation is a sign of worry for government of

"Look sir! Export cargos from Pakistan caught with illicit drugs at
any of the foreign ports would not only result in blacklisting the
exporting company, but would also sabotage the image of Pakistan," he

However, Ghalib was optimistic that his Ministry conjoined with other
national and International departments, would do the needful in
eradication of drugs.

" At home, Anti Narcotics Force is working wonderfully in tackling
menace of Afghan drug. "While we are making policies to control drug
usage in Pakistan (especially by youth)," Ghalib said.

Where the federal secretary of Ministry of Narcotics Control spoke
highly of ANF, there he appreciated the courts (Anti Narcotics Force
courts) for delivering justice.

" You would appreciate that our courts are known for speedy justice.
Their average of deciding cases stands at 98 percent," Ghalib said.

Ghalib told Pakistan Observer that his Ministry was formulating a
policy which may suggest increasing number of drugs-rehabilitation
centers and educating youth about risks of using drugs.

Pakistan Observer has learnt that Narcotics Control Division is
operating two drug treatment centers located at Islamabad and Quetta
having a capacity to treat 90 addicts for a period of 45 days
including 15 days for detoxification. In addition, a 120 bed hospital
named as "Benazir Shaheed Model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation
Centre at Kalri, Karachi" is also providing free of cost treatment
facilities to addicts.

A detoxification centre at Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi has also been
functioning and providing treatment facility to drug addict prisoners.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Pakistan
has 6.7 million drug users. More than 4 million of them are addicts,
highest number for any country in the world.
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