How the ANF, despite being a small force, is working to eradicate this menace
The menace of drug has engulfed the world at large. Every country is making all possible efforts to curb it, especially those which are most hit by this menace, but unfortunately the results are not as encouraging as are conceived and expected. The magnitude of the problem can well be conceived by having a look at the facts and figures which United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) compiles and makes public every year. According to the UNODC World Drug Report-2011, the estimated annual global production of cannabis herb is over 966,000 tons, hashish over 9,900 tons, opium over 7,800 tons, heroin over 500 tons and cocaine over 1,100 tons.
The production of synthetic drugs and proportion thereof abused by the drug addicts, however, cannot be ascertained. Unfortunately, of these, 97% of the opium is produced by only three countries i.e., Afghanistan (89%), Myanmar (4%) and Mexico (4%); 100% of the cocaine by only three countries i.e., Columbia (52%), Peru (35%) and Bolivia (13%); and about 45% of the total hashish by only two countries i.e., Afghanistan (35%) and Morocco (10%). In other words, there are only 8 to 10 countries that produce over 90% of the total narcotics in the world and then let them spread all over. It is even more unfortunate that except cocaine only 10 to 20 percent of the total production of the narcotics is intercepted and confiscated by the law enforcement agencies all over the world while the rest is consumed. According to the UNODC World Drug Report-2006, US$350 billion roll in drug business annually worldwide.
According to the UNODC Report-2011, out of 4,533 million population of the world which falls within the age group of 15-64 years, the youth and the working group of the population, 321 million, which constitutes 7% of the group, use these drugs.
Taking cognizance of this grave situation, the government of Pakistan approved and promulgated the National Anti Narcotics Policy-2010, jointly conceived and drafted by the Ministry of Narcotics Control and Anti Narcotics Force. All federal and provincial law enforcement agencies like Police, Excise, ANF, Frontier Corpse, Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Rangers, ASF, Pakistan Coast Guards etc, 20 in number, are partners to this policy and are responsible to implement its provisions and make efforts to achieve the ultimate goal of a ‘Drug Free Pakistan’. In 2012, all these agencies jointly registered 1,04,862 cases under various drug laws, arrested 1,04,009 persons in these cases, and recovered 29,481 kgs of opium, 1,369 kgs of morphine, 12,661 kgs of heroin, and 1,66,026 kgs of hashish from them.
The Anti-Narcotics Force since its inception is a premier agency of the country which primarily concentrates on strategic seizures. ANF is a very small organisation having a strength of less than 3,000 personnel, peon to director general, and is responsible for a far wider scope that includes 13 airports, 3 seaports, 17 dry ports, 7 entry/exit points and 25 police stations all over the country. Despite these challenges, contribution of ANF to curb the menace of drug, prevent its spread in Pakistan and to seize its export to other countries through Pakistan, is proportionally very high. It plays strategically and goes after big drug trafficking cases. Being a very small force it does not have the capacity to go into the streets and run after petty drug peddlers. This type of run and chase is the duty of police. The achievements of this small force are unmatched domestically as well as internationally. Within the country it is the smallest force than all other law enforcement agencies and the same is also true internationally.
The ANF not only exerts for drug supply reduction but also equally exerts for drug demand reduction in the country by creating mass awareness and community mobilisation against the drug abuse. For the purpose it arranges awareness activities exploiting every possible ways and means. In 2012, the ANF and its Drug Free City Lahore Project conducted 1,370 various kinds of awareness activities throughout Pakistan, particularly in Lahore, targeting the youth and labor. Not only this, the ANF runs three Model Treatment Centres and three Drop-in Centres, one each in Islamabad, Karachi and Quetta, where chronic drug addicts are taken care of, treated and rehabilitated without charging any fee or expense of boarding and lodging. These centres take care of and provide relief and treatment to about 3,000 drug addicts annually.
After the suo motu notice of the Karachi situation by the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan and its directions to various law enforcement agencies, the ANF besides being strategic force concentrated at domestic environment, accelerated its efforts in Karachi as a special campaign under the name of operation “Umeed-e-Nau”. The operation revolves around two cardinals – one dealing within Karachi and the other revolves around moving of drugs to Karachi from up country. During the first seven days of the campaign, 22 clean up operations exclusively by ANF and 25 intelligence led operations have been carried out in Karachi wherein 159 persons have been arrested/detained in these operations and 19.5 kgs of heroin, 2.4 tons of opium, 8.4 tons of hashish, 27.5 tons of poppy straw, 335 gms of cocaine, 1,751 ecstasy tablets, 746 gms of ecstasy powder and 230 bottles of liquor were seized from them.
On the down country movement, more concerted efforts have been made. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is focusing on the affairs of Karachi and the ANF with all its resources, side by side with other law enforcement agencies, is endeavouring to do its utmost. One can hope that these efforts will have long lasting effects and the Karachi situation would improve positively as people of Pakistan wish in general and the Supreme Court of Pakistan in particular.
Muhammad Altaf Qamar is a retired Inspector General of Police.