CPEC to be made drug-free trans-regional trade route: Shehryar Afridi

CPEC to be made drug-free trans-regional trade route: Shehryar Afridi
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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Narcotics Control and SAFRON Shehryar Afridi Thursday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be first trans-regional drug-free route and all necessary measures would be adopted to achieve this target.

Chairing a high-level meeting here, the minister said that since Pakistan had a geo-strategic location, Pakistan would take along Iran, Afghanistan and China to ensure the region free from illicit drugs, said a press release.

“We will work with our regional and global partners to make world free from menace of drugs. Pakistan would take all necessary measures to attain this goal,” the minister said.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had a zero-tolerance policy on illicit drugs and the ministry of Narcotics Control , along with its domestic and international partners, would pursue a rigorous drive to make Pakistan a drug-free country.

Afridi directed to speed up process of establishment of Regional Directorate (RD) of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) at Coastal Areas of Balochistan and Sindh.

He said that work on ANF posts at Pasni, Gwadar, Jewani and other coastal areas must be accelerated to secure coastal areas of the country.

The minister said that the ministry of narcotics control would engage top experts from Ministry of Law, Academia, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and the Parliament to enact new laws to effectively deal with the menace of drug abuse in the country.

Shehryar Afridi said: “Prime Minister Imran Khan had given me special task of making Pakistani youth free from all sorts of narcotics drugs. Since Pakistan had over 65 percent of its population comprising of youngsters, we had to make sure that our youth was protected from menace of drugs.”

Federal Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control , Amjad Javed Saleemi; Director-General Anti-Narcotics Force, Maj-General Arif Malik and other senior officials were also present. The Ministry and ANF also gave separate briefings to the minister on the mission and performance of the two institutions.

The minister was informed that the ministry had proposed amendments into Control of Narcotic Substance ACT, 1997, which had been tabled in the National Assembly and now is pending with relevant standing committee.

An official said that a regulation of Pharmaceutical industry was also proposed so as drug abuse could be ensured.

The meeting was informed that ANF had biggest conviction rate in the world as it had 95 percent conviction ratio. The meeting was informed that ANF is in process of building its Coastal RD while land had already been procured for establishment of posts at Pasni, Jewani and Gwadar.

The minister directed to conducting fresh national drug abuse survey. He said that an interaction with representatives of pharmaceutical industry would soon be arranged to take them on board on the government’s initiatives to curb the menace of drugs.

He said that the government would also enact new laws to ensure swift and effective action against modern drugs.

The minister was informed that there was a decline in drugs business in Pakistan since 2017.

The minister was told that drug trade is not an isolated crime and rather this illicit is interlinked with other rackets involved with money laundering, terror-financing, child pornography and anti-state activities.

Pakistan