KARACHI    -    The federal and Sindh governments on Friday decided to join hands to launch crackdown on top drug barons to eradicate the menace of drugs from Sindh.

Sindh Chief Minister Dr Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi jointly chaired a meeting here attended by all federal and provincial forces and agencies responsible for choking down illicit businesses of drugs. Addressing the meeting, Shehryar Afridi said that the Ministry of Narcotics Control is fighting for our future generations.

“Pakistan’s strategic location is key as 85 percent drugs are produced in Afghanistan. We are effectively working to ensure to plug the Narcotics movement at borders along Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. All agencies are working to block the movement of synthetic drugs through Iran borders,” he said.  Afridi urged Sindh government to work with federal agencies jointly to fight this menace.

“Sindh Regional Directorate of Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) needs Sindh government support, joint strategy for crackdown against top drug barons. Rather than arresting drug addicts we need to shift focus on drug peddlers and drug dealers,” he added.

The minister said we have a zero tolerance against drugs menace and we need support from all state agencies.

“Educational institutions are being targeted by drug dealers. Police role is key in this regard. We need to cut arteries of supplies of drugs as demand is rising now. We also need to work on launching a cohesive awareness campaign as most of parents and even students don’t know about synthetic drugs. Elite schools are being specially targeted. Innovative ways are being adopted to supply drugs. Teachers also need to play their role,” he added.

Afridi said that the Ministry of Narcotics Control is going to launch a mobile phone application called Zindagi to make people aware of all sorts of drugs.

He said the ministry has also launched a global data bank of criminals involved in narcotics trade and money laundering updates data from 250 sources globally.

“Regulatory framework for rehabilitation centres is also very important. Ministry of health may develop one section as drug rehabilitation in each and every hospital.  Provincial governments have a lead role in this regard. We are also planning to introduce oral drugs to avoid injectable as injections in use of drugs are leading to spread of HIV, Hepatitis and other diseases. We need to work as a team as the challenge is huge. It’s about our future generations”.

CM Sindh Dr Murad Ali Shah urged ANF to make cooperation with Sindh government so as its agencies could benefit from ministry’s international data bank on criminals involved in crimes related to drugs and money laundering.

He said Sindh government would engage the ANF with its anti-narcotics operations to launch crackdowns against drug barons. “We need to focus on smashing the supply chain and choke the borders too. We are ready to eradicate drugs business. We will take responsibility of eradication of narcotics business and ANF may provide us proper intelligence, he added.

The chief minister said, “We need to take along private sector and we also working on stringent legislation and regulation. Private elite schools need to adopt safeguards. We will also launch an effective awareness campaign against drugs. I am ready to provide all possible help to ANF. The provincial government is committed to this cause and we will jointly work to safeguard our future generations. We need to focus to choke the inflow of drugs and also to break the mafia involved in this illicit business.”

Briefing the meeting, Home Secretary Sindh Usman Chachar Sindh government has largely improved law and order situation in across Sindh and we can jointly work on eradication of drugs menace.  “We are focusing on rehabilitation and awareness. We need to choke smuggling of synthetic drugs. ANF needs to take lead in this regard and border control is essential. Addicts are a major cause for street crime and there are around 10,000 drug addicts who are involved in street crimes in Karachi,” he added. Usman Chachar said there are private rehabilitation centres in Karachi but they need to be regulated too.

“We are launching mapping of these private rehabilitation centres and would provide them proper medical and training facilities,” he added.

Brig Mansoor, Regional Director Karachi told the meeting that the Sindh government is supporting our rehabilitation centres. We have a intra agency task force.  “We have 29 rehabilitation centres in across Sindh in private sector out of which 23 in Karachi and six are in interior Sindh,” he added.

IG Police Sindh Syed Kalim Imam said that kinetic and non kinetic measures need to be taken to ensure stringent action against illicit drugs business.

“Police has launched a serious crackdown against drug dealers. Gutka also needs to be brought in ANF radar. Mawa, Mainpuri and others are also harmonious to health. We need to include religious teachings against drugs,” the IG Sindh concluded.