ISLAMABAD: Japan will provide over $3.7 million to the United Nations Office on Crimes and Drugs (UNODC) in Pakistan, to execute projects aimed at enhancing air cargo security, combating transnational crime, strengthening border security against illicit drug trafficking and response to counter terrorism in Pakistan.
The initiative is to be implemented under the UNODC Country Programme for Pakistan (2016-2019) through the financial support of the Government of Japan. In total, contribution of the Japanese government for four projects will amount to about $3,730,935 annually.
During his opening remarks, Cesar Guedes, the UNODC Country Office Representative in Pakistan, thanked Japan’s Ambassador Takashi Kurai and highlighted that through financial support of the Government of Japan, the projects will contribute to the vision of creating “a safer community, free from the threats posed by illicit narcotics trafficking and transnational organised crime.”
He also said, “UNODC is leading global efforts against drug trafficking and is the sole guardian of all international conventions on drugs and transnational organised crime”.
In recent years, the challenges alluded to have become more complex with the changing geo-political environment in the region, and this is particularly so with respect to transnational organised crime, illicit narcotics trafficking as well as human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
To combat such sophisticated crime syndicates, out of the allocated funds, $2.5 million will be used to combat such organisations and strengthening borders in Pakistan, while $0.5 million would be utilised to strengthen the national response to counter terrorism financing.
Similarly, around $0.3 million would be spent on investigation of terrorism cases in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa while almost $0.4 million would be used for enhancing air cargo security by establishing an air cargo control unit at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.
The UNODC Country Office in Pakistan has been active for over 35 years and works in close collaboration with the government in its efforts to overcome challenges associated with transnational organised crime, thereby contributing towards the nation’s stabilisation and development.”
Takashi Kurai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Pakistan, reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to help Pakistan eradicate all types of transnational crime including illicit drug trafficking. Kurai stated that Japan stands committed to combating international criminal syndicates, which through their illicit activities hinder the economic development and prosperity of the Pakistani people.
Officials from the Ministry of Narcotics Control, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) were present at the ceremony held in a local hotel on Thursday.