Pakistan spends Rs4 a year on each drug addict in the country while approximately 8.9 million people (5.4% of the population) are substance abusers, according to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
“Pakistan has allocated Rs27 million for drug addicts [in the budget],” ANF Director-General Maj-Gen Khawar Hanif told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior and Anti-Narcotics on Monday.
“Unfortunately, there is no proper policy for maintaining rehabilitation centres in the country,” the DG observed.
Asked if drug money was fuelling terrorism, Narcotics Control Division Secretary Ghalib Bandesha said: “There is no direct nexus between terrorism and drug money in Pakistan. That is what our investigation has revealed.”
ANF officials told the meeting that around 11,365 tonnes of narcotics have been seized in the past 17 years. The committee members were shocked to learn that some 500,000 acres have been occupied this year by drug plants.
On this point, committee chairman Senator Rehman Malik said: “An action plan is required to curb the use of illegal drugs in the country.”
He also expressed concern over not arresting the big guns using illegal drugs without any fear in the posh sectors of Islamabad. “Apprehend them. We stand by you!”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.
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