Drug-Free Society: ANF vigilance squads to combat drug addiction

Drug free Society

By Zahoor Ahmed

ISLAMABAD, Mar 12 (APP): Across the globe, societies are being faced with the growing challenge of drugs addiction having the wide range of verities and novel techniques, especially amongst the youngsters, and Pakistan is no exception to it.

Youth is considered the future of any country, but what if they are targeted by enemies or anti-social elements indulging them in the deadly habit of drug addiction under their inimical designs.

Cognizant of the situation, Pakistan has recently rolled out ANF Vigilance Squads (AVS) aims at countering drug prevalence around educational institutions and community centers.

“The AVS is swift, smart and service-oriented modern proactive mobile patrolling units for operations to purge the society from drug abuse,” said an official of the Ministry of Narcotics Control. The AVS, he said, in the first phase would operate in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi.

Keeping in view the seriousness of the issue, the Upper House of the Parliament has passed two bills titled “Control of Narcotics Substances (Amendment) Bill,2022” and “Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act,1997” unanimously to fight the menace more effectively.

The mover of the bill titled “Control of Narcotics Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2022 Senator Mohsin Aziz said the prime objective of the bill was to eradicate drugs from educational institutions.

He said the bill made it compulsory for all educational institutions to form a ‘Disciplinary Committee’ with representatives of Law Enforcement Agencies. The committee members would have the authority to carryout inspections on regular basis in the premises of educational institutions to prevent such illegal activities.

Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, the mover of a bill titled “Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act 1997”, said the aim of the bill was to abate the victimization of private individuals on mala-fide charges doctored by their political opponents.

It is a universal truth that no society in the world has ever achieved the status of a civilized nation unless its people started differentiating between good and bad to save the future of the coming generations.

Therefore, keeping in view the all ills of drug addiction and purging the society of the menace, the country is striving hard for the absolute elimination of drugs to achieve the set goal of a “Drug-Free Society” besides vigorously executing its globally assigned tasks with utmost dedication and determination.

To achieve the set goals, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) is regularly organizing awareness activities like speech/debate competitions, lectures, seminars, workshops, walks, games, and sports contests in different cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Rawalpindi through Regional
Directorates of ANF Pakistan to acquaint masses, especially youth with the devastating impacts of drug abuse.

ANF Director General Maj General Aneeq Ur Rehman Malik while addressing a seminar, titled “Future Generation of Pakistan,” in Bolan Medical College, Quetta emphasized that drug abuse had grown from an essential domestic problem into a national and global threat. “ANF as a force will leave no stone unturned to curb this menace and will fight against all odds to secure our next generation” he added.

He said in an awareness lecture against drug abuse at Government Post Graduate Degree College, Jhelum that a completely drug-free society was the guarantee of a bright future for the young generation. He apprised the students that education was the most effective weapon against drugs.

Experts believe that Pakistan’s goal to become a drug-free society can be achieved through creating awareness at the grassroots level against deadly addiction. It is possible to achieve the goal when people get the ability to understand the repercussions of addiction to save the future of the coming generations.

A senior official of the ANF said the youth was Pakistan’s greatest asset, which constituted 66 percent of the population.

“They are our future and we have to protect them from the harms of drug addiction. Protecting the country’s youth and the future generation from the menace is inevitable for the prosperous future of Pakistan,” he said, adding that to protect our youth, the ANF was working tirelessly in coordination with other law enforcement agencies of Pakistan.

A Spokesperson for ANF said the department was playing a leading role in mass awareness and community participation programs to educate the people against drug abuse.

We are constantly putting our efforts at the national and international level.” He stressed the concerted efforts by all the quarters concerned to fight the menace of drug addiction, particularly among youth.

The force is sparing no effort in carrying out its duties and protecting the young generation from the dangers of drugs, he said, adding “We pledge to carry forward our manifesto with utmost determination, sincerity, and devotion.”

While sharing the details of a drive against drug smugglers, the ANF spokesperson said that total drug seizures by Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in 2022 summed up to 227.2 metric tons, out of which ANF seizures were 116.2 metric tons, with ANF share amounting to 51.1% of complete IATF seizures.

By accounts of the drug make and type, ANF seizures of plant-based drugs were 79.986 metric tons (68.95% of seized drugs), synthetic drugs were 3.582 metric tons (3.08%), Chemical Precursors were 25.695 metric tons (22.11%) and other substances 6.9 metric tons (5.8%). Drug Traffickers used different modes; against which ANF seizures through land-based operations were 111.328 metric tons, seizures at seaports added up to 3.312 metric tons and airports were 428 kgs. Seizures against drug trafficking attempts through parcels at mailing offices were 1.147 metric tons.

He said 30 internationally coordinated intelligence operations were also conducted with assistance from international partners. 324 individuals were arrested in ANF’s operations at airports to foil drug trafficking attempts to other countries, out of total arrests 1508 were made during the year. As many as 595 drug traffickers were convicted in various trials bringing the conviction rate to a remarkable 87%. He said that 1810 individuals received treatment at model addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers (MATRCs) in Karachi, Islamabad, Sukkur and Hyderabad.

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