The police appeared to be least interested in controlling drug trafficking and manufacturing etc despite having large resources and field force, says the Sindh Drug Control Master Plan.
The police were empowered to register cases under the Control of Narcotics Substances Act-1997 as like the Excise and Taxation Department but the police track record on detection side of drugs was stated to be “very poor” despite having large resources and field force.
The recently prepared Sindh Drug Control Master Plan proposes that the Police Department need to enhance the efforts to control the trafficking and distribution of narcotics substance. Cooperation between the Excise and Taxation Department and the police has also been floated with the hopes that joint operations may provide them enough mobility to monitor their area of jurisdiction which may result in controlling the drug trafficking and manufacturing.
The Sindh Drug Control Plan has been prepared in line with the Drug Control Master Plan-2010-14 of the federal government with the purpose to control the trafficking and distribution of narcotic substance, reduce the number of drug addicts through prevention and rehabilitation measures, develop public awareness against drug abuse as well as developing education policy and curriculum for students.
In order to achieve these objectives and to make Sindh drug free, specific roles have been assigned to various provincial departments.
The task of controlling the trafficking and distribution of narcotics substance has been assigned to the Excise and Police departments. The Excise has been advised to continue its role for curbing drugs and further enhance its capacity for detecting excise crimes.
In order to reduce the number of drug addicts through prevention and rehabilitation, the plan suggests that the Health Department should allocate beds in hospitals for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts in addition to setting up special wards in government hospitals for drug addicts’ treatment.
For identical purpose, the Social Welfare Department has been directed to provide services to the masses against drug abuse as well as coordinating with the registered NGOs working in different aspects of social welfare relating to drug abuse.
With regard to creating public awareness against drug abuse, the Information Department has been asked to develop a public awareness strategy both in print and electronic media. Similarly, the Culture Department has been advised to launch awareness drive against drugs for youths through seminars, workshops and cultural programmes across the province.
The Sports and Youth Affairs Department has been asked to conduct sports tournaments and increase training facilities in each city and town to promote healthy activities among the citizens, particularly the youths.
Owing to drug use near the famous mausoleums or shrines throughout the Sindh province, the Auqaf, Zakat and Ushr Department has been directed to be vigilant at these resting places of the saints. The department has also been advised to develop special course on drug abuse prevention for students and teachers of Madaris (seminaries) and facilitate creating mass awareness about drug abuse with the help of Ulema (religious scholars) and mosques.
The Drug Control Master Plan also envisages developing education policy and curriculum for students, as the Education Department has been directed to include the subject in curriculum of schools and colleges in order to discourage the use of drug among students and teachers. Besides, it has been proposed that the department should impose ban on smoking by teachers, students and others in educational institutions.
As part of the plan, Larkana has been selected as ‘drug free city’ to create the first model city. Owing to wide-spread use of drugs in the jails, the Malir and Landhi prisons have been selected as the model drug-free jails.
Excise Secretary Manzoor Ahmed Memon told The News that since the implementation of the plan requires a lot of funds and infrastructure, the Excise and Taxation Department has prepared PC-I with an estimated cost of Rs 63 million, and the same has been sent to chief minister Sindh for approval.
To a question, he said that the use of “synthetic drugs” has assumed alarming proportions among the educated youths and certain section of society. According to him, these drugs have been increasingly replacing “Bhang”, Charas (hashish) and heroin. These synthetic drugs have been allowed in the market for medicinal purposes but the same were penetrating the academic institutes, which has become an alarming issue for the last few years.