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Monday July 15, 2024

Digital profiles of drug dealers to be created: Sharjeel

By Salis bin Perwaiz
July 10, 2024
Sindh Minister for Excise and Taxation, Transport, and Mass Transit, Sharjeel Inam Memon along with others addresses media persons during a press conference at the Excise, Taxation, Narcotics Control Department office in Karachi on July 9, 2024. — PPI
Sindh Minister for Excise and Taxation, Transport, and Mass Transit, Sharjeel Inam Memon along with others addresses media persons during a press conference at the Excise, Taxation, Narcotics Control Department office in Karachi on July 9, 2024. — PPI

Sindh Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that starting today, digital profiles of drug dealers will be created, including fingerprints, photographs and other relevant information, and this data will be shared with other institutions for effective collaboration against drug trafficking.

Addressing a press conference at the Directorate of Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control in Karachi on Tuesday, he said many children are trapped in their homes due to drugs, unable to seek help out of fear of stigma. He emphasised the need for every province and department to take decisive action against drugs.

Memon, who is Sindh’s excise and taxation and information minister, stated that society is facing a dangerous situation regarding drugs. Since March, 141 actions have been taken against drug dealers by the Narcotics Control Wing, resulting in the arrest of 158 individuals. Fourteen vehicles have been seized, along with large quantities of various types of drugs, including ice, heroin, crystal, hashish, raw liquor, and other narcotics.

He mentioned that President Asif Ali Zardari, during a meeting at the Chief Minister’s House shortly after assuming the presidency, instructed a crackdown on drugs. Unfortunately, the drug business is rampant in the country. The organisation must take action against drugs, and we all need to fight against drugs together, he added.

He stated that the excise department discovered that drug money was being sent to the account of a drug dealer named Qurban Shah. Concrete evidence has been obtained from the mobile phone of the accused, who is currently in Islamabad. The ministry is seeking support from interior ministry for his arrest. A letter was sent to the relevant bank on May 23 regarding the drug dealer’s account, but the bank has not responded so far.

Memon reported that an accused, Basit Khawaja, who used to supply drugs in a concealed area of Karachi and also brought drugs from Islamabad, has been arrested. He noted that the bail notice was not even issued. Today, the accused is travelling to Lahore by ship from Karachi. He said that the Excise Department will continue to wage jihad against drugs with all due diligence.

In the past six months, the police have arrested 7,632 people and recovered drugs. Six to seven drug dealers have been injured in encounters with the police and excise officers.

He stated that the Excise Department has established a check post on Hub River Road. Additionally, a check post will be established on the Super Highway within 10 days, and staff will soon be posted at the Ghaghar Phatak. Moreover, we have identified four bank accounts through which drug money is being transferred. Narcotics were delivered to people’s homes upon sending money to these accounts. Staffers of several food delivery companies have been arrested in connection with this operation. The accused have confessed that drugs were also transported along with pizzas, he said, adding that we are formulating an effective and comprehensive strategy to address this issue.

Memon announced that there will be surprise random drug tests conducted on children in schools. Everyone, including the schools, teachers, and parents of the children, will be informed and involved in these tests. The names of the children tested will be kept confidential, and only their parents will be notified. The purpose of these tests is to identify who provided the drugs to the child.

He said the provincial government had set a target of 130 billion rupees for the excise and taxation department for the last fiscal year, but the department collected 143 billion rupees. Memon said that during a campaign aimed at collecting dues from vehicles that were not paying duties, the department collected these dues to facilitate those who were unable to visit offices due to lack of facilities. As a result of these actions, the Excise Department not only met its targets but also surpassed them.

He said the first auction of premium number plates was successful. The proceeds from the auction will be allocated to the project of building houses for flood victims. The Sindh government is constructing houses for Rs2.1 million flood-affected families. To support this project, the Excise Department has allocated 67 crore rupees, which will facilitate the construction of 2,251 houses for the flood victims.

He stated that a separate office is being established for premium number plates. These plates will now be issued through auctions, and the fee for choice number plates will be revised. Memon stated that the monsoon season is approaching, and the Sindh government is fully prepared to handle any potential challenges. He emphasized that the government has taken all necessary steps in collaboration with the PDMA (Provincial Disaster Management Authority) and Rehabilitation Department. The mayors of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Larkana are actively working and monitoring the situation to ensure minimal inconvenience to the public.

The minister said all institutions of the Sindh government will be actively engaged during the rains, including ongoing efforts in drain cleaning. Dewatering machines have been deployed to various districts. The government has historically faced such challenges courageously and remains prepared to handle natural calamities effectively, he added.