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Karachi

July 2, 2018

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Waging a war on ice and cocaine in District South

The use of narcotics, especially the stimulants ice and cocaine, has increased in the upmarket Clifton and DHA neighbourhoods, South SSP Omer Shahid Hamid told The News.

SSP Hamid said that these drugs have become popular among students and young educated professionals, with majority of the users falling between 17 and 30 years old. However, he has developed a strategy to rid his district of these narcotics.

He said that before his recent posting as South SSP, a strategy was developed to deal with the menace of drugs, followed by some investigations that led to several arrests. Now he has again been pursuing those investigations and calling up officials from other law enforcement departments for joint action. “With the Anti-Narcotics Force we have planned a grand operation against the mafias operating in Clifton and DHA, and joint raiding teams have been formed.”

Talking about a research conducted by former SP Tauqeer Naeem of Saddar Division, SSP Hamid said their targets have been identified, adding that their focus lies on identifying the target areas of the drug producers, understanding their MO, tracing their supply chains and dismantling them.

He explained that it has been observed that the networks of these drug producers operate in a particular way by gaining customers through various tactics. He said that the drug producers mostly target people at parties arranged at bungalows and farmhouses situated in Malir as well as flats specifically used for such events.

The producers first offer ice and cocaine for free at such parties a few times, until the party-goers get accustomed to the drugs, and then they start paying for them, he added. SSP Hamid said dancers or DJs hired for such parties are usually agents of drug producers, adding that they also act as peddlers. He said that sometimes customers from the middle and lower middle classes end up working for the drug producers.

The officer said drugs have also become a source of female exploitation, adding that a number of teenage girls from the educated class have fallen prey to sexual exploitation for getting their hands on just one dose of ice or cocaine.

He said that several flats being used for this purpose have been discovered, adding that young boys and girls were invited there for parties in which drugs were used openly. SSP Hamid said CCTV footage of such activities has also been recovered from one such flat, adding that one of the peddlers told the police that there are several social media pages where invitation for such paid parties are posted. “These parties are used for gaining new customers.”

He said drugs can also be ordered over the phone or via messaging apps, adding that the police have unearthed an organised home delivery network during their investigations. “Once, ecstasy tablets and other drugs were found in a package couriered from Quetta.”

The officer said the main suppliers of ice and cocaine in Karachi are operating out of Lyari and Golimar, adding that the Lyari suppliers receive their shipments from Quetta or Peshawar through drug mules (human carriers).

Citing some of the police investigations, he said that sometimes girls are employed for such deliveries out of Balochistan, adding that shipments have also been known to arrive from Iran. “The average price of a gram of ice is Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 and of cocaine Rs10,000 to Rs15,000.”

SSP Hamid said they have planned an awareness campaign to curb this menace, directing police officials to visit colleges and universities in Clifton and DHA to sensitise students about the hazards of drug use. Renowned people from civil society and rehabilitation centres have also been engaged for this purpose, he added.

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