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January 16, 2021

Sindh Assembly outlaws ice, ecstasy, other recreational drugs

Karachi

January 16, 2021

The Sindh Assembly on Friday passed into law the Control of Narcotics Substance (Sindh Amendment) Bill-2021 to outlaw trafficking and use of synthetic drugs and other modern forms of narcotics, including so-called recreational drugs.

The bill passed by the Sindh Assembly amended the Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997 for the province of Sindh. The statement of objects and reasons of the bill states: “In the existing Control of Narcotics Substances Act-1997, the drugs are defined in detail with complete explanation of their usage, carrying, making, selling, purchasing, and consumption which makes it applicable to the defined catalog only.”

The statement adds that since neurotoxic synthetic drugs like ice (Methamphetamine) and ecstasy were not defined in the earlier law, trial courts could award no punishment for their use, sale and purchase.

“Punishment for drug-related crimes in the law are also assigned as per quantity whereas severity of addiction and harm is not considered and drugs like cannabis and heroin are treated in same category. Rigorousness of punishment may vary with respect to quantity, therefore, it is very difficult for the police to prove the heinousness of crime and get the desired conviction, therefore, it is expedient to make suitable amendments in the existing Control of Narcotics Substances Act-1997,” states the objects and reasons of the bill.

The new amendment bill has outlawed both methamphetamine and ecstasy. It defines narcotics drugs in two categories. In the Category I, there are coca leaf, cannabis and poppy straw while in the Category II, there are cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, midomafetamine and all manufactured drugs or any other such contraband substances.

The bill defines methamphetamine as an addictive neurotoxic stimulant which is used as a recreational drug and includes ice, meth, and crystal. The bill also defines midomafetamine as an addictive psychoactive drug which is used as a recreational drug and includes ecstasy and molly.

According to the bill, a psychoactive drug is defined as a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in hallucination and alterations in perceptions, mood, consciousness or behaviour. A recreational drug is defined in the bill as a drug used to induce an intoxicating effect which creates hallucination for pleasure by modifying the perception, feelings, and emotions of the user.

Anyone found trafficking, importing, exporting or possessing these new forms of narcotics drugs in the Category I would be awarded imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine up to Rs100,000, if the quantity of the contraband is 100 grammes.

The imprisonment could increase up to seven years and would not be less than three years with a fine up to Rs500,000 if the quantity of narcotics drugs in the Category I exceeds 100 grammes and in the Category II exceeds 50 grammes or even less.

The death sentence, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which extends to 14 years with a fine up to Rs1 million could be awarded if the quantity of narcotics drugs exceeds the above limits in both categories.

The House also passed into law the Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill 2021. The bill envisages that letters of administration and succession certificates, in the cases of property inheritance after the death of a member or head of a family, will be obtained after applying to the National Database and Registration Authority without going through any judicial process as was the norm before passage of the new bill.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly was informed that the religious shrines would remain closed in the province till January 31, 2021, as part of the countrywide restrictions in place against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Parliamentary Secretary Heer Ismail Soho while responding to a call-attention notice expressed the hope that the religious shrines would be opened after January 31. Opposition MPA of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Mufti Qasim Fakhri in his call-attention notice urged the House to adopt standard operating procedures and get the religious shrines reopened in the province.