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EDITORIAL: Although the state of relations between Pakistan and India formal trade between the two countries is marginal, the smuggling of all kinds of goods goes on via third countries as well as through various blind spots along the long border in a big way. And drug traffickers have found a new way for transporting contraband substances.

It may be recalled that this past July a drone carrying six kilograms of illicit drugs worth millions had crashed in an agricultural field on the outskirts of Lahore.

The drone was seized by the police and its freight handed to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF). Afterwards, little was heard about it, sparking suspicions that the police and the ANF had closed the case in a cover-up attempt. It turns out that the officials concerned had quietly been conducting investigations so as not to alert all involved. The outcome of the probe has now been made public.

Proving those right who believed that such a daring criminal activity could not have taken place without insider help, a senior police official confirmed on Wednesday that a case has been registered against a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) for involvement in cross-border drug smuggling via drones.

What seems to have led the investigators to the DSP, who headed the anti-narcotics wing of the city police, was a case in which he had arrested a smuggler and recovered 35 kilograms of heroin from him, but let the man off the hook by booking him for carrying merely 450 grams of the contraband substance – a minor offence –after taking Rs 75 million as well as three vehicles in bribe.

Another suspect, said to be a front man of the DSP, has been nabbed in connection with cross-border narcotics smuggling. He is reported to have revealed that the activity had been going on for the past several years. Huge quantities of heroin and methamphetamine (better known as meth or Ice) were delivered at appointed locations in Indian Punjab and the proceeds received in the UAE.

Although the centre of drug trade was mostly Lahore’s surrounding areas, it was also conducted through different points along the porous border, such as Narowal, where the police, apparently on the alert following the Lahore incident, arrested five suspects for shipping heroin to a destination in India via drones.

Yet the illicit business remained undetected on both sides of the border until a drone accidently downed in an inhabited locality.

Drug smugglers are always a step ahead of law enforcers. In the present instance, they not only ran a sophisticated operation of delivery and payments but used drones which can only be flown under licence from the ministry of defence.

Who supplied them these machines needs to be exposed. The ANF will have to maintain better vigilance in coordination with their counterparts in India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Fayez Sep 04, 2023 09:58pm
Who guards the border in pakistan?
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