Provisions in the laws of Pakistan to combat seriousdrug-related offences

Sections

ABSTRACT
Historical background
The Prohibition Order, 1979
The amendments of 1983
Previous convicts subject to more severe punishment
Concluding remarks

Details

Author: M. HUSAIN
Pages: 15 to 17
Creation Date: 1984/01/01

Provisions in the laws of Pakistan to combat seriousdrug-related offences

M. HUSAIN
Chairman, Pakistan Narcotics Control Board, lslamabad, Pakistan

ABSTRACT

British drug control laws were in force in Pakistan until February 1979 when the President of Pakistan promulgated the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979. Under this Order more severe penalties are prescribed for those who violate the regulations of import, export, manufacture or processing of any intoxicants, the term which refers mainly to products of cannabis, opiates and coca derivatives. The Prohibition Order, 1979 and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930 were amended in December 1983 to provide for further increases in punitive sanctions for offenders violating drug control laws and even more severe sanctions for offenders who are recidivists.

Historical background

On attaining independence in 1947 Pakistan and India inherited British laws relating to drug control. The laws were the two opium acts and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930 at the federal level and the excise laws under various denominations at the provincial level. The laws were uniform in their approach to punishing persons who violated drug regulations and provided for imprisonment of up to two years and fines. The fines generally did not specify the amount of money to be paid as a means of punishment and, when they did, such amounts did not exceed 2,000 rupees.

The Prohibition Order, 1979

The legal provisions mentioned above were in force until February 1979, when the President of Pakistan promulgated the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order. Under this Order a person who violates the regulations of import, export, manufacture or processing of any intoxicant is punishable with imprisonment for a term extending to five years and with whipping not exceeding thirty stripes; the violator is also liable to a fine. The term "intoxicant" includes the following substances:

  1. The leaves, small stalks, and flowering or fruiting tops of the Indian hemp plant ( Cannabis sativa L), including all forms known as bhang, siddhi or ganja;

  2. Charas, that is resin, obtained from the Indian hemp plant, which has not been submitted to any manipulations other than those necessary for packing and transport;

  3. Any mixture, with or without neutral materials, of any of the articles [substances] mentioned under 1 and 2 [above] or any mixture prepared therefrom;

  4. Opium and opium derivatives as defined in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930;

  5. Coca leaf and coca derivatives, as defined in the referred Act, and hashish."

The Prohibition Order was an important development. Its provisions were in conformity with the Islamization process that had been set in motion by the Government.

The amendments of 1983

In December 1983 the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979 and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930 were amended. The amendments provide for the following penal measures:

"Whoever (a) possesses heroin or cocaine in excess of ten grams or raw opium or coca leaf in excess of one kilogram; or (b) traffics in or finances the trafficking of heroin or cocaine or raw opium or coca leaf, shall be punished with life (25 years) or with imprisonment which is not less than two years and shall also be liable to fine."

Previous convicts subject to more severe punishment

The amendments provide for further, enhanced punishment of previous convicts, as follows:

"Whoever having been convicted of an offence punishable under section 10, 13 or 14 is guilty of any offence punishable under any of the sections, shall be subject for any such subsequent offence to imprisonment for life or imprisonment which is not less than four years and shall also be liable to fine."

The thirty stripes to be inflicted under the Prohibition Order still form part of the sentence.

Concluding remarks

It is hoped that the stringent laws will achieve the desired effect of reducing drug trafficking and abuse and their associated problems. Recently, the Minister of Interior declared that the Government would not hesitate to amend the law further and hand down the death penalty, should the situation so demand in the future. 1

1Mahmoud A. Haroon, minister of Interior, statement made at the Confernce of Mass Media on Drugs Abuse Prevention, Karachi, 22 May 1984.