Drug Burning Ceremony - Pakistan

Islamabad, 15 December 2016-  Together, the UNODC and ANF proudly organised the 2016 Drug Burning Ceremony in Islamabad. The Minister of State for Interior and Narcotics Control, Mr Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman, graced the occasion as an honoured guest. The proceedings were initiated by the Director General of the ANF, Major General Nasir Dilawar Shah, who welcomed the Minister and other distinguished participants. Other guests of note included international partners, most notably representatives of the Japanese government who supported this event, in addition to officials from various law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, educational institutions and the media, student representatives and distinguished national heroes. 

In his welcome address, Major General Dilawar Shah, expressed strong appreciation for the significance of UNODC assistance to the ANF and the significant impact it has made in the Force's ability to seize illicit narcotics and dismantle trafficking organisations. The Major General also highlighted the results of UNODC-ANF collaboration, particularly the seizure of 51 tonnes of illicit narcotics, including heroin and cocaine, which were subsequently burnt. In addition, the ANF was able to seize narcotics worth $239 million, in raids targeting traffickers at various airports in 2016. The ANF has been the main beneficiary of the UNODC Country Program 2010-2016, which significantly contributed towards the enhancement of the capacity of interdiction and prosecution.

The Secretary of the Narcotics Division also expressed appreciation for the positive impact of UNODC support in the ANF's fight against the narcotics trade. He further referenced the production of illicit narcotics in Pakistan and neighbouring countries as justification for the high priority nature of counter-narcotics initiatives in the country. 

The UNODC Country Representative for Pakistan, Mr Cesar Guedes, highlighted in his speech the important role played by the UNODC in establishing a coordinated and comprehensive response to the interrelated issues of narcotics trafficking and transnational organised crime. The organisation provides comprehensive technical, financial and expert assistance to partner governments, in order to assist their domestic counter-narcotics endeavours. These goals consist of three primary functions: research, guidance and support for governments in adopting and implementing various UN conventions, treaties and protocols. Mr Guedes also highlighted the fact that the region produces 90 per cent of the world's opiates, which places Pakistan in double jeopardy of becoming a victim and transit country. He used the opportunity to emphasise the collaboration between the UNODC and Government of Pakistan, with a particular focus on operational measures and training achievements in the country and their greater impact in the region. 

Most importantly, Mr Guedes elaborated on how the UNODC has been at the forefront of the struggle against narcotics trafficking in close collaboration with both the Government and people of Pakistan (this has included not only actions against traffickers but also rehabilitation efforts for those who suffer from addiction). The Country Representative expressed strong appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Pakistan and its law enforcement agencies, particularly the ANF, for making concerted and highly commendable efforts in interdicting and seizing large amounts of illicit narcotics destined for Pakistan and international markets. Special mention was also made of the recently signed Country Programme II (CPII, 2016-2019) with the Government of Pakistan, which will help enhance the operational capacity and readiness of Pakistani LEAs. Together, the UNODC and its Pakistani partners are working towards the shared objectives of liberating the people of Pakistan from this pervasive scourge and its associated social ills.