Joint Technical Working Group Meeting held in Khyber Paktunkhwa



08 May 2014, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) Pakistan organized a Joint Technical Working Group meeting in collaboration with Government of Khyber Paktunkhwa, in Peshawar.  The provincial TWG meetings are part of UNODC's work to coordinate efforts with provincial authorities and stakeholders, after the 18th constitutional amendment and the devolution of powers to the provinces. 

The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Akhtar Ali Shah, Home Secretary of Khyber Paktunkhwa   and Inspector General Prisons-Khyber Paktunkhwa Mr. Kifayatullah Khan with participation from various key provincial authorities.  

Mr. Cesar Guedes, the Country Representative of UNODC Pakistan started the meeting highlighting the major challenge of increased opium production in Afghanistan. He paid rich tributes to the Pakistani law enforcement agencies, especially in Khyber Paktunkhwa for their efforts and sacrifices as first line of defense for the world, against  the menace of drug trafficking. He emphasized the imminent need for enhanced collaboration with provincial governments after the passage of 18 th amendment, which has redefined the framework of provincial autonomy. Mr. Guedes explained the strategy, which includes governance structure looking after the UNODC country programme, the role of various provincial stake holders and importance of their collaboration with UNODC. He further stressed the importance of institutionalization of support provided by UNODC, the use of a needs-based approach and increased cooperation amongst all stake holders.

Mr. Naweed Riaz, International Law Enforcement Advisor presented the UNODC Country programme 2010-2015 and its three sub-programmes in detail.

The participants discussed various issues of mutual interest and cooperation. Mr. Kifayatullah appreciated UNODC's support for KP's Prison and Prosecution departments and asked for functional specialization with UNODC's support to strengthen it. He also asked for capacity building of police prosecution at mid career level with preparation of curriculum, as has been done in Punjab. The Secretary of Excise & Taxation (E&T) Dr. Raheel said that E&T has been reorganized recently and a separate narcotics wing has bee created. He  welcomed cooperation with UNODC especially in capacity building and training. 

Director General Prosecution, Secretary, Excise & Taxation and his team, Deputy Secretary FATA Secretariat,  senior officials of provincial heads of federal authorities which included Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary , Pakistan Customs, Anti Narcotics Force participated in the discussions around strengthening Pakistan's Law Enforcement Agencies to effectively deal with the surge in Afghan  poppy cultivation and resultant increase in narcotics and precursors trafficking from Afghanistan, transiting through Pakistan.

Ending the meeting, Mr. Guedes thanked for inputs and suggestions from all participants and expressed strong interest from UNODC to work with the provinces in current post 18 th amendment period. The areas of drug control, effective prosecution of cases and drug prevention constitute the main focus of UNODC in Pakistan. He assured that all inputs will be taken into account as UNODC continues the work beyond the current country programme (2010-15).