UNODC facilitates Pakistan’s networking with regional counterparts by conducting an INL-funded study tour to Manama, Bahrain

02 March 2023, Manama (Bahrain) – UNODC Country Office Pakistan (COPAK), in close collaboration with UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) UNODC’s Regional Office for Gulf Cooperation Council along with the financial support of INL, facilitated networking between the Pakistani maritime law enforcement agencies (MLEAs), such as the Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs, and the Pakistan Coast Guards; and their regional counterparts. 

In his remarks, Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Representative of UNODC COPAK, recognized this study tour as strategically important, as it complemented the Government of Pakistan’s vision to improve cooperation with various partners astride the Indian Ocean. “It is heartening to learn about phenomenal interdiction operations and drug seizures by the Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Coast Guards, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, and the Pakistan Navy in collaboration over the recent months. We take this as a great opportunity to connect the Pakistani maritime law enforcement authorities with their regional counterparts, to address existing and emerging trends of drug trafficking and contraband smuggling via the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean more effectively”, said Mr. Milsom.

 The study tour was led by Mr. Muhammad Yakoob Mako – Chief Collector of Customs (Enforcement) South of the Pakistan Customs, the Pakistani delegation comprised officials from the Ministry of Narcotics Control, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs and the Pakistan Coast Guards. While addressing the forum, the head of the Pakistan delegation emphasized the need to reduce international drug demand to curtail the supply of drugs of Afghan origin. “It must be realized that the Afghan opiates and synthetic drugs being trafficked through the Indian Ocean were not only being smuggled via Pakistani coastline but the coastal areas of other South Asian and South-West Asian countries bordering the Indian Ocean were also being used for the purpose,” said Mr. Mako. The Pakistani delegation also discussed potential areas of cooperation to strengthen the collective response against illicit drug trafficking and smuggling of other contraband items through close collaboration, information exchange, coordination of International Controlled Delivery (ICD) Operations, and backtracking investigations together with regional counterparts stationed in Manama, Bahrain. The study tour laid grounds for information sharing and operational collaboration between Pakistan and its regional counterparts.