ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) registered 1,172 cases, arrested 1,338 people, including 27 foreign nationals, allegedly involved in drug trafficking, seized 164.07 metric tones of drugs and 56.358 metric tonnes of prohibited chemical while busted nine domestic and one international drug trafficking organisation (DTO) during 2017. The ANF being prime drug law enforcement agency of Pakistan was striving for absolute elimination of drug abuse for attaining the goal of Drug Free Society and was vigorously executing its assigned tasks with utmost dedication and determination. The ANF was rendering extraordinary endeavors to counter drug trafficking at national, regional and international level.The seized drugs comprise of 32,574.1kg opium, 7,132.2kg morphine, 19754.6kg heroin, 102,113.193kg hashish, 387.089kg cocaine, 57.07kg cannabis, 1,891.517kg amphetamine, 39.937kgm, 23.368kg ecstasy tablets, 14.741kg Xanax tablets, 9.413kg diazepam tablets, 73.5kg prazolam tablets, while prohibited chemical include 917.5 litre acetic anhydride, 50,594.8 litre sulfuric acid, 4,130 liter hydrochloric acid and 715 litre acetone. ANF has also destroyed 385.265 metric tonnes of narcotics in total in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta during 2017. During year 2017, 884 drug trafficking related cases were decided; out of which, 848 cases met conviction, wherein, 81 were awarded life imprisonment, 35 rigorous imprisonment exceeding 10 years, 111 rigorous imprisonment ranging 5 to 9 years, while 789 persons were awarded rigorous imprisonment less than 5 years, hence making 96% successful conviction rate. This year, ANF has frozen Assets worth Rs 933.448 Million, out of which Rs 21.14 Million has been forfeited and Rs 0.582 Million realized. With respect to drug demand reduction, ANF has conducted 364 awareness raising and drug abuse prevention activities during year 2017 throughout the country in order to aware the masses about the hazards of drugs, with a special focus on educational institutions. These activities include seminars, lectures, awareness walks, sports events, tableaus, essay competitions, free medical camps, advertisements in print & electronic material and distribution of informational material etc.Moreover, a number of significant drug demand reduction initiatives were undertaken during 2017 in order to alert the general public about hazards of drugs, which include publication of ANF public service message “Say No to Drugs” on public sector advertisements published in newspapers, inscribing ANF awareness message on sui gas consumer bills, inscribing ANF awareness message on inland postal envelopes issued by Pakistan Post, displaying ANF awareness message at Metro Bus Terminals in Lahore and Islamabad/ Rawalpindi, inscription of ANF awareness message in NTC regulated telephone bills and printing ANF awareness message on passenger tickets, cargo receipts and publicity cards of Bilal Bus Travel Service. In addition, HEC has been requested to issue instructions to all public and private universities for arranging awareness raising programs in order to create awareness against drug abuse for students, teaching faculty and parents through lectures, seminars, debates, workshops, tableaus, drama shows, sports events, cultural events and exhibiting public service warnings at visible spots at universities’ campuses. Accordingly, HEC has instructed all the higher educational institutions in Pakistan to undertake the task. In relation treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts, ANF is expanding its Drug Treatment Facility to 178 more beds at Karachi, Sukkur and Peshawar including establishment of 48 bedded Female and Juvenile Drug Treatment Ward within existing MATRC Karachi in addition to existing 145 bedded Drug Treatment Facilities at Islamabad, Quetta and Karachi. During year 2017, ANF has provided free of cost drug treatment to 900 drug addicts at its Drug Treatment Centers.During 2017, ANF arranged 23 different training courses at ANF Academy, wherein 1943 officers and officials of ANF as well other Law Enforcement Agencies were imparted professional training. During the year 2017, ANF also organized high level Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) meetings of all Law Enforcement Agencies under its chairmanship at Headquarters Anti Narcotics Force, Rawalpindi, for pondering upon the prevalent drug trafficking related challenges, synergizing counter narcotics operations, fine tune coordination and cooperation among the LEAs for effective drug control and to accrue maximum benefits from the jurisdiction of the respective departments.Besides, ANF has also up-graded ANF Baluchistan in respect of deployment, intelligence ability, technical capability and mobility with special focus on Gawadar in view of the CPEC. However, enormity of the drug problem in the region and its resultant fall out on Pakistan and the world at large is a mega challenge. Pakistan has attained status of poppy-free state since 2001, but the neighbouring territories produce over 90% of the world’s opiates which puts Pakistan in double jeopardy of being a victim as well as a transit country.Published in Daily Times, January 3rd 2018.