The Senate Standing Committee on Interior met in Gilgit under the chairmanship of Senator Talha Mehmood yesterday to discuss law and order situation and other related issues, as reported in the regional and national media.
The meeting, attended by senior officials of GB Scouts, GB police and GB administration, was briefed on law and order situation by Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatta, Inspector General (IG) police Asghar Hussain and Director General GB Scouts Brigadier Tarmizi.
Standing Committee Chairman, reportedly, hinted at presence of foreign agencies in the region. He said that in view of ‘foreign involvement’ the needs of law enforcing agencies should be fulfilled and special attention should be paid to their capacity development.
The committee also decided that contingents of GB Scout, FIA and Anti – Narcotics Force will be used to curb smuggling of drugs and other contra-band items across the Sino-Pak border.
It is important to note that the local people have in routinely demanded of the authorities to check the smuggling of alcohol and other lethal drugs across the border.
Despite of the popular demand, the apparent freehand enjoyed by criminals in the past has led to easy availability of drugs in the region which has destroyed futures of hundreds of young people, by promoting drug abuse and alcohol addiction.
Various political figures, as well as government officials, have in the past been accused of patronizing, profiting from, or turning a blind eye to the cross-border smuggling. On many occasions several people have been arrested by Chinese authorities and executed in Kashghar and other parts of Xinjiang in the past. A local ring of drug paddlers was also busted by police in the recent past and several people were arrested, only to be quickly released later. The Pakistan Customs also routinely recovers drugs and other contraband items from travellers and ‘traders’.
However, these mild actions have not been able to put a stop to the menace of smuggling which not only causes a huge loss to the national exchequer, but also brings bad name to the region and nation, while also being a cause of numerous social ills.
The decision of federal government to keep a strict check on the smugglers, by deploying forces, is an important first step towards realization of the dream of a crime and drug free society in the Sino-Pak border areas. The deployment of forces would not only discourage the anti-social elements from smoothly executing their nefarious agendas but also result in higher revenues for the country.
The success of this anti-smuggling arrangement would, however, depend on a robust monitoring and information-sharing mechanism, involving the law enforcing agencies, influential civil society groups, the bureaucracy and the political leaders. This is important because in the past personnel of law enforcing agencies and the Pakistan Customs have also been accused of involvement in smuggling.