Pakistan calls for sharing effective intelligence with Iran against drugs trafficking
-- Pakistan’s Minister for Narcotics Control expressing concerns over poppy production in Afghanistan despite presence of foreign forces said that "we want to exchange effective intelligence with the Islamic Republic of Iran to strengthen joint cooperation against illicit drug".
Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah who has has recently taken over the responsibility of Pakistan's Minister for Narcotics Control expressed his views in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Sunday.
The Pakistani politician who has been Minister of Interior for the past year and a half has 20 years of experience in fight against narcotics. He is a retired army brigadier who also held key positions in the Intelligence and Security Agency (ISI).
Ejaz Ahmad Shah, in the interview during the visit of Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Chief to Pakistan said Iran and Pakistan have good coordination in narcotics control but there is always a room for the improvement.
He stressed it is a fact that no single country can achieve 100 percent result in the subject of narcotics until and unless there is coordination between the states.
Pakistani Minister for anti-narcotics added Iran and Pakistan are not only in the same region but "we are neighbors and if we don’t have any coordination in the field of narcotics control we cannot be" successful. “Iran and Pakistan have good coordination in narcotics control but there is always a room for the improvement,” he added.
Ejaz Ahmad Shah said a good thing is that the Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Chief Brigadier-General Majid Karimi has served in Pakistan and he knows the environment of Pakistan, he knows from where the drugs come into our countries as we are the victim states.
**The need to curb drug demand must be prioritized
The minister said demand of the narcotics in Pakistan and Iran and in the entire world should be reduced when it will be reduced supply will definitely be reduced.
“I do look on enforcement and seizures but I think we have to work on demand reduction an area which requires more attention, because if there is a demand of anything there would be supply despite all efforts,” he said.
“When there is so much of a margin of profit between any item then it is very difficult to control the supply," he noted.
He said last year Pakistan DG narcotics had also visited Iran for some useful discussions.
Expressing his views, Ejaz Ahmad Shah said both Iran and Pakistan are not poppy growing countries as there are restrictions but "we all know that opium and all other things like that are grown in Afghanistan though they are trying to control this issue but these things come into Iran and Pakistan from Afghanistan".
“Drug dealers have two routes, one is Iran and Pakistan and the other is Europe and they use both the routes so we are the victim states. These drugs affect all the countries on such routes,” he said.
In response to a question that the cruel and unilateral US sanctions are affecting the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran to combat the evil of narcotics, the Minister said: "The position of the Pakistan government in this regard is clear as we demand the lifting of sanctions."
**Need to strengthen exchange of information between Iran and Pakistan
Pakistan’s Minister for Narcotics Control in his views said that illicit drugs is a sinister global problem phenomenon and to overcome this problem, there is need for close cooperation and exchange of useful information among all countries, especially Iran and Pakistan
"We need to have a strong forum to be able to exchange sensitive information, information that is strong and responsive," he said.
He said: "We should learn from each other’s experience and we should share the ways of smuggling but we can only succeed if we share intelligence."
“When I will meet your anti-narcotics chief I will request him that we should share our seizure experience. There should be joint training programs. I am sure that Iranian anti-narcotics chief’s Pakistan visit will be fruitful,” said Ejaz Ahmad Shah.
**Effective cooperation in border management
The minister added Iran and Pakistan have implemented many initiatives to combat the phenomenon of drug trafficking, and strengthening joint cooperation in border management can also help strengthen these relations.
“Thirty years back when I served on Pak-Iran border I noted that you had better infrastructure on your side of the border. You can move laterally but we are trying to develop the facility of moving on the border so when it is completed it would help in curbing smuggling, terrorism and narcotics,” said the official.
**Zero performance of foreign forces in Afghanistan to deal with the drug problem
Pakistan’s Minister for Narcotics Control said Afghanistan is our neighboring country but we desire that it should be poppy free and yes it is correct that despite the presence of NATO forces over there this issue could not be addressed.
“Iran and Pakistan are the markets of Afghan narcotics so it should be stopped. If some countries have concerns they should be addressed in the JCP,” he said.
Head of Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Brigadier-General Majid Karimi is scheduled to hold talks with Pakistani officials tomorrow to strengthen bilateral co-operation in the fight against narcotics.
Senior officials of Pakistan Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) received Majid Karimi and his delegation at Islamabad International Airport upon reaching Islamabad this morning.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA