The authorities' response to the drug trade, including relevant legal provisions against drug trafficking and their implementation in practice (arrests, prosecution), law enforcement response, special projects or actions taken to deal with the problem, seriousness of efforts and whether results are tangible; role of general population in authorities' actions [PAK32051.E]

For a comprehensive view of the narcotics situation in Pakistan, please consult the February 1999 publication entitled International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1998 released by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, which can be accessed on the Internet at This report provides a general summary, then examines in detail Pakistan's efforts against narcotics in 1998, including its accomplishments, law enforcement efforts, corruption, agreements and treaties, cultivation/production, drug flow/transit, and domestic programs. It also describes US policy initiatives and programs.

Legal Provisions Against Drug Trafficking

Pakistan signed the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, 1961, and ratified that Convention in 1965 (GOP n.d.). In December 1989 Pakistan signed the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, and ratified it (GOP n.d.; International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 Feb. 1999). The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 lists all the bilateral narcotics agreements Pakistan has with other countries.

In December 1998 the government initiated talks in Islamabad with the Taliban ambassador and the head of the Taliban High Commission for Drug Control (based in Kabul) (ibid.).

Parliament passed The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 1994 which permits the forfeiture of assets of anyone sentenced to two or more years imprisonment for offences relating to trafficking in or financing the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, opium or cocoa leaf, or the import/export/inter-provincial trade of those narcotics (GOP n.d.). This act also permitted the imposition of the death penalty for these offences (ibid.).

Parliament also passed the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) (Amendment) Act of 1994 to "remove a legal lacuna in the law arising out of the use of [the] word 'raw' before the word 'opium' used in the statute" (GOP n.d.). Prior to this amendment, the courts had had difficulty awarding "proper punishment" to the accused (ibid.).

On 11 July 1997 The Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Act 1997 passed into law, permitting "police to register a second case for 'transportation' of narcotics even though they may have already been arrested for 'possession' of drugs under the Customs Act, 1969" (Dawn 24 Apr. 1999). Section 9s (a) (b) and (c) of the Narcotics Substances Act 1997 specify the punishment based upon the quantity of narcotics (ibid.). In mid-May 1999 a division bench of the Sindh High Court ruled against this "double punishment" of two British citizens who had been convicted under the Customs Act 1969, had served their jail term for drug trafficking, but were undergoing a second case on the same facts and evidence (ibid. 14 May 1999). The Court ruled in favour of releasing the two Britons (ibid.).

The CNS Act of 1997 also includes a "provision to punish public, narcotics-related corruption;" this law was invoked for the first time in September 1998 against Magistrate Waqar Hussain Chaudhury for releasing without permission from the arresting authority an individual indicted for heroin smuggling to the UK (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 Feb. 1999).

In 1998 the government extended the application of the Control of Narcotics Substances Act (CNSA) and in May 1998 the Anti-Narcotics Force Act (ANFA) to the tribal areas in the NWFP, thus making the narcotics laws legally enforceable (ibid.).

On 3 June 1999 the Karachi-based English language daily newspaper the Dawn reported that the Central Board of Revenue had announced in Customs General Order of 1999 an increase in reward money that would be awarded to customs staff for seizing narcotics from traffickers.

Law Enforcement Agencies

A number of provincial and federal law enforcement agencies are responsible for narcotics law enforcement in Pakistan: at the provincial level, it is the police departments and excise departments, while the federal agencies are the Anti-Narcotics Force (previously the Anti-Narcotics Task Force), Airport Security Force, Pakistan Customs Department, Pakistan Railways Police, Pakistan Narcotics Control Board, Federal Investigation Agency, Pakistan Rangers, Pakistan Coast Guards (Frontier Corps Baluchistan), political authorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Frontier Constabulary (GOP n.d.). However, the ANF is Pakistan's principal narcotics law enforcement agency (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 Feb. 1999).

In 1998 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reportedly determined to strengthen the narcotics enforcement agencies, especially the ANF (ibid.).

Official Policies on Narcotics Control

In 1998 Interior Minister Shujaat Hossain and Secretary of the Narcotics Control Division (NCD) Tariq Aziz took "meaningful steps" to strengthen the government's enforcement and drug abuse efforts in Baluchistan and the NWFP, both of which border Afghanistan (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 Feb. 1999). Also that year Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved in principle a five-year Drug Control Master Plan that will "address all aspects of illicit drug activity" (ibid.).

The Dawn reported on 28 May 1999 that the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had identified several programs under the recently-approved Rs2.8 billion "master plan" for the control of drug proliferation for 1998-2003, including the purchasing of laboratory equipment and scanning and detecting equipment/vehicles/weapons, the establishment of treatment/rehabilitation centres, the holding of educational workshops, the holding of workshops on the prevention of drug abuse, as well as planning seminars for religious leaders in Faisalabad in July 1999 to "motivate them to take effective part in drug abuse prevention though usual religious education."

On 26 June 1999 the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking will be observed in Pakistan (Dawn 28 May 1999).

For information on the narcotics situation in 1997, please consult International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1997 of March 1998, which can be accessed on the Internet at www/global/narcotics_law/1997_narc_report/ swasi97.html.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC. February 1999. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1998. [Internet] [Accessed 28 May 1999]

Dawn [Karachi]. 3 June 1999. "Islamabad: Reward Money for Drugs' Seizure Raised." [Internet] [Accessed 3 June 1999]

_____. 28 May 1999. "Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Identifies Anti-Drug Projects." [Internet] [Accessed 28 May 1999]

_____. 14 May 1999. "Double Punishment Held Unlawful." [Internet] [Accessed 17 May 1999]

_____. 24 April 1999. Nafisa Hoodbhoy. "Foreigners Languish in Prison Under Double Punishment." [Internet] [Accessed 26 Apr. 1999]

Government of Pakistan (GOP). n.d. Narcotics Control. [Internet] [Accessed 28 May 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

CJ International: A Criminal Justice Newsletter [Chicago]. Monthly. January 1998-May 1999.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 26 February 1999. United States Department of State. [Electronic version]

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1997. March 1998.

Pakistan. Customs (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998. Ordinance XVI of 1998. 1998.

Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases, REFWORLD.