(Islamabad, 9 March 2022) A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Narcotics Control was held at the Parliament Lodges under the chairmanship of Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry .
At the outset, Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Act, 1997, introduced in the Senate by Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed was considered in detail. Under current law, a court can sentence a citizen to three years in prison if he or she makes a false accusation against a citizen based on fabricated evidence. According to the amendment, the sentence of three years will be increased to ten years. Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed said that by increasing the sentence, it would be possible to redress the false cases. It will also be possible to discourage those who imprison innocent people based on false and fabricated evidence. The secretary of the Narcotics Control Ministry said that increasing the sentence would not make any difference. Under current law, no one has been convicted till date. We must improve the current system in such a way that the real culprits do not escape and whoever fabricates a false case will definitely be punished. Certainty of the Punishment is a better deterrent then Severity of the punishment, He said. The Ministry officials also expressed concern that if the sentence was increased to ten years, law enforcement officials would be reluctant to crack down on drug Offenders/Dealers. The Chairman of the committee said that the bill needs further consideration. The Chairman Committee, taking the opinion of the members, decided to send the proposed amendment bill to the Islamic Ideology Council so that the position of the Ulema could also be taken on the proposed amendment.
The Chairman Committee sought response from the Ministry officials on the status of implementation of the recommendations/decisions made by the Committee in its previous meetings. Ministry officials briefed the committee members on the current situation on all recommendations. The committee also considered the issuance of a new law on narcotics control by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. Chairman Committee Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry decided to summon the officials of the Provincial Law Department and the Federal Ministry of Law in the next meeting of the committee so that the matter could be resolved amicably. The Chairman of the committee and other committee members stressed the need to determine the exact number of drug addicts in Pakistan. The Federal Secretary informed the committee that a detailed survey has been launched by the UN in this regard after which the latest data of drug addicts will be available. An official of a private NGO briefed the committee in detail on the steps being taken for the prevention of drug menace and raising public awareness on the issue. The Chairman of the Committee appreciated the efforts of the NGO and said that all stakeholders need to work together to prevent and protect the new generation from this scourge, and a vigorous campaign is needed to educate young people in particular about the long-term effects of drugs. The Federal Secretary informed the committee that ANF has also set up a helpline and launched an application to reach out to as many people as possible and help drug addicts. The committee meeting was attended by Senators, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Shahadat Awan, Naseebullah Bazai, Falak Naz, Anwar Lal Din, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dhar, Rana Mahmood Al Hassan, Ata-ur-Rehman and officials of the concerned ministry.