Thursday, January 22, 2009

Drug mafia opens for business in SITE under police supervision

By By M. Zeeshan Azmat


A committee comprising different political activists as well as representatives of prominent families and communities has urged the police hierarchy and other law enforcement agencies to take strict and immediate action against the drug mafia involved in selling illegal drugs in different localities of Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE), particularly in Bawany Chawli, Union Council 5 for past many years.

According to a report prepared by the committee, there are over 50 places in UC-5 alone where drug peddlers have been operating their business without any fear. Hashish is the top selling item in the locality, while Heroin is second most traded narcotics so far. Some drug dealers also carried weapons to dominate residents of the area, it further said. Now, these drug traders are also moving into other parts of SITE Town, sources said.

The report has been given to the Home department, police headquarter, and area police stations but officials have not taken any action, The News has learnt.

This situation has gone from bad to worse since the past two years; meanwhile, people have witnessed regular incidents of street crime. Approximately 20 per cent of the population of the UC is addicted to drugs, while the police does not interfere in the matter because of political pressures, the sources said.

Medina Masjid, Muhalla Hyder Chali, Sarafa Bazaar near Shahi Masjid, Shahi Muhalla, Haqani Masjid and Muhalla, Rababni Masjid Muhalla, Mecca Masjid, Sher Bahadur Dera, Jalali Masjid and Pahari Muhalla, Bagh Malik and Rabbani Muhalla are some of the most active spots of drug peddling, The News has learnt.

Local activists from Awami National Party, Jamat-e-Islami, Jamat-e-Ullemae Islam, Muttahida Quami Movement, Pakistan People’s Party and Pukhtukhua Milli Awami Party, were part of a 25-people based committee. Meanwhile, all Nazims and Naib Nazims of SITE Town, other representatives of town administration, SHO’s of three police stations of town have been nominated as members of the committee.

The report, which was based on committee’s investigations that lasted for two months, revealed that the drug racket also enjoyed the support of police personnel from the town’s jurisdiction. According to the report, different levels of groups involved in the sale of drugs give the money extracted from extortion to the local police, and payments are made according to the category of their business.

Almost a month ago, one of the main drug dealers of the town, Wahab, was arrested along with five other traders but later, he was released in lieu of Rs0.25 million without an FIR being lodged. Like, Wahab, Juma Khan and his brother are other leading drug dealers. They operate in the graveyard located in between Pathan and Frontier Colony.

The report also indicates that drug operators use intra-city buses to smuggle contraband into the city. Afterwards, local public transport (comprising coaches) is used to distribute the drugs to other areas.

In some cases, entire families are involved in the sale of narcotics in local markets, the report stated. On the other hand, the residents of UC5 told The News that role of the local police is dubious and few, if not all, of the law enforcers support the drug mafia. Some retired and suspended policemen are also involved in drug trading and few on service policemen are also participating in it, they alleged.

“It has been noticed that whenever a person goes to the police to lodge complaints or FIRs against drug sale in his or her area, the police never respond properly,” area people claimed. “Furthermore, complainants receive severe threats from drug dealers within hours of their visit to police station,” they said.

Former, TPO Javed Riaz Akbar and who was followed by, Sohail Zafar Chatha, had taken serious actions against the sale of narcotics in the area, but, once they were transferred one after other from the town, the situation became favourable for these dealers. Nowadays, DIG West, Abdul Majeed Dasti has taken some measures but his efforts are going in vain due to connivance of local police with drug dealers.

Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxtation Department, Mukesh Kumar Chawala, was contacted to comment on the matter, but he was not available to speak to The News.
(The News Report)

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