ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan and China have decided to expand the scope of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the world’s first drug-free corridor, linking the safety modules with Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, and other regional trade routes.
The Minister for Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi, who is in Austria’s Capital Vienna, where Pakistan is chairing UNODC’s 63rd CND Session in Vienna held sideline meeting with the participant delegations from China, Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates(UAE) and other regional countries.
Both China and Pakistan decided to expand the scope of CPEC as a world’s first-ever drug-free corridor.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision is to make CPEC a drug free route,” said Shehryar Afridi during the meeting.
During the meeting with the Russian delegation, Pakistan’s role as a frontline state against drug trafficking and terrorism was recognized by the Russian officials.
Both sides also agreed on enhanced training to be conducted for law enforcement agencies’ personnel.
In order to get rid of drug menace collectively in the region, consultations were made by other regional countries alongside China and Russia.
The Russian delegation appreciated the fact that there was no instance of direct narcotics smuggling from Pakistan into Russia or vice versa.
The delegation emphasized the fact that Pakistan is indeed playing the part of a frontline state against drug trafficking and terrorism and is responsible for maintaining regional peace.
They agreed to increase the support in providing training to law enforcement agencies to help combat drug trafficking.
The Russians appreciated the seriousness of the Pakistan government in the matter affecting humanity around the globe.
“Drug trafficking is a common problem faced by the entire region,” said Shehryar Afridi.
Pakistan conducted sideline meetings with regional countries i.e. Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan to Step up the process of controlling the flow of synthetic drugs on regional trade routes through mutual collaboration.
The Iranian authorities expressed their concern over the problem of Afghan opiates faced by both Iran and Pakistan.
Iran showed its willingness to work with Pakistan in eradicating the inflow of drugs via land and sea by conducting joint border patrolling and naval exercises.
The meeting discussed the common problems which the two Countries face including the threat posed by Afghan opiates.
The Iranian authorities expressed their concern about the increased trafficking of synthetic drugs in their country.
The delegates suggested that Pakistan and Iran shall have a joint coordination mechanism for border patrolling and also joint naval exercises to control drug trafficking through the sea.
Pakistan suggested both the countries to engage in a trilateral relationship with Afghanistan so that real difference can be made when it comes to blocking drug movement.
Iran appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to permanently post a Liaison Officer from ANF at the Joint Planning Cell in Tehran.
Tajikistan delegation expressed its frustration over the common issue of Afghan opiates because of sharing a long border with Afghanistan. The delegation said that even though the overall decrease of narcotic smuggling is encouraging yet the rise of synthetic drugs in Tajikistan is affecting the youth.
Shehryar Afridi assured them of Pakistan’s full support to the cause of curbing narcotics in the region. He told them that the brotherly relations of the two Countries will bear positive results.
A tribute was paid to Pakistan by UAE officials in the form of documentary ‘Operation Thank You Pakistan’.
The UAE recognized Pakistan for its role in eliminating drug trafficking and apprehending high profile targets.
During his meeting with Afghan delegation, Shehryar Afridi assured the Afghan delegation of the will and sincere desire of Pakistan to see peace in their Country which is vital for regional and global peace.
The minister pressed upon them to build mutual respect and trust and assured them of support and cooperation from Pakistan regarding intelligence and information sharing as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between our two countries on the subject of narco-trafficking.
Shehryar Afridi also reminded them of the generous hosting of Pakistan of millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades.