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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2492

A timely stand by Bangladesh Home Minister

Dhaka, 14 May, ( State Minister for Home Affairs in Bangladesh, Lutfuzzaman Babar raised an extremely important point during the just concluded Conference of the Home Ministers of the South Asian Nations. Babar pointed to the issue of combating drug trafficking within South Asia, and said, ‘Narcotics are affecting every country, and Pakistan has been assigned to identify specific activities within the year on how to stop proliferation of drugs abuse in South Asia’.

It is well known to the world that, Pakistan is the main gateway of dangerous drugs like White Sugar or Brown Sugar (which are popularly known as heroin), while a number of Indian companies are producing Phensydil, which spoils millions of lives in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Pakistan. It had already been reported in Bangladeshi press several times that Indian traders are exchanging extremely harmful Phensydil with edible oil and other precious commodities from Bangladesh. Each day, volume of such trade crosses million dollars.

Heroin comes from Afghanistan via Pakistan. Especially the residents of Pakistani frontier areas are largely engaged in this illegal trade. Recently two Pakistani national were awarded death penalty in Bangladesh as they were caught red handed with twenty-four kilograms of heroin. There are dozens of Pakistanis in several jails in Bangladesh, India and other SAARC countries. According to experts, both Pakistan and India are liable for spreading narcotics and drugs in the neighboring nations, which get a kind of hidden state patronizations. India and Pakistan know about the route of such trafficking and even names of the people or group involved. But, they turn a blind eye on them, just because, both the countries earn significant amount of money every year through this illegal trade.

In India, especially within the bordering localities, there is large number of small, medium or even large factories, producing Phensydil. Indian government loves to term them as pharmaceutical projects, but in reality, they do not produce any other medicine except Phensydil as it is the most profitable business for them.

Each bottle of Phesydil containing 250 ml sells for US$ 0.5 within Indian borders, while the ultimate selling price of this killer drug ranges between US$ 1.20-1.50 at the drug dealers dens. Law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh recover millions of bottles of Phesydileach year, while the trend of consuming this deadly ‘medicine’ is on alarming rise. Especially the youths get addicted to Pensydil, which ultimately leads them to various incurable diseases or death. According to experts, Indian manufacturers of Phesydil mix ephedrine in Phensydil, which after consumption silently damages internal veins and organs of the person.

Bangladesh government, although are vigilant in combating the Phensydil addiction, but till now, there is serious lack of public awareness programs through mass media to educate the people about the hazards of consuming this deadly ‘medicine’.

On the other hand, heroin smuggled from Pakistan to different South Asian countries, are seriously harming the younger generation. Moreover, some Pakistani traders use India and Bangladesh as safe route in trafficking this drug to various Western destinations. Just because of heroin addiction, more than half a million females in India end up in prostitution or brothels for earning money to buy drugs. In Bangladesh too, the situation is simply volatile.

A neutral survey shows that more than 20 per cent of the university students in South Asian countries get addicted to Phensydil or heroin. Out of this figure, number of female students is almost equal. Moreover, being addicted to drug and entering prostitution, many of the females conceive serious disease like HIV or STD. It is popularly said that addiction of drug is the gateway to various crimes.

The alarming rise in crime level in South Asia is also very much related to growing number of drug addicts. Considering these facts and figures, Bangladesh Home Minister Lutfuzzaman Babar rightly raised the issue of combating drug trafficking, which would be actually the foremost responsibility in combating terrorism and crime.

All the members of SAARC need to pay fullest attention to this issue. Moreover, international community needs to keep a close eye on the entire matter, and in case of necessity, they should force the government of Pakistan and India is immediately eliminating rackets involved in either trafficking of heroin and other narcotics as well those Indian factories producing deadly ‘medicines’ like Phensydil.

- INS+ Asian Tribune

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