Narcotics Control Bill Deferred
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker deferred a bill which sought to abolish the role of police in controlling narcotics in the province.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Excise, Taxation and Narcotics had been pressing the government to pass the The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Control of Narcotic Substances Bill 2017. The Bill had been included in the Assembly’s agenda and expected to be approved. However, sources in the Excise and Taxation Department stated that the police had expressed their severe objections to the Bill as they allegedly did not want to let go of a ‘lucrative’ subject.
The Bill proposes that instead of police, a special “Narcotics Control Wing” and force will be set up under the Director General of the Excise Department to deal with all related matters. The wing will have the power to conduct raids, seize narcotics, register cases against perpetrators and investigate and prosecute them. This will be a massive improvement for the Excise Department that can only seize drugs before handing them over to the police or to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
Senior police officials have been trying to either delay the Bill or bend it to their benefit. However, during the Assembly session, the Speaker insisted for the Bill to be first discussed in the select committee. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) presented amendments to three clauses of the Bill. The Minister agreed to first amendment regarding reduction in the quantity of narcotic substances from ten (10) grams to one (1) gram and for punishments defined under clause 9 of the Bill.