Islamabad: Pakistan is all set to introduce new law and strengthen law-enforcing agencies for crackdown on synthetics drugs, which is devastating young lives and families.

“We are working on new legislation to ensure strict action against synthetic drugs. We will take firm action against the drug mafia whether they have taken shelter in any department, any political party or any section of the affluent society,” State Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi announced.

Pakistan has been the first line of defence to save the world from drugs menace and the country’s Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has rendered unparalleled sacrifices to prevent drug abuse, Afridi said addressing the participants of a drug burning ceremony in Peshawar.

Synthetic drugs are the biggest threat for the younger generation, which is why the government is working on new legislation to award severe punishment to drug mafia involved in the illicit business, he said. To tackle drug trafficking and money laundering, Pakistan has also developed a data bank of criminals.

“We are fighting a war on drug peddlers and we will make them an example,” he said. “Only those parents whose sons and daughters have fallen victim to drugs can understand the pain and agony [caused by the drugs],” Afridi said.

Synthetic drugs pose a serious danger to the future of Pakistan, a country that currently has the largest percentage of young people ever recorded. SAFRON would soon launch a mobile phone application to spread awareness on drugs to inform the public about the dangers of synthetic drugs and focus on youth well being. He called on the educational intuitions to play a leading role in public awareness campaigns. Synthetic drugs are developed in chemical laboratories instead of being extracted from plants.

The minister also announced to set up new rehab centres to transform the drug addicts into productive citizens. “We will take care of drug-addicted patients and will provide rehabilitation facilities to them to make them productive citizens,” he vowed.

Earlier, ANF regional director Brig Mateen Ahmed Mirza briefed on ANF Peshawar’s performance and said that more than 16 tonnes of narcotics were burnt in 2019 while ANF Peshawar registered 344 cases so far this year, confiscating assets worth Rs52.677 million.

Pakistan’s geographic location next to Afghanistan, that remains the world’s largest producer of opium, puts the country in a vulnerable position to deal with drug trafficking and drug abuse.