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Pakistan's narco-terror push drives rampant drug abuse in Kashmir

In Kashmir, the nexus is vital for Pakistan to keep the place troubled. It has been pushing in drugs through the land route

Pakistans narco-terror push drives rampant drug abuse in Kashmir

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Dec 2022 4:11 AM GMT

NEW DELHI: Along with sponsoring terrorism, Pakistan has also been pushing drugs smuggling into Kashmir. The security agencies have red-flagged the neighbouring country recalibrating its hybrid war tactics in Jammu and Kashmir in which narco-terrorism is increasingly becoming a vital weapon.

Since late 1980s, when terrorism took roots in Kashmir, Pakistan's proxy war was driven primarily by infiltration of trained terrorists into the Valley. Local youth were lured to PoK where they were trained to indulge in terror activities.

Pakistan was able to provide money through a network of separatists and religious leaders. However, with demonetisation followed by abrogation of Article 370 and the crackdown on separatists, the money trail has been totally curbed. In order to keep the funding alive for the terror outfits, Pakistan has now moved on to drugs smuggling.

Narco-terrorism implies the nexus between drug syndicates and terrorists that facilitate and fund terrorist activities. In Kashmir, the nexus is vital for Pakistan to keep the place troubled. It has been pushing in drugs through the land route — across the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab — and through drones.

The BSF, Army and the J&K Police have busted several Pakistan-sponsored narco-terror modules and arrested several people. Many of these are the over-ground workers of terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.

In August 2022, the Border Security Force (BSF) recovered eight packets of heroin worth Rs 8 crore in the Samba district after a wounded terrorist fled back to Pakistan.

In September, the J&K Police arrested a couple from Punjab with 7 kg heroin in Udhampur district. Additional DGP Mukesh Singh had said the couple were from Ram Tirath Road in Amritsar and were carrying the drugs in their car. The couple was inter-state drug smugglers.

In October, 21.5 kg heroin was seized in Udhampur from a Punjab-bound truck. The truck driver was in touch with a Pakistan-based handler who had been guiding him through a social media application. The police claimed that the driver had been to the Valley two to three times earlier.

This year alone, illegal consignments worth hundreds of crores have been seized by the J&K Police. Terror groups in Pakistan are already under pressure as the Indian security and intelligence agencies have disrupted their network by arresting the associates of terrorists and freezing their bank accounts.

J&K DGP Dilbag Singh had said recently that narco-terrorism by Pakistan was the biggest challenge for the security forces.

He had said, "Though the police are dealing with narco-terrorism effectively by busting modules, a lot more needs to be done." The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its September report had revealed that in J&K, 1,681 cases were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2021. Around 357 cases were registered for possessing drugs for personal use. Around 1,324 cases were registered for possession of drugs for trafficking.

In 2019, over 3,850 IV heroin abuse cases were recorded, while the number rose to 13,200 in 2021.

In the first quarter of 2021-2022, the J&K Police launched a major crackdown to curb narcotics smuggling and arrested over 1,232 drug peddlers and filed 867 FIRs.

The security agencies do maintain a tight vigil along the areas falling close to the border, including Uri, Kupwara, Rajouri and Poonch as Pakistan is behind the transportation of drugs into J&K.

Pakistan's support to drug smuggling happens through its intelligence agency, ISI. The smuggling is said to be a vital part in its covert military operations, including Kashmir. A revelation to this effect was made by Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in an interview to the Washington Post — 'Heroin plan by top Pakistanis alleged' dated September 12, 1994. (IANS)

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