500,000 heroin users in Pakistan: World Drug Report-2010
Shaista Malik & Zerqa Naveed
ISLAMABAD July 21, 2010: “Pakistan has approximately 500,000 heroin users, estimated to have consumed around 19 metric tons (MT) of heroin in 2008,” reveals the recently released World Drug Report (WDR)-2010, released by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
“Some 150 metric tons (MT) i.e. 40% Of Afghan Heroin / Morphine is trafficked to Pakistan, particularly to Balochistan Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), both sharing a long border with Afghanistan,” it adds.
According to this report the estimated figure of opium consumers around the world is 4 million. However, opium consumption is concentrated in Asia due to long tradition of its use. Although, Opium was replaced by Heroin in the preceding century, yet it still maintains important markets in countries like Iran, India and Pakistan.
The report further describes that Afghanistan ranks the top of the world in drug use as well as its export. Most of her neighbors including Pakistan seem to be concerned about it. The report further estimates that 60% of the global consumption is in the countries bordering Afghanistan, including Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. However, Pakistan and Central Asian countries are cultivating it on a very small small-scale.
“In recent years, it is estimated that some 340 (MT) of the substance has been consumed worldwide per year which appears to be supplied by Afghan heroin trafficked via Pakistan, India and a number of countries along the Arabian Peninsula”, says the report.
The report claims that trafficking of heroin/morphine via Pakistan takes the route to the Islamic Republic of Iran (35 MT, mostly for onward shipment to Europe), various countries in Asia (25 MT), Africa (some 20 MT) and the United Arab Emirates (11 MT for onward shipment to China and East/Southern Africa). The trafficking through Pakistan involves numerous air and sea routes to Europe, -- the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, shipping an estimated 5 MT annually via these direct connections.
The report claims, “Additionally, the processing and trafficking is an important source of income for the insurgents in some opium-producing countries such as Afghanistan and Myanmar. Whereas in Pakistan, Taliban allies such as Al-Qaeda and other like-minded groups have bases along the main heroin/opium trafficking routes and are well located to benefit from it.”
The report also points out that in Pakistan and Afghanistan the drug market is connected with severe national and international security problems.