KARACHI: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Embassy of Norway in Pakistan have presented the results of the Container Control Programme (CCP) in a press conference here. John Sandage, the Director of Treaty Affairs, UNODC, Headquartered in Vienna, and the Norwegian Ambassador to Pakistan Cecilie Landsverk have welcomed the success of country’s law enforcement officials in seizing huge amounts of a variety of contrabands.
Since 2009, CCP-trained staff in Pakistan has made some of the region’s largest seizures of illegally traded chemicals and drugs. The staff has seized a total of 50,000 kg of cannabis; more than 2,800 kg of heroin; 226 kg of cocaine; 30,000 litres of illicit chemicals used to make heroin; as well as seizures of poppy seed, cigarettes, chemicals used for explosives, ephedrine and diazepam.
Under the programme, Pakistan Customs and Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) have been working together to strengthen their capacity in risk profiling of containers, cooperating with colleagues at other ports in Pakistan and abroad. Port Control Units (PCUs) have been set up at 9 locations in Pakistan located on the country’s main road and rail arteries running from the sea to all of Pakistan’s main cities and industrial areas. Officials at PCUs identify suspicious consignments in containers by analysing documentation accompanying shipments.
In recent years, risk profiling experts in Pakistan have also been training officials from neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
In addition to Pakistan’s own trade, nearly all international trade of Afghanistan transits through the sea ports of Karachi and Port Qasim. The volume of internationally traded cargo in containers has tripled since 1996. More than 2,500 containers pass through Pakistan’s sea ports per day, most of which the port authorities have to clear within 24 hours to ensure that legitimate trade remains efficient and competitive. Containers provide traffickers with a real opportunity to conceal their wares and avoid detection. As checking all cargo is impossible, authorities need to use their limited human and financial resources in a smart and targeted manner.
The Container Control Programme has been developed by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) and is implemented in cooperation with governments and law enforcement authorities worldwide.