PESHAWAR: Police officials are trying to halt the adoption or modify in its favour The Control of Narcotic Substances Bill, 2017 that was recently tabled in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
The bill, if passed in its current form, would almost eliminate the role of police in the lucrative business of narcotics control in the province.
It calls for the establishment of a special Narcotics Control Wing in the directorate-general of the provincial Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Department for dealing with all such matters.
The proposed wing would not only have the powers to seize narcotics but also have the authority to register, investigate and prosecute all such cases.
Currently, officials of the K-P Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Department are only allowed to seize narcotics after which they have to hand it over to the police or the Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF).
Sources said that the police department is trying to undermine this bill just as it did in the case of the K-P Police Act of 2017.
The current police chief, sources said, was also trying to influence the legislative process just like his predecessor Nasir Khan Durrani. The K-P police chief is learnt to have called on K-P Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, informing him about his department’s reservations on both the bills.
Sources also said that the police are also contacting members of the K-P Assembly in an attempt to modify the bill in favour of the police or defer it indefinitely.
“Police (officers) want to retain their role in narcotics control,” said an official requesting anonymity.
Under Section 3 of the new bill, the proposed narcotics control wing will be headed by a director, assisted by subordinate officers.
The narcotics control wing will have its own force just like police and its officers will have the powers to conduct raids and searches for seizing drugs.
Under the bill, the government of K-P shall notify and designate investigation officers at regional, divisional and district levels.
These investigation officers shall have powers to set up interrogation cells, lock-ups and warehouses for keeping the accused and holding the seized assets and vehicles.
Other law-enforcement agencies operating in designated areas shall provide assistance to officer-in-charge of this wing’s investigation offices.
The remainder of the bill is almost similar to the federal government’s Control of Narcotic Substance Act of 1997, which the new bill will repeal after enactment in the province.