The United States has issued its list of major drug transit or illicit drug producing countries for the fiscal year 2023. Interestingly, Pakistan has made it to the list, along with India.
According to the details, President Joe Biden sent a Memorandum to the Secretary of State, identifying the following countries as major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
However, it was clarified that a country’s presence on the list is neither a reflection of its government’s counterdrug efforts nor a level of cooperation with the United States.
Read more: What happened to India’s drug trafficking network in Afghanistan?
The reason countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to be transited or produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control and law enforcement measures, the statement by Joe Biden explained.
White House issues list of major drug transit or producing countries. Many of the usual suspects included (Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan et al), along with India and Pakistan, but no sign of China, which cracked down on fentanyl at the US' behest. 1https://t.co/accEgYzssy
— Rupert Stone (@RupertStone83) September 16, 2022
Pakistan’s drug problem
While Pakistan is not a major drug-producing country, it is among the most heroin-addicted country in the world.
Pertinent to mention that Pakistan shares borders with Afghanistan, the country that is responsible for at least 75% of the world’s heroin. In 2021, the Afghan opium trade generated $2.7 billion in income.
Afghanistan has long been linked with heroin, but in recent years, it has also emerged as a significant producer of crystal meth – another dangerously addictive drug.
Due to such close proximity to Afghanistan, Pakistan is also the transport hub with drug networks operating from the country using its drug routes to reach international markets.
Tonnes of opiates and meth are trafficked from Afghanistan to the Torkham border crossing, Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, from where they are sent to Lahore and Faisalabad, reassembled into huge consignments. Then they are transported to Karachi and Gwadar, and fishing vessels on the Makran coast are used for drug transport to the South Asian markets. Balochistan has also been an important drug transit route in Pakistan.
Read more: Balochistan: The new hub of drug addiction