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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why Balochistan needs a cure for its drug addiction

Nearly seven routes of drug traffic pass through Balochistan as the province shares a border with Afghanistan. Such easy access to drugs is causing severe addiction in Balochistan's youth.

Balochistan takes a suffocating breath amidst heavy drug culture. The province languishes hard under the drug mafias who enjoy undisputed, extensive, and wide reach over the state institutions. Since the concerned authorities are weak, dilapidated, and fragile, the drug lords leave no stone unturned in manipulating them.

Apparently, it seems they have created their own state within the state. Concerning the extensible and easy access to drugs, such as heroin and opium, the social fabric of the province is at the stake of being diluted, distorted, and torn, eventually, throwing the youth into the vicious cycle of drug addiction.

Read more: National action plan against drugs addiction

Today, Balochistan is dramatically confronting the menace of drugs worse than ever. According to Sana Baloch- a member of the Balochistan Provisional Assembly- “nearly fifteen thousand youth become the victim of drug addiction annually.” Which is an alarming number! However, the undocumented and unreported cases are an exception.

Furthermore, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2013 report, almost 6.7 million people are taking drugs in Pakistan. The same report further shows the number of drug users in Balochistan was 280,000. Now, the culture of drug addiction is peaking in the province of Balochistan.

Read more: The unfortunate reality of education in Balochistan

As Balochistan is located in the proximity of Afghanistan, which contributes 80 percent of global opium production, nearly seven routes of drug traffic pass through various roads in Balochistan. The Zhob route is considered one of the largest drug trafficking highways in South Asia.

Seemingly there are a number of checkpoints of anti-narcotics along with the Levies force of Balochistan, yet the flow of drugs from Afghanistan is increasing with each passing day.

Certainly, the pain can be felt on the faces of those families whose juveniles take drugs. I had a brief chat with the elder sister of Khuda Dad- people call him khuddo mockingly- who now find themselves in a troubled stage. Unsterilized and unhygienic use of injection-which is the easiest thing for addicts- led him to a tumor on the back of the neck. He could not even turn his gaze easily.

As the family can’t afford the expenses of treatment, his condition is worsening with each passing day. Khudo, despite being a regular addict, regrets his normal days, and sometimes cries out loudly. His elder sister, who is a teacher, often lamented that if there were no drugs available, my brother would have shouldered my responsibilities. However, tens of thousands of families are having the same saga of disparity and loss.

Read more: I said ‘no’ to drugs, they didn’t listen: dealing with addiction

A need to end the draconian cycle

Balochistan remains the centripetal and focal point for world actors. The China-Pakistan economic corridor CPEC is a conspicuous manifestation. Further, the region with a vast treasure of natural resources has been kept away from development packages, thus leaving it under brutal jaws of heavy drugs.

Youth are the real assets of a nation as they are agents of renovation, change, and reforms. The unrestricted, free, and unregulated streamline of drugs probably unleashes the string of instability, chaos, and tensions for the whole country.

Read more: Pakistan’s Youth for change

Balochistan is the largest federating unit of Pakistan, even though it is the poorest. Bypassing its social, political, and economic needs surely poses a bad omen for Pakistan.

At the policy-making level, the province is being seen through the prism of opportunities, therefore neglecting the populace. This has, for past decades, augmented the sense of alienation, polarization, and deprivation across the populace.

Having resources in abundance, the youth at least deserve a drug-free Balochistan. Already the people of this land have sacrificed enough in the face of heavy security ups and
down, drug lords are further taking them into a draconian cycle.

Read more: Pak Army to work towards ensuring long lasting peace in Balochistan

The writer is based in Awaran, Balochistan. He teaches at Delta Language Center, Quetta. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.