Zardari may ink Pak-Russia anti-drug accord

Newssite “The Nation” writes this:

ISLAMABAD – President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to sign much delayed anti-drug trafficking agreement during his upcoming visit to Russia despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s strong opposition.

Informed official insiders confided to TheNation that the much awaited agreement, which was scheduled to be signed between Pakistan and Russia last year, was expected to be given final nod by President Zardari during his tour to Russia starting from August 18. Zardari would be leaving for Russia to attend a quadrilateral regional conference that would be participated by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Tajikistan.
It is also learnt that Afghan authorities would ‘try their best’ on the occasion of quadrilateral conference to stop Pakistan from signing the agreement. The desperate Afghan camp is reportedly exerting all-out pressure on Pakistani side to refrain the latter from validating the same accord. There are also reports that succumbing to the pressure exerted by Afghan President, President Zardari might develop a ‘soft corner’ towards Karzai’s demand and the fate of the bilateral agreement may linger on further.
As reported in TheNation on a prior occasion, the agreement, if signed, would be a major breakthrough towards anti-drug trafficking measures in the region. In addition, the signing of the agreement aims at breaking the regional nexus of the drug smugglers that is patronised by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother Ahmed Ali Wazir. The latter reportedly runs drugs trading empire and underworld racket in Southern Afghanistan. Wazir is also believed to fund major part of Hamid Karzai’s businesses and corporate enterprise. In case the efforts of Pakistan and Russia succeed to curtail drug trafficking in the region, the move would serve as an ‘irreparable loss’ to Hamid Karzai, his brother, and their cronies in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A sitting Member Provincial Assembly (MPA), KP, has been recently booked over drugs smuggling charges.

The Pakistani officials, in order to oblige their Afghan counterparts, kept delaying the finalisation of the terms of the agreement on one pretext or the other citing legal lacunae like the requirement of ratification of the particular accord by Pakistani Parliament.
TheNation contacted Tariq Khosa, Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control, on Tuesday evening but he refused to speak and dropped the call. Colonel Nadeem, Spokesperson, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), a division of Ministry of Narcotics Control, is not in knowledge of the issue.
It asks for a recall that this newspaper first brought the issue to light when it reported on the last June 14 that the prolonged delay in the signing of an anti-drug trafficking agreement was frustrating Pakistan and Russia’s effort to materialise anti-narcotics measures. It was also reported that illegal drug trade over $ 8 billion annually took place between Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and other neighbouring states that exceeded annual fiscal budgets of several less developed states.

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