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2001 08 06 * Monthly field report Pakistan and Afghanistan-No. 35, July 2001

undp.un.org.pk/undcp/monthrep35.htm

MONTHLY FIELD REPORT PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN

No. 35, July 2001

A. ANALYSIS OF IMPORTANT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

PAKISTAN

  • India and Pakistan pledge to continue talks after the Agra summit ends in a deadlock:
  • India and Pakistan have both pledged to continue the dialogue at the political level on issues like Kashmir, peace and security, and terrorism and drug trafficking after the Agra summit held from 14-16 July ended in a deadlock over the Kashmir issue. During the summit, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee held extensive and wide-ranging discussions on bilateral relations during several lengthy one-on-one meetings, ending a two-year freeze on high-level contacts between the two countries. However, no joint declaration could be issued as both sides failed to agree on the text of a final statement due to differences over the mention of the Kashmir issue. However, it is encouraging to note that both countries have characterized the Agra talks as inconclusive rather than a failure. During the visit, President Musharraf publicly conceded that the Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by military means. Mr. Vajpayee has accepted General Musharraf's invitation to pay a return visit to Pakistan later this year. The United States and the UN Secretary General have termed the Agra summit as a positive development.

  • IMF approves third loan tranche for Pakistan:
  • The Executive Board of IMF on 12 July approved the release of third loan tranche of US$ 131 million under its US$ 596 million Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) for Pakistan. The country has so far drawn US$ 324 million under the SBA, approved in November last year (ref para #1, Monthly Report No. 29, November 2000). Known as a single-tranche country, Pakistan has for the first time got the third loan tranche since 1988, when it logged onto the IMF programmes. The SBA not only helped Pakistan get its expensive loans rescheduled with Paris Club countries, it also improved Pakistan's international credit ratings by one notch up. The successful completion of the SBA, considered to be an anti-growth and expensive stabilization programme carrying an interest rate of 4.5 per cent, will open the way for negotiations to latch on to a multi-billion dollar, cheaper (0.5% interest rate) and long-term Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has agreed to extend US$ 250 million to Pakistan for development projects on the fast track basis. The World Bank on 25 July also announced to provide US$ 700 million to Pakistan this year for various projects, including $300 million banking sector loan and $130 million for mitigating the effects of drought.

  • Torrential rains kill around 300 people in Pakistan:
  • Heavy monsoon rains followed by flash-floods and landslides have killed around 300 people in different parts of Pakistan, especially in the NWFP, Northern Areas and the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Huge losses to property, livestock and business have been reported. The capital city of Islamabad received on 23 July the century's heaviest single-day rainfall of 620 mm.

  • Military government re-constitutes the National Security Council:
  • Pakistan's President has re-constituted the National Security Council to aid and advise him. The new Ordinance lists the council as the President, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the three services chiefs, provincial governors and other such members as may be appointed by the President. The Government has also decided to amend the Anti Terrorism Act to include the banning of military training in religious institutions..

    AFGHANISTAN

  • Military activities:
  • During the reporting month, fighting continued between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance forces in Takhar and Semingan provinces, but the frontline remained unchanged. Armed clashes have also been reported from the Western Region (Ghore, Herat and Frah provinces). The frontline in the north of Kabul was quiet but large troop concentrations on both sides remained in the area. Two bomb explosions occurred in Kabul with no casualties.

  • Taliban ban Internet, import of nail-polish and other items:
  • On July 16, the Taliban authorities announced a ban on the use of Internet to prevent what they called the spread of un-Islamic ideas in their territory until the country builds its own telephone network. Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel said the restrictions applied to government officials and ordinary citizens, but not to international relief agencies and the United Nations staff. According to UN estimates, only about eight Afghans in every 1,000 have access to telephone, while the internet use is practically non-existent in the country. In another decree of 18 July, the Taliban supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar imposed a ban on the import of 30 items, including nail polish, ties, musical instruments and Christmas cards. The decree asks the Ministry of Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue to check the import of these items and to confiscate them if found.

  • G-8 condemns human rights violations in Afghanistan:
  • In response to the joint declaration of the G-8 Member States issued at the end of their recent summit in Italy, a Taliban spokesman said that all the allegations leveled by the group were part of propaganda against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The G-8 member countries condemned the human rights violations in Afghanistan and reiterated their concern over the alleged growing terrorist threat from the country. The leaders urged the Taliban to close down the alleged terrorist training camps in their controlled areas and called upon those having influence to exert pressure on the Taliban to act responsibly. The leaders asked for the full implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1267 and 1333. They also expressed their support for the efforts of the UN and other bodies for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. While appreciating the ban imposed by the Taliban on opium poppy production, they expressed concern over opium stocks and drug trafficking in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their commitment regarding effective assistance to relieve the plight of the Afghan people and to effectively cooperate with donor countries and implementing agencies in the framework of the Afghanistan Support Group (ASG). 

    A spokesman for the United Front said that the ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani had written a letter to the leaders of the G8 group and asked them to put pressure on Pakistan to end its support for the Taliban. Mr. Rabbani had also asked the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to raise the issue of Islamabad's support to Taliban with Pakistan's President General Pervez during their summit meeting in India.

  • U.S. wheat heads for Afghanistan. Five million Afghans still have little or no food:
  • On 16 July, WFP announced that around 75,200 tonnes of U.S. wheat is expected to arrive in Afghanistan but the emergency aid will feed only a fraction of the millions of Afghans without sufficient food. The agency said that due to the severe drought and the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan was still 1.4 million tonnes short of cereal, and five million Afghans have little or no access to food. "The situation in Afghanistan is nothing short of a major crisis", said WFP. According to the agency, the drought, the worst in memory, had laid to waste about half of Afghanistan's irrigated land and this year's harvest met only half of the country's food needs.

  • Alarming rate of child mortality in Afghanistan:
  • On 15 July, the Save the Children Fund U.S. reported that child mortality rate in the northern Afghan province of Faryab has reached "alarming levels", now more than double than it should be in an emergency situation..


    B. IMPORTANT DRUG CONTROL AND CRIME-RELATED MATTERS DRUG CONTROL PAKISTAN

  • Drug prices:
  • According to reports received from Nangarhar (Afghanistan), one kg of dry opium is available at US$ 280, while in Qandahar (Afghanistan) at $ 250. Sources report that in Pakistan's Tribal Area market at Ali Masjid in Khyber, one kg varies between US$ 385 to US$ 550. However they also report that 'mixed opium' has come into the market at US$ 230. It is not known what is being mixed with the opium, but other reports talk about an increase of abuse of pharmaceutical drugs, including one white tablet that has a strong hypnotic effect and puts the user into a deep sleep. The ANF list of prices shows wild fluctuation across the country and some figures must be in doubt. Prices for top grade opium vary from US$ 100 in Gujrat to $ 1,000 in Gilgit with prices in Peshawar and Quetta being $ 385. Prices of brown heroin vary between $ 700 in Peshawar to $ 2,000 in Lahore. White heroin (high-grade heroin) is reported as not available in the market.

  • Drug seizures by the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan during 2000, and until June 2001:
  • The provisional drug seizures for all Agencies for the year up to the 30th June 2001 are :-

    opium - 2,831 kg

    heroin - 3,172 kg

    hashish - 31,264 kg

    AA - Nil

    As there are some 11 Agencies to submit seizure figures, many of them broken down to local or district level, there is a time delay in reporting and consequent consolidation. At the half year stage, there is a reduction in seizures being effected. 

    One of the major events this month was the conviction of the owner of a major English as well as an Urdu language newspaper, Mr. Rehmat Shah Afridi, of drug trafficking, who was given the death sentence on two counts. Apart from the fact that a prominent person had been awarded the death sentence, the case was the first in Pakistan where covertly recorded material and the transcripts of the tapes were admitted as a prosecution evidence. Afridi is claiming that the case is politically motivated, initiated by the previous Government. 

    Reports of drug seizures are generally reduced this month, however ANF Quetta seized 251 kg morphine in two operations close to the Pak/Iran border at the very end of last month and 301 kg morphine this month from close to the Afghan border, while the ANF in Lahore seized 53 kg heroin, being transported by jeep, and arrested three persons. It is thought that the heroin was destined for export via Lahore. The Special Investigation Cell of ANF arrested two persons and recovered 10 kg heroin in Rawalpindi and 2 kg heroin from another man in separate operations. The ANF Rawalpindi arrested two men travelling from Peshawar and recovered 4.5 kg heroin. The Police in Rawalpindi recovered 3 kg heroin from a passenger who arrived from Peshawar. 

    One newspaper has cited a major change in trafficking patterns within the country, that of using children to transport drugs. It is claimed that up to 100 children have been arrested in the last three months for trafficking. Many are said to have been recruited from the Tribal Areas (particularly Bara and Jamrud in Khyber Agency) by local 'businessmen'. Army monitoring teams raided three police stations in the Hyderabad district and found unregistered arms and dealer amounts of heroin - all unrecorded.

    Consolidated drug seizures for all Pakistani agencies for the years 2000 and 2001 (until June) are as follows:

    DRUG SEIZURES IN PAKISTAN
    Type
    of Drugs
    2000 2001
    (provisional)
    Heroin 9,400
    kg
    3,172
    kg
    Opium

    8,780
    kg
    2,831
    kg
    Hashish 129,913
    kg
    31,264
    kg
    AA 43
    lts
    Nil

    AFGHANISTAN

  • Opium burnt by the Northern Alliance authorities:
  • On 5 July, drug control authorities of the Northern Alliance reportedly burnt 80 kg of opium publicly in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan province. The burning ceremony was witnessed by the heads of government offices, representatives of aid organizations and community elders.

  • Russian border guards seize big opium haul in Tajikistan:
  • On July 14, Russian border guards reportedly seized a haul of 2,000 kg of raw opium along the Afghan-Tajik border.

    CRIME PAKISTAN

  • Pakistan failed to combat human trafficking, says U.S. report:
  • Pakistan has been criticized in a U.S. State Department report released on 12 July for failing to meet minimum standards to combat human trafficking because of pervasive corruption, absence of information and data, and a severe lack of resources. The report entitled "Trafficking in Persons 2001", which was released by Secretary of State Colin Powell and surveys the problems encountered in various countries round the world, describes Pakistan as a source, transit and destination country for an increasing number of trafficked persons. The report says that women and children are trafficked in Pakistan for sexual exploitation, bonded labour and domestic servitude to the Middle East. Pakistan is also a source for young boys who are kidnapped or bought and sent to work as camel jockeys in the Persian Gulf States. 

    Four children were recently recovered from Karachi and 2 children from Multan who were all being smuggled to the Gulf countries as camel jockeys - five people have been arrested for involvement in this matter. These recoveries have prompted some groups to call for the authorities to formulate special laws to combat the trafficking of children for camel jockeys. The majority of the children are claimed to have been sold by their parents.

    In Karachi, 21 Chinese people were arrested, all with fake documentation, who were using Karachi as a staging post to be smuggled in smaller groups to Europe. Pakistanis were among 250 people detained from boarding a boat near Phnom Penh in their bid to be smuggled to Australia.

    In the meantime, the Government Task Force on Human Trafficking (Ref para #13, Monthly Report No.32, April 2001) has presented its recommendations to the Government about the need for amendments to existing legislation in the absence of a comprehensive immigration act. The recommendations are made so that Pakistan will conform to the international commitments of the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime. The Task Force did highlight that although the task of controlling this was laid to the Federal Investigation Agency, they had neither the proper staff and resources nor the expertise to carry this out.

  • Law and order:
  • On 26 July, the managing director of state-run oil marketing firm, Pakistan State Oil, Mr. Shaukat Mirza was shot dead along with his driver by two unidentified masked gunmen in Karachi. In the run up to the latest local body elections held on 2 July, there was no widespread violence in Karachi that was earlier feared. However 5 people were killed in pre-poll incidents in the city, including a bomb blast inside a cinema hall. Some 350,000 law enforcement personnel were called into Karachi to maintain the peace during the elections. Other random killing continued through the month, including 3 people in Karachi and a leading Shia leader in Dera Ismail Khan.

  • Police reforms:
  • The Federal Government has said it will promulgate the draft police ordinance by 14th August, but it is likely to be by way of a presidential ordinance rather than promulgation through the provincial governments as there is considerable opposition to it. The Police Act of 1861 is being amended and replaced by a new code of conduct for the police, based upon UN standards.

  • Corruption:
  • The National Accountability Bureau Ordinance is to be amended to allow the placement of any document acquired from a foreign country showing corruption of any Pakistani, in the Accountability Court. This was a matter noted by the Supreme Court in recent petitions challenging the NAB Ordinance.

  • ADB loan for judicial reforms:
  • The Asian Development Bank and the Government of Pakistan have been negotiating a US$ 150 million loan for judicial reforms. An initial fact-finding mission has visited Pakistan and will be followed by another mission, possibly in August. The initial reports have listed 5 major outcomes from the reforms but generally it is designed for greater equity and accessibility of judicial and administrative services. The ADB have included seventeen conditions for the loan, which includes the introduction of a freedom of information act.

    AFGHANISTAN

  • None.
  • C. PROGRAMME/PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION AND DEVELOPMENT PAKISTAN

  • PAK/94/840:"Dir District Development Project" (1994-2001)
  • Project budget: US $ 14,500,000; allocation advice: 2001: US $ 991,500 estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 67%

    A PMC meeting was held on 23, 25 and 26 July 2001 to approve an additional 3 month work plan for the project (July - September) at Timergara and Peshawar. The project was instructed to revise the work plan in accordance with the decisions taken at the PMC in Peshawar. The first draft of the 2000 NEX audit is being reviewed. The one-man terminal audit of the project is scheduled to begin from 18 August (3 week duration).

  • PAK/94/878"Special Development Unit" (1994-2001)
  • Project budget: US$ 881,000; allocation advice 2001: US $ 37,150 estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 74%

    The U.S. government is now considering an MOU to fund the SDU from October 2001 onwards for a period of three years.

  • PAK/99/D86:"Drug Law Enforcement
  • Programme for Pakistan" (1999-2002)

    Programme budget: US$ 5,252,364; allocation advice for 2001: US$ 1,643,200 estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 52%

    Drug testing equipment, chemicals and glassware were handed over by the UNDCP Representative to the Provincial Health Minister of Punjab for the Chemical Examiner's Laboratory, Rawalpindi at a ceremony on 17 July.

    Basic drug law enforcement training was carried out from 16-28 July for the staff of Frontier Corps, Baluchistan and NWFP, Punjab Rangers Lahore and Coast Guards Karachi. Participants from Customs, Airport Security Force and Police also participated. A total of 78 participants were trained.

    The computer equipment for establishing a LAN and WAN has been provided to Anti Narcotics Force. All the Regional Directorates will be connected with the Headquarters in Rawalpindi through a WAN. Software will be developed to form an intelligence data base. The LAN networking has been completed at all the ANF Regional Directorates as well as at Rawalpindi HQ. Once completed, the ANF will have a functional drug information and intelligence system to collect and analyze all drug-related information.

  • RAS/98/D18"Support to Drug Law Enforcement Programmes in SW, South and Central Asia, from within Regional Office SW Asia" (1998-2001).
  • Project budget: US$ 132,000; allocation advice 2001: US$ 37,700 estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 31%

    Assistance has been given to Project PAK/99/D86 in finalizing various elements of the programme and drawing-up TOR for a mid-term evaluation of the project. The LEA has also been involved in the arrangements for the forthcoming Six-plus-Two Group Technical Meeting to be held in Islamabad in September this year.

  • AD/PAK/99/D85: "Rapid Situation Assessment of Drug Abuse in Pakistan"
  • Project budget: US$ 99,400; allocation advice 2001: US$ 8,800 estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 95%

    The provisional results and draft text of the RSA were received from HQs are being reviewed by the Field Office.

  • AD/PAK/01/F50: "Establishment of a Network of Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres"
  • Project budget: US$ 547,000.

    The list of treatment centres, to be included in the network of drug treatment centres, is being finalized. The treatment task force is also under formulation that will be followed by a needs-based assessment of treatment centres through site visits.

  • AD/PAK/01/F51: "Mainstreaming and Drug Abuse Prevention"
  • Project budget: US$ 277,000.

    The project document has been finalized and is being sent to HQs for approval. The actual implementation of the project is expected to start in October 2001.

  • AD/PAK/01/F91: HIV/AIDS Prevention among Intravenous Drug Users in Karachi - a Pilot Project.
  • Project budget: US$ 200,000.

    The selection of NGO for the implementation of project activities is being finalized. The training and research component of the project will start as soon as a drop-in centre is operational.

    AFGHANISTAN

  • AD/AFG/01/F70 "Afghanistan Annual Opium Poppy Survey"
  • Project budget: US $610,200; Revised Allocation Advice 2001: US$ 518,600; estimated implementation rate Jan-June 2001: 47% 

    The fieldwork of the Annual Opium Poppy Survey 2001 was completed in Badakhshan and the final batches of the survey forms were submitted to the data entry section, Islamabad in the first week of July. The data entry process has been completed in the third week of July. The total number of survey forms recorded for 2001 is 10,030 which shows an increase of 2,489 forms as compared to 2000. A draft survey report will be forwarded to HQs for review and comments in the beginning of August. The final report is expected to be ready for release in the beginning of September. 

    About 70% of the fieldwork of the GPS survey has been completed in five selected districts of Badakhshan (Keshim, Faizabad, Jurm, Baharak and Shar-i-Buzarg). Fieldwork is expected to be completed by the end of August. An international Expert (GPS consultant) for digitizing the GPS data has been recruited who commenced his work on 11 July 2001 in Islamabad. 

    The Limited Opium Yield (LY) survey has been completed and data was collected --taking into account different geographic and climatic conditions-- from 35 poppy fields in the three main opium poppy growing districts of Badakhshan. Experiments for the MDY survey were carried out on six poppy fields located in different climatic and agronomical conditions in Badakhshan. A database sheet has been prepared in consultation with the Scientific Section of HQs, for recording, processing and analysing the Opium Yield Survey data.

  • AD/AFG/00/E87: "Greater Azro Initiative Project" (GAI)
  • Project budget: US $88,500; Allocation advice 2001: US$ 11,500. 

    The project has been completed in June and a terminal report is being prepared. 

    On 20 July, at the request of the Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Sadaaki Nummata, a GAI Steering Committee Meeting was convened at the Japanese Embassy in IslamabadThe Ambassador, who chaired the meeting, announced that the Japanese Government intended to continue funding for the GAI project (September 2001-31 August 2002). In the proposal submitted to the Embassy by UNDP Afghanistan, an amount of US$ 100,000 had been allocated for UNDCP to carry out a socio-economic survey in the former opium poppy growing districts of GAI target area as well as to develop strategy for alternative cropping patterns to opium poppy. UNDCP was requested to prepare a new proposal in this respect (the previous UNDCP proposal submitted to the Japanese Embassy in 2000 concentrated on drug demand reduction and illicit crops monitoring activities).

  • AFG/F79: "Short-term Assistance to Sustain the Ban on Opium Poppy Cultivation in Nangarhar Province"
  • Project budget: US $1,500,000

    Upon approval of the project document on 12 July, the Country Office, with the assistance of FAO, identified a supplier, an International NGO, for the improved wheat seeds to be distributed under the project. UNDCP was requested to place a firm order for the provision of the seeds as soon as possible, since the NGO was supposed to purchase the seeds from the farmers in Logar, Kabul and Kunar provinces where wheat harvesting was going on at the time. An international consultant was also identified to manage the project. He is expected to take up the assignment by mid-August.

    D. IMPORTANT MEETINGS/PLANNED UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Meeting with Mr. Akhundzada, Head of EHCDC:
  • Upon the invitation of the UNDCP Country Office, Mr. Abdul Hameed Akhundzada, Head of the Taliban Emirate High Commission for Drug Control (EHCDC), visited Islamabad for meetings in the second week of July. The objective of the meeting was to brief the Afghan authorities on the new project "Short-term assistance project to sustain the ban on poppy cultivation in Nangarhar Province", to get their support for the implementation of the project, and to secure their commitment for the continued implementation of the ban. During the two-day meeting, Mr. Akhundzada expressed Taliban's readiness to support UNDCP, implementing partners, local authorities and communities for the smooth implementation of the project activities. In this context, Mr. Akhundzada also agreed to facilitate the identification of women for food-for-work schemes and widow land-owners as project beneficiaries for the provision of seeds and fertilizers. Mr. Akhundzada also reconfirmed the Taliban's commitment for the implementation and enforcement of the poppy ban during the next growing season starting in October. Mr. Akhundzada acknowledged UNDCP's efforts in informing and mobilizing the donor community for assistance to the areas affected by the poppy ban. 

    During his stay in Islamabad, Mr. Akhundzada also met with the representatives of the Afghanistan Support Group (ASG). During the ad-hoc meeting, that was not pre-planned prior to Mr. Akhundzada's arrival in Islamabad, the ASG members enquired about Taliban's policy on the implementation of the poppy ban, opium stockpiles in the country, impact of the ban on former opium growers, labourers and the community, the farmers' opium loan problem, and the Taliban's own efforts to help the affected farmers.

  • "Six plus Two" Group meeting in Islamabad:
  • Preparations are underway, in collaboration with HQs and Government counterparts, for the organisation of a "Six plus Two" Group Technical Meeting scheduled to be held in Islamabad from 13-14 September 2001.

  • INCB Mission to Kabul.
  • The Country Office has been providing support to the INCB in view of their forthcoming mission to Kabul, Afghanistan, in the first half of September.

  • Media interviews:
  • During the month, the UNDCP Representative provided interviews to several local and international media organisations with regard to drug control situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

    E. OTHER MATTERS

  • Mr. Bernard Frahi, Representative, is on home leave from 20 July-26 August 2001.
  • Thomas Zeindl-Cronin

    Officer-in-Charge 

    Islamabad, 6 August 2001