In a major and much-awaited revelation, a senior official in the Pakistan Government has admitted that the country has active cases of smugglers using drones to transport illicit drugs, mostly heroin, to other countries across its borders, including India.
During an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir in the city of Kasur, which shares a border with Punjab (Indian Punjab), the Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Malik Mohammed Ahmad Khan, made the remarks.
Kasur is located close to Pakistan’s Khemkaran and Ferozepur regions. and is surrounded by India from three sides.
Hamid Mir’s comments
On July 17, 2023, Hamid Mir shared a video on Twitter in which he questioned Malik Mohammed Ahmad Khan regarding the issue of cross-border smuggling in Kasur. In response to Mir’s question, Khan acknowledged the situation and affirmed the presence of cross-border drug smuggling in the region.
In the caption, Mir on Twitter wrote: “Big disclosure by PM’s advisor Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan.” Smugglers using drones in the flood-affecting areas of Kasur near the India-Pakistan Border to transport heroin. He demanded a special package for the rehabilitation of the flood victims; otherwise, victims will join smugglers.”
“These villagers in Kasur say that they do not get mobile signals. They spoke about the movement of drones and the smuggling of drugs from Pakistan into India and liquor from India to Pakistan.” Mir expressed that the mobile signals are jammed by security forces due to cross-border drone movements.
He also added that Khan came under a lot of fire from the Pakistani government after the video went on air.
Confession by Malik Mohammed Khan
It is important to note that Malik Mohammed Khan also holds the position of Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) representing Kasur. This admission is the first such instance that supports allegations that drug dealers from Pakistan are resorting to innovative and sophisticated methods, such as drones, to flood India with narcotic substances.
“Yes, and it (smuggling) is very scary, Khan said. Recently there have been two incidents where 10kg of heroin was tied to each drone and thrown across. Agencies are trying to stop this,” he said.
Cross Border Narcotics Smuggling
Earlier, in July 2023, the Punjab Police revealed data that showed 795 FIR (First Information Report) under the NDPS Act (National Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) from July 2022-2023 in the Ferozepur District alone, while most of the narcotics were confiscated from those of Punjab that share a border with Pakistan.
It has been reported that on the condition of anomality, a senior BSF officer in Punjab said that cross-border smuggling of drugs and arms has continued through the use of drones despite India having raised this issue with Pakistan.
He also added that this year alone, they had recovered 260kg of heroin, nineteen arms, thirty magazines, four hundred seventy rounds of ammunition and thirty Pakistani drones from Punjab’s Border areas.
The flow of narcotics and arms across the India-Pakistan Border in Punjab provides the funding source for terrorist groups operating in Kashmir These illegal proceeds are used to finance arms procurement, recruitment, and training of militants, enabling them to carry out attacks and further destabilise the region.
This admission of smuggling drugs into India confirms Pakistan’s complicity in keeping the boiling pot of terrorism boiling in Kashmir. Furthermore, the drug trade influence extends beyond Kashmir as it also contributes to the violent Islamist ideologies in India.
Drug money supports radical organisations leading to an upsurge in violent incidents, and these pose a grave threat to national security along with communal harmony.