Pakistan Army becomes largest beneficiary of drug business in Balochistan

BALOCHISTAN: Pakistan Army has become the largest party to benefit from drug trafficking business in Balochistan, Abid Zamurani The Balochistan Post’s correspondent, reports from Panjgur.

Makuran region of Balochistan has recently become one of the main international drug trafficking routes in the region. Drugs are trafficked through this route to various parts of the world in large quantities. Along with smugglers the Pakistan Army has also played a major role to make this happen. Other than giving impunity to drug dealers like Imam Bheel, senior officers of Pakistan Army have also made riches out of the drug business. These officers have become millionaires by reselling the drugs caught in “anti-narcotics” raids.

According to details obtained by The Balochistan Post’s Panjgur correspondent, Pakistan Army, under supervision of FC Commandant Panjgur, has formed at least ten different groups in Panjgur to loot and resale drugs. Each of these groups work under command of a Major rank officer of Pakistan Army.

According to an estimate, the drugs looted by these groups on monthly basis only from Panjgur, Parom and adjoining areas are worth 800 million to 1 billion Pakistani rupees. A big portion of this money goes in the pockets of senior Pakistan Army officers.

Recently, After becoming extremely rich because of the drug business, at least three Major rank officers of Pakistan Army have applied for earlier retirement.

According to details, a government official told our correspondent that at least three Major rank officers have given applications for earlier retirement. These officers claim they cannot perform their duties due to ill-health. Upon retirement these officers get at least 4 million whereas they have been earning nearly 5 million each on monthly basis due to the drug business.

These officers do not want to further risk their lives, therefore, they are trying to find ways to escape the volatile situation of Balochistan. However, the replacing officers will also follow the same path.

The local death squads are the main partners of Pakistan Army officers in this business. These death squads, initially formed to counter Baloch struggle, have been involved in killing and abduction of several activists.

However, this has not been a smooth ride. Recently, due to disagreement on distribution of drug money, a notorious criminal and head of a local death squad, Khuda Rahm alias Bijoo, was arrested by Pakistan Army. According to reports, he had given all the funds obtained through drug trafficking to intelligence agency ISI. This had displeased Military Intelligence and Frontier Corps (FC) officers, who had then used their authority to arrest Khuda Rahm alias Bijoo.

There has been sharp increase in drug use in Makuran recently and locals believe this is mainly due to impetus provided to the business by Pakistan Army.

This news was first published in The Balochistan Post on 29 August 2017

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