Pakistan, Iran constitute joint border monitoring committee

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Monday, 11 January 2016 17:40

QUETTA: Pakistan and Iran have constituted a joint committee to monitor the 900-kilometre-long porous border between the two countries in order to prevent human trafficking and drug smuggling.

The committee will comprise security and district administration officers from both countries.

A 22-member Iranian delegation headed by Governor of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Aaqai Ali Osat Hashemi, met Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri to discuss measures to ensure legal movement at the border in addition to cooperation on power projects.

The Balochistan CM told the delegation that the Gwadar-Chabahar Memorandum of Understanding will be implemented in letter and spirit.

Zehri apprised the delegation that the Makran zone was receiving 70 megawatts of electricity from Iran. He said work was under way for provision of 1,000MW of power to Pakistan.

"I will visit Iran with regards to power projects to end load shedding in the coastal belt and other parts of Balochistan," he said.

Hashemi assured Pakistan of Iran's support to overcome its energy crisis. He said Iran was ready to cooperate with Pakistan in all sectors and boost brotherly relations between the two countries.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Saifullah Chahtha, Inspector General Police Ahsan Mehboob and other high-ups also attended the meeting.

The delegation surveyed the pace of development activities in Gwadar during their visit to the port city.

Iranian officials visited the Gwadar deep sea port, the proposed site of the Gwadar free trade zone, the Gwadar civic port and other areas under development.

Chairman Gwadar Port Authority Dostain Khan Jamaldini briefed the participants of the delegation about development activities in the country's port city. He said the launch of the port would open new vistas of development and prosperity in the region.

The Iranian delegation was also briefed about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the expected impact it would have on the economy of Pakistan and region.
'Gwadar a transit point for drugs'

A 2011 United Nations report 'The global Afghan opium trade: A threat assessment' said that Gwadar, which was already being used for illegal immigration at the time, had become a major transit point for drugs and their precursors entering and leaving Afghanistan.

A case study on trafficking in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) said the location of Gwadar port provided an opportunity to subvert trade sanctions on Iran.

It predicted that the rapid increase in trade volume transiting the region was likely to overwhelm the customs and law-enforcement agencies and the port’s vicinity to regional trade centres would most likely see Gwadar targeted by illicit traffickers.

Apart from official ports, the report said a significant volume of drugs was trafficked by sea from Balochistan at various unofficial points along the Makran coast.

Key exit points along the coast include Ormara, Talar, Hingol, Sur Bander, Peshukan and Jiwani, although Kund Malir in Lasbela district and Jiwani in Gwadar are reported to be the most vital unofficial natural jetties used by drug traffickers.

It was estimated that most of the heroin reaching Pakistan is trafficked through the Helmand and Kandahar borders with Balochistan because of limited law-enforcement capacity on both sides of the border and the strong presence of militants in the region.

The report said drugs flowing through both Balochistan and Fata were delivered to safe houses along the Makran coast before being prepared for export.

Drugs trafficked by sea from the Balochistan coast are usually first loaded onto small boats before being taken out to international waters where they are transferred to larger cargo ships.

The report alleged that the small boat transport system and broader drug trade along the coast were dominated by the power clans of Awaran and Lasbela districts, particularly the Bizanjo, Kalmati and Dashti tribes. It alleged that the groups worked in conjunction with the Buledi tribes of Makran.

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