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Pakistan: Anti-Pot Repression Proves Pointless

Bill Weinberg

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Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) on Nov. 20 announced the latest in a string of of mega-scale hashish busts in recent months. A 4.2-ton haul was reported from a “desolate site” near the mountain village of Tehsil Gulistan, in Qilla Abdullah district of Balochistan province. Authorities said the mega-stash had been deposited along with a smaller quantity of heroin in a hidden spot behind bushes for traffickers to collect for export.

The ongoing mega-busts come amid a major paramilitary crackdown in Pakistan’s hashish heartland, the Tirah Valley in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas near the Afghan border. The valley typically produces at least 100 tons of hash annually, but it has now been flooded with soldiers and militiamen—who since September have been raiding farms, establishing road check-points and seizing product from roadside stands and marketplace stalls that have traditionally sold the stuff. “In the land of towering pot plants, Pakistani farmers brace for a buzz-kill,” read the witty Washington Post headline as the soldiers poured in.

The hashish crackdown punctuates a military campaign against the Taliban in the Tribal Areas that has left over a million internally displaced since it was launched over a year agoAl Jazeera reported in June. But it doesn’t seem to have slowed the flow of hashish out of the Tirah Valley.

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