Drug pushers using ‘feminine charm’ to do business
By Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: Drug traffickers are using poor women for drug smuggling, Daily Times has learnt.
Daily Times interviewed arrested women drug traffickers and found that women in drug deals were either poor or had their children held ‘hostage’ by drug dealers because of which they were forced to smuggle the drugs.
A drug pusher from Khyber Agency, Abdul Hameed, told the ANF during interrogations that a gang of traffickers in Ali Masjid area of the tribal region smuggled narcotics with the help of women, an anonymous source in the ANF told Daily Times.
An astonishing revelation made by Hameed was that young and pretty women were hired for accompanying men carriers to smuggle narcotics through new model cars.
Two drug pushers, Shagufta Parveen from Jhang district in Punjab, and Shazia Malik Nasim from Sargudha district, who were arrested on August 17, 2004, confessed to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) that a gang in the Punjab had trapped them by offering them to an Umara free of cost.
“The gang members took us to the NWFP and held us at gunpoint asking each of us to ingest 28 capsules of heroin to smuggle from Peshawar to the Punjab,” the women told the ANF.
“I smuggled a lot of drugs using women carriers and employed an old woman from the Tehkal area of Peshawar to hire other women for drug trafficking. The woman used to visit those areas where there were low-income residents,” ANF sources quoted Hameed as saying.
Hameed went on to say that the old woman was in touch with more than 40 such poor women who were willing to smuggle drugs at nominal rates ranging from Rs1,000 to Rs.5,000 per trip.
“The involvement of women in drug trafficking was a good ploy and it was a challenge for the ANF,” a senior ANF official said.
Mardan resident Sardara, 70, was arrested on September 17, 2000, and an anti-narcotics court sentenced her to life imprisonment for carrying 15 kilograms of charas. The old woman, whose appeal against the verdict is pending in the High Court, is the mother of six.
A drug trafficker, who was acquitted by a court last year due to the lack of evidence, had revealed to the ANF that his ringleader had held the children of poor women hostage and forced the women to carry drugs to different cities.
“These women had no option but to comply with the orders of the ringleader so as to save the lives of their children,” the ANF official said. There is no distinction between an ordinary drug carrier and a drug trafficker under the Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997, the law introduced to check narcotics trafficking.
The law carries a death penalty or life imprisonment for the offence of smuggling more than 10 kilograms of narcotics.
Over the past five years, 23 out of 106 arrested foreign drug traffickers were women.
A lawyer dealing with narcotics cases said that the ratio of women arrested under the offence of Zina under the Hudood Ordinance five years ago was high than other prisoners, but the situation had changed and now the women arrested in narcotics cases were more than those arrested in any other offence.
Despite harsh sentences, including the death penalty and life imprisonment, drug trafficking is on the rise.