KARACHI: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office in Pakistan began a four-day roundtable workshop for maritime law enforcement agencies at a local hotel in Karachi on Monday.
The workshop aims to strengthen national action against perpetrators of drugs trafficking and smuggling of contraband items through Pakistan’s coastal areas and maritime domain. The participating law enforcement agencies included the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Coast Guards (PCG) and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).
While warmly welcoming the participants at the inaugural session Saqib Khan, Programme Officer (Border Management) of UNODC Country Office in Pakistan highlighted the existing and emerging trends of drug trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and smuggling of various contraband items through Pakistan’s maritime domain.
He emphasized the need to improve interagency and regional cooperation, to respond to these challenges more effectively, particularly in the aftermath of recent political changes in Afghanistan. “The roundtable workshop is designed to identify challenges, gaps, best practices and lessons-learnt, for enhancing interagency coordination and interoperability in Pakistan’s maritime domain. I would like to convey best wishes from Dr. Jeremy Milsom – Representative UNODC Country Office Pakistan to all of you, for fruitful discussions and positive outcome at this roundtable workshop”, he said.
In his opening address, Feroze Alam Junejo, Collector of Customs (Model Customs Collectorate – Enforcement and Compliance) Karachi thanked UNODC for its capacity development support in Pakistan. He referred to close partnership between UNODC and Pakistan Customs, to address the most-needed capacity-building requirements in Pakistan.
He said, “The Model Customs Collectorate (Enforcement and Compliance) has been actively participating in various capacity building projects of UNODC. We have made available Customs’ training facilities for conducting interagency specialist training in Karachi. The Pakistan Customs stands ready to closely coordinate various operational responses along with our counterpart law enforcement agencies. I hope that this 4-day exercise would lead to useful discussions – to deal with unflagged and stateless vessels in the maritime domain, more effectively” he said.
The roundtable workshop is being facilitated by an international expert from UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP). Extensive legal and technical discussions will be held among the four Pakistani maritime law enforcement agencies, around the existing and emerging challenges of illicit trafficking and smuggling and how to address those through an integrated response in the maritime domain.
The event is being organized by UNODC Country Office Pakistan under its project entitled ‘Strengthening Pakistan’s Maritime Law Enforcement Capacity against Illicit Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime’ – funded by the Government of Australia.