Gulf Countries Current Affairs - 2019
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The latest report released by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has referred to India as a Key Hub for Illicit Drug Trade.
Findings of the UNODC Report
- India is one of the major hubs of illicit drug trade ranging from age-old cannabis to newer prescription drugs like tramadol, and designer drugs like methamphetamine.
- The global trend of purchasing drugs over the internet, particularly on darknet trading platforms using cryptocurrencies has spread across South Asia and it is particularly rampant in India.
- The study has found more than 1,000 drug listings from India published across 50 online crypto-market platforms.
- The report also states that in 2017 Indian authorities have dismantled two illicit Internet pharmacies, seizing close to 130,000 tablets containing psychotropic substances.
- India has also become a transit country for illicitly produced opiates, in particular, heroin. The route being used by traffickers to smuggle opiates through South Asia is an alternative part of the southern route, which runs through Pakistan or the Islamic Republic of Iran, via the Gulf countries, continues to East Africa and on to destination countries.
- India, Australia, France and Turkey together accounted for 83 per cent of global production of morphine-rich opiate raw materials in 2017.
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) established in 1997 is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. UNDOC came into with the merger of United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
Tags: Australia • Cannabis • Crypto Currency • East Africa • France • Gulf Countries • heroin • Illicit Drug Trade • Iran • Pakistan • South Asia • Turkey • United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime • UNODC
Pakistan’s former Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif (retired) was appointed head of Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition of 39 nations.
The appointment was confirmed by Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif as both the government and the Army allowed Gen. Sharif take charge of the alliance. Raheel had retired as the Pakistan army chief in November 2016 and was succeeded by General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
What is Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT)?
- IMAFT is military coalition comprising 39 nations. It was established by Saudi Arabia in December 2015 and its command centre, headquarters is based in Riyadh.
- The coalition calls for all member states to cooperate to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
- It is envisaged to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including provision of training, troops and equipment, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.
- It has been established in pursuance with objectives and principles of the charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
- Member countries of this alliance will coordinate and support military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt.
- The coalition includes countries like United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bahrain, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia among others.
- Note: Saudi Arabia’s arch rival (for influence in the Arab world) Iran was not named as member of the IMAFT. Currently both regional powers are engaged proxy sectarian conflicts in Syria to Yemen.
What is Pakistan’s position on IMAFT?
Pakistan initially had taken aback for being part of IMAFT, after Saudi Arabia had announced Pakistan also part of the alliance. However, Pakistan later confirmed its participation in the alliance but has not committed itself to providing troops for any possible military operations.