E Mullah الیکٹرونک مُلا: Afghan Opium Trade on the Rise .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Afghan Opium Trade on the Rise

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It is very saddening to hear that poppy growing is on the rise in post war Afghanistan. This was brought to notice by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Mr. Hamid Karzai has been very lenient in this regard because of power struggle within Afghan tribes. A BBC report points out that International Narcotics Control Board warns of the risk to the country's stability if the Afghans are pressed to quit growing poppy immediately. The International Development Agencies suggest that eradicating opium is infeasible rather it should be phased out like in Thailand. Some suggest that the US should fight a Columbia style war against poppy growing in Afghanistan.

I regard poppy growing another form of terrorism. For example, if terrorist acquire nuclear dust bombs or chemical weapons and try to harm population in other countries in the same way they spread opium to make other nations addict and vulnerable to associated disease and crimes. Above all, in many instances the money earned from drug trafficking is used to finance terrorist activities. In fact, during my last visit to Pakistan I had discussions with friends, acquaintances and street smarts about extremism, terrorism, drugs, addiction, and other social and moral problems plaguing the Pakistani society. Unfortunately, some very well known people (big sports goods exporters) from my city were indicted on charges of heroine trade hidden in sports goods shipped to western countries. When I talked about the problem of addiction and heroine trade a Street Smart would argue that look the west is harming the Muslims and exploiting our resources and why we (Muslims) should not take revenge by making them addict to heroine. So it did turn out to be a form of terrorism same as spreading nuclear waste bombs or biological and chemical agents aimed at the destruction of peaceful society.

I was not only startled by the arguments of Pakistani Street Smarts but appalled from the level of wishful thinking spreading among the younger generation. Remember, Pakistan is a major conduit for Afghan heroine trade and the numbers of addicts in Pakistan are rising at an exponential rate. All these things and arguments just made me sick. I wanted to stay a little longer in Pakistan to fight back with my pen and discussions with the ill wills. Unfortunately, I was forced to comeback to finish my PhD is states.

I wonder why our religious leaders and politicians especially in MMA are not paying attention to social problems. They should have pronounced a Jihad against the Poppy growers and heroine traders because Islam does not encourage production, trade, and use of narcotic substances. If they correct themselves then lot of disagreements between East and West will be resolved. According to Islamic belief, the Muslims must ‘Fast’ instead of living in or earning a livelihood in disgrace by harming other human beings. The Yemeni judge has set a precedence that he argued with the extremists to change their thinking as his arguments were completely based on the Muslim Holy Book. He did change the mind of extremist brought to his court and reformed their thinking. The so called Afghan Mullahs must give fatwa to the Afghan people to quit growing poppy immediately and switch to alternatives. The social thinkers and religious scholars must have dialogue with the Mullahs in Afghanistan and Pakistan and convince them to wage a struggle against the evils and ills in these societies. The Friday sermons in these countries are often either focused on condemnation of America, Jews and West or highlighting the glory of Islam. Rarely anyone would talk about these problems. If these people (Mullahs) will change their attitude the public on which they have a greater influence will change their attitudes. The development agencies do not want to go through the route of having dialogues with Mullahs because they fear that it will strengthen Mullahs influence on those societies. Unfortunately, the year long efforts of a development agency can be wasted in just one minute or day if a Mullah gives a Fatwa to grow and trade more poppy to revenge against the West.

I propose initiating dialogues among Muslim scholars and Mullahs to eradicate social problems. It will not only educate Mullahs but the masses as well on which they have a greater influence. It is a way to kill two birds with one stone: educate the Mullah to be more moderate; eradicate social problems. I completely disagree with the International Development Agencies on the issue of phasing out heroine from Afghanistan like Thailand. We don’t have time to wait for twenty years to achieve eradication of poppy in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan on a pattern similar to Thailand. Thailand was a different country. Pakistan and Afghanistan are different. Use what is more feasible and appeals to masses directly.

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