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Report: Muhammad Amir Siddique Journalist Vienna Austria.

(7 February 2024). United Nations Vienna Austria.
His Excellency Aftab Ahmad Khokhar, the Ambassador of Pakistan, extended felicitations to INCB on the launch of its 2023 Report. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment & stressed full compliance with the three drug control Conventions, emphasizing on their effective implementation to counter the World Drug Problem.

His Excellency Aftab Ahmad Khokhar, the Ambassador of Pakistan, presenting his International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report -2023 and Precursors Report 2023: said that.

Mr. President,
Thank you for your comprehensive briefing. At the outset, I wish to express my felicitations to the board on the launching of INCB reports for the year 2023. We will briefly share our initial observations as the report received on 5 February has being shared with the experts in capital for their comments and feedback.
Pakistan acknowledges and appreciates the work of INCB. We believe that Board’s continued and regular engagement with Member States and international organizations is critical towards achieving the objectives of the international drug control Conventions.
Pakistan fully shares the view that the three international drug control conventions are the corner stone of the international drug control system. We believe that effective implementation of these drug conventions will help in addressing and countering the world drug problem as well as in promoting health and welfare of our people. We must not cloud our obligations in the name of cross-cutting issues. At the same time, we must look at the emerging threats posed by synthetic drugs and their precursors. In this regard, we appreciate the US initiative of Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats. We hope that this initiative will complement the global drug control framework.
Mr. President,
Pakistan also shares the International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) deep concern regarding the recent trend of legalizing the non-medical and non-scientific use of cannabis in various jurisdictions. The 2023 report of INCB reiterates its earlier assessment that subject to the relevant provisions of the 1961 Convention, the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs are limited exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. We urge all nations to uphold their obligations under international law to combat drug abuse and trafficking effectively and call upon the INCB to ensure full compliance by Member States, thereby safeguarding and strengthening the integrity of the international drug control framework.
Mr. President,
We welcome the thematic focus of the report on the misuse of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for drug-related crimes. We commend the INCB for its thorough analysis of the ICTs role, including social media, in facilitating illicit drug-related activities. We recognize the urgent need to enhance collaboration between governments and online industries to effectively combat these illicit activities.
Mr. President,
Pakistan takes note of the reported decline in opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Afghanistan. It is imperative that concerted efforts and sufficient resources are directed towards providing alternative livelihoods for these individuals. Pakistan has always supported initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable economic opportunities and livelihood diversification in the region.
Mr. President,
We share the concerned expressed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in its press release dated 23 October 2023 about the humanitarian emergency in Gaza. The INCB reminded States of their obligation to ensure the availability of internationally controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical purposes, in accordance with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. However, the INCB report 2023 does not include a reference to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where health facilities have been relentlessly targeted.
Mr. President,
The INCB has recommended scheduling 18 substances to be put under international control. During the last intersessional meeting of CND, the Board acknowledged that most of its recommendations did not fulfill the criteria specified in the 1988 Convention. If that is the case, what is the basis of such recommendations? It lacks legal basis as no resolution can overwrite the provisions of the Conventions. We also need an empirical evidence in support of such recommendations by the Board. We also remind the Board to further enhance its engagement with States Parties to the Conventions.
Mr. President
In the end, I would reiterate that Pakistan remains fully committed to working closely with all global partners in making the world ‘drug free’. It’s a continuous struggle and cannot be given up due to challenges in the way. At the same time, this goal can only be achieved by addressing the demand side along with the challenges on the supply side and not be questioning the legitimacy of the Conventions.
I thank you all !

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