Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/72
    10 May 2005

    Note to Correspondents

    UNODC Executive Director to Visit Pakistan

    10-12 May 2005

    VIENNA, 10 May (UN Information Service) -- Pakistan is a major transit country for heroin opiates flowing out of Afghanistan. Last year, roughly 500 tons of heroin, a record amount, left Afghanistan bound for six continents. Much of it was processed in small, mobile labs on the Afghan-Pakistan border, creating a trafficking and drug abuse problem in Pakistan that continues to grow. Millions of Pakistanis smoke heroin, called “chasing the dragon”. A growing number of addicts are injecting heroin and sharing needles, an invitation to HIV/AIDS. Factor in trafficking revenues diverted to fund terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It all adds up to a growing threat.

    Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will be in Pakistan from 10-12 May, to meet with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and with Minister for Narcotics Control Ghous Bux Khan Maher. Mr. Costa will focus on ways UNODC assists the Government in its campaign against corruption, drug trafficking, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Mr. Costa will also travel to border regions in northwest Pakistan, and visit the port of Karachi.   

    The press and media are invited to a briefing on goals, obstacles and progress in Pakistan:

    Thursday, 12 May, 11:00 hours at the Ministry of Narcotics Control, Islamabad, Pakistan

    Subject: Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony -- Joint Efforts to Ensure Container Security with Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC, and Ghous Bux Khan Maher, Pakistan’s Minister for Narcotics Control

    Immediately preceding this event, Mr. Costa will meet with President Pervez Musharraf to discuss the threat posed by insurgents and terrorists in northwest Pakistan. The UNODC Executive Director will also be available for one-to-one interviews on request.

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    For more information, contact:

    Kathleen Millar
    Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
    Tel: +43 1 26060 5629
    Mobile: + 43 (0) 699 1459 5629
    Email: kathleen.millar@unvienna.org