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Published on 17 Feb 2011 | over 7 years ago

Drug Growers: Poppy farmers in northern Pakistan arm themselves to fight the government

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Growing hashish and opium is part of the culture of Pashtun tribes in northern Pakistan. Many depend on it for their livelihoods.
Armed resistance is their only way to fight their governments 'Holy War' on drugs. With weapons like the AK47 freely available in Darra (the arms capital of North West Pakistan) neither side will back down. We visit the secretive tribally-controlled Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan. Pakistan authorities don't dare close the multitude of heroin labs - they fear rebellion. Last time the government took on the Pushtun, ninety people were killed. Film of Pashtun poppy farmer Fez Mohammed, government anti-drug crusader Nawaz Malik, smoking in a hash den, the buying of weapons, tribal leaders, and James Magnor, the US narcotics attaché in Pakistan. Given viable alternative industries and jobs, the Pashtun people say they will abandon the poppy. Now, there is little hope of that with a government which now spends 80% of its budget on its military and the servicing of its national debt.

ABC Australia - Ref. 21

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