Rule of law indispensable
The rationale that Chittagong Metropolitan Police Commissioner has recently given to justify the ongoing anti-drug operations, which have killed hundreds of alleged drug traders and peddlers, does not wash. In his justification of the campaign, he said the loss of lives was a “necessary” sacrifice for the sake of peace. Such a notion runs contrary to the spirit of law and order that he has a solemn duty to uphold.
The idea that killing alleged drug traders would shrink the trade is impractical and dangerous. Such summary actions may provide a temporary palliative for the disease but they cannot be a permanent cure. Moreover, there are serious risks when the law enforcing agencies are given near carte blanche.
Robust response to drug trade may reduce the availability and increase the price of drugs for some time but not permanently. Targeting mid-level operatives or peddlers with the big fish out of the drug net would do little to disrupt the supply chain, which must be the primary focus of the anti-narcotics drive. And, most importantly, the law enforcement agencies must not break the law in trying to maintain law and order.
The senior police officer, however, raised a good point. He said that the border security forces have largely failed to restrain the huge influx of drugs into the country. The border forces must do everything necessary to enhance their capability in preventing inflow of drugs.
Instead of resorting to extrajudicial methods, the authorities concerned should root out the causative factors that help the drug trade thrive in a society and conduct persistent awareness campaigns against drugs.