A report by The Daily Star on Friday sought to unravel the mystery of why the yaba trade couldn't be contained even after a nearly yearlong, often deadly anti-narcotics drive launched last year. In the drive, scores of alleged drug dealers have been killed while many more have been arrested. Yet yaba's flow into the country remains uninterrupted, as our report says, because of new strategies involving the use of fresh smuggling routes and hundi lords—who stepped in after the surrender of 102 godfathers and dealers in February. These traders who use hundi, an illegal means of fund transfer, provide a vital lifeline to the yaba business and are difficult to track as they operate internationally. This adds a new dimension to the government's ongoing war on drugs. Firstly, it lays bare the fault lines of the drive which has failed to curtail the yaba business, and, secondly, it underscores the importance of greater regional collaboration on fighting the menace of drugs which Bangladesh and its neighbours have so far failed to do.
Apparently, yaba consignments from Myanmar are now being sent through India. Also, smugglers from Myanmar are using seven new routes in Teknaf and Ukhia. The fact is, we cannot stop the production of yaba tablets, which are mostly produced in Myanmar, but through effective regional cooperation, we can indeed make significant progress in stopping their supply to Bangladesh. The priority, therefore, is to seal the now-active routes at the border and engage our neighbours and other countries where the hundi lords operate to stop their business. The government should look beyond the populist strategies of its anti-narcotics drive and take measures that will really stop yaba's flow into Bangladesh.