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Pakistan: Head of Lahore’s Anti-Narcotics Investigation Unit Mazhar Iqbal exposed as the mastermind of drug smuggling network

Under Mazhar Iqbal's leadership, the network primarily employed drones to transport narcotics, including heroin, into India.

Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has unearthed a major drug-smuggling network running from Pakistan to India, revealing an unexpected twist involving a senior law enforcement officer. Shockingly, the mastermind behind this illicit operation was none other than Mazhar Iqbal, the chief of Lahore Police’s anti-narcotics unit. Under Mazhar Iqbal’s leadership, the network primarily employed drones to transport narcotics, including heroin, into India.

In a surprising turn of events, an inquiry panel, led by Lahore SSP Internal Accountability (IA), has uncovered numerous “illegal” properties worth billions of rupees allegedly linked to the accused police officer, Mazhar Iqbal, during a high-level investigation into the cross-border drug smuggling scheme.

It all started with a bribery case against Mazhar Iqbal

The investigation initially began with the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) booking Mazhar in the last week of August 2023 on charges of accepting a Rs75 million bribe from a drug smuggler named Ahmad, who was also implicated in the smuggling.

Mazhar Iqbal, a former deputy superintendent of police (DSP), and head of the Anti-Narcotics Investigation Unit (ANIU) within the Lahore police, was at the centre of this inquiry. The ANF had accused him of recovering 35 kg of drugs and seizing three cars from Ahmad’s residence.

However, it was revealed that Mazhar had ultimately released Ahmad after registering a case for only 450 grams of drugs. Subsequently, the three-member panel of police officers initiated a departmental inquiry against Mazhar, ultimately unveiling his involvement in heading the cross-border drug smuggling operation through the use of drones.

Mazhar Iqbal was a notorious criminal in uniform

Starting from 1994, Iqbal has faced dismissal from his position on six occasions and suspension a staggering 45 times due to his repeated involvement in unlawful activities. The majority of these cases are directly linked to drug trafficking. Remarkably, despite his extensive history of misconduct, Iqbal was entrusted with a pivotal role in the Lahore Police’s anti-narcotics department.

As per statements from senior Pakistani police officials, Mazhar Iqbal has accumulated substantial wealth through his involvement in these illicit activities. The announcement regarding the dismantling of the drug smuggling network was made by the Pakistani Rangers last week. The Rangers reported the apprehension of six Indian nationals within Pakistani territory on charges of purportedly attempting to smuggle “narcotics, weapons, and ammunition.” Among the six detained smugglers, four individuals – Gurmeet Singh, Shinder Singh, Juginder Singh, and Vishal Jagga – hail from Firozpur in Punjab. Meanwhile, Rattan Pal Singh and Garvender Singh were from Jalandhar and Ludhiana, respectively.

The investigations in the drug smuggling case

The authorities launched action against Mazhar Iqbal following the interrogation of the detained Indian nationals. Unfortunately, they were unable to apprehend him due to a pre-arrest bail.

Lahore Deputy Inspector General (Investigation) Imran Kishwar said, “An FIR has been registered against Lahore Police anti-narcotics wing head Mazhar Iqbal for his alleged involvement in the cross-border (India) smuggling of drugs through drones. We could not arrest him as he has secured a pre-arrest bail. We have constituted a high-powered committee of senior police officers to further expand the scope of the investigation into the illegal cross-border smuggling of drugs.”

In the initial investigations, it was found that Iqbal and his network facilitated the movement of drugs from the Pakistani city of Kasur to India via drones. The police investigation revealed that a drone employed by Mazhar Iqbal’s network had the capacity to transport up to 6 kg of drugs and would complete its delivery in Punjab after crossing the border. The inquiry further disclosed that Mazhar Iqbal had participated in the transportation of more than 30 kg of heroin to India using drones and received payment for his services in Dubai.

Numerous high-ranking officials were reportedly cognizant of Mazhar Iqbal’s extensive engagement in cross-border criminal activities. Allegedly, he employed financial inducements to gain their cooperation, and he also had the support of influential political figures in Pakistan.

Mazhar Iqbal has accumulated assets worth billions of rupees, possesses an array of luxurious automobiles, and resides in a four-kanal residence located in the upscale Defence Housing Authority of Lahore. Additionally, he has a penchant for collecting firearms from various nations, with a particular interest in those from the United States.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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