Washington, Mar 2 : The US State Department has said that the cultivation of poppy in Pakistan has increased during 2007 due to that country's preoccupation with the war on terror.
According to the State Department's annual report on drug trafficking and production, the "imperative of combating militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) diverted resources and political attention away from Pakistan's goal of returning to a poppy-free status."
During 2007, Pakistan witnessed an increase in poppy cultivation with roughly poppy being cultivated on 2,315 hectares in 2007 against 1,908 hectares in 2006.
The report reveals that two to three million of Pakistanis were addicted to this drug.
The Anti-Narcotics Forces had destroyed a large opium-processing lab in Balochistan in June 2006 and the Pakistan Government maintains that no opiate laboratories have been detected operating in the country; the Dawn quoted the report as saying.
The Frontier Corps Balochistan, the Pakistan Coast Guards, Customs and Excise, the Maritime Security Agency and the Home Departments of the Northwest Frontier Province and Balochistan Province carried major counter-narcotics interdictions last year, said the report.
The report has appealed to the Pakistan Government to modify its extradition act in order enable quick extradition of persons charged with narcotics-related offences and other crimes.