Anti-drug campaign targets 5 million students

Updated 15 December 2012
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Anti-drug campaign targets 5 million students

Saudi Arabia has launched a major anti-drug awareness campaign, targeting all groups of society, specifically 5 million students.
Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif has approved the national strategic plan to combat drugs, which will be carried out in cooperation with 25 government and private agencies.
Abdul Elah bin Muhammad Al-Sharief, assistant director-general of the department for combating drugs, said the plan targets 5 million school and university students.
He said drug barons and mafias were targeting Saudi Arabia. “Saudi security agencies have been successful in foiling many attempts to smuggle drugs into the Kingdom.”
According to a report published by the Interior Ministry recently, it had arrested 634 drug smugglers and traffickers including 207 Saudis during the past three months.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the ministry, said the arrested criminals had attempted to smuggle various types of drugs worth SR 886.31 million.
Spelling out the different types of drugs seized from smugglers, Al-Turki said they included 7.4 kg of heroin, 10,623 kg of hashish, and more than 1.55 million amphetamine tablets.
The Kingdom's drug enforcement agency adopts two main ways to contain growing drug smuggling attempts and drug abuse cases: Arrest of smugglers and traffickers in addition to prevention of money laundering and enlightening the public against the dangerous effects of drugs.
“Drugs have become one of the major issues facing the world, including many Arab countries, despite the national, regional and international efforts to fight this social evil,” Al-Sharief pointed out.
He said the national anti-drug campaign, “For your sake”, aims at enlightening different groups of people including expatriates on the hazardous effects of drug abuse.
“We intend to deepen the religious and moral values among the public to keep them away from drugs and narcotics and inform them about the bad effects of drug abuse on family, society and economy,” Al-Sharief said.
The campaign intends to carry out a number of programs including the launch of a website with content in four languages (Arabic, English, Urdu and French) and another program to protect students from drugs.
“This year we intend to target 5 million students in 25,000 schools under 42 education departments for boys and 43 education departments for girls all over the Kingdom,” Al-Sharief said.
The department has set up another website (www.wiqaiya.com) providing a lot of information and articles aimed at enlightening the public on the need to keep away from drugs. The website is linked with social media.
“We also intend to organize a number of other programs as part of the campaign including a special television program and 13 exhibitions in different regions,” he said.
The department intends to produce 26 video programs, each with the duration of 45 minutes, with the participation of leading football stars and young Saudi soccer fans.
“Production of a cartoon film to enlighten students on how to behave nicely at school, home and with family and friends is another project,” he said.
The department also intends to distribute 2 million copies of a booklet on the harmful effect of using amphetamine narcotic tablets, heroin and hashish.
“We also intend to hold five youth forums during the year to enlighten young men and women on drug abuse,” he said.
Other programs include a regional symposium, a workshop for preventive measures, a major awareness program to be initiated by regional governors with the support of universities, 30 television series and a special program for women in nine regions including Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Qassim and Asir.
In an article published on wiqaiya.com website, Makkah Deputy Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy highlighted the harmful effects of drugs on individuals, families and society.
“We need cooperation of all members of society, especially young men and women, to prevent drug smuggling and sales. If smugglers and traffickers see remarkable decrease in demand for drugs, they will stop bringing them to the Kingdom,” he pointed out.
Al-Khodairy cautioned students against the tricky methods used by drug agents to sell narcotic tablets like amphetamine, especially during examination times. He urged Saudi youth to take the lead role in fighting drugs and save the society from this danger.


Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019
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Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.