PESHAWAR: Public awareness campaigns have been launched in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against aerial firing in the wake of the death of six-year-old Noeen Shah in celebratory fire after Pakistan’s victory against India in the ICC Champions Trophy final on June 18.
People belonging to different walks of life are doing their bit to create awareness about the hazards of aerial firing to celebrate joyous occasions.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has initiated a concerted awareness campaign using its social media accounts in a bid to avert aerial firing on the eve of Eidul Fitr.
A poster shared by the official K-P government handle reads: “Avoid celebratory firing. It is a criminal act and leads to sorrows in someone else’s home.”
And in Peshawar, hundreds of people, including women and children, participated in a walk on Saturday. They were holding placards inscribed with slogans against aerial firing.
Prominent musicians and singers also participated in the awareness walk organised by the residents of Hayatabad.
Talking to The Express Tribune, famous Pashto singer Zeek Afridi said he requested the entire nation to use other means to celebrate instead of indulging in aerial firing. The government, he said, was responsible for taking steps to stop the practice.
The singer stressed the need for mass media campaigns using radio, newspapers and television to discourage the lethal practice.
“People need to be sensitised about the consequences of aerial firing to celebrate any occasion,” he said, adding that fireworks and music should be used as a substitute for celebrating happy occasions.
The provincial police have also initiated a campaign against aerial firing, displaying banners on mobile vans and around police stations against the illegal practice.
Religious figures were also called upon to highlight the consequences of aerial firing in Friday sermons.
Shafiq Gigyani, a social activist, said that he had persuaded at least five clerics who then delivered sermons against aerial firing on Friday. “The involvement of clerics can help the campaign because people trust them more than anyone else,” he said.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa leads other provinces in terms of formulating legislation against aerial firing. The third clause of the K-P ‘Prohibition of Firing and Use of Explosive Substances at Marriage and Other Ceremonies Act, 1988’ altogether bars firing on any occasion.
The clause states that “firing and the use of explosive substances on marriages or other such ceremonies, including political receptions or processions or stray firing at a public place is prohibited”.
All violators “shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs10,000 or both.”
But mostly aerial firing is prohibited under Section 144 of the CrPC. People violating the Section 144 are dealt with under Section 188 of the PPC which suggests an imprisonment term of six months or a fine which may extended to Rs1,000.