KARACHI: On June 10, 2017, the Sindh Government issued a notification to ban the sale of toy guns for a period of two months, as they were being used by robbers in street crimes and were a bad influence on children.
The notification came as a surprise, as the fact that toy guns were used in crimes and were influencing children was well-known yet no action had been taken. Clearly this is a cosmetic exercise intended for public consumption only.
On 1st June 2019, the Sindh police issued an identical notification for banning toy guns, giving identical reasons of why they are a bad influence, and asking SHOs to take ‘necessary action’ in ‘accordance with the law’. Even a layperson, at a glance can see through the vagueness and non-seriousness of this notification — where toy guns are a menace that is repeatedly rediscovered (but never tackled) in Sindh. Thus, this too will meet the same fate as the earlier notifications on toy guns, as it will serve the purpose for a short while and afterwards the sale of these toys will continue to flourish. A recent equally cosmetic notification regarding the anti-beggary drive is another case in point.
Such one-time drives are destructive for systems. The Sindh Government and the police should have implemented a framework to completely ban the manufacturing, sale and distribution of toy guns by now. I am sure civil society members will be willing to help in this cause if needed, but we need the government to seriously work on this first.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2019.