Every year it is the same. The day of freedom ends with the injury or death inflicting countless men, women and children as a result of aerial firing. This time, 31 people suffered wounds from stray bullets while deaths have not yet been ascertained by officials except for the one in Karachi. The sound of gunfire echoing across the city at the stroke of midnight is symbolic of freedom, but ironically also reminds us that it comes at a huge cost — just like in the case of Pakistan.
Despite imposing bans and issuing harsh orders, aerial firing is a menace that the local police cannot seem to curb. This is of course in tandem with the high rate of street crime and increasing prevalence of gun culture, with weapons being illegally sold without proper licence or training. But the very idea of celebrating through aerial firing is a flawed and outdated concept. A general consensus must be reached among the masses that celebratory firing not only leads to innocent deaths but the loud bang of gunfire affects frail senior citizens who seek shelter in their homes during such occasions. In order to put an end to this menace, concerned officials must work on two fronts. One, awareness must be created at the national level through social media campaigns so that people are aware of the true cost of this act. Two, LEAs must carry out a staunch crackdown against the illegal sale and ownership of guns. Licensing rules must be strengthened and a mandatory training course be made a prerequisite of carrying a firearm.
It is equally important for citizens to realise that there are other, much less riskier ways of celebrating. Let us not repay the sacrifices our ancestors made by putting more lives at risk.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2022.
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