Aiming for de-weaponisation

Published: July 7, 2012
the spree of murders will simply not be stopped until weapons are removed from the hands of the general public.

the spree of murders will simply not be stopped until weapons are removed from the hands of the general public.

The recent ruthless killing of eight people at a shop in Quetta, once again, highlights the serious issue of target killings that afflicts the country. We live in a country where people are killed because of their ethnicity, their beliefs or for other reasons that may stem from enmities of various kinds.

Meeting after meeting at various government levels have discussed this problem and attempted to find solutions for it. So far, nothing has worked. Given the situation, there are some simple facts we need to acknowledge. One of the most basic ones is that the spree of murders will simply not be stopped until weapons — including the automatic guns used so often by assassins on motorcycles — are removed from the hands of the general public. Violence is known to be high in countries where weapons are readily available to large populations and Pakistan is known to be one of the most heavily weaponised countries in the world. This, of course, is the legacy of the Afghan War against the former Soviet Union, which since 1979, has brought a flood of guns into the country and made crimes of all kinds a common occurrence. Karachi, in particular, is said to have one of the highest number of small arms among all the cities in the world. But elsewhere, too, people appear able to use rocket launchers, grenades, missiles and other weapons at will.

There have been several calls for de-weaponisation in the past. One attempt to do so was made under General (retd) Pervez Muhsarraf, which failed. People simply refused to hand over their arms, largely because they had no faith in the law and order mechanism and believed that they needed guns to protect themselves. Their thinking is not entirely illogical given the ground realities. However, some plan has to be put into action to reduce the number of guns in circulation. It will not be an easy task, but it may prove the only way to end the menace of target killings and other kinds of murders we witness across the country on a daily basis.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • huzaifa
    Jul 7, 2012 - 12:24PM

    ET! a thought provoking article, i agree with your punchline that people have refused to hand over their weapons out of fear of taken to the ride by criminals. But if we study some cases of weapon carriage in the other countries it comes to light that the culprits are not the one carrying licensed weapons as these are easy to trace if involved in criminal activity but the ones carrying illegal weapons. The Texas, USA, was the worst state where gun slingers use to roam openly, initially open display of the guns was ban but later on due to damage done by hidden weapons the law was made that who so ever will carry weapon, it will be licensed and visible. This law has a lot of good aspects and it discourages illegal weapon carriage. More over, the most important requirement is to ban the selling of illegal and non prohibited bore weapons as until you will not go to the source of evil it will not finish, the tap has to be closed if you want the water to be contained. Now that Nadra has the DATA of whole nation, the government (if willing) can know who has what but again if political parties will issue 50 thousand weapons in a year then how the de-weaponisation will occur??????


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