PESHAWAR, Feb 9: Prices of AK-47 rifles are on the rise and dealers in the local arms market say that a dearth in the supply of the assault guns from war-ravaged Afghanistan has widened the gap between supply and demand.

The arms dealers in Darra Adamkhel told Dawn that the local market had witnessed an unprecedented surge in the prices of automatic assault rifles and its ammunitions in the last couple of months.

They said that the price of a Russian-made AK-47 Kalash-nikov ranged between Rs55,000 and Rs80,000 in the gun-manufacturing tribal area of Darra Adamkhel, where the same weapon was available for Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 a few months back.

An arms dealer attributed the increase in prices of AK-47 rifles to the disarmament campaign in Afghanistan.

The US-backed Afghan government had initiated a de-weaponisation campaign in the country in 2003 under which arms and ammunitions are being purchased from local people.

He pointed out that AK-47 had flooded the local market in the late 1980s.

The authorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) had initiated the same campaign in the South Waziristan Agency in 2004 and allocated an amount of Rs20 million, but it failed to provide desired results.

A survey of various markets in Darra Adamkhel revealed that the price of a China-made AK-47 stood at Rs45,000, while the same rifle of Germany make was available at Rs35,000-55,000. The Iranian-made AK-47 is selling at Rs30,000.

The prices of a bunch of 10 rounds of Kalashnikov also jumped from Rs10 to Rs195. The price of 10 rounds of Kalakov rifle is Rs460.

A dealer in the Darra town said that Bulgarian-made automatic Kalakov rifle was being sold at Rs75,000, while the price of Russian-made Karinkove was between Rs200,000 and Rs350,000. Pieces of obsolete Kalash-nikov were recorded at Rs17,000.

Sources said during the Taliban government, the prices of Kalashnikov and other sophisticated weapons had come down drastically because of bulk supply from Afghanistan and a Chinese AK-47 rifle was available at Rs5,000 to Rs15,000.

Updated Feb 10, 2007 12:00am

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