Dawn News

Anokha ladla aka spoilt brat

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

The beloved ‘ladla’, who used to ask for the moon to play with before, is now asking for weapons. Even if he doesn’t ask for them, his parents who have recently acquainted themselves with new Islam, are handing toy weapons to their sons and daughters and taking them to rallies and processions. They then try to scare off and alarm the country which is the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of arms and has taken the responsibility of world peace. These girls and boys, holding toy weapons, chant slogans to tell the country their new generation has awoken which will one day erect a minaret with a green flag in place of the Statue of Liberty; its a separate thing that their dream of erecting a green flag on Dehli’s Red Fort, is yet to come true.

Forget our children; even our elders had not seen weapons before the arrival of the Mard-e-Momin phenomena. The neighborhood’s bully used to have a clip and at the very maximum, a dagger. The only place where weapons were sold or kept, were the country’s mountainous areas, that too only as a sign of esteem. Across the border when the Soviet Union erected its flags, the super power with the help of Mard-e-Momins and Islamists made Pakistan a stockpile of arms and ammunition. On one side the Momineen were having their pockets filled with dollars and on the other, the heroin business begain to flourish.

The man who created the Kalashnikov would have never thought that one day the US would be distributing it worldwide. Jihad, jihadist organisations, heroin and arms, all started prospering together. Our innocent people were introduced to the Kalashnikov and soon it found its way in our houses. The responsibility to train mujahideen from all over the world was shared by the ISI and CIA, alike. And their combined attempts made certain that our momineen were able to get rid of the Russians. When on one side the Russians fled, the Americans too went back, leaving us alone in the middle.

Those who had left us in the middle later regretted it; we had the weapons, trained militias and dollars. We looked farther and realised that it was time to materialise our dream of attaining Kashmir. On the other hand, jihadi movements started inside and outside our borders; lashkars and sipahs were created, the already divided sects were further divided. Religious parties doubled, tripled and then quadrupled; and kept on increasing by the day. Someone used the name of religion; someone else used the name of nationalism and thus, our people split.

We had never seen or heard about weapons, but they entered our lives in such a way we were scared of the person next to us. And after 9/11 our world changed altogether. Now the whole world was focused on us, and those who had left us alone realised the big mistake they had made. They were standing face-to-face with those who had been raised on their dollars. If we could get rid of the Russians, the US was no big deal.

Now this is where the story starts. You and I, who constitute the silent majority, don’t wish to see with our eyes, hear with our ears or speak with our tongues. We are lost in our own worlds. Fighters who are fighting, causing destruction, and not knowing who they are fighting for or who they are fighting against. And there is no shortage of weapons, if I don’t have them, my neighbor is sure to. And instances like the sighting of the moon, can instantly turn our backyards into war zones.

-Photo by Khuda Bux Abro.

We are sitting on a stockpile of gunpowder and celebrating. Our children use their Eidi to buy weapons and spend the day fighting each other. Privileged children get their Eidi everyday but those who get Eidi once a year, go straight to the toy shop and buy weaponry. And they know exactly know what they want; Kalashnikov, Ozzie or a pistol. And they don’t use these to play cops and robbers; instead they’re playing a far dangerous game.

-Photo by Khuda Bux Abro.

I took this picture on Eid day. The daughters are on swings and the son is standing nearby with a pistol – you may guess the child’s age. This is our future - we don’t give our children books, pens or instruments anymore. We have given him a toy gun, which he is aiming at his brother.

-Photo by Khuda Bux Abro.



The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.

Email news tips and feedback to News Desk, submit blogs to Blog Desk and share photos and Videos with Special Projects Desk.

The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (62) Closed

Aug 31, 2012 01:05pm
this ia all propoganga against pakistan.
AKA Joly
Aug 30, 2012 10:57am
My Friend, they like pistols or guns, it's not 9/11 they learned from. It's movies and action flicks. I used to play with them when i was kid, because of movies i used to watch. Simple.
Aug 31, 2012 05:59am
Irrespective of what Mr. Abro wants to say, i want to register my protest for using the picture of Al-Quds rally participating childern on the top of his column. If he is that much literate and has a concious soul then he must know that Shias never encourage/believe the non sense use of weapon.
A Sunni
Aug 31, 2012 10:05pm
Weapons dont kill people, people kill people.
Aug 30, 2012 10:09am
I absolutely agree with Abro, I noticed the same scenes all around this Eid. I kept asking this question myself and everyone where are we heading? Just a few days before Eid, I saw many trucks loaded with plastic guns heading our markets. This clearly appear as function of 1980 efforts and follow up until lately. I can only say we are on a ship without a compass.....
Aug 30, 2012 10:10am
Although I am from India, but I also give Pakistan the same equal respect as I give to India. This mentality of living for no cause and not knowing what we are doing, not thinking what we are doing has cost our nations a great deal and has brought us to a point where every other nation looks at us with a degraded view. Believe me it hurts when you walk out of Pakistan or India. We used to be a great nation but are nowhere now. Only our politicians are flourishing and that is solely because of us.
Kashif Chohan
Aug 31, 2012 03:35pm
LOL....spot on Raoul, here Pakistanis may not like what you have written but damn that is sooooooooo true.
Aug 31, 2012 06:26am
oho my GOD, this is very illlogicall point of view ,it means we are giving bad mannaers our children ,i dis agree from this article
Cyrus Howell
Aug 30, 2012 03:24pm
I played "guns", war games of hunting and stalking after school every week for years. It never hurt me or any of my friends. These children know war is not a game.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 30, 2012 03:04pm
"The man who created the Kalashnikov would have never thought that one day the US would be distributing it worldwide." Oh yes he did. Very much so. He had great concern for the fact that his weapon had been distributed all over the Third World. The Developing World? Developing what? Wars and tribal battles? Tribal gangs? The Developing World has to go through their World War just as the West did because it has no structure. Tribalism is breaking down everywhere. The largest manufacturer of Kalashnikovs is China. Who makes the M-1 rifle, the weapon that won World War II? China. Weapons sales was China's path to wealth. China sells small arms to Pakistan. They made the AK-47 economical enough for everyone to buy. Russia sold them to their old ally Iraq. Materialism is what wars are all about. "Thou Shalt Not Covet"? Forget about it. If Islam is The Structure then let the children play war, and practice war. They need to. War will out live all of us. It is mankind's defining characteristic.
Sep 01, 2012 08:35am
This our future
Kashif Chohan
Aug 31, 2012 03:40pm
This is truth, bitter and naked like the whole nation of Pakistan.
Aug 30, 2012 10:00am
excellently awesome....
A Sunni
Aug 31, 2012 01:11pm
US kids has more real guns than pakistani kids, here parents give wepons as a gift to thier children, and feel proud, they are proud nation who is ruleing the world. Please stop targeting pakistani kids now, be a proud nation.
Sep 01, 2012 12:47am
Thank you so much for actually clearing that up; I instantly thought aloud looking at the picture that what they're holding are not toy guns! Those are the real deal, 9mm sub machine guns (HK?)!
Aug 30, 2012 09:40am
You have clearly highlighted the problem and priorities of the society. It is up to the individual households to address the issue and remove the agression in the minds of children. It is a slow process and will take 35 years. But one has to be patient and persistant to achieve the result
Aug 31, 2012 06:52am
For those who disagree with the author, continue to remain in a state of denial.
Sep 01, 2012 07:27am
Right, and in those days there were no You tube videos with heads of pakis soldiers, were there ? What is striking in these pictures is the similarity to the thug culture that pakistan has become. The writer attempt is to show the image of our distorted children not to show distorted image of our children.
El Cid
Sep 01, 2012 04:33am
Aug 31, 2012 09:45am
I would like to remind all the respected people who gave their feedback nad the author, that learning to fight, self defence and other tactics of war are essentail for every human being. Not only muslims, non-muslims should also learn these arts. I am not propogating Jihad or War, but the basic rights of a human being. The irony is that the pictures and videos of Non-muslims( american or israelis) are never shown in the media, only pictures are these muslims are shown to the world to create hyteria. National self defence institutes should be there in every society where people can learn the arts of war. And for my Muslim brothers, At the time of pur beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), almost every muslim had a sword and a zirah at his home. These were the prime weapons of that time. The thing that neutralized the society was Justice. The problem for our Muslim countries is Justice. Else is only propoganda.
Usman Ullah
Aug 31, 2012 09:39am
I agree with you brother....
Sep 01, 2012 12:38am
So you take what you want & what you see from the Americans, their Second Ammendment and the Virginia concealed carry law / clause and couple it with your own warped mindset to derive a conclusion that your theory will reduce crime to near zero in soceity? Wow... and am Elvis Presley who just left the building!
El Cid
Sep 01, 2012 04:48am
Dawn is no longer presenting solutions to problems. Check-out its articles and authors. It is causing confusion, disarray, dissension, depression, despondency, disunity, hopelessness, white-washing the criminal, and abrogation of national cohesion, harmony and responsibility. It is a Pakistani newspaper in name only, now. Its agenda is foreign. That much should be clear even to a causal reader.
Aug 31, 2012 09:01am
Don't you think that's for the Americans to sort out? Don't you think a Pakistani or a Pakistani newspaper needs to highlight and look for solutions for problems in Pakistan first?
El Cid
Aug 31, 2012 08:58am
It is unfortunate and reckless that the author Mr.Khuda Bux Abro has not taught his kids the first basic fundamental lesson: To never ever point a gun, toy or not, on anyone or any thing they don't intend to kill or destroy forever. Sadder still that this behavior is being reinforced and encouraged by photographing it.
Aug 30, 2012 12:29pm
Excellent. By the way, the "anokha ladla khelan ko maange chaand" was the Hindu King Ram of Ayodhya.
Karachi Wala
Aug 30, 2012 12:12pm
What a true depiction of the happenings in Pakistan and what a horrible picture of the future is in sight.
El Cid
Aug 31, 2012 08:26am
All Muslims
Khalid Ahmed
Aug 31, 2012 08:14am
Religion is only factor playing part in today's unrest, bhai culture is old story.
El Cid
Sep 04, 2012 06:07am
@BRUISED INDIAN: Sir, Dawn has allowed you to make a personal attack on the state of my mind, do as you will---that is a reflection on yours not mine. The fact stands that the Qur
Aug 31, 2012 07:50am
Author also needs to google "picture of children watching violence on TV" !
Aug 31, 2012 07:48am
Very true , toy guns aren't the cause of increasing violence in our society ..it's the media's unceasing obsession and focus on violence that has exposed our children to negative trends....Now we have to be extra vigilant in order to keep our kids away from all that blood and gore that the media is forever showing
Aug 31, 2012 07:45am
What about REAL guns in the hands of US kids? Would Dawn would care ( or dare) to write about that ? I fail to see what's the big deal with kids playing with toy guns since books are very expensive as it is ..
Aug 31, 2012 07:43am
Secularists are obsessed with religion and try finding a religious angle to everything. I played with toy pistols as a kid and I hardly am a terrorist !
Raoul Ciao
Aug 31, 2012 07:42am
when the aspiration is using guns to solve issues at the play park, and using weapons and terror based coercion to get the world to see "our" way in the international arena, i assume that nation is ready to welcome home the end results....the dogs of war. And shall continue to pay the price and live under the umbrella statement it's Interior Minister give out every now and then "But we are also victims of Terror....in fact statistically we have more terror at home (unsaid...than we export)"
Raoul Ciao
Aug 31, 2012 07:35am
can parents start telling children why guns are NOT a good toy, spend time with them on sports, education, other games/board games? Blaming the govt is not the way out......you seem to live in the US, where it is lobbies like NRA which make hunting rifles access to common people easy, not the govt. WE the people do it to our kids,we use our misdirected religious beliefs (and inhuman beliefs at times of others being Kafir/kufr) why blame the govt?
Raoul Ciao
Aug 31, 2012 07:32am
"If Islam is The Structure then let the children play war, and practice war...." is this blogger even sane? Does he/she have children to even think/talk like this?
Siva D
Aug 31, 2012 02:23am
Children are not being branded. What is being said is that gun violence has become an integral part of middle class culture. Be very afraid!!
Aug 30, 2012 12:06pm
stop branding our children as terrorist. the author seems to have run out of topics and decided to pray on the innocence of children into branding Pakistanis as terrorists.
Aug 30, 2012 09:21am
I beg to disagree.. Movies and video games have caused a lot more than the points you mentioned here in spoiling our children. The association of jehadi or islamic agenda with children buying toy weapons is illogical.
Kashif Chohan
Aug 30, 2012 11:01am
Aug 30, 2012 03:09pm
The pictures in your article are very disturbing (Children carrying toy guns) and I will blame most of the parents who dont even think once what kind of toys their kids should play with.It feels even parents has lost conscience for their kids.
Aug 30, 2012 07:14pm
an excellant article. This also exposes the real midset of parents thinking it is only a child's play but this so called child's play going on for past 30 or so years is now producing 12-15 dead bodies a day in Karachi alone and some quarters are also talking of dewepeonising
Muhammad Liaqat Ali
Aug 31, 2012 04:38am
I completely disagree with this article and I am quite surprised at the number of people who have appreciated the author. For Gods Sake its about the innocent children of Pakistan who are already suffering from the economic woes of our country. As a child I have played with toy guns and weapons, my courins, brothers and friends have as well. With such toys we even acted as if we were in a war. But there were never any sentiments of destruction, taking over the world and putting a Pakistan flag on statue of liberty. This hypothesis concerning the children of Pakistan is completely base less or drawn from an inadequate observation. I take this articile as vain attempt to distort the image our children.
Aug 30, 2012 04:17pm
" Our children use their Eidi to buy weapons and spend the day fighting each other." Just looking at the pictures one can tell it was staged, some poor kids were talked into acting for some
Sep 02, 2012 03:05pm
Exactly, that is for Pakistan to sort out , along with other problems , of course. Pakistanis and Pakistani newspapers need to highlight the fact that we do NOT need USA to solve our problems. We need to take initiatives ourselves !!!
Syed Haider
Aug 30, 2012 11:12pm
My friends and I always bought toy guns for eid. Those of us that didn't , constructed imaginary wooden guns. Then we spent the whole day battling each other. This was 35 years ago. I have yet to see any of my friends turn into violent maniacs.
Aug 30, 2012 09:31am
Good article. Kudos sir.
Aug 30, 2012 10:23am
I noticed the huge amount of children with toy guns on Eid day also, all over Karachi. Including children standing in the back of pick up trucks acting like gun men, it was incredibly disturbing.
Aug 30, 2012 08:51pm
brother, WE(muslims) are not killing shias..please change this misconception installed by West in our minds.U.S A wants a civil war in pakistan to undertake the Northern part of Pakistan due to its a Minerals giving land. All the people who are killing shias are trained by U.S.A in INdia.India is helping west to commence a civil war in pakistan. We (pakistanis) love eachother. When We see news, we shed tears for our brothers and sisters.please change ur concept.We are under scruting by western world.and under huge conspiracy of the secular world
Aug 30, 2012 11:37am
Hi Author please use Google or yahoo image search,put in keyword "child playing with guns" or something like that,see which race,ethnicity and nationality of the children it shows....i will give a hint...it starts with School Shooting and ends with Columbine.
Sure Kant
Aug 30, 2012 11:42am
Congrats Pakistanis! Way to go!!!
Aug 30, 2012 11:48am
That is so sad but true
Aug 30, 2012 11:49am
Toys are toys they are not harming anyone. What next ban on water pistols. I remember my own parents who gave us such toys but did not like us pointing toy guns at siblings. And we had to play in hiding. Some story had to be made to play.
Aug 30, 2012 11:56am
I dont believe this is something one can stop. Children watch action movies or action cartoons and they will imitate everything they see. Even a scene is enough for them to create a whole game. And what can one do ban water pistol , toy swords and tell them what to play and what to not. I dont believe this is such a good idea. What will then be next they can play with cars but not crash them. Let them play and dont stop from everything we are uncomfortable with. Pens books are going nowhere they are just adding by kilos in small childrens bags everyday. Look at a 7 year old going to school with bag as heavy as the child.
Iqbal Hussain
Aug 30, 2012 12:43pm
What an Eye-Opener for rich parents...!!! Sure, this is the future of Muslims and our Pakistan.... Right now we are killing Shias and other minorities but the time is near when our children will kill their own siblings, uncles and aunts. Can our corrupt, sleeping Govt. impose a ban on toy guns and all weaponery....!!! Iqbal Hussain (USA)
Aug 30, 2012 01:05pm
Do you really had to bring religion and religious leanings into it? The recent rise in playing with the gun toys is more due to the media influence. I see children talking in BHAI STYLE while threatening each other pointing gun-toys. Unless we realize the real cause of this pandemic we can't really find the remedy.
RK Singh
Aug 30, 2012 02:19pm
catching them young.
Aug 31, 2012 10:03pm
Hardly!! You mean metaphorically you are?
Kamran Akber Soomro
Aug 30, 2012 02:33pm
I am glad that author has raised this issue which i also observed more prevalent than before. Every other child i met on eid day had a gun or pistol in the hand. They brandished it as a mark of power. I was wondering who was responsible for it, the shopkeepers whose shops were bombarded with multitude of toy guns and weapons, our media that exposes violent scenes and dramas in which weapons are heavily used, or condition of our social life. I do agree with the reasons author has mentioned, but i strongly believe that tribal feuds and fights in villages are one of the major stimulation to taking weapons as toys by children who always intend to follow their elders. This is in fact a very bad omen!
Zulfiqar Shaikh
Aug 30, 2012 09:51am
i agree with this, and regret the massive use of weapon toys by our children these days.. personally, i fight in my family to make it a point that kids be not allowed to spend on such toys
Khalid Ahmed
Aug 31, 2012 11:05am
It is showing a trend and mentality, writer is not comparing on how good we are as compared to US but how bad it is for us for things within our own country. The teaching these children are getting is taught at home to them, then they end up growing at hands of various elements with a frame of mind which to a lower extent points gun on neighbour in their mohalas and on higher extent attack Pakistan army basis believing that they are fighting for Allah.