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Nawaz’s priorities & illegal weapons

June 26, 2013

THE successful conclusion of our first national elections in many years has been the cause of much happiness and pride.

Political parties of all shades agree on the need for a solution to the energy crisis and the future of Pervez Musharraf.

However, it is surprising that no party has mentioned the most serious problem: an influx of illegal weapons into Pakistan.

The flood of weapons began during our ill-advised participation in the US war in Afghanistan. Gen Zia’s dictatorship seemed to encourage it.

All succeeding governments turned a blind eye to the menace. The outgoing government issued weapon licences in the tens of thousands, including licences for assault weapons like Kalashnikovs and hand guns (now carried by many teenagers).

The first aim of the Nawaz government should be to elaborate a plan for getting rid of all illegal weapons.

While the motive force will be political, the plan will require the closest cooperation between the army, the police and the civil administration of the federal and provincial governments.

A study of the recent past shows that under the right leadership the people of Pakistan would readily come together in pursuit of a national aim. Getting rid of weapons will be such an aim.

BIRJIS HASAN KHAN Ex-ambassador Karachi