ALL peace-loving citizens should be deeply alarmed at the recent SRO (statutory regulatory order) that removes the ban on the issuance of prohibited bore gun licences, thus enabling our elite to own an unlimited number of automatic weapons.
There are some 20 million legal and illegal weapons in the hands of militants, mafias and private individuals in Pakistan. It is a well-documented fact that gun violence is directly proportional to the prevalence of guns in any country. The USA is a prime example of this sickness. On the other hand, sensible countries like Australia, Japan and UK, through de-weaponisation schemes, have almost completely eliminated gun violence.
The recent discovery of gun dealers, the police, and bureaucrats collectively engaged in manufacturing thousands of fake gun licences may have come as a shock to many. The industry of fake gun licences, thriving for decades, has made Pakistan perhaps the largest fraudulent gun licence manufacturer in the world. The latest notification is likely to add fuel to this fire and usher in a new era of violence, militancy and tribal culture in Pakistan.
It is time for the government to assume its responsibility to protect the lives of all citizens and to declare that all categories of weapons must lie only in the domain of the state and that no citizen be allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon — licenced or otherwise.
Our organisation, Citizens Against Weapons, is of the opinion that it would be prudent for the government to withdraw its SRO (1) /2018. Further, the government should also put an end to the issuance of all gun licences and to declare the existing weapon licences null and void.
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019