KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association has written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan in which it expressed its concern over the increasing trend of celebratory firing in the country that results in killing and injuring people.

Dr S.M. Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the PMA, said on Wednesday that he had sent a letter to the prime minister in which the PMA had asked the PM to take cognizance of the alarmingly increasing trend of celebratory firing generally witnessed on various significant occasions that ended up in fatalities or injuries.

“Being a major stakeholder in the overall national healthcare delivery mechanism, the Pakistan Medical Association has always shown its concern over the basic right of life and health of the people of our country, whenever it is violated,” said the letter.

The teeming metropolis resounded with aerial firing reported from various neighbourhoods on Independence Day as major hospitals reported arrival of a number of people getting injured by stray bullets.

The PMA official drew the PM’s attention to a recent such incident at a wedding in Lahore that took lives.

“This practice is an open violation of law that often kills innocent people. Unfortunately this practice has never been stopped and such horrifying incidents take place regularly.”

Dr Sajjad said over the years, the trend of aerial firing on chand raat, New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, weddings and celebration for victory in elections had increased.

“This celebratory firing results in grief for others, killing and injuring innocent people. Most survivors of this firing suffer from paralysis. This is all due to negligence of our institutions that are responsible for protecting lives of people of Pakistan.

“How long will the citizens suffer from these merrymakers? It is time to get rid of this menace. The authorities concerned had never taken it seriously and they never came up with a zero-tolerance policy for celebratory gunfire,” said the PMA official.

He said being a patient-friendly organisation, the PMA requested the PM to take notice of the situation and ban “this ugly tradition of aerial firing for any celebration to save the lives of innocent people”.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019