KARACHI, Sept 19: The city echoed with the deafening sound of firecrackers between the night of Monday and Tuesday owing to the availability of firecrackers at every nook and corner despite a ban on their manufacturing and sale.

Police failed to effectively check the distribution, sale, and purchase of firecrackers in almost all parts of the city. However, reports from many areas said the sale and purchase of firecrackers was rather being carried out with the blessings of area police.

Police sources said that many police stations had given “muakkal” for the sale and purchase of firecrackers. The “muakkal” is a term commonly used in police stations for granting undeclared permissions for an activity prohibited in the law or banned by the government. Usually the “muakkal” is granted on the receipt of bribes.

The system of “muakkal” is used to patronize all illegal activities provided the police want them to continue. The police justify the illegal system saying that the income generated through the grant of “muakkal” is spent on the day-to-day expenses of the police station concerned.

The station house officer (SHO) of a police station said, on condition of anonymity, no SHO in any of the police stations was posted until he paid a price to his superiors. Some may get a posting with the backing of an influential politician or a bureaucrat. The SHOs who pay for their postings first recover their invested money and then begin to multiply this amount and may look for a better posting. “It is the system –- good or bad -– and nobody can fight the system,” he added.

About the government’s decision to implement the ban on firecrackers, he said that such sort of orders were relayed and communicated to all police stations regularly. The implementation was the duty of the field force and their priorities were different. “We obey that orders which are strictly monitored by our superiors and they only attach importance to those affairs which are of the interest of the federal government,” the SHO said.

He said the ban on firecrackers was not imposed for the first time this year. It was imposed every year as soon as the month of Shaaban began. However, the ban was always ineffective and people were always harassed with the thunder of firecrackers. It would continue in the same manner in the future, he said.

Police, however, have taken cosmetic measures and picked up some people for selling firecrackers. They were let off after they had given the police written undertaking that they would stop the business.

The fear among the people, who sold and purchased the crackers, could not develop and they were apparently given free hand to perturb citizens by exploding a vast variety of firecrackers.

The sale and distribution of firecrackers continued unhindered in various areas, including Federal B Area, Malir, Korangi, Landhi, Nazimabad, Burnes Road, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Orangi Town, Liaquatabad, Defence Housing Authority and Clifton.

A resident of Bahadurabad said she could not offer prayers because of the horrifying sounds. She said she had rung up police at ‘15’ to seek help against those using firecrackers, but the police told her that ‘We cannot do anything in this matter’.

A resident in F.B. Area said he was a heart patient and was suffering from hypertension. He said the horrible sound of firecrackers had an impact on his heart.

People from different walks of life expressed their indignation on the police failure to curb the use of firecrackers and alleged that the sale of firecrackers was patronized by the police as they took their share from the sale.

No lane and street was spared by youths who exploded firecrackers.

The most disturbed were those suffering from heart ailments and the infants. Doctors said that due to the explosions, infants might develop hearing problems.

The explosion with a thunderous sound at the doorsteps of a house shook the occupants and the infants started crying, said a resident of Nazimabad. This, however, seemed to be a common happening at numerous places.

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