THE tragic incident that unfolded yesterday in Sindh’s Kandhkot tehsil, leading to the deaths of at least nine people, serves as a grim reminder of the hazards lurking in our surroundings. The explosion, reportedly caused by ‘rocket launcher’ ordnance, raises several questions that demand immediate answers. For one: how did such a deadly warhead end up in the area? It is concerning enough that in Pakistan’s tribal districts, children routinely fall victim to unexploded ordnances — a dark inheritance of past conflicts — but for this to occur in Sindh points to a larger issue that goes beyond the mere remnants of war. The incident underscores the need to ramp up the ongoing police and Rangers operation against armed gangs that have long plagued upper Sindh. The presence of such explosives suggests an escalation in the firepower available to criminal elements. This is why it is imperative that our law-enforcement agencies not only work towards apprehending these gangs but also ensure that such armament doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
The nation must also reflect. While much effort has gone into combating terrorism and security has been placed in flashpoint areas, latent threats posed by unexploded ordnances must not be overlooked. The safety of our citizens, especially children, is paramount, and so, mechanisms must be instituted to identify and safely dispose of such hazards. It is high time that the provincial and federal governments collaborated more closely on security matters. No longer must armament from conflicts wreak havoc on our communities. We owe it to the victims in Kandhkot and countless others across the country, to ensure that no more lives are lost to such avoidable tragedies. The onus is now on our authorities to not only determine the source of the ordnance but to bring the culprits involved in its procurement to justice. Our citizens deserve answers. And above all, safety, in their own land.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023