CELEBRATING happy moments is a right of an individual whether it is Independence Day, Eid, marriage or winning cricket matches. But how can somebody be given the right to play with the lives of innocent people as in the case of aerial firing.

One can see sporadic celebratory gunfire across Hyderabad nowadays on the occasion of weddings in marriage halls and neighbourhoods which recently has claimed the life of a nine-year-old boy in the jurisdiction of the Sakhi Peer police station.

According to TV reports, 10 people have lost their life due to stray bullets and aerial firing in Hyderabad. The areas under Market, Sakhi Peer and city police stations are believed to be the most affected areas in Hyderabad.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) promotes safe celebration of independence day along with activating sobriety checkpoints, The LAPD seeks out and arrests any person who fires a gun during celebrations. Indiscriminate gunfire is not tolerated in the city/county of Los Angeles.

Discharging a firearm into the air is a felony, punishable by one year in state prison. Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

According to media reports, the aerial firing claimed three lives and left over 50 others injured during 2012 New Year celebrations in Karachi. There stray bullet victims do not lodge FIRs as they deem it a futile exercise. Aerial firing claims many precious lives, but no positive action is taken by the police with the help of citizens.

How long will the citizens suffer from these merrymakers? It is time stricter laws were made to get rid of this menace. The legislature must play its vital role to stop aerial firing through criminal law amendment, inserting a new section in the Pakistan Penal Code. Aerial firing should be made cognizable offence in the II schedule of Criminal Procedure Code 1898.

The authorities concerned need to take it seriously and come up with a zero tolerance policy for celebratory gunfire. The media, too, will have to perform their due role to discourage celebratory firing in the air.

Furthermore, citizens must cooperate with the police to apprehend culprits and point out such elements as violate the law. It is a fact that it is not possible to overcome this menace without the help of citizens, the media and the authorities concerned.

I appeal to the Senate chairman, the National Assembly speaker and members of both houses to take appropriate action for legislation against aerial firing.

HASSAN LATIF SHAIKH Hyderabad

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