Gun crazy


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
Gun crazy

There are still those who remember a time when Pakistan was not armed and dangerous, but today seemingly everybody who thinks they are 'a somebody' wants a gun to go with their elevated position. Hardly surprising then that the issuance of licences for prohibited bore weapons is a process that has quickly become corrupted, and led to almost 30,000 fraudulently obtained licences to be issued in a fifteen-month period. The Interior Ministry has now done what it should have done long ago and put its foot down, cancelling the licences issued by corrupt officials. This does nothing to remove the guns from circulation, and we cannot imagine that the police are about to mount an operation for their recovery or that the owners are going to hand them in voluntarily. Even more worrying, the true identity of many of those who obtained fraudulent licences is unknown, and the pool of lethal weaponry swilling around unregulated continues to grow.

There is a strong sense of the stable door being shut once the horse has bolted. An enquiry into the scam has recommended that in future all arms licences must be issued against applications having valid authority, and the recommendation has been accepted. All well and good, but the fraud was committed in part by using a server that bypassed NADRA which is supposed to be the validating authority – and if it has been done once it can be done again, there is no such animal as 'foolproof' in Pakistan. It must also be noted that the investigation that gave rise to these disclosures and subsequent official action emanated in part from complaints about the issue of arms licences by parliamentarians. These are the very same parliamentarians who themselves have a quota of licences which they may grant as grace-and-favour to their voters, a practice that has also been abused and put yet more weaponry into the hands of dubious characters. We need to de-weaponise ourselves and the sooner the better. Guns for genuine protection – yes, necessary. Guns as badges of social status and machismo? No.

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