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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Deweaponise Pakistan! But How

MQM's senior leader, Dr. Farooq Sattar, in the wake of recent Karachi killings, made an appeal to the masses. He wants to evaluate current laws on the books and introduce some new ones, to essentially de-weaponise Pakistan. The statement makes a very good sound bite and great headlines, but in essence sounds quite hollow.

The issue is not the legislation itself. I am sure that, there are plenty of laws on the books, forbidding use of illegal fire arms. The bigger issue is the effectiveness of all those verbose, yet. Ineffective laws. It all boils down to the implementation of these great yet meaningless laws.

Introducing more bills into the parliament, gives the impression that law makers are holding their end of the bargain. The fact is that this seemingly well intentioned idea is close to being impossible to apply on the masses.

Without naming the obvious culprits, the political parties have engaged into the warfare with latest weaponry to claim their territorial rights in a rather integral city of the nation. How would, they give up their turf of the much revered Port City. As they say, " charity begins at home", so who would drop the first coin in the bucket?

Then the "good old extremist", who have supposedly made it their whole and sole aim to play with the explosives, how will they be deterred? Who is going to the bell that proverbial cat? The elite class and their security guards have a lot of arms and ammunition, supposedly for their protection. The pervasive "royal culture" which requires a fleet of armed guards, in front of the palatial mansions. Who is going to convince them to give up their "birth right" of being the VIP's?

The criminals and the ransom gangs who abduct people at a drop of a hat, perhaps possess latest metal, which the law enforcers, such as police personnel can only dream of. Who is going to make them surrender their toys? How about student and labour unions, who thrive on klashnikov and TT's as their show of power and force. Who is going to remind them, that their hands should be on the books and assembly lines so, the economic growth rate of the country can improve exponentially?

Then there are certain areas of the country famous for manufacturing the replicated versions of guns and weaponry. How will those folks, for whom weapons are a way of life be swayed to part with their identity and so called heritage?

The easy answer is that, have the military conduct an operation in the recently impacted areas of Karachi. But is that the answer to the long standing, law and order situation of the city? Perhaps a band aid solution, but the situation will be temporary as usual. As soon as the operation will cease, the city will turn into the familiar war zone.
It is rather ludicrous, to expect the army to carry out an operation of disarming every single household of the country by force.

So as you can see, it is rather easy to pass a sweeping judgment with a rather well sounding statement. But when you try to reason with it, you know that it is more of a dream. My readers would be perplexed by now, where this whole thing is headed.

The everlasting solution lies, first and foremost in supremacy of the law. If the law is implemented, without any distinction and applicable to every one, regardless of their status or affiliation that would be the first step. A few convictions of every unruly segment of the society would send the right message to the citizens.

Most importantly a non violent culture has to be introduced from the kindergarten to the highest level of education. Where people are compelled to part with these lethal ornaments. Where people do not tolerate injustice and let the law of the land take its proper course. Where life of another individual will be more precious than anything. Only then we can de-weaponise this nation. Any other idea is going to fall flat on the surface, immediately after its inception. You don't erect a building with just mental sketches do you?

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