Severing link... By Naeem
23 January, 2014
Pakistan appears to be collapsing with each passing day. Good wishes, promises or condemning violence will no longer serve the purpose. The time has come for the civilian government to take stock of the situation in the right manner. Even today, the government does not understand that unless it controls three links in the chain of violence, namely weapons, vehicles and SIMs, it would not be able to control the terrorists.
With an estimated eight million licensed and 12 million unlicensed guns in the hands of private armies and individuals, how can we wish for peace and tranquillity in this unfortunate land? The government has issued 69,473 prohibited bore licences to some 342 parliamentarians in the last five years. The federal government issued 1.2 million gun licences, while the Sindh government distributed 0.4 million licences in the same period.
To begin with, the Arms Ordinance1965 should be replaced with a new law as has been repeatedly asked for by the Supreme Court. Citizens, regardless of their rank or status, rich or poor, religious or secular, should be prohibited from possessing, carrying or displaying any weapon of any bore — licensed or otherwise. Providing security is the responsibility of the state, and it must not be sublet to the private armies, especially now when the situation is so precarious.
There are thousands of vehicles with fake, foreign, Applied for Registration (AFR) or missing number plates moving freely around the streets. These cars have been used in multiple crimes, bomb attacks and kidnappings — with no traces of their origin or ownership. The Sindh government and police are guilty of not even getting registered thousands of vehicles that are in their own use, thus providing opportunities to criminals to use 'look-alike' number plates. The government needs to clamp down on this issue and make sure that no vehicle moves on the roads unless it is fully registered and traceable.
There are an estimated 30-60 million illegal/untraceable subscriber identity modules (SIMs) being used in Pakistan. The government has failed to take firm action against this vital tool of militancy. As a first step, placing a limit of one SIM per person will immediately eliminate a very large segment of irregular SIMs.