Bleeding from a thousand small wounds, the state in Pakistan appears to be receding, relinquishing and collapsing with each passing day. Good wishes, promises or speeches can no longer reverse the devastation caused by years of criminal negligence. 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 rapidly lose the last shreds of its dwindling writ.

With an estimated 8 million licensed and 12 million unlicensed guns in the hands of private armies and individuals, there can be little reason for peace and tranquillity. For years the government itself pioneered the spread of violence and militancy – issuing 69,473 prohibited bore licenses to some 342 parliamentarians in the last five years. The Federal government issued 1.2 million gun licenses, while the Sindh government made a matching contribution of distributing 0.4 million licenses in the same period.

It is best to begin by striking down the Arms Ordinance - a law exclusively aimed to promote violence and political bribes. This madness can be ended only when no citizen, regardless of his rank or status, rich or poor, religious or secular is allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon of any bore – licensed or otherwise. Providing security is the responsibility of the state, and it must not be sublet to private armies – as expressly stated in the constitution of Pakistan.

There are thousands of vehicles with fake, foreign, AFR or missing number plates that move around unchecked on the streets, often indulging in crime, bomb attacks and kidnapping – with no traces of their origin or ownership. The Sindh government and police are guilty of not having 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 and make sure that nothing moves on the roads unless it is fully registered and traceable but they have to start with themselves.

There are estimated 30-60 million illegal untraceable cellular phone SIMs being used in Pakistan. The government has failed to take any actions to curb this vital component of militancy. All SIMS need to be blocked (in phases) and replaced by SIMS traceable to individuals through CNIC, address and biometrics. As a first step limiting one SIM per person will immediately eliminate a very large segment of irregular SIMs. For all this to work we first need a will, is the government ready to curtail and stop all the problems that Pakistanis face daily or do they just want to appear on TV regularly with speeches and more lies?


Karachi, January 21.