The other day, I went out to buy a DVD from a nearby store. As it happened, I reached there before the shop had opened. I thought to wait a while until it opened so that I would not have to come back. After ten minutes, the owner showed up. He took off his helmet and outerwear that he had probably worn to save his shirt from coming in contact with dust, opened the shop and proceeded to take out his pistol from the holster that he had worn round his back and put it into the drawer. It was a slightly scary thing to watch executed with such a sense of normalcy by that shop owner.

Most of the people in our country keep weapons with them; in their cars, houses, shops and offices. They have a very fine statement that they use to justify keeping the weapon that it is for their own safety and self-defense. My family including both paternal and maternal sides has never kept a single lethal weapon. Do we not need weapons for our defense?

Actually, keeping a weapon has become a part of culture in our society. We take junky-like pride in showing them off. In our society, most of our strength and manhood is not justified until we keep a weapon.

What if two people are both carrying weapons in the name of self-defense and they engage in a fight with each other - who becomes the defender and who the aggressor? What purpose does this label of self-defense accomplish then? It needs to be understood that weapons lead to more aggression, giving it an acceptable place in your life and mindset, and provides you a way to exercise that perceived power and dominance.

Considering the situation of the country we reside in, it is somewhat justified keeping armed guards with you (especially for public personalities), but that is vastly different from the ones who keep weapons under their shirts. If we talk to that shopkeeper, he would have his own explanation for keeping weapons: so that he is not being looted by thieves or robbers, and is capable of attacking them back in case of danger. Agreed, that is a concern. But we cannot cloak this destructive, fear-inducing epidemic of weaponising the common men as self-defense and personal protection. The consequences do not even stop there; just suppose the shopkeeper comes into a fight with any of the customers, it becomes disastrous for both of them because the customer would also try to save himself by inviting those who have weapons to join the fray, escalating small disputes into violence and breeding never-ending enmity.

Ideally, the whole country needs to be deweaponised, which is also one of the objectives of the Radd-Ul-Fassad operation. Once the objective is achieved, it would render obsolete our justification of keeping weapons to fight with another person - when the potential attacker also does not have one. If every single individual is deweaponised and the state enforces a strict ban on laymen forbidding the possession of automatic weapons, access would diminish for robbers and thieves as well, who would find it increasingly difficult and eventually impossible to purchase weapons and get them licensed.

Since our security agencies are involved in carrying out the operation in different areas of the country, there is a dire need to nip this evil in the bud once and for all. Competent and capable young professionals need to be included in panels of security operations and legislation for the purpose of developing insight into the mindsets of our society, providing analysis and personality profiling on weaponised citizens and reporting back with constructive solutions to eliminate this aggressive mentality starting at the grass root level, one step ahead of what our security agencies are already doing. It should be done in educational institutes too, as I remember from my school and college days that some students would keep a pistol in their bags while coming to college.

In another similar situation, I was once in a market and witnessed a bike rider opening fire on the driver of the car who accidently hit him. It terrified all those who were around. What if that gunfire had hit a pedestrian? When society as a whole has lost even the most basic levels of patience and tolerance, such people really need to be deweaponised for the purpose of diminishing unnecessary anxiety, threat, violence and fear in our collective minds.