De-weaponisation and de-radicalisation
As ‘Citizens Against Weapons’, we welcome the government’s decision to put a conclusive end to all banned, extremist and militant organisations. Vital to peace and security, these actions were long overdue and ought to have been taken a long time back. These steps are also in keeping with Article 256 of the Constitution which explicitly prohibits all private armies. Having worked on this subject for past several years, we understand that any actions to curb militancy shall be temporary and non-productive, if not accompanied by elimination of 20 million legal and illegal guns in the hands of militants, mafias, private militias and influential individuals in Pakistan.
It is time for the government to execute a nation-wide de-weaponisation programme that includes surrender of all unlicensed weapons as well as buy-back of all licensed weapons – on the same model as the one successfully implemented by Australia and UK.
It is time for the government to declare that all categories of weapons lie only in the domain of the state and that no group, gang or citizen shall be allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon – licensed or otherwise.
It would be prudent for the government to put an end to issuance of all gun licenses and to declare the existing weapon licenses (largely issued on the basis of favour, status, influence or bribe), as null and void.
We welcome the government’s action to ask for the military’s support in eliminating the militants and the extremists. However, it must be understood that it is only through a nationwide de-weponisation and de-radicalisation programme that Pakistan could achieve this much needed and highly desirable objective. It is time for the government to fulfil its constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens and to eliminate all groups and individual who threaten peace at home and abroad.
Naeem Sadiq, Asad Kizalbash, Farooq Dawood, Rumana Husain, Sohail Thobani
Citizens Against Weapons