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October 8, 2010

De-weaponisation campaign need of the hour


October 8, 2010

The city of Karachi is still under the grip of law breakers as city continues to witness violence.
Since the beginning of this year, the city is under the grip of targeted violence or sectarian violence. In some instances the police have been successful in apprehending the suspects involved but there are many cases pending regarding the killing of innocent people which includes the rickshaw drivers, bus drivers and conductors, cobblers and many others who became the victim of sectarian violence.
Senior investigators showing concern over the disturbing law and order situation said that the current wave of lawlessness have necessitated a need to launch a comprehensive de-weaponisation drive in under to clean the city from menace of illegal weapons which is the main continuity factor in the perfect state of lawlessness.
The new provisional government is confronted with a volatile situation as a so called privately armed military seems to be calling the shots and black mailing the government by creating lawlessness at the behest of some invisible forces.
Though in the past several steps were adopted by various governments to curb weaponisation, they failed to achieve the desired objective as these campaigns were politically motivated and targeted only a specific ethic group which resulted in an outbreak of ethnic violence, leading to more human and material losses.
The first de-weaponisation campaign was launched during mid-eighties in Karachi when a crackdown was launched at Sohrab Goth (Kuchi Bazar), the main strong hold of the an ethnic based group, which was known as the main supplier of illicit weapons to the city and this operation was called as the “Operation Sohrab Goth”.
This operation failed to yield required results because many officials in the police department had given a tip-off to the smugglers prior to the start of the operation. When the police force entered into the premises of the Sohrab Goth, they only found few

old weapons and few rounds of ammunitions. In order to hide their failure, the police bulldozed the flourishing markets which caused severe resentment and anger among the ethnic community.
The second de-weaponisation campaign was launched in late 1990’s with the prime aim to undermine a political organisation which had acquired a huge arsenal of weapons and allegedly challenged the writ of the State.
Besides launching a crackdown on the political activists in various parts of the city, the police also devised a new strategy by launching a crackdown on arms smuggling from tribal areas that were providing arms and ammunition to the political group.
This campaign, which was launched to clean the city from illegal weapons came to a grinding halt, when on the fateful day of November-5, 1996 Government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed. Afterwards the government of Mian Mohammed Nawaz Sharif in his second term in office had launched the third de-weaponisation campaign, which utterly failed and the government had to stage a retreat.
The present circumstances demands that new incumbent government, having the support at large, should thoroughly deliberate upon this issue and should formulate a well thought-out strategy so that an effective de-weaponisation campaign be launched in this regard and a strategy be adopted so that desired results can be achieved.
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