Banning arms display

PAKISTAN Rangers Punjab has warned citizens against public display of weapons and employment of personal security guards, terming it an illegal practice under the National Action Plan (NAP). Its spokesman said in Lahore that the paramilitary force will jointly work with the Punjab Police and strict action will be taken against those found violating the rules, adding that action will also be taken against private security guards wearing uniforms designated for army, civil or military institutions.
This is a step in the right direction and hopefully it will be implemented in letter and spirit in view of the prevailing security environment in the country. Proliferation of arms and their dare-devil display have become serious issues but the successive governments failed to take effective measures to address them and paid only lip service. We have been pleading in these columns that a comprehensive operation should be undertaken to recover illegal arms besides choking the supply lines whether they are situated inside the country or abroad. Recovery of arms would definitely have a positive bearing on the overall law and order and security environment in the country. Similarly, Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan repeatedly announced initiation of the process for verification of licensed weapons but no one knows to what extent the drive has been successful especially when the process was supposed to have been undertaken only at the Federal level and there were no complementary campaigns by the provincial governments. Sometime back possession of arms and ammunition posed no serious threat but security and threat dimensions have changed and the previous concept of considering possession of arms as constitutional right of citizens in Punjab and Sindh and part of the culture in KPK and Balochistan need to be reviewed thoroughly. As for brandishing of weapons and firing in air on different occasions, this not only hurts soft image of the country but is also dangerous as often precious lives become victim to such irresponsible attitudes and practices. Now that the Rangers have vowed to enforce ban, we hope there will be no leniency for violators and a change would be visible.

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