Why gifting recovered arms to LEOs is a bad idea

seized weaponsPakistan Army has announced that it will gift thousands of weapons and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition to police, Rangers and the Levies. At first this appears like a sound policy that is not only economical but also helps build camaraderie between security agencies. However, on second thought there are important reasons why this programme should be abandoned immediately.

LEAs regularly discover weapons caches when conducting raids, and often these weapons are claimed to be of foreign origin, suggesting links between suspected parties and hostile agencies. There have been some problems with these claims, though, such as when Rangers accused MQM of having a large cache of weapons stolen from NATO containers, only to have the US government clarify that they were not NATO weapons. These and other incidents have created some doubts about whether or not agencies are ‘planting’ weapons.

The fact is that tracing the origin of weapons is especially difficult, and sometimes impossible. By giving LEAs a treasure trove of illegal weapons used by terrorists, it will only open the flood gates of denials and doubts about whether future seizures are real or planted. Officials have thought of this, and are trying to take some measures.

These arms and ammunition recovered during various operations are properly being recorded and marked to ensure that none of these arms and ammunition is misappropriated or misused,” a senior security official said on condition of anonymity.

This is not enough, though. If the records are made and kept by the same agencies that are making arrests where weapons are found, how will we know that those records are not being manipulated or hidden? No, the best answer is that all weapons seized in raids should be destroyed in public, and all security personnel should be issued new arms whose serial numbers are recorded in official records.

Nobody wants to doubt the sincerity of our security personnel, especially when it is a matter of planting weapons. 99.99% of our LEOs are above reproach, but there are a few who get carried away such as in the killing of Sarfraz Shah and the torture death of Aftab Ahmed. Introducing thousands and thousands of illegal weapons into the system will only add to doubts at a time when national security dictates that all means should be taken to protect the credibility of the law enforcement system.

Fatalist Mindset

Recently discussions with friends have made me wonder how we got to this point of fatalist mentality we see around us today. The pessimism and negativity got to me and I decided to write about it.

The first incident was an interesting discussion on the Sarfraz Shah case related to the Anti-Terrorism court hearing. As most of us know, the anti-terrorism court had sentenced to death the Ranger who shot and killed Sarfraz Shah, while giving six others life imprisonment on Friday. Here’s a reminder to refresh everybody’s memory

Now personally I was satisfied with the verdict because I see it as a positive step taken from our judiciary, and while I admit there isn’t true transparency in the system, this was indeed something that showed progression and hope.

However, I had several friends who said “sab choot jayengay” and that “only a matter of time when they’re released” accompanied by disdain for the judicial system, the government and the army all inclusively.

I tried telling them that that might be, but justice inshAllah shall be served. Be it a life imprisonment along with compensation for the victims family or hanging of the Ranger who killed Sarfraz Shah, and that is all I am concerned with. I also mentioned that even though the verdict can still be taken up with high court if defendants appeal the case, as mentioned in the above article, various reports suggest that it is presently unclear if the defense counsel will even appeal the verdict because the defendants had filed for a not-guilty plea and it seems like a very weak case for them due to over whelming evidence. And now that a verdict had been delivered, defendants can’t change their plea for a less harsh penalty as well.

I also tried explaining to them that the awam noticed the entire Sarfraz Shah case and our entire nation raised their voice in unison demanding justice for Sarfraz Shah, that act actually served as a catalyst in the proceedings of this case shows that we can make a difference if we keep a positive approach towards things.

Unfortunately, all these points had absolutely no affect on my friends. They continued with the fatalist mindset saying the courts verdict means nothing and that there will always be loopholes allowing the convicted to escape jail-time and the one-possible death penalty and that the victims family will once again, just like many other cases, be deprived of justice.

Then early in the morning another incident happened. I was discussing with a separate group of friends why our media hadn’t talked about US considering funding a 12 billion Pakistani Dam project that is actually pretty important news seeing that this would be the largest civilian aid project ever undertaken by anyone in Pakistan.

One of my friends quipped in Punjabi saying that Goras are simply fooling the awam of Pakistan. Another one of them said something equivalent of the English expression “yeah right”.

I was shocked at this because to me building of a dam in Pakistan is actually huge and even if there are limitations, at least it showed the US does not want to keep the relationship strictly transactional. Obviously with the current economic conditions in the US it will be extremely hard to follow through with this project but my point is that acknowledging this step will show them that we are interested and maybe we can negotiate for a smaller project if this 12 billion dollar one is not possible.

Imagine the US policy makers sitting right across from us Pakistanis. They are showing interest in investing in the civilian sector in Pakistan so that the energy crisis in Pakistan can be solved. Keep in mind this is not military aid to help with war on terror, this is solely for Pakistan to address its energy crisis, and it’s not a loan that must be repaid either. If Pakistanis keep an attitude of “yeah right” or “whatever” the US policy makers will also think that they are wasting their time seeing no acknowledgment of their proposal (even if its only at table talks level) or getting positive feedback.

Coming back to the fatalist mindset, I am actually surprised because growing up, I was always told to aim high. If I wanted to pass calculus or algebra, I didn’t aim on just getting by, I aimed for getting 90 percent or above marks. I admit, I am no mathematical genius, in fact I hate Maths but it was because of this attitude that I consistently got 80 percent or above marks. Even if I didn’t get 90 percent, I still managed to get a decent numbers. I have never believed in resignation to fate and I always believe in the saying “khuda unki maddad karta hai jo apni maddad aap kartay hain”.

My point that I want to pass across to the readers is this: How many times have we seen self fulfilling prophecies come true? The answer is simple. Always. Giving up or submitting to fate without making an effort has never yielded any results. If I thought as a kid that I will fail in Maths and didn’t study, I would probably have actually failed the subject. No surprise.

Same is the case with the fatalist mentality that we have latched onto. The moment we let go of the acceptance of all things and events as inevitable, the faster we can be on our way to progress.