Pakistan News

Arms business witnesses sharp decline in Mohmand

Arms business witnesses sharp decline in Mohmand

GHALANAI: The local gun manufacturers and shopkeepers said that their business was affected badly owing to militancy in the tribal region.

Mohammad Shah, a shopkeeper at Ekkaghund Bazaar, said that he had been repairing arms for the last 40 years. “I quit the business and started repairing electronic gadgets after emergence of Taliban,” he added.

Mr Shah said his business was thriving before the emergence of Taliban but then government placed ban arms owing to militancy in the region. “Now there are only two or three arms shops in Ekkaghund Bazaar,” he added.

Mr Shah said that presently only China made weapons were being transported from Darra Adamkhel to the market with government permission. “The whole Ekkaghund Bazaar was badly affected when a blast killed at least 104 people and injured 120 on July 9, 2010,” he said.

More than 70 shops, houses, vehicles, offices and a lockup of local administration were destroyed in the blast. Most of the destroyed shops and houses were still not reconstructed, Mr Shah said.

Nisar Mohmand, ANP president in Mohmand Agency, said that they spent two decades in war. The people began to hate arms owing to terrorism and behaviour of Taliban, he added.

“Gun was considered a part of Pakhtun culture but now it is changing. We are trying to replace gun with pen,” said Nisar Mohmand. He said that the new generation was fond of pen.

Sher Rehman, another shopkeeper, who has been repairing weapons in the bazaar for the last 10 years, is also not happy with his business. He said that he made new pistols and also brought weapons from other areas on licence but his business was not good those days.

“In the past I used to earn Rs2,000 daily but it is not more than Rs400 now. I am planning to switch to another business,” said Mr Rehman. He said that seven years ago government banned display of arms in the region that affected his business badly.

“One can’t carry his pistol or other weapon owing to checking on various checkposts in the tribal region. It is also a matter of concern for those people, who have personal enmities,” he said.

Mr Rehman said that there was a demand for the pistols made in Turkey, the USA and China as Russian weapons were no more available in the local market.

According to local people, most of the arms shops have turned into electronics shops in Ekkaghund and Main Mandi bazaars. “Now arm dealers sell groceries or electronics instead of weapons,” they said.

SCHEMES: The elders of Qandahari, Shinwari, Masood and Gurbaz tribes on Sunday demanded early resumption of work on development schemes in the militancy-hit areas of Safi tehsil.

Talking to local journalists, tribal elders Malik Gul Shah, Malik Azeem Khan, Malik Haji Bakht Poor, Lal Rehman and others said that tribesmen would play their due role in restoration of peace in the area.

They said that Safi was the most affected area where most of the schools and health units were destroyed. They said that the damaged facilities needed reconstruction.

The elders said that Peshawar-Bajaur Road from Nahqi to Mohammad Gat also needed immediate reconstruction. They said there was no staff in the local hospitals.

They said that lady doctors should be deployed in the hospitals so that tribal women could get treatment facilities.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016

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