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Monday, June 20, 2011

‘Small arms cause 60-90 per cent deaths’

ISLAMABAD - Small arms are the reason for 60 to 90 per cent deaths due to direct conflicts that occur each year.

Approximately 90,000 people were killed every year while 1.5 million people were injured every year. Ismat Ullah Khan, Project Officer of SPADO, an NGO, supporting implementation of UN programme of action and de-weaponisation, said this during a press conference here on Saturday.

He said there is trade of small arms worth $ 10 billion in black market per year and a rough estimate showed that a total of illegal weapons being traded were more than 10 million. He said that 95 countries can produce small arms and ammunition and tens of thousands of armed children are fighting in more than 20 conflicts around the word. Most of the victims are civilians and an estimated 2 million children have been killed with small arms from 1990 to 2004. He said AK-47 is the world’s favourite killing machine, which is produced in 14 countries, and unfortunately Pakistan has the biggest per capita rate of gun ownership, he said.

The rate of private gun ownership in Pakistan is 11.6 firearms per 100 people and Pakistan is the victim of gun violence, as armed violence is detrimental to any nation and, he said. He said it endangers the political stability and armed violence imposes a tremendous human and economic burden on individuals, families and communities. It also leaves lasting psychological and physical effects on survivors and most recently Karachi, the business hub of Pakistan, is bearing the major brunt of this phenomenon, he said.

He said Pakistan is losing billions in revenue and target killings and continued closure of shops and markets in Karachi. Furthermore, five years back Pakistan was the most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), he said.

However, the government is unable to control this phenomenon, as there are many factors, which are fuelling this phenomenon. SPADO is also involved in mobilising and effectively utilising the youth volunteers in campaigns against small arms, he said

He said SPADO had also engaged religious scholars to condemn use of small arms.

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