Karachi police have arrested four, identified as Azmatullah, Bashir Khan, Fazal Jan, and Farmanullah, for selling guns online via WhatsApp and Facebook while a crack-down mission of demolishing criminal marketplaces and stopping the illegal flow of arms. The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Sindh police said that the arms dealers in Karachi and rural Sindh as well as private security companies were colluding with the weapons dealers in Dara Adam Khel, Dera Ismail Khan, and Peshawar in the supply and smuggling of illegal arms and issuing licenses. CTD official Raja Umer Khattab said;
“Arms dealers and shopkeepers of Peshawar, Darra Adam Khel, Dera Ismail Khan, and other districts were involved in smuggling of arms whose modes Operandi were to publicize the arms dealing through Facebook and Whatsapp groups.”
The CTD team conducted intelligence-based raids in different parts of the city, including University Road, Kashmir Road, Banaras Chowk, and SITE Area, and arrested four illegal arms suppliers and smugglers and seized weapons and ammunition from their possession.
“Their modus operandi was to publicize the arms dealing through Facebook and Whatsapp groups. The arms dealers would add the interested buyers to their WhatApp groups to finalize deals and take 50 percent advance payment through online transactions and the remaining payment is made at the time of delivery. They worked in an organized way with paid operatives in different parts of the country.”
He said that interested buyers would message the arms dealers on WhatsApp and discuss the final price for a weapon of their choice. Half of the agreed amount was paid through online apps while the rest would be delivered to their hometowns.
The dealers would also make money by helping buyers get fake licenses for the arms. These licenses would be fake, but their documents would make them appear legitimate.
The dealers also got money for helping the buyers get arms licenses that were found fake. To give their phony document an authentic look, the dealers would also ask their clients to provide them with their fingerprints, identification cards, and signatures through WhatsApp to fulfill the legal requirements and later provided clients with QR codes for verification purposes.
There are an estimated 20 million illegal arms in circulation in Pakistan. This includes serious firepower; law enforcement authorities are increasingly coming under attack from criminals and terrorists armed with heavy weapons such as grenades (including rocket-propelled ones), long-range sniper rifles, and machine guns. The volatile situation in Lyari was a case in point, where despite the fact that police were equipped with tank-like armored personnel carriers, they were forced on the back foot.
K-P’s Darra Adam Khel region is still considered the epicenter of illegal and locally manufactured arms in Pakistan. It is estimated that the Darra region produces 20,000 of all kinds of weapons annually and has the capacity to produce 100 AK-47s per day at a cost of less than $150 per weapon. Officials say that apart from Darra, there are other weapons bazaars such as one called the Dagar bazaar in Kurram agency that houses unregistered arms factories. There are many types of sniper rifles such as the G3 can be fitted with a telescope that is also available.
Karachi’s DIG East Tahir Naveed says there are many ‘lush push’ copies of American and Austrian weapons circulating in the market as well. “It’s hard to tell which ones are copies and which ones are original,” he said. The bulk of these locally manufactured guns from these illegal bazaars is believed to land in the hands of terrorists and criminal gangs operating all over the country.
The capital, which is considered the safest city in the country is also not safe from the wrath of gangs and weapons. During the last five months, Islamabad Capital Police arrested 5,630, including 1,888 accused of property crimes, drugs, illegal weapons, and other crimes. During the same period, the police also arrested 563 suspects of 220 gangs involved in a series of heinous crimes, a police spokesman said.
According to the details, following the special orders of IGP Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan, Islamabad Capital Police continued a full crackdown against the criminal elements besides the law and order situation throughout the district. DIG Operations Sohail Zafar Chatha said that during the last five months, the operations division arrested 1888 accused involved in property crime, car, and motorcycle theft and seized 174 vehicles, 376 motorcycles, and valuables worth Rs. 665.5 million recovered from their possession.