Pakistan calls for resolving conflicts to curb demand for small arms


United Nations : Reaffirming its determination to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, Pakistan called for addressing the root causes of conflicts to eliminate a major source of demand for such weapons.

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“Focus on conflict prevention and dispute resolution is thus a sine qua non for the attainment of the common goals of strengthening peace and security in conditions of economic and social progress,” Brig. ® Javed Iqbal Cheema, the Pakistani delegate, told a meeting aimed at halting the illicit trade.

Held every two years since 2003, the meeting considers implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. The current meeting, a third in the series, ends Friday.

Brigh ® Cheema, who is director general of the Interior Ministry’s National Crisis Management Cell, said in compliance with UN Programme of Action, the Pakistan government had:

Bought back and destroyed around 20,000 small arms;

632,000 weapons and 3.5 million rounds of ammunition voluntarily surrendered and confiscated under a recovery plan;

Undertaken economic and educational development of destabilized areas;

arms licensing procedures tightened, and, law enforcement improved.

He said Pakistan’s close proximity to violent conflicts and resistance movements has contributed to the problem of small arms and light weapons.

“The biggest factor, however, is the continuing instability in our neighbourhood, which has spawned proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the geographically contiguous border areas of Pakistan. In the rest of the country, there is no such phenomenon which proves that the problem is geo-political and does not lie within the regulatory mechanism of Pakistan.”

Brig. ® Cheema also called for sharing information on brokering networks and cartels involved in this deadly trade. Pakistan, he said, has effective legislation in place to deal with brokering.

He said Pakistan has a water-tight system to regulate production, import, and export of weapons and ammunition, which is under the exclusive control of the Government. The legal framework also catered for strict protection of stockpiles and prevention of pilferage.

As for marking and tracing, he said, the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) at Wah followed a reliable system of marking and record-keeping which was in conformity with the International Tracing Instrument.