Street Crimes in Karachi–II (The illegal, weapons trade)

This is the second part of Street Crimes in Karachi which deals with the subject of free availability of weapons in Karachi. In the last part I wrote about the various types of Street Crimes. One has to understand that muggers, target killers, kidnappers and looters use different types of weapons, because of a number of reasons.


Muggers prefer the Tokarev, commonly called as the TT . It is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the 7.62 x 25 mm round. At one time it was the standard pistol for Soviet Union from 1930’s till 1960’s. Muggers, kidnappers and those involved in bank heists are low degree thugs who rely more on dash and guts rather than weaponry and thus use the TT. Although there have been instances where better weapons have been used by them but it is quite rare.

Why do they use this weapon? Because:

  • The local gunsmiths of Darra achieved perfection in making copies of these pistols over the years.
  • They are cheap! Starting price in Darra would be Rs. 2500.
  • The local ammo made for this handgun is dirt cheap, around Rs. 7 a pop.
  • It is available in abundance.
  • It is very very lethal.

While muggers have restricted themselves to TT because it is the only handgun available at dirt cheap rates, in abundance, Target Killers have been known to use pistols chambered for the 9 x 19 mm round. It is, in fact the world’s most popular round for handguns. And so they have not restricted themselves to any one handgun because in this category one can buy any weapon. They prefer this round because:

  • Target killers require accuracy, precision and reliability, and imported weapons have all these features.
  • 9 x 19 mm commonly called as 9 mm is abundantly available.
  • Handguns for this ammo are available in abundance.
  • It is lethal.
  • The modern handguns give an advantage of loading up to 20 rounds per magazine in some cases (depending on a gun). So if things get serious a killer with just two magazines will have enough fire power to thwart off any opposition.
  • Ammo normally costs Rs 35 to 50 or even more in some cases.
  • Target killers are specialized people who are funded by mafias and have no dearth of funds.

So where is all this illegal hardware coming from? Well off course from our very own country in case of the fearsome TTs, and imported in case of 9 mm. We very proudly talk about the Darra where gunsmiths who have been known to make good weapons for centuries. And now some of the factories have shifted to Peshawar (Kohat Road, area) and elsewhere in KP, which are making semi auto and automatic weapons as well. I have been to Darra Adam Khel, Peshawar, Jamrud and parts of KP and I have seen these weapons being made at these places. Rarely have I seen anyone sitting idle, despite having no electricity at all. Business is booming for them, besides all that is happening in the country. Would it surprise the readers that I have seen copies of the Turkish Zigana F (Full automatic, which happens to be prohibited under the law) being made in the factories located at Industrial Area, Kohat road, Peshawar. And not only that, they test fire these weapons after making them, in broad daylight! How am I to believe that the local Police doesn’t know about this? And where do these all illegal weapons go? To Punjab and Sindh, off course. And what is the surety that the legal ones are being sold according to the dictates of the law? None.

On one occasion I was in a shop and a man came looking for a certain pistol. The shopkeeper asked him if he wanted it on his license or just like that? The seller told him he did not have any license and so was sold an illegal weapon. And that was in Peshawar. So, the bottom-line is one can buy weapons from Peshawar or Darra with or without license. The question is how does this hardware get to places as far off as Karachi? Here is the answer.

  • There is no proper checking en-route from Peshawar till Karachi whichever route you follow. Although there’s a lot of checking when coming out of Darra Adam Khel. But then if the LEAs employed on these duties are party to it, the whole operation becomes very easy. And, the seller will give you the option of home delivery, for a price! Besides the transporters are involved in transporting anything from KP to anywhere in Pakistan, be it drugs or weapons, but for a price. So this is the first weakness in this system.
  • When entering in to Sindh or Karachi, there is no proper check. Anyone coming from any place in his own vehicle, bus or even train can bring a weapon or many weapons without fear of being caught. This is the second weakness in the system. Meaning, even if the weapon gets sold in KP it can still be stopped at the gates of Karachi.
  • Then there is also the case of weapons or ammo being sold by dealers in Karachi, illegally after being delivered to them. But for this to happen one has to have the right connections. In the recent past many weapons dealers shop’s have been raided and banned/illegal arms and weaponry has been found with them. So, this is the third big leak in the system.
  • There is no mechanism, or procedure to check the sale of weaponry in Karachi. The CID or Special Branch can do a lot of work in this area. But from what I know, the weapon dealers are patronized by the rich and powerful people who have oodles of money and thus provide protection to the dealers. What they need to understand that an illegal weapon will almost always be used for illegal purposes. But who will make them understand this?
  • And finally if anyone selling illegal weapons or ammo is apprehended he needs to be given strict punishment which sadly isn’t the case. The laws do exist but what’s missing is the implementation of these laws.

So to conclude this part, weapons and ammo is available aplenty in our country, there is no check on its illegal sale, there is no proper check on its illegal transportation and there’s no proper check on its sale here in Karachi. If only the illegal weapon trade can be stopped and its fresh supply frozen the city will become a much safer place.

In the next part I will cover Muggings and as usual your feedback is awaited Smile

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50 plus….loner……foodie….day dreamer….bibliophile…..gun freak….peace loving….smitten by wanderlust….happy go lucky….tea junkie….coffee lover….once in a while movie goer….laid-back blogger with no interest in politics….Happy reading! :-)

3 thoughts on “Street Crimes in Karachi–II (The illegal, weapons trade)”

  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of two lives and ruining of the lives of the bereaved families.
    Target killing is worst because no one can identify the accused, even the victim if he survives can not recognize the attacker.
    The police and prosecution are worth throwing in the sea. They can’t score a conviction in the court, if the assassins are tried in the court.
    The writ of the state has been gang raped so many times by some many street criminals, that the less said on it the better.


    1. Things do not go wrong over night, it is the result of years upon years of neglect, incompetence, dishonesty, the inertia to change and apathy above all. If you ask me we need to overhaul the whole system form Police to the Law.


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