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I have been getting feedback on posts written about the worsening law and order situation in Karachi and this has in-fact prompted me to write about the dreaded Section 144 and how it does or doesn’t support the common man. By common man I mean a law abiding citizen and not a mugger or a criminal. Before delving in to this subject it will be prudent to take a look at the Section 144 and what all it stands for.
Section 144. Section 144 called as the “Dafa Aik so chawalees” in Urdu, is: “Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) empowers district administration to issue orders in public interest that may place a ban on an activity for a specific period of time. Such a ban is enforced by the police who register cases under section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code for violations of the ban. Section 188 carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or fine or both.” Source: http://punjabpolice.gov.pk/faqs#Code%20of%20Criminal%20Procedure
What it actually means? It means that the District Administration decrees a certain activity prohibited or banned, for instance pillion riding, carrying a weapon (concealed) or going out o the sea for fishing (Specific to Karachi) for public safety, for a certain period of time. In this post the Section 144 is only being discussed in the context of carrying weapons by civilians for their personal protection and safety.
But let me please elaborate the weapons issue first, if you have a valid license issued say for a 9 mm pistol then you can legally carry it (concealed) in your car or wearing it on your body. However, when the Section 144 is imposed against carrying of weapons of any sort by the public except for the LEAs then legally you cannot carry a gun. Means it stays snug at your house, in a plastic box or wherever you keep it for safe keeping.
So lots of mumbo jumbo, means that you, me and him cannot carry a gun. And if some ugly honcho decides to mug, loot or kidnap you, there’s nothing you can do (If you could and you were carrying a gun). Sorry, buddy you’ve been had. Hand over the wallet, cellphone, your wife’s bangles, laptop and that pricey wristwatch or get that .30 bullet somewhere on your torso or worst still on your head (haed shots aren’t quite uncommon).
Oh, that’s ok you are a law abiding citizen but what about the mugger or kidnapper? He’s also breaking the law (big time). But there’s no stopping him. So many times I have seen the Police picket near Teen Talwar stopping and checking cars and specially those on motorbikes. And some even near Do Darya. So has that in anyway brought the crime stats down? Has it? I guess not. Simply because Section 144 doesn’t apply to thugs and criminals. Its like any other day for them. The law however, applies to you and me because we are law abiding citizens. And off course if the Police find a gun on you while the 144 is in force, then you had it. You will be booked under section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code for violating the ban. In all fairness I think the Section 144 is counterproductive in controlling or stopping crimes.
I believe (sternly) that Section 144 should not be imposed for carrying weapon as it deprives the lawful citizens of their right of carrying a weapon and hence self defense. What are your views on this? Please share, thanks.