Posted by: Administrator | 23 February, 2005

President Musharraf at the Arms Control Seminar

2 August 2001

The Interior Minister General Moinuddin Haider, Secretary Interior, Taslim Noorani Sahib, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalam o’Alaikum. On the inauguration of this seminar, I will share my thoughts with such a distinguished assembly on the very important issue of ‘Arms control in Pakistan’.

Human history shows that possession and carrying arms is neither a new phenomenon nor always demonstrative of evil. People acquire arms for security, and some cultures consider it a matter of pride and honor. We in Pakistan, know that our brothers in the ‘Frontier Province’, do consider it an honor to carry weapons. And I am told that in some families when a baby boy is born, he is welcomed with voice of gun fire, in his ear. I don’t know what they do to the ear-drums, but that is what the custom is. But when a practice becomes a threat to social and economic stability of any society, then there is always a need to take strong action against those who endanger the social harmony.

I have heard the speech of the Interior Minister with interest, as he was describing the progress of ‘Arms control campaign’ and what it’ has achieved so far. This progress will not look phenomenal to some, but considering the heavy odds, I regard it impressive, under the current circumstances. Recovery of weapons during the amnesty period is unprecedented, keeping in view the fact that no government in the past had shown the resolve to undertake any arms recovery drive. The government has learnt a lot during this campaign and this seminar, during which deliberations will, I hope, prove ideal for possible corrective action in government policy.

During the last two decades, we have not only experienced the tremors of violent political changes, ethnic conflicts and freedom movements in our immediate neighborhood, we also had to play host to millions of refugees for whom carrying of arms was a routine matter. These circumstances facilitated the acquisition of light weapons for illicit trade and smuggling with consequent spill over of revolutionary effects. These problems were further compounded by large scale corruption within the country, lack of accountability, political vendettas and sectarian and ethnic tensions that sparked into violence at the slightest excuse.

On top of all this, there was almost total absence of coherent social and economic policies by successive governments. This was compounded by the weakness of our law enforcement agencies, coupled with the limitations of our judicial system which failed to face the challenges posed. The result is that our places of worship and centers of economic activity have become hostage to some insensitive and blood thirsty terrorists who brandish arms with impunity, leaving the society and the peaceful citizens in a state of continuous terror. This was the theoretical part. Let me come on, to the practical now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, would like to consider law and order in its totality and would not like to consider this De- weaponization drive as a single entity. Let us see it within the context of the law and order situation. Therefore, De-weaponization form one part of the comprehensive law and order strategy that we are trying to evolve. And I would like to dwell into it. The law and order situation in Pakistan, today, under my government, is no better or no worse than what it was before. But the government is certainly apprehensive with this issue. I remain extremely conscious of this, that this is such an important issue which is destabilizing us internally, psychologically and economically also. What to do about it? I read many articles, lot of people meet me, the media, everyone, they say a lot about law and order that you are not doing anything about it. Yes, we are doing a lot, but we are not achieving results. Nobody answers how to go about it. Nobody tells us how to go about it. It is very easy indeed to point out that this killing is going, on, there is sectarian killing going on, there is ethnic killing going on, there are acuities going on. Every one knows this. Nobody has to tell us, nobody has to tell each other. These are facts. They are known to every one. But when I ask them what to do, nobody has an answer. We have to develop an answer. This is a million dollar question. How to improve law and order in Pakistan? We need to think how to do it. There is no quick fix. If any one thinks that it can be improved through orders; that I issue an ordinance today and there will be an improved law tomorrow or in one month or in one year for that matter. No, 2 you are badly mistaken. It is a long drawn process. There is no quick fix. There can be a gradual progress towards the betterment. It cannot be achieved in a short time. This is very clear in my mind and it must be clear in every one’s mind who criticizes the government or says anything that law and order is not improving. I would like to ask you a question and give a solution.

Now, I intend giving a solution which we have adopted. Firstly, I would certainly like to say that patience is required in this. We need to be patient; we need to combine ideas and our efforts for improving the situation. Now, what are we doing, is the question. What are the ingredients to improve law and order? Let’s start from that. Number one, the executing agencies, the law enforcement agencies need to be improved. The main one being, the police. Any ordinance, any order, any instruction, any rule comes to naught, if it’s implementation machinery is ineffective. So firstly, the law enforcement agencies, the police needs to be improved.

Number two, the judicial system and processes need to be improved. Police may be giving certain results but again their efforts go naught if the judiciary is not working and functioning in tandem, and if people are not punished, if justice is not meted out speedily. It takes years to punish an individual, if there is a scare to punish a terrorist then the efforts of the weak law enforcement agencies get even further weakened. Therefore, the judicial system and processes need an improvement. They are not in consonance with the requirements of our time today.

Thirdly, I come to the intelligence and investigative agencies. Nothing can be done; you don’t get to the culprits if your intelligence and your investigative agencies are weak. Intelligence is required to nip the evil in the bud, so that we get to the source of the evil. We preempt their actions. We are proactive. Go to their source, get them at their source and prevent them from executing any terrorist act. That is the work of the intelligence. We are far from calling ourselves efficient in this regard. We need to improve our intelligence system which can take us to the roots of sectarian, ethnic violence and the violators. Now other than the intelligence, we have the investigative agencies. If the investigative agencies cannot produce proofs, evidence to mature a case, so that it stands the rigors of the trial in a court to bring a man to justice, the case gets thrown out in the court.

And one could not blame the judicial system then for throwing out the case because it is not a mature case. They again the investigative agency not has to be ready for investigating the crime but has to get to the source of the crime. The intelligence agency ought to play its role before the crime, the investigative agency has a role to play after the crime to get to the source of the criminal, and then also to prosecute him well in the court. Both these areas need improvement. They are most unsatisfactory. •

Lastly, the Deweaponization. We need to rid our society from weapons. So, ladies and gentlemen, that is how I see law and order improving. There is no short fix, there is no quick fix. I would be too presumptuous to say that I will improve the law and order this year. I do not give any such statements. I do not believe in saying some thing that I would not be able to do. I will try my best. We will all try our best. The government is trying its best. I will tell you what I am doing, what the government is doing within all these areas. No cosmetics will work, if we want to really address the law and order situation, there are no cosmetics. We have to pick to the root and improve the law enforcement agencies, the judicial system and processes, the intelligence system, the investigative agencies and the De-weaponization campaign. I cannot see any other thing that I missed out. These are the areas that we need to hit at.

I would like to take each one of them. Law enforcement agencies, the police. What is the requirement? How do we improve the police? We are working a lot. I know there are committees formed by the Interior Minister and the capable police officers, functioning within those committees. I have interacted with them a number of times, not once, so what is required is qualitative improvement, First of all, quality of the personnel. It is an unfortunate fact that inductions into the police were based on money at the middle level, at least and the lower level. The constable, ASI, SI, Inspectors coming through back doors. What do you expect from a force which comes through the back doors and has not even been trained?

I know in Karachi a person is brought in by the hundreds. I know they were just putting the uniforms and there they were the policemen. He might be a dacoit and he is wearing a. uniform and he is a policeman overnight. This is the apathy of what has been happening in the past. We must face it bluntly and squarely. So this quality has to be improved. We have to bring about qualitative improvements at the lowest level of the constables, the middle level of inspectors and at the top level, also, of officers. Then we have to improve their equipment, and in equipment, particularly, I talk of transport and communication.

At the moment, the ‘police station, especially in rural areas, a policeman can’t even go to the scene of incident. He does not have transport. And he has no 3 communication to have a link with his base. So we need to have a proper communication system and transport availability so that this flexibility and operational efficiency comes into the police force. We cannot blame them for their short coming in this area. We have not given them anything. Forensic facilities are not there at all to investigate. We need to improve that also. Costs a lot of money.

Lastly, their administration, their accommodation, their welfare. Obviously, a force is as good as it is administered or as good or bad as it is led. So this is the problem of the police. The financial requirement is 15 billion rupees at the minimum. We have sanctioned two billion rupees. It is nothing because we cannot sanction more. Either we go for development or we spend all our money on police which needs it, but you do not have it. We have to place our money in the right place. And the strategy, I do not want to get involved in that. So there is a money constraint. There is an economic, financial constraint to improve their condition. We certainly are in the process of even generating our own funds and that is what I have told the Interior Minister. We have told all the ‘IGs’, all the governors that police needs to generate its own funds. And we know how. We cannot meet the entire bill, but we can certainly generate funds to improve our conditions, substantially, I would say. But the government will try its best.

Since so many ambassadors are sitting, I would also like to say that those who are more affluent, we need their assistance in improving the condition of our law enforcement agencies. We will try our best to tap all possible resources other than our own. Now how do we improve our quality? We have taken a number of measures to improve the quality. No body is being inducted with money, first of all. All induction will be on merit. Grade eleven onwards, which also mean SHO and which means ASI onwards; they will be inducted through the Federal Public Service Commission. So induction is better, training has been improved, syllabus has been changed. We have done what ever we could and we also know how to eliminate the bad. So we clean the pond. We gradually get the bad, get the dirty water out and get fresh, clean water in. Not a fast process, cannot be done overnight. So quality being emphasized, equipment we will purchase but related to finances. Accommodation, we will improve gradually as you know we have financial constraints.

Having said that let me say that the devolution, the local government process means a lot. I feel in improving the condition of the police. And I have a conviction in it and I am very sure that when this local government is in place, the performance of the police will also gradually start improving because of the reforms that we are introducing. We are dividing the three responsibilities of the police. The law and order remains with them. Now we come to investigation and prosecution. Prosecution goes out entirely. It becomes a prosecution service under the provinces. Investigation remains with the police but a different police, not the same police. May be different uniforms. Not may be, it will be a different uniform. I hope in spite of our financial constraints, we are able to meet this target of different uniforms. So law and order, investigation and prosecution will be separated. Then we are creating Public Safety Commissions which will be effective commissions, at the national level, provincial level and district level. These commissions will have a two-fold responsibility.

First of all, to oversee the police performance and secondly, to ensure their isolation from political influence. And then there also will be a police complaint authority at every level to receive complaints against the police performance. So we hope that the local government system will bring some improvement in the police. But their training, their qualitative improvement, their equipment improvement is our responsibility as a nation. And I regret to say that we do not have money to pay them 15 billion rupees so that they do that in one or two years or immediately and we are on the road to improvement on a fast track.

Now we come to the judicial system and the processes. Certainly, the system and the processes are slow and sluggish. Cases are pending for years. As they say ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. And in Pakistan may be in every case justice is denied because it is so delayed. The system can’t meet the special challenges that we are facing. We are facing a special situation, an extraordinary situation, an unusual situation which has to be met. There are threats to the judges and they get scared. There are threats to witnesses and they get scared. There are judges who are unwilling to take cases of serious nature. And if they do take them, they hesitate in giving their judgments because of the repercussions, there may be. The witnesses are difficult to find because of the threats to them. I was just thinking of examples and got example of this mad man Javed Iqbal who has killed so many children. He is still alive. We have not been able to punish him. It is shocking. MD, KESC was murdered and he was murdered some time back. We have not brought the culprits to book. The case probably is under trial. I don’t know when it will finish. Therefore, special measures are required in this 4 field also. Where it was a success from the law enforcement agencies side, it has been turned into a failure from the judicial side.

New ordinance has been approved by me yesterday. This is an amendment to the terrorist ordinance. I commend our Law Minister for producing this and all the people who inter-acted including the Interior Minister, for having produced this ordinance. This ordinance will give greater power and flexibility to the judiciary for meeting sectarian and terrorist extremism. It also deals with issues of security to the trial of judges and witnesses. So we hope that maybe the situation of the judiciary also improves. And again on the judiciary side, may I say the local government again will have an impact on the judicial system. How?

First of all, the judiciary has been separated from the executive, totally. We intend making small claims and minor offensive courts at the grass root level. We also intend opening reconciliation courts at the grass root level so that the load on the judiciary is reduced. And cases, hundreds of thousands that are pending, can be expedited. Other than this, I would say, that certainly judicial reforms from the judiciary itself are very much in order. The overall idea is to deliver speedy justice at the doorsteps, of the poor specially. That is the direction that we are trying to head towards. Again, not a short journey, it will take time. We need time. That much for the judiciary. So with time the police and the judiciary must improve and immediately they must start moving towards improvement. By improvement, I don’t mean that it will take ten years to come to that destination. Now every month, every year, there ought to be an improvement, a gradual steady progress and improvement, specially, when the direction is set towards the right side. Now let’s come to the intelligence and investigative agencies. The intelligence is being geared up.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must understand the enemy is invisible, unfortunately. it is not like the war where the enemy is in front and visible. Here in sectarian extremists a terrorist is not visible. If he just throws away his weapon and stands on the street, he is a normal, very good man. It is not an easy job. So we have to gear up our intelligence so that they have information on sectarian and ethnic extremists. We need resources. We have reasonable resources on this but we have to improve there a lot so that they perform better on the field of getting information to the law enforcement agencies for action. That is the success of any law and order agency that we need to have information and act against the terrorist before he acts. The investigative police as I have said are being separated from the law and order. And they ought to be having all the capabilities, technical acumen to be able to investigate cases after they occur, and get to the culprit. The sad story is that we don’t get to the culprits. We are not qualified, capable enough to get to the culprits. We need resources. And when I saw the forensic side, it was deplorable for the whole of Pakistan.

They are very few people who are trained, very few resources. It is not their fault, not the fault of the investigative agency, they don’t have the resources. They don’t have the wherewithal to achieve what we are telling them to achieve. There are so many police officers sitting, I don’t put the whole blame on them. They don’t have the resources, so we can’t demand something from them when we have not given them anything. We are trying to do this. Again, financial crunch and time is required. So intelligence and investigative agencies are to be improved.

Then last but not the least is the subject of today, the ‘De-weaponization’. It is very important and it is not easy. Any illusions that this can be done easily, that we can De-weaponize the society, it is not at all the case. Finding weapons, to digress a little, I would give you an example. In the 1965 war, when I was a young officer, there was firing from a village on us. And I thought that there was some body firing from the village. So we all took personally, about 30 people, to search this village. It was an empty village. It took me three or four hours and I gave up the search. For men it is difficult because you have to enter a house, open each door, and look into every room. For a man or number of men, imagine locating all those weapons, getting into house, getting to a place, locating weapons means turning the house upside down. Getting into every house, getting into every room, turning the whole room upside down. That is what is required. And then, the media is sitting here. Don’t write when some people unfortunately are wrongly involved when we enter a place, for search and it turn out to be wrong. This will happen.

 So De-weaponization is not an easy job.

We thought of three stages of De-weaponization. Stage one, display, brandishing of the weapons to be banned. I would say that we have met with success in this. Even if you see anybody carrying weapons in the newspapers and during various, may be, burial or any body killed etc, we take action. The police do take action after that. Certainly, one should not expect an intrusion right at that time because that would lead 5 to an unpleasant incident .So the overall effect has been good. I don’t see, I myself keep watching that is there any brandishing of weapons going on. I think the effects have been reasonably good. And we need to congratulate the law enforcement agencies on this reasonably good success on the issue of brandishing of weapons. And we must carry on doing this.

The second part was depositing of illegal and unlicensed weapons. This is the part which is going on and the Interior Minister and the Interior Secretary have spoken about it. Over 100,000 weapons have been deposited. This is nothing, I do agree with you. It is the best performance to date. But the best performance is not good enough. Therefore, we have to proceed further. I read a caption in United States, in fact when I was buying a pistol for myself, and that struck in my mind. And that has to be taken into consideration with whatever De-weaponization is going. It said’ if weapons are to be out lowed, only outlaws will have ‘weapons’. That is to be considered. There’s a security problem here.

If, I were not wearing this uniform and in my position, I would love to array a pistol with me, to protect myself. Therefore, when we talk of De-weaponization, we have to make sure that the security of the innocent people, of peace loving people is also valid. But on this issue let me tell you that our resolve has not diminished. It was the political side, the elections that are taking place revented action, intrusive actions, proactive actions by the law enforcement agencies. Let’s finish with this task of devolution.

 Let me assure you, Ladies and gentlemen, we will be intrusive, we will be proactive, and we will be offensive. We will search on targeted areas. Obviously not cordoning a whole area and going for a massive search. No, sir that will totally not be on. So, intelligence again, intelligence comes in. Intelligence requirement, information requirement, where is the weapon and with whom. Then targeted searching will be done. Why I am spending so much time on this, Ladies and gentlemen, trying to tell you it is not an easy job. So give some credit to the law enforcement agencies, give some leeway to them, if by chance they act wrongly and search the wrong place. So this was the phase two.

In phase three, all licensed weapons, but the unauthorized bore, because now we have defined what the authorized bore is. And that authorized bore we have defined for the purpose of security of individuals, like all of us. So other than those weapons which are required for security, mainly pistols, any other weapons, even though licensed, will be deposited. And I will also be depositing. I have told the Interior Minister, to deposit some weapons that I also have. They may be licensed but they are not authorized now. Even in the army, let me tell you, I have stopped giving weapons to the military which are now unauthorized bores. When a senior officer, will retire, we will give him weapon which is authorized now. So this was the Deweaponization campaign that has gone in and we have the resolve to continue with it.

So overall, ladies and gentlemen, I thought of talking about all this because we had these incidents in the past few days, starting with the MD, PSO Mr. Shaukat Mirza, a person whom I personally knew, a person of very high caliber maybe of international standing, a patriot who wanted to serve this country. And the saddest part was when I spoke to his wife for condolence, what she indicated, she demanded Justice. How do we give justice? Where is the criminal? Where and how will our investigative agencies get to the criminal? Where is the judiciary? She demanded that we have not even dealt with this madman that I had mentioned who had killed 100 children. How will you bring the killer of her husband to justice? This is one example after that so many others have been killed. They all have sons and daughters, wives, and parents. I wish I could personally go and shoot their killer. I am capable of doing that. I have been a very good shot. But that’s the pity. I wish I could do it. I wish I leave and get into my, maybe SSG uniform and go after these killers, myself. I wish I could come to the assistance of all the boys and girls whose fathers have been killed, of all the wives whose husbands have been killed, of all the parents whose sons have been killed. But, unfortunately, I can’t. The limiting factors, I have defined. Those are the limiting factors.

So ladies and gentlemen, I am again coming back, it’s not an easy job. We have faced the complexity and even if we have the resolve and the brains to address those complexities, we don’t have the wherewithal and the sources to address them. And even if we get those resources which we will, Insha’Allah, it still requires time to put these things in place. I don’t have a magic wand, to wave and correct the law and order, unfortunately. I took long time and knew I would take a long time and I am grateful to you for your patience. But I did it because I know people are concerned as much as I am. But those people who are concerned, those people who have been directly affected should know that I am equally concerned. But what I have said is to my best capability the answer is the way to forward. And 6 this is the only waft going forward. There is no quick fix. We hope that with this method, we will reach the destination, Inshallah. But every one, the whole nation, has to bear with us.

With these observations, let me say that I am positive; the papers read by the experts and subsequent discussions on this issue, it will be useful for the Ministry of Interior. In any case, let me again stress the point that this campaign is viewed by us as a great test case and we are determined to bring it to successful solution, as much as possible. The country simply cannot afford to treat it lightly and the government is fully alive to this fact. Enough has happened and we have to move much faster.

The Federal Government has provided the most enabling environment and now I expect the provincial governments to do whatever it takes to make this campaign a success. I have called the governors and the home secretaries and IG’s on Saturday and I will take far reaching decisions. Enough is enough, we have to move faster, more offensively, move proactively in all areas where extremism is causing us all this harm. I wish this seminar a success and will be looking forward to all your findings. I thank you all. Pakistan Paindabad.


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