LANDIKOTAL: Police and paramilitary troops sealed dozens of shops dealing in small and automatic weapons in Landikotal and Jamrud on Tuesday, officials said.
A district police officer of Khyber Imran Khan told the media in Wazirdand that they have launched a crackdown against the shops dealing with illegal arms. He said the step was taken to maintain peace in the district.
He said they would check and allow them to reopen the shop if any of the arms dealers had a proper license issued to them from the government department.
DPO Imran Khan told the media that the action was taken amid growing target-killing incidents and attacks on the security forces and police in the past few weeks. He added that the action was taken for the safety and security of the general public.
He said police were not in Jamrud tehsil but they had also closed down shops and markets dealing in arms in Landikotal and Bara bazaars before they came and sealed their shops in Jamrud.
On the other hand arms, dealers told the media that their shops and markets had already registered with the local administration and police department. They showed documents to the media that permits had been issued to them but their shops were sealed without any legal notice served to them so far.
DPO Imran said a total of 285 arms shops were sealed in District Khyber. He said they would soon inspect the sealed shops for having weapons of the illegal bore and for the presence of hand and other illegal heavy and automatic weapons including hand grenades.
The official said after the inspection of arms, the shops would be reopened to run their legal business.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers and arms dealers staged a protest on the Pak-Afghan highway in Wazirdand and blocked the road for hours to record their protest. Later DPO Khyber Imran Khan along with Station House Officer Jamrud, Landikotal, and Bara went to the protestors and held talks with them. They were told that anyone would not be allowed to run an illegal weapon business in the area.
Station House Officer(SHO)Landikotal Shah Khalid Afridi told this scribe that 69 shops were sealed in Landikotal on the directives of deputy commissioner Khyber. He said police along with civil administration staff would inspect the sealed shops and will shift the none licensed weapons to the deputy commissioner for further legal documentation process.
Tribal elders including Malik Salahuddin Kokikhel, Malik Israr Afridi, and Hazrat Wali of the Pakistan People Party and Jamiat Ulema Islam(Fazl)Sayed Kabir Afridi told The News that they condemned the police action against the arms dealers. They said authorities should issue them a license to run their legal business. The tribal elders and political party leaders threatened to stage protests and block the Pak-Afghan highway if authorities do not reopen the sealed shops in one day.