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Pakistanis buy guns in droves as insecurity creeps in

world Updated: Jan 07, 2009 00:16 IST

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Middle class Pakistanis in scores are now procuring guns and other arms to protect themselves, as a surge in Islamist violence has led to fears that the country may be headed for a wave of violent kidnappings, extortions and other crimes.

Registrations of guns and rifles have recorded a new high, Wall Street Journal reported quoting officials who attributed this trend to rising sense of anxiety, fear and insecurity among the people, who now seeks arms to protect themselves.

This has come in vogue among the middle-class people who foresee a wave of violent kidnappings and robberies that will target those who look like they might have money.

These fears have been generated as over the past year, Pakistan has witnessed the assassination of popular political leader Benazir Bhutto and bloody bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel.

The recent terror strikes in Mumbai, allegedly carried out by 10 Pakistani militants trained in New York, has further frayed the nerves of the people in New York.

“The spreading Islamist insurgency in the country has led to a wave of insecurity, and people doubt the ability of the new civilian government to safeguard them,” paper said.

“People buy weapons because they're insecure,” a senior Interior Ministry official told the paper. “No need denying it.”

Arms licenses are issued by numerous Pakistani agencies.

Local authorities and police hand out permits for weapons that can be used only within their states.