The provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in north-west Pakistan has announced steps to establish an industrial estate focused on arms production for the area. The estate will be in Dara Adamkhel, and media sources in Pakistan quote politicians who claim the arms trade supports up to 28% of the local population, and that “regularising” Dara Adamkhel’s arms industry as a “top priority”.
A video by Al Jazeera explores how craftsmen in the town are able to produce a copy of virtually any gun on the planet from scratch, many in small workshops specialising in certain parts of producing a weapon or ammunition. A copy of an M16 rifle – issued as standard-issue to US soldiers – can be bought for 30,000 rupees ($214), a quarter of the cost of the original. A basic pistol can be bought for as little as $21.
The decision to setup the industrial zone was made after the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were merged with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The FATA are tribal areas once governed by colonial-era laws that provided a lot of autonomy, and will now be under the mandate Pakistani government and legal structure. The new laws will close a legal grey area for the gun manufacturers in the area, and limited the production and sale of weapons. By law, all gun manufacturers in Pakistan must obtain a permit, and high-calibre weapons are much more restricted.