Karachi police chief AIG Amir Ahmed Shaikh on Saturday conveyed the department's decision to replace Kalashnikovs/sub-machine guns (SMG) with pistols and revolvers for officers performing patrol, escort or picket duties.
The decision follows the death of 10-year-old Amal Umer in an encounter between police and robbers in Karachi's Defence area last month causing outrage across the country.
According to a notification issued by Karachi police, authorities have taken the decision "in order to avoid frightening general public with the display of heavy weapons and human casualties".
"It has been observed with great concern that all police personnel deployed for patrolling, pickets or escort duties are armed with sub-machine guns," the order read and acknowledged that the "display of automatic assault weapon in an urban setting is not only scary but also results in casualties" in case of firing, even if accidental.
“Thus, [it] can create negative image/perception in [the] general public.”
Therefore, the notification said, police had decided to replace all assault weapons “on the basis of availability of official pistols/revolvers".
It has been further directed in the city police’s order that SMG/automatic weapons should not be displayed or pointed towards the general public during escort movements or mobile patrolling.
More than one incident of innocent people caught in a crossfire between police and suspected criminals have been reported within the year.
In June, a young man was killed in an exchange of gunfire between police and street criminals on Karachi's Abul Hasan Ispahani Road on the first day of Eid.
Similarly, in August, a teenage student was killed and a passer-by wounded in crossfire between police and drug peddlers in Afghan Camp, also known as Kochi Camp, near Superhighway in Karachi.
Refresher firing courses to be arranged for police
Another order issued by the Karachi police chief directed the police officer for arranging firing refresher courses for constables.
It has been stated that since the last two years no firing refresher course has been arranged for constables.
Amir Shaikh asked principle Police Training College Saeedabad and Elite Police Training Centre in Razzaqabad to make a daily schedule for 540 policemen for firing refresher course.