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Stray bullets

ONCE again, Karachi is mourning. A tale not unfamiliar, but heart-wrenching and unacceptable all the same.

A young life, full of potential, cut tragically short.

Mariam Saqib is but the latest victim of a menace that has haunted our society for far too long: stray bullets. A security guard, aiming to deter robbers, inadvertently sealed the fate of the seven-year-old girl. We have been there before, with the strikingly similar and equally tragic loss in 2018 of 10-yearold Amal Umer, and last year, of a nine-month-old girl whose mother was travelling with her by rickshaw. These harrowing tales build upon a series of incidents where lives are caught in the crossfire of misguided bullets, epitomizing a crisis that has systematically been overlooked.

The culture of firearm misuse is not confined to a section of society; it is a damning indictment of a failure that encompasses private security firms and even the police. We are forced to ask why no lessons have been learned despite the innocent blood staining our streets. How many more young lives must be snuffed out before we stand up as a society and demand change? It is incumbent upon us to advocate for rigorous training and regulation of all security personnel an initiative that not only includes adept firearm handling but also instils a deep understanding of the sanctity of life. It is the moral duty of the state to ensure that every security guard and police officer is equipped not just with a weapon but also the wisdom to wield it responsibly. Let us not allow another life to be reduced to a mere statistic in this gruesome tale. It is high time we put an end to such needless deaths and nurtured a society where our children can step outside without fear, and where families are not torn apart by stray projectiles emanating from the guns of those entrusted with their protection.