The Gun Markets of Pakistan


[GUNFIRE] SUROOSH ALVI: We’re
here in Lahore, Pakistan, in the old city. I’m here visiting family. It’s been about three years
since I was in the country. And in that time, the country
has gone through insane amounts of change– truly full of deep
contradictions. On the one hand, you’ve got this
progressive side of the population. They’re organizing
fashion weeks. They’re partying. And you’ve got this liberal
media explosion happening in this country. And they’re operating uncensored
by the government. On the other side, you
got the Taliban. They’ve been infiltrating the
entire country, attacking police stations and government
buildings in a recent wave of violence. It’s now escalated into a
full-fledged battle with the Pakistani Army fighting the
Taliban in the tribal areas near the Afghan border. We travelled to this area three
years ago when we wanted to visit a massive illegal arms
market believed to be a source of weapons
for the Taliban. It’s been called the most
dangerous place in the world and is now basically closed
outside of the journalists. So I asked my mom to
call her buddy. He is the chief secretary of
the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. With his help, we got our
own private militia. And they made sure we wouldn’t
get kidnapped or killed. SUROOSH ALVI: Naeem, who is
our host, is part of the Afridi tribe. He is born and raised there,
now works as a protocol officer for the government. He put them together for us. He got us through, dealt with a
huge amount of bureaucracy, and got the militia
to cover us as we went through the market. Is this loaded? NAEEM AFRIDI: Yes, this is
loaded, but they’re locked. SUROOSH ALVI: They locked it. Where’s the lock? SUROOSH ALVI: It’s the most
historic pass in the history of the world. The Aryans came through. The Mongols came through. The British Army came through
and got destroyed– special place. SUROOSH ALVI: Thanks, buddy. [PARADE MUSIC] SUROOSH ALVI: He’s the founder
of the heroin trade. SUROOSH ALVI: The concept? SUROOSH ALVI: Of what? SUROOSH ALVI: It’s a very
special Italian hat. NAEEM AFRIDI: I will
try my best to– SUROOSH ALVI: Oh god. No. After Khyber, we went
into Darra. That’s where the
arms market is. So when you were explaining to
the officials what we wanted to do, the old man started
laughing when you said we wanted to shoot guns and
maybe buy some guns. I think he liked that idea. SUROOSH ALVI: He liked
that idea. SUROOSH ALVI: He was laughed. SUROOSH ALVI: This is definitely
the largest illegal arms market in the world. There is another one
in Pakistan. It’s not quite as big. And the story is that during
the ’80s, the Soviet-Afghan war was happening. All the scrap metal from all the
broken-down tanks and guns they would find, they would
bring it back over and then replicate the firearms. SUROOSH ALVI: So in the whole
town, they’re making 1,000 guns a day here. And they’ve been doing
that for 70 years. That’s a lot of guns. So this guy is making
9-millimeter pistols with his bare hands. The guy who’s making
it is deaf. It’s a Mauser but says
“Made as China by Norinco.” [GRUNTING] SUROOSH ALVI: This
is the cartridge. He has no tongue. 3,050 rupees? We’re hearing lots of guns
being shot around us. And they’re just checking to
make sure that the guns work. They’re doing it
with live ammo. What I’m wondering is, they
shoot it up in the air, where do the bullets fall? SUROOSH ALVI: It’s time
we go gun shopping. This is an Italian machine. This is like a Kalashnikov? MALE SPEAKER: Kalakov. SUROOSH ALVI: Kalakov. It says it’s a Muzzelite. I think we can do some
damage with this. The original Khyber rifle– so in 1857, the British gave the
Afghanis 10,000 of these. I don’t even know how
to cock this thing. Where do you put
the bullet in? [INTERPOSING VOICES] SUROOSH ALVI: The musket? The musket is where
you put it in. MALE SPEAKER: Nazi gun. German. SUROOSH ALVI: Germany. World War II, Nazi gun– pure evil in my hand. MALE SPEAKER: Suroosh,
now we are going into the shooting area. Yes? Let’s go. SUROOSH ALVI: Bullet. So we were wondering, were
they following me? MALE SPEAKER: They’re not
going far from us. SUROOSH ALVI: If not, I’m
going to keep it. NAEEM AFRIDI: Yes, keep it. SUROOSH ALVI: You got
to be kidding. This is the shooting area? We just had lunch downstairs. NAEEM AFRIDI: Yes. SUROOSH ALVI: All right. Let’s do this. I’m shooting the enemies
in the hills. I’ve never done this before. It’s a Kalashnikov. And we’re kind of nervous. I see my target. [GUNFIRE] EDDY MORETTI:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] [GUNFIRE] SUROOSH ALVI: America thought
that by sending in troops to Afghanistan and the Pakistani
Army into the tribal areas, they’d to be able to squash
the Taliban uprising. They were wrong. The people we saw
live in caves. They work in insane
conditions. They have no tongues. They make guns with
their bare hands. We’re done. We succeeded our mission. We came to Darra. And we bought guns. We shot them. We saw how it all happens. If you come here, you got to
make sure you look the part. And you’ve got to have
a guy like Naeem to make it all happen. SUROOSH ALVI: And
one last thing– NAEEM AFRIDI: Goodbye
to the gun. SUROOSH ALVI: –Pakistan
Zindabad. Three years ago, when we filmed
in Darra, after we left, the government basically
shut it down. They shut it down to outsiders
and journalists because the Pakistani Army was in there
fighting the Taliban. And right now, between the
Pakistani Army and the US troops on the border, the
Taliban inside the tribal areas, it’s essentially
a powder keg that’s ready to blow. The military expert that we
know, he described the situation as the wickedest
problem you could possibly imagine. [FOREIGN LANGUAGE].

100 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *