The Gun Markets of Pakistan

Uploaded by vice on Oct 26, 2011



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
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.

SUROOSH ALVI: He's the founder of the heroin trade.

SUROOSH ALVI: The concept?

SUROOSH ALVI: It's a very special Italian hat.
NAEEM AFRIDI: I will try my best to--
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?
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?
SUROOSH ALVI: The musket?
The musket is where you put it in.
World War II, Nazi gun--
pure evil in my hand.

MALE SPEAKER: Suroosh, now we are going into
the shooting area.
Let's go.

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.
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.
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.