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Gunfire echoes through a dusty northwest tribal town, the soundtrack to Pakistan's biggest arms black market, where Kalashnikovs welded from scrap metal are cheaper than smartphones and sold on an industrial scale.In Gul's sweltering workshop, employees shout over the roar of electrical generators as they expertly cut and drill through metal brought from the shipyards of Karachi, far to the south on the Arabian Sea.The main bazaar which cuts through the town used to hold nothing but tiny gun shops crammed together, their gleaming wares displayed openly on racks as customers test-fired into the air above.Before the crackdown Gul's workshop – just one of hundreds in the town – could produce more than 10 weapons a day, he says.Muhammad Qaisar, making cartridges at his shop in the main bazaar, said at one point there had been up to 7,000 shops there – but now almost half have closed.Darra trade union leader Badam Akbar confirmed that some 3,000 shops have closed, and said skilled workers are attempting to learn new trades.
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