Regulating arms licenses

The Prime Minister Shajid Khaqqan Abassi has directed the Ministry of Interior for regulating the issuance of automatic arms licenses for prohibited bores. Secretary Interior briefed the prime minister about the over all situation regarding the number of licenses issued by the federal as well as provincial governments. He also gave a briefing on policy frame work governing the issue of arms licenses. The prime minister was informed that 19143 prohibited bore licensees were issued during the period 2010-12 while during the caretaker government in 2013 issued 25789 arms licenses of prohibited bore. The present government issued 410 arms licensees during its tenure.  Out of the 410 licenses 400 were issued to WAPDA.

The present government has adopted a very careful policy about the issuances of arms licenses. However, the PPP governments used to open flood gates for issuing licenses for the most lethal automatic rifles like AK-47, AK-74, M- 16 and G-3 to the political workers of different parties and civilians with criminal record. Former Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza admitted to have issued Thousands of arms licenses for prohibited bore. A large number of Liyari gang criminals got arms licenses who converted this area into a no go zone. The Mutahida Qaumui Movement, Awami Nationa lParty and Sunni Therik armed their workers with prohibited bore automatic rifle and Oozy sub machine guns. These lethal firearms were uses in the target killings of security personals and civilians, but daily mayhem in Karachi was ignored because political expediency. .

Apart from the flood of arms of prohibited bores, a non-prohibited bore 9-MM pistol is more lethal than the automatic rifles. The German Lugar, Italian Beretta and Zigong and Austrian Clog are the favorite brand of terrorists, criminals and extortionists. The pistols are frequently used in target killings in the urban areas. Significant improvement in law and protection of law abiding citizens should be the first priority of the federal and provincial governments.  This objective can be achieved only when across the board de-weaponisation program is implemented. The symbolic and discriminatory strategy will not bring the desired results.

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