Despite ban, Pakistan to issue 7,000 arms licences

The government has forwarded a list of names to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) so that 7,000 arms licences can be issued, the Dawn reported.

The ban on issuing arms licences was imposed Jan 1 last year and is still in place. “We are receiving individual applications for arms licences which are recommended by the prime minister,” NADRA’s deputy chairman Tariq Malik was quoted as saying.

Gilani imposed the ban on new licences last year after a minister of state endorsed a decision to issue thousands of permits for prohibited bore weapons in 2009.  A probe by the Federal Investigation Agency revealed that there had been irregularities in issuing thousands of licences for prohibited bore weapons. It was found that fake bank receipts, forged signatures and fictitious stamps had been used to issue the licences.

According to available information, Gilani has permitted the issuance of over 300 arms licences since the ban was imposed.  The arms licences have been issued for naval chief Admiral Noman Bashir as well as the prime minister’s sons Syed Ali Qasim and Syed Haider Ali Gilani.

Some bureaucrats too are among the beneficiaries. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s information secretary Ahsan Iqbal said: “On the one hand the government has imposed a ban on arms licences and on the other the prime minister is issuing new licences.”

Iqbal claimed that hundreds of prohibited bore licences were being issued by the prime minister during the National Assembly sessions. The government is understood to have issued over 100,000 arms licences since 2008. Most were issued to the leaders of political parties.

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