3 provinces want Centre to retain issuance of arms licences


Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar on Saturday told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that Punjab wanted to issue prohibited-bore (PB) arms licences to its citizens itself, while the other three provinces wanted the federal government to issue PB licences.
The committee, which met at the Parliament House with Senator Talha Mahmood in the chair, directed the secretary interior to submit the arms licences policy within three days. Earlier, committee member Syeda Sughra Imam expressed concern that neither the provinces nor the Centre was issuing arms licenses to the people and passing buck on to each other.
She said there was confusion amongst the general public regarding the authority to issue arms licences. The interior secretary told the committee that per the 18th Amendment, the subject had been devolved to the provinces, but Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wanted the Centre to continue issuing PB licences. He said the Interior Ministry had not issued arms licences after June 30, as it had now become a provincial subject.
The committee also decided to summon the Punjab inspector general and the chief and home secretaries in the next meeting to discuss a statement given by the head of a car lifting gang, Major Muhammad Hassan, who is currently in Jamrud Jail. Earlier, Senator Jamal Khan Leghari pointed out the statement passed by the car lifter, saying the committee should probe into the facts narrated by criminal.
The committee chairman observed that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had become controversial after giving statement against the Raiwand religious congregation. Talha also said that some clauses of the Anti-Terrorism Act were contrary to the human rights, adding that legal views had not been invited on the same. He said the committee was not satisfied with the proposed legislation.
The committee came hard on the Rawalpindi Police for having failed in controlling crime and misusing authority. Senator Talha Mahmood cited two cases of misuse of authority by the Rawalpindi police officials, which included support for land grabbers, observing that police officials needed to be fair and honest. The committee chairman also announced forming a sub-committee to look into the allegations regarding misuse of authority by police and the rising crime rate.
The officials informed the committee that the Rawalpindi district had registered a decline in the crime rate compared to previous years. The committee chairman also directed the passports and immigration DG to inaugurate without any delay any new established passport office, keeping in view the difficulties faced by the general public.