Islamabad, May 04, 2015 (PPI-OT): A high level meeting held in the Interior Ministry with Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan in chair today decided that all manual arms licenses would stand cancelled if not validated till 31 December 2015. The meeting was held to discuss the new arms policy that is being prepared by the Interior Ministry in order to bring transparency, uniformity and institutionalism into the system.
Addressing the meeting, the Interior Minister observed that in past not only various laws were grossly misused but other privileges and permissions that are only granted by the state strictly on case to case basis and after thorough consideration and scrutiny were granted in bulk without any checks and balances. Resultantly, private guards, prohibited guns and bullet-proof vehicles not only became a fashion and a status symbol but it also created serious security implications.
The Minister said that in view of the new challenges due to prevailing security situation, it is important that not only the existing arms licenses are properly documented through NADRA but a comprehensive mechanism should be put in place to regulate and monitor the flow of arms into the country. Equally important is to bring standardization of policy of the federal government and the provinces vis-à-vis arms licensing in the country, continued the Minister.
The Interior Minister said that in the first instance all licenses issued from 1973 till June 2013 would be computerized through NADRA. The cut-off date for the validation has been fixed till 31 December 2015. The Minister said that no further extension would be granted in this date and directed NADRA and Ministry of Interior to launch an awareness campaign to motivate people to get their licenses validated.
The Meeting also discussed various proposals regarding regulating and monitoring the flow of arms in the country. It was proposed that a complete ban on import of prohibited weapons should be put in place. Only Ministry of Defence Production and Security Agencies should be allowed to import prohibited weapons. It was proposed that individuals/entities who stand qualified for these weapons should procure their weapons only through Pakistan Ordnance Factory Wah.
The Interior Minister also observed that regulating the business of arms dealers was also critical. The Minister also underscored the need for a putting in place a policy on issuance of arms licenses in the provinces as well as in the federal government. The Meeting decided that nobody under the age of 25 years should be issued arms license.
While discussing eligibility criteria for issuance of arms licenses under the new policy, the Minister stressed that the license should only be issued keeping in view the security requirements of the applicants. Among others, media houses and media persons should also be facilitated as they face security challenges in their professional pursuits, said the Interior Minister.
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