* Lahore allowed 125 arms licences every month
By Rana Kashif
LAHORE: The Punjab government has revised the Arms Control Policy (which deals with the issuance of arms licenses) and has increased the quota of arms licences each district could issue, sources in the provincial government told Daily Times on Saturday.
According to the sources, Lahore received the highest increase in quota with permission to issue 125 licences a month whereas earlier, the city government was allowed to issue only 20 licences a month. The government has also abolished the fine on late payment of the licence renewal fee.
The provincial government had issued this policy under instructions of the Federal Interior Ministry and has informed all district coordination officers (DCOs) about the changes.
Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi have also been allowed to issue 50 arms licences every month. Earlier, each of these districts was allowed only 15 licences a month. The quota of all other districts of the province has been increased from 10 to 25 licences a month.
Under the new policy, arms licenses will be issued by the Home Department to taxpayers (income and agriculture taxes), officers of armed forces, civil officers of grade 17 and above, foreign diplomats (on recommendation of the Foreign Ministry), registered security companies, professionals (including doctors, engineers and lawyers) and anyone approved by the Interior minister. The licences will be issued after approval of the Home secretary, who will consider recommendations of DCOs and verifications conducted by district police officers (DPOs).
The Home Department will issue province-wide licences while the federal Interior Ministry will issue the ‘all Pakistan arms licences’. Under the policy, government employees can change the scope of their licences from province-wide to countrywide after they pay a fee of Rs 2,500. The officers of grade 17 and above will also be exempted from the verifications of the police and DCOs. Federal government employees also have the facility to get one licence free of cost.
The policy restricts licence holders to purchase arms only from those whose antecedents had been verified and cleared by the Home Department. It also allows the pictures of two people to be put on a single licence so that both can use the weapon. But this facility is only available only for the spouse or one of the children of the main applicant.
The policy on inheritance of arms licences to heirs has been sustained. The government has also maintained the Interior minister’s discretionary power to issue anyone licences of arms of ‘positive category’, which includes non-prohibited light weapons whose ammunition do not burst. The new policy also requires all licences’ computerised record to be maintained by the Home Department and the DCOs concerned.
Courtesy: Daily times, 18/5/2008