Arms License Record Destroyed , Licenses to be Revalidated
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has approved a proposal to revalidate arms Licenses issued before 2002 since their records had been destroyed during the tenure of the previous regime, officials said.
According to the new arrangements, approved by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, claimants can approach the National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA) to have their arms licences verified over the next 18 months. Fake claimants, though, could face legal action, an official of the interior ministry familiar with the development told media.
The interior ministry had lost a significant chunk of its arms license records, issued since the creation of Pakistan till 2002, after they were destroyed in a fire during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government. The ministry says it has issued around 425,000 arms licences since 1947.
In a bid to computerise arms licences and to crack down on illegal arms, the government had in July 2013 banned issuance of new licences and had warned that all existing licences, which had not been verified by NADRA, would stand cancelled after December 31, 2015.
A top interior ministry official said that they had sought a one-time special approval from Nisar to revalidate the arms licences issued before 2002.
The meeting, headed by the interior minister himself, was told that out of the 425,000 license holders, as many as 182,000 have yet to contact NADRA to verify or revalidate their licences. Nisar directed the concerned officials that they had 15 days to write to each of these license holders and ask them to have their licences verified.
“A total of 170,000 license holders have submitted their arms licences to NADRA for verification. Of these 78,000 are yet to be verified, while 6,000 were found to be fake,” the joint secretary at the interior ministry told the meeting. He added that as many as 72,414 computerised arms licences had been verified by the ministry through NADRA.
The meeting also agreed that the ministry would provide NADRA a list of 20,000 verified arms licences for issuance on a fast track basis.
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