Over 595,000 Arms Licences Cancelled by Sindh Govt
Karachi: The Sindh government has decided to cancel 595,146 arms licences because the licence-holders failed to verify them with the relevant offices.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and attended by all the cabinet members, at CM House on Wednesday. Provincial home secretary Mukhtiar Soomro said that the verification process had been initiated for the 1,057,456 arms licences that had been issued in the province since they started maintaining records. According to him, the government had so far received 462,310 licence verification applications, of which 56,891 licences had been verified while 184,750 were pending with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and 272,510 others were awaiting approval with the relevant deputy commissioners.
“These figures show that 595,146 licence-holders have not applied for verification,” said the CM, pointing out that the May 19 deadline for verification had passed.
A CM House spokesperson said that, in the wake of this decision, a circular will be issued to arms dealers, post offices and National Bank to consider licences verified by NADRA as valid for renewal. “The government had already told people to verify their arms licences during the campaign so all the stakeholders know about it.” The arms verification process was initiated in October 2013 on the directives of the Supreme Court but the deadline was repeatedly extended by the government.
Law and order
Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali briefed the cabinet about the arrests of the suspects involved in the Safoora bus tragedy, which claimed the lives of 45 members of the Ismaili community on May 13, adding that the detained men had also confessed to the murder of social activist Sabeen Mahmud as well as other crimes.
Identifying the arrested men as Tahir Minhas, Saad Aziz, Muhammad Azhar Ishrat and Hafiz Nasir Ahmed, Jamali said that it was Minhas who had opened fire inside the bus. He claimed that they had also admitted to firing at Jinnah Medical and Dental College vice-principal Debra Lobo as well as a grenade attack on a school, bomb attack on the Bohri community, and attacks on naval personnel, Rangers officials and police personnel in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Jamali also mentioned the incident outside the Sindh High Court on May 23 when former home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza appeared in court for confirmation of his bail. He claimed that a number of vehicles with armed personnel in plainclothes tried to accompany Mirza into the court premises, adding that they were arrested by the police.
Preparing for the budget
Finance minister Murad Ali Shah told the cabinet that the provincial government had entered an agreement with the World Bank to initiate the Sindh Public Sector Management Reform Project, which aims to mobilise resources and improve public financial management.
According to the minister, the net receipts for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 were Rs469.4 billion and Rs510 billion respectively, compared to budget estimates of Rs570.8 billion and Rs595.5 billion. He attributed the shortfall to the sluggish economy, inefficiencies in tax administration and tax collection, the ban on disposal of government land and delayed execution of donor-funded projects.
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