Islamabad: Despite a freeze on fresh weapons licences, Pakistan`s previous PPP government issued a staggering 1,87,189 permits for prohibited and non-prohibited bore weapons during its five-year tenure in power, a media report said Monday.
Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had imposed the ban as part of the measures taken to improve the overall law and order situation in the country.
Yet he ignored his own directions and his successor Raja Pervaiz Ashraf too continued to approve new licences, all of which have somehow allegedly contributed to the escalating violence in the country, the Express Tribune reported quoting official documents.
Rehman Malik, who served as interior minister in the Pakistan Peoples Party`s (PPP) government, and interior secretaries also issued thousands of new licences, it said.
These documents were submitted to the National Assembly by the Interior Ministry in response to a question by PML-N leader Chaudhry Hamid Hameed.
The documents also revealed massive irregularities in the process of issuance of arms licences.
"Yes, in the year 2008-09, some malpractices were reported in the process of issuance of arms licences," stated a 14-page report in response to the query.
Some 67,522 prohibited licences were issued on the directives of then premier Yousaf Raza Gilani, while 1,19,667 licences for non-prohibited weapons were issued with the approval of the then interior minister Rehman Malik, and interior secretaries, the document said.
As many as 13,651 licences were issued in Balochistan.
Karachi remained top of the list, with 20,380 licences followed by Lahore and then Quetta, which were issued 16,483 and 13,438 licences respectively.
Some 9,709 licences were issued in Peshawar, while Rawalpindi received 8,387 licences, and Gujranwala 6,025 from 2008 to 2013, according the documents.
Moreover, 2,500 licences were issued in Sibi district, while Multan, Gilani`s hometown received a share of 2,650 licences for prohibited and non-prohibited weapons.
Interior ministry spokesperson Omar Hameed Khan told the daily that the government was reviewing the authenticity of around 1,30,000 weapons licences.
When asked if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered to probe the matter, the spokesperson said, "No inquiry ? they are being reviewed to check all (licences issued in the last five years)".