Islamabad: Pakistan`s Interior Ministry has issued over 69,000 licences for prohibited bore weapons, including Kalashnikovs and sub-machine guns, on the recommendation of members of Parliament over the past five years.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik informed National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, that the federal government had issued 69,473 prohibited bore arms licences during 2008-2012 on the recommendation of parliamentarians.
On an average, every member of the National Assembly made recommendations for 200 licences for prohibited bore weapons. Prohibited bore arms include automatic weapons like AK-47s and sub-machine guns that can normally used only by security personnel.
Malik provided figures for the licences for prohibited bore weapons in a written reply presented in the National Assembly yesterday. He informed the House that the Interior Ministry issued 11,776 licences in 2008, 27,551 in 2009, 5,789 in 2010, 8,369 in 2011 and 15,988 in 2012.
After the passage of 18th constitutional amendment, provincial governments too can issue licences for prohibited bore arms to members of provincial assemblies. Earlier, only the Prime Minister could grant permission to bear automatic weapons.
The findings of an enquiry ordered by former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani into the issuance of prohibited bore arms licences against fake documents are still awaited.
Parliament`s standing committee on interior, headed by Abdul Qadir Patel of the Pakistan People`s Party was asked to conduct the enquiry, the Dawn reported.
In late 2009, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) revealed that thousands of licences for prohibited bore weapons had been issued in violation of rules.
The FIA found fake bank receipts, forged signatures and fictitious stamps had been used by middle-ranking and junior officers at the Interior Ministry to issue the licences.
According to official records, 28,527 licences for prohibited bore weapons were issued between March 28, 2008 and June 26, 2009, and 6,000 of them were approved by former Minister of State for Interior Tasneem Qureshi.
Interior Minister Malik has repeatedly informed the National Assembly that all licences issued in violation of rules would be revoked. However, such action is yet to be taken.