SC sought complete details of licences issued for Kalashnikovs

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought complete details of licences and permits issued for the weapons of prohibited bore, Irked by the unregulated availability of Kalashnikovs, commonly known as AK-47, in the country.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, who headed a three-judge bench hearing a bail petition in a dacoity case, also hinted at passing orders to withdraw all the licences and recover the prohibited weapons issued in favour of individuals.

“The easy accessibility to narcotics and prohibited weapons has destroyed the very fabric of the country,” the CJP observed, also regretting nowhere else in the world one sees gun-toting men at public places such as markets and outside schools.

Nobody knows if such people displaying weapons were terrorists or not, the chief justice remarked. Even police did not find any courage or bother to check vehicles with tinted glasses and gun-toting men why they were roaming around in the open with the prohibited weapons, he noted.

Justice Isa asked if all such people were really afraid and insecure. Instead of showing off the prohibited weapons to frighten others or in society, they better stay indoors, he remarked, also deploring that even in the capital city of Islamabad, guards outside houses could be seen displaying Kalashnikovs.

The chief justice expressed these remarks during the hearing of a bail petition. The bench, which included Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali, had taken up the bail plea of one Kashif from Mardan. He was booked under Sections 395 (dacoity) and Section 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property in the commission of a dacoity) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

His counsel Shabbir Hussain Gigyani said that the petitioner was accused of robbing the house of Imran in Swabi. During the burglary, the accused allegedly took away “gold ornaments, some cash as well as three Kalashnikovs and 9mm bore pistol”. He said police arrested him and claimed to have recovered the stolen money and two Kalashnikovs from his possession.

During the hearing, however, the CJP expressed his surprise that police did not even care to inquire from the complainant Imran as to where and how he got the licence for keeping Kalashnikovs with him.

The CJP also asked the complainant from where he had got the arms and wondered why action should not be taken if the top police officers were issuing permits for keeping Kalashnikovs. “We can ask the interior secretary to withdraw all the licences and recover the prohibited weapons issued in favour of individuals,” the chief justice said.

The Supreme Court issued notices to Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan, the interior ministry, home secretaries, police chiefs and advocate generals of the provinces to furnish complete details regarding the issuance of licences or permits.

However, the bench granted post-arrest bail to Kashif against a surety bond of Rs50,000. The CJP also lamented how easily prohibited bore weapons were available in society and observed it was time when Kalashnikov culture should be completely eradicated from the country.

The owner himself conceded that three Kalashnikovs and a pistol were stolen from his house, adding that even he was offered to get the licence for the Kalashnikov for his own security.

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