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NA urges against downgrading automatic weapons

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body on Wednesday recommended the Ministry of Interior to stop implementation of a policy regarding conversion of automatic weapons with semi-automatic firearms.
The said policy was a brain child of incumbent Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had announced in his very first speech in National Assembly that the government would seize all automatic weapons by replacing them with semi-automatic ones in a bid to end the use of automatic weapons in the country. The matter came under discussion in a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior, which was held at the Parliament House with Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan in the chair. While criticising the policy, MNA Naeema Kishwar Khan said that criminals had the automatic weapons without licences but the government wanted to seize licensed weapons owned by law-abiding citizens. Another lawmaker Sher Akbar Khan pointed out that the arms licences was a source of income for the state and the ban on prohibited arms licences was also resulting in an increase in corruption as people were trying to use unfair means to get favour regarding prohibited arms licences. A representative of Interior Ministry present in the meeting tried to defend the policy and argued: “There is nothing odd in this policy as the developed countries like United States were also trying to curtail the use of weapons from the society.” However, the committee unanimously recommended the Ministry of Interior to stop implementing the aforementioned policy whereas it also recommended extension in the last date for the renewal of weapons on the request of its member Nauman Islam Shaikh. Due to the prevailing law and order situation, the committee suggested that public might be facilitated with the licences for their defence. The officials of Interior Ministry also briefed the committee regarding budgetary proposals relating to PSDP for next financial years according to which a total of Rs 28,810.15 million would be demanded in year 2018-19, including Rs 14,149.33 million for 38 ongoing projects and Rs 14,660.82 million for 228 new projects.

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