The Punjab government has directed all the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to start an inquiry after a mega scam pertaining to the issuance of “fake, but verifiable” arms licences to underage people surfaced in the province.
Sources in the Home Department told The Correspondent that hundreds of backdated permits were issued to people, who were not even eligible, by some government officials in a bid to circumvent the ban placed on the issuance of the new arms licences in 2013.
The Home Department directed the DCs to launch a probe into the scam with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to identify the fake licence holders. The probe will also ascertain the age of licence holders at the time of the issuance of the permit amid suspicions that the said permit holders were underage (under 25 years old) when they got the licence.
In Punjab, one has to be at least 25-years-old to acquire a firearms licence.
It is interesting to note that these permits, though they are fake, can easily pass the online verification criteria just like any other legal permit.
In Punjab, a ban was imposed on the issuance of armed licences in 2013 by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. The ban was, however, relaxed after The Punjab Arms Rules 2017 were introduced. These rules allow the issuance of licences under certain conditions mentioned in the legislation.