KARACHI: The Supreme Court came down hard on the Sindh government for not making a serious effort on laws for illegal weapons despite having the power to do so.
“The city is burning and blood is being shed. Yet, nothing has been done in 13 months,” Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja remarked while heading a four-judge bench on Thursday.
“This is clearly non-compliance,” the angry judge told Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas and the additional chief secretary for the home department, Waseem Ahmed.
The bench is hearing a petition that wants these two officials and the police chief held in contempt for failing to follow orders to end violence in Karachi. The petitioner is Senator Haji Adil Khan of the Awami National Party.
Additional Advocate-General Adnan Karim Memon said the provincial government had proposed a new arms law but it had not been voted on in the Sindh Assembly.
Suddenly, Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan jumped in to tell the judges that legal bars prevented Sindh’s MPAs from making such laws.
“The officers are still doubtful about the powers of the provincial legislature even though the subject of arms has become a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment,” the judges reminded them.
Waseem Ahmed said the home department had sent a draft of the Sindh Arms Act 2012 to the law department and four months had passed.
Chief Secretary Abbas said the government was going to computerise one million arms licenses with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority. “But 99% of crimes are committed with unlicensed weapons,” Justice Khilji quickly told the officers.
The IG said that 19,924 illicit weapons were seized from September 30, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2013.