KARACHI: Despite its critical and burgeoning challenges of militancy, Pakistan holds on to a gun licensing system based exclusively on missing records, fake documents, favouritism and irrationality. One can safely say that every gun licence issued in Pakistan has been issued without a single mandatory verification or test. There is no requirement for a training session, to attend a shooting range class or to pass a written test. Mental tests, drug tests and rigorous background checks are unheard of. In fact the only criterion to obtain a gun licence is status, power, influence and bribe.
To further worsen the situation, the government has been trying to convert the existing pieces of papers (the so-called licences) into authentic documents by simply passing them through the NADRA’s unthinking machines to churn out good looking computerised cards. A fake document obtained without any checks, for wrong reasons and in a wrong manner cannot become kosher simply because it now appears in the form of a computerised card. There could be no bigger hoax than asking people to turn in their fake paper licences and receive equally unsubstantiated computerised cards instead.
What makes the government undertake a critical activity linked to war on terror in such a blatantly inappropriate manner? We appeal to the government to put an end to this potentially destructive activity. It is time for the government to be forthright and confess that every gun licence in Pakistan is a spurious, fabricated and uncontrolled piece of paper that needs to be declared null and void.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2017.