ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Balochistan government to tackle the flow of illegal and unregistered arms in the province.
The MoU was signed by NADRA Chairman Usman Y Mobin and Balochistan Home Secretary Dr Akbar Harifal for computerisation of arms licences in Balochistan.
The step is considered as a major milestone which is a result of concerted efforts of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti, according to a statement issued by Nadra on Thursday.
It said the federal government hopes to reap similar successes achieved in Punjab and Sindh through computerisation of 300,000 manual licences in Balochistan.
Similar to the computerisation of arms licence projects that have been implemented across Sindh and Punjab, the move will help promote a more secure and effective management and monitoring of private arms in the country, said the Nadra statement.
According to the MoU, 34 sites will be established by Nadra across various districts in Balochistan, where citizens can first get their old weapon licences validated and then obtain computerised ones through proper legal channels.
In the revalidation campaign of arms licences which ended in December 2015, a total of 180,000 arms licences were computerised and revalidated, while around 8,000 licences were found to be bogus.
These figures highlight the fact that the number of privately-owned weapons in the country is quite high, and subsequently there is also a high probability that many of these arms are illegally obtained and often have no correct documentation or licences, according to the Nadra statement.
“Thus, it is vital for initiatives such as these to be taken, as there is a need for strict regulation when it comes to the possession of arms in the country given the national security situation, especially in provinces such as Balochistan which has fallen victim to numerous terrorist attacks particularly targeting law enforcement agencies,” the statement added.