Justice Isa criticises govt’s move of lifting ban on prohibited bore licences

Published: September 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has questioned the government’s move of lifting ban on issuance of arms licenses of prohibited bore weapons to nine categories of persons including superior courts judges.

The Ministry of Interior, through a notification issued on August 21, had lifted the ban on the conditions that weapons of prohibited bore may either be gifted or procured from the Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

Besides superior courts judges, the president, prime minister, Senate chairman, National Assembly speaker, governors and chief ministers of all provinces, federal ministers, government officials of grade-22 and public institutions and law enforcement agencies (on obtaining NOC from security agencies) were allowed to obtain such licences.

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Earlier this month, a circular was forwarded by the Supreme Court registrar, formally bringing in the knowledge of all apex court judges regarding the government’s move.

However, Justice Isa, who is currently facing presidential references seeking his removal over his alleged non-disclosure of his families’ assets, raised serious questions over legality of the interior ministry notification.

Justice Isa’s private secretary Farrukh Malik wrote a letter to SC Registrar Dr Arbab Arif, in which the apex court judge opined that the judges’ code of conduct did not permit receiving such gifts. He said the notification was undermining the concept of rule of law. The letter also raised questions over constitutional criteria of the notification.

“What moral authority will the government exercise in tackling the spread of weapons by encouraging the spread of more lethal, prohibited bore, weapons?” reads the letter.

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