Towards weapon free society

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TAKING an important decision what could be termed a step towards making the society weapon free, the federal government has finally issued a notification suspending with immediate effect the licenses for all prohibited bore weapons. Those possessing automatic weapons have been given two options. They have been asked either to convert their automatic weapons into semi automatic ones through licensed arms dealers or return such arms to the relevant authorities on receipt of Rs 50,000.
Given the problems faced by the country on the internal security front, the decision was long overdue – the credit of which definitely goes to the incumbent Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi who in his first speech at the floor of the National Assembly after taking oath of the office in August had expressed his intention to suspend the licences saying very rightly that there is not a single country in the world which allows the licensing of automatic rifles for citizens. If we go by the history, one of the spillover effects of the first Afghan war was that our participation in it spread different kinds of arms and weapons in the society. Then the weapon-friendly policies of previous regimes liberalizing the process of issuance of licenses further complicated the problems. From Malkhana only the personnel of law enforcement agencies are authorized to obtain weapons but in the past we saw the influential civilians getting the weapons of prohibited bore from there. So, the suspension of the licences, in fact, is the first major strict arm control measure ever taken by anybody and the history will always remember the incumbent PM if he succeeds in implementing the decision in letter and spirit, for which he would also require the cooperation of provincial governments. The impact of small arms on internal security is that it spreads despondency, demoralizes security forces, hinders development, creates law and order situation and affects the cultural values. So it is need of the hour that the people also come forward and cooperate with the government in order to achieve the target of arms-free society which will guarantee a secure future for the posterity.