- Minister says arms licences not revalidated would expire at year end while new licences will not be issued to anyone less than 25 years of age
- Says important progress in Dr Imran Farooq murder case expected, proof of RAW’s involvement in anti-state activities will be made public soon
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday announced a new policy with regards to names on the Exit Control List (ECL), saying that no individual will be placed on the ECL for more than a year from now onwards, and names already on the list would remain so for a maximum period of three years.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, the interior minister lamented that in past, people’s names were put on ECL on political basis but now a person will be barred from leaving the country only upon court’s recommendation, for a period of one to three years. He said as of now, about 7,500 Pakistanis are on ECL.
Moreover, Nisar said that arms licences that have not been reviewed by his ministry by the end of the year will expire on January 1, 2016 and new licences will not be issued to anyone less than 25 years old.
He announced measures his ministry would take to ensure a secure environment for Pakistani citizens, which included reviewing all arms licences issued since 1970. He said that in future, prohibited bore licenses will be issued to only those persons who are facing high security threat. People who don’t pay their taxes would not be issued arms licenses, he added.
Nisar said during the revalidation of arms licenses, about 4,500 licenses were found fake. He said the revalidation date for the arms licenses will be December 31, 2015.
Nisar said ever since he took charge of the ministry, he had imposed a ban on issuing new arms licences. “The issuance of licences for weapons needs to be standardised and rules need to be in place so that the practice of issuing licences for patronage is eliminated,” he said.
However, he said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan had revoked the ban on issuing new arms licences. “The ban is now effective only in Punjab and federal areas,” remarked Nisar, adding that the federal government would officially approach the three provinces to urge them to re-enact the ban.
“We want to put in place a system with the help of the National Database & Regulatory Authority (NADRA) to verify all issued licences and ensure that new licences are not issued without establishing need,” said Nisar.
ON PERSONAL SECURITY:
The minister also said that a mechanism needed to be in place to keep a check on bullet-proof-vehicle manufacturers to ensure that customers are not being ripped off. “In our investigation, we have come across several manufacturers who are providing substandard cars that can exacerbate danger rather than protecting customers.”
The federal interior minister also shed light on the state of private security agencies operating in the country, saying that his investigation had revealed alarming irregularities. “Hundreds of private security agencies have employed personnel who cannot operate weapons. Such agencies need to be regulated and proper checks need to be in place so that only trained and worthy individuals are employed to provide security,” Nisar said.
Commenting on alleged rigging in 2013 General Elections, the minister said that if there are any shortcomings in the NADRA report, they should be pointed out.
In NA-122, NADRA has been able to verify 70,000 votes while 93,000 votes could not be verified as the paper was not used properly by voters, he said, adding that it does not mean that the votes were bogus.
Replying to a question, the interior minister said that important progress is expected in Dr Imran Farooq murder case in the next two or three days.
Moreover, the minister said that Pakistan has concrete proofs of RAW’s activities in Pakistan which would be made public soon.