KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday sought comments from ministry of interior, home secretary and others on a petition of feudal lords challenging the federal government’s notification that suspended all prohibited bore arms licenses and sought permission to carry ‘automatic firearms’ for their security.
Mir Atta ur Rehman Mengal, Yawar Shahwani, Mohammad Zubair Thaheem, Prince Mohammad Fahad Thaheem, Mir Mohammad Naseer Mengal, Asif Ali Banbhan, Zaheer uddin Baber Thaheem, Mohammad Sadiq Mengal and others have petitioned the high court assailing the federal government’s 26th January’s notification that suspended licenses of their arms.
The petitioners submitted that they belonged to far-flung and tribal areas of Sindh and Baluchistan and by profession were agriculturists, businessmen, politicians, as well as, engaged in other professions.
They said that they were residents of some of the highest risked and troubled areas of Pakistan, where they face serious security and law and order situation and for that purpose they had purchased firearms spending huge sums of money varying between Rs 0.2 to 2 million after completing all codal formalities including the biometric process, obtaining and securing personal data of applicants, background security scrutiny by NADRA.
The feudal lords added that the ministry of interior had suspended the licenses of their arms without intimating them in a fanciful, unlawful, arbitrary, unjust manner. They termed this act of the government a sheer violation of the West Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965.
The lawyer argued that after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, the subject of ‘arms, fire-arms and ammunition’ was at entry 17 of the Concurrent Legislative List and did not fall in the federal government’s jurisdiction. He said that now the subject had been transferred to the provincial government, maintaining that the impugned notification of the federal government cannot extend to the provinces and was not applicable to the petitioners as they belonged to Sindh and Baluchistan.
After the preliminary hearing, the bench issued notices to the respondent interior and home ministries as well as the law officers of the federal and the provincial governments, directing them to submit their respective replies by February 19.
“In the meanwhile, no coercive action should be taken against the petitioners pursuant to impugned notification,” the court ruled.