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Home secretary summoned in sale of weapons on fake arms licences case

By Naeem Sahoutara 2019-03-17
KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday summoned the home secretary in a matter pertaining to sale of weapons to holders of fake arms licences and other violations of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 on part of arms dealers and police.

The judge of the ATC-XVI was hearing amatter pertaining to alleged sale of fake arms licences and weapons to criminals by an organised group comprising government officers and arms dealers.

In the previous hearing, the court had directed the Sindh police chief and home secretary to ensure no weapon was sold to any licence holder in contravention of Section 4-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013.

It had further directed the head of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) of the Sindh police to explain as to what action was taken so far if legal requirements under Section 4-A had not been complied with.

During Saturday`s proceedings, the DSPs of Preedy, Saddar and FSL appeared in court.

The FSL chief filed a report disclosingthat neither arms dealers had ever sent spent bullet casings test-fired from new weapons to register them nor had the provincial government issued them any directive in this regard.

At this disclosure, the court summoned the home secretary for March 26 to explain the alleged sale of weapons to fake arms` licence holders.

Previously, the court had observed that apparently glaring violation of Section 4-A had been made by the arms dealers, but no action had been taken by the executive.

The observation came on a scrutiny note prepared by the state prosecutor highlighting defects and flaws in investigations of a case by the investigating officer.

The judge observed that the court couldonly act upon evidence and material, which is to be collected by the executive, but the court cannot be blamed if the executive/ police fail in their duty.

Deploring the faulty probe, the judge further noted that the evidence collected by the executive/police must be evaluated according to the laws and rules prescribed by the legislature.

`Government has to ensure that cogent evidence to support prosecution is collected and presented in the court,` the judge wrote in the order.

`The courts are supposed to keep a watchful eye over the executive as to ensure their performance to meet the standard ie no offence to go unchecked and no criminal unpunished, the order added.

The court directed its office to send a copy of the order to the inspector general of police and home secretary to ensure fulfilment of requirement of investigation as per the scrutiny note of the prosecutor.

They were further told to ensure `no weapon is sold to any licence holder` in contravention of Section 4-A of the arms act, maybe through issuance of circular, under intimation to the court.

The IGP and home secretary were also told to ensure the findings of an inquiry committee purportedly constituted by the Karachi commissioner to probe into the matter were placed in court.

The judge had further told the home secretary and police chief that if it was found that deliberate violation of Section 4-A had been committed by the arms dealers their licence may be questioned and cancelled thereafter as per law.

According to the prosecution, a group in connivance with government officials was involved in the business of making forged and fake arms licences, which they provided to terrorist organisations, street criminals and target killers. In the investigation report, the IO had further disclosed that the employees of the offices of the deputy commissioners of South and East districts were also involved in preparing fake arms licences.