PESHAWAR, Jan 10: The owners of arms manufacturing units in Peshawar have alleged that police conduct illegal raids at their factories and confiscate their raw material and unfinished products.

They said that they would unable to run their factories if police didn’t stop their illegal actions. “On one hand government creates problems in availing arm licences and on the other police harass us at different pretests,” they said.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mushtariqa Hunting and Sporting Arms Manufacturers Association president Imadullah Afridi said that at least 10,000 workers were associated with the arms manufacturing units but local police were bent upon closing the arms industry.

“There are about 100 units in Peshawar and more than 100 people are working in each unit but they are not given free hand to work as police have made their lives miserable by arresting them and confiscating their raw material and unfinished products in the absence of magistrate and senior police officers,” he said.

Mr Afridi said that owing to frequent illegal raids by police, the owners were about to close their factories. “We have obtained licences from the government and manufacture arms and ammunitions as mentioned in the document. We have done nothing wrong but even then our workers are harassed for no fault of theirs,” he added.

Flanked by other arm manufacturers including Abdul Wakeel, Gul Sharif, Advocate Qasim Jan (legal advisor), Mr Afridi said that Election Commission of Pakistan had asked the government to stop issuing new arm licences till holding of general elections in the country. He said that the order would deprive the citizens of their right to self-defence.

“People will buy arms illegally if they are not issued licences for purchase of weapons as they need to do so for self-defence,” Mr Afridi said. He added that government was not paying attention to the problems of owners of arm factories.

He claimed that local manufacturers could produce fine quality of weapons but government was not encouraging them. He said that the weapons of China and Turkey got fame across the world owing to the patronage of their respective governments. “But our government doesn’t consult investors in policymaking process,” he added.

Expressing concern over loadshedding of gas and electricity, Mr Afridi said that energy crisis created serious problems for the workers and owners of factories. He said that they could manufacture import quality weapons.

Most of the local arms and ammunitions, he said, were supplied to different provinces of the country while some factories were exporting the same at a limited level.

Mr Afridi demanded of the government to facilitate them in holding exhibitions of weapons at international level so that they could also play role in boosting economy of the country and providing jobs to more people.

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