GUJRAT: The district government has imposed a condition of three guarantors for seeking a firearm licence for security of a worship place.

This decision was taken after some ruling party lawmakers expressed reservations on the policy of granting such licences to worship places and apprehensions that these weapons could be used in sectarian violence.

District Officer (Coordination) Majid Bin Ahmed who heads the district government’s firearm licencing branch told Dawn that from now onwards applicants for firearm licences to worship places would have to submit affidavits of at least three notables of the vicinity guaranteeing that the weapons would not be misused.

He said managements of worship places should form respective committees comprising at least three notables that would nominate an individual to guard the holy sites during worship hours, especially in Ramazan.

Though licences for security of mosques were mainly issued in the name of their prayer leaders, but PML-N MNA Nawabzada Mazhar Ali Khan and some officials had expressed reservations during a meeting of the district peace committee last week that firearm licences for worship places might become instrumental in sectarian tension or violence.

They had suggested adopting more precautionary measures while issuing such permits.

The DOC said the district government had so far issued at least 1,500 such licences to educational institutions as well as worship places during the last three to four months in the wake of the government’s policy of securing such places from possible terror attacks.

Out of these recently issued licences, 450 had been awarded to mosques across the district. Since previously there were no condition of guarantors, the district government would issue notices to holders of licences for worship places to submit affidavits of three guarantors, he added.

DOC Ahmed further said the condition would only be applied to Gujrat district but he had informed in writing to the provincial home department about the modification to rules at local level besides mentioning the reasons to do so as other district might follow their footsteps.

As per the district government and police data, there were 3,000 mosques besides imambargahs, churches and Ahmadi worship places in Gujrat.

District Police Officer Rai Zameerul Haq said the district police had a maximum strength of 3,600, including those posted in police stations, pickets, offices, intelligence and other duties, and deploying even a single cop at each worship place, especially during Ramazan, was not possible.

For this reason, police required local volunteers as well as from the civil defence department.

Another official of the local administration predicted that due to imposition of the condition of guarantors, the ratio of applications for firearm licences to worship places would decline.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...