FAISALABAD: The registration of fake weapons licences seems to continue unabated, but what’s alarming is the name of a senior administration official being used to create such licences by the district administration’s own arms licencing branch (ALB).
It was revealed that two licences of prohibited bores were issued in the name of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muhammad Ali. A probe into the scandal is under way.
The issue surfaced when an intelligence agency official met the DC and informed him that the business of issuance of fake licences was going on right under his very nose.
When Mr Ali refused to accept it, the official asked the DC to provide him his credentials so he could get a backdated fake licence issued under his name as proof, which he managed to do through the ALB being run under the DC.
Intel report shows fake entries made in licencing branch register
The fake licences issued manually in Ali’s name did not contain his photograph and were signed by the district coordination officer, a previously used designation that was later replaced with the DC. The licences carrying serial numbers 1960 and 2387 were issued for a 223-bore rifle in back dates by making bogus entries in the register in the name of DC Muhammad Ali, son of Abdul Khaliq. The permanent address mentioned was in E-7 Islamabad and the current one as Jail Road, Faisalabad.
The licence number 1960, which actually belonged to Fakhar Abbas of Chak 260-RB as per the official record, was registered on Aug 29, 2012 and licence number 2387, which belonged to Shahid Hussain of Chak 35-GB Jaranwala, was registered on Nov 30, 2012.
Sources privy to the development told Dawn that an intelligence report was also shared with the DC for action against the ALB employees involved in the scandal.
The report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, reads that Maqsood Ahmed Zahid, serving as arms licencing clerk with an extremely corrupt reputation, had made millions through issuance of fake licences by making hundreds of bogus entries. Scores of bogus entries could be detected in the ALB entry register.
In 2013, Zahid had been caught red-handed while receiving bribe by the Anti-Corruption Establishment and a case was registered against him, the report read. He was also among the ALB employees dismissed by the former district coordination officer, Noorul Amin Mengal, in April 2015.
Mr Mengal had detected that a large number of arms licences, including those of prohibited bores, had been issued by the ALB in back dates. He had first suspended seven employees of the branch and ordered a probe into the issue, and later dismissed them.
An inquiry was also conducted and as per its findings, signatures on the entry register seemed fake as compared to the original ones of the officers concerned who were posted to the branch during 2009-14, while handwriting was also different from the original licence details, pointing to fake entries being made.
However, all of the terminated employees, including Zahid, had managed to get clean chits and resumed their services after a couple of months.
DC Ali was contacted for his comments about action taken against the employees of licencing branch, but he did not respond.
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021