Gun politics in Pakistan

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Gun politics in Pakistan refers to the wide ownership of firearms in Pakistan. Only tribal areas of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa permits the ownership of heavy weaponry including the use of rocket-propelled grenades, short, medium, and long-range rockets, anti-aircraft guns, mortars, etc. These heavy weapons may be made in Pakistan.

The people of the provinces of Punjab and Sindh view the bearing and use of arms as a constitutional right whereas the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan view it as part of their culture. Pakistan is also known for its indigenous gunsmith tradition. A notable center of gun manufacturing is the town of Darra Adam Khel, near Peshawar, historically known for its Lee Enfield .303 facsimiles. However, the town now produces a broader range of ordnance including AK-47's, mini-Kalashnikovs, and hand-held firearms, including the James Bond pen gun (see Khyber Pass Copy).[1]

Other enduring customs and a strong culture of honor also promote the prevalence and importance of guns. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the Pashtun residents laud performances of strength and toughness, carrying a Kalashnikov or other gun is a sign of honour and respect. Similarly, much of mainstream Pakistani culture, including Balochi, Sindhi, Punjabi and Kashmiri cultures, is heavily influenced by guns, as evidenced by common practice of aerial firings on special occasions such as weddings. According to Michael Palin, 'For Pakistanis, a gun is a social necessity. Pathans carry guns the way Londoners carry umbrellas.'[2] As such, the broader Pakistani social necessity of portable and displayable wealth takes on an intimidating form among male members of provincial society.

History[edit]

In no particular order, Pakistanis view the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

  • Repelling an invasion;[3]
  • suppressing insurrection;
  • Facilitating a natural right of self-defense;[4]
  • Participating in law enforcement;[5]
  • Enabling the people to organize a militia system.[6]

Ownership[edit]

There are an estimated 20 million firearms in public ownership, of which 7 million are registered among the country's population of 180 million.[7] The rate of private gun ownership is 11.6 firearms per 100 people.[8] In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Pakistan ranks at No.6.[9][10] As of 2009, the rate of homicide involving firearms stands at a rate of 12,491 per annum, slightly higher than the United States.[11]

Licencing[edit]

There are no restrictions on shotguns in Pakistan. The regulation of firearms in Pakistan is categorised as permissive.[12] Pakistani citizens and special category of foreigners can legally own firearms. A license is required to purchase a firearm. Acquisition of the license involves the payment of fees, a processing time ranging from a few days to months, and registration of the firearm with local authorities. Two kinds of licenses are currently issued: (1) Prohibited bore and (2) Non-Prohibited bore. They are issued by both the Federal government and Provincial governments. The federal government issues both Prohibited bore (which includes fully automatic weapons) and Non-Prohibited bore (which includes semi-automatic and other weapons) licenses for all of Pakistan. Provincial government cannot issue Prohibited Bore licenses and their licensing jurisdiction is restricted to their particular province.

Present laws allow ownership of handguns of any caliber, though previously there existed an upper limit restriction of .38-caliber. All shotguns are allowed. Federal prohibited bore permits for civilian fully automatic weapons are issued by the Ministry of the Interior and are valid throughout Pakistan.[4]

In Pakistan, private possession of fully automatic, semi-automatic and handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under license.[13] Only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition. Applicants for a gun owner's license are not required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm. Third party character references are not required. Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Pakistan does not stipulate that a gun license should be denied or revoked. An understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required for a firearm license. Licensed firearm owners in Pakistan are permitted to possess any number of firearms as well as being permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition.[14][15]

Registration[edit]

In Pakistan, the law requires that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register.[16] Licensed firearm dealers are also required to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority.[17] Licensed gun makers are required to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority. State agencies are required to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control.[14][18][19]

Gun sales and transfers[edit]

In Pakistan, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted. Dealing with firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer's license is unlawful.[20] The minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined. Celebratory gunfire and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated.[13]

Storage and transport of firearms and ammunition[edit]

Firearm regulations in Pakistan do not include written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners. There are also no written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition, no inclusion of written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition and no lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities. However, there are written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit.[21]

Marking and tracing firearms and ammunition[edit]

In Pakistan, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law. State authorities do carry out recognized arms tracing and tracking procedures but state authorities do not employ ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition.[22]

Gun free zones[edit]

In Pakistan, private guns are prohibited in educational institutions, hostels or boarding and lodging houses, fairs, gatherings or processions of a political, religious, ceremonial or sectarian character, and on the premises of Courts of law or public offices.[23]

Penalty for illicit firearm possession[edit]

In Pakistan, the maximum penalty for illicit possession of firearms is 7 years prison.[24]

Collection, amnesty and destruction programmes[edit]

Authorities in Pakistan are known to have implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation. In 2010 alone, more than 89,000 illegal firearms were voluntarily surrendered by Pakistani citizens for destruction. The total number of firearms destroyed following recent state amnesties, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 641,107.[25] The Pakistani military routinely captures and destroy all weapons seized from the Taliban.[26]

Possession[edit]

Open carry is considered to be a misdemeanor in cities and permitted in rural areas. A person may keep a firearm at their place of residence (including display on rooftops of private residences), in their vehicle and concealed carry. According to law, open carry is prohibited without the approval of the Home Ministry, but in practice are considered misdemeanors in urban areas and permitted in rural areas. Open carry is practiced without restriction in rural Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan.[27] Special permits are also required for carrying firearms during times when local authorities impose restrictions on public gatherings to preempt civil unrest or during protests that are expected to become violent. In large cities, target shooting facilities exist for gun enthusiasts to practice.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Palin, Michael. 2005. Himalaya. Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated. 288 pages. ISBN 0-297-84371-0.
  2. ^ http://palinstravels.co.uk/book-3603
  3. ^ http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/mar/chronology.asp?groupId=77103
  4. ^ a b http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123120431026355961.html
  5. ^ http://dawn.com/2012/04/30/trading-bullets-in-a-gun-friendly-nation/
  6. ^ http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120303/pakistan-volunteer-militias-taliban-afghanistan
  7. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/380032/the-weapons-trai-part-1-where-do-20m-illegal-arms-come-from/
  8. ^ Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)
  9. ^ Batchelor, Peter.2003.‘Workshops and Factories: Products and Producers.’ Small Arms Survey 2003: Development Denied.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q2983)
  10. ^ GunPolicy.org.2011.‘Calculated Rates – Pakistan.’ Historical Population Data – USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,17 March. (Q4277
  11. ^ UNODC.2011.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Pakistan.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,6 October. (Q6299)
  12. ^ Newton, George D and Franklin E Zimring.1969.‘Firearm Licensing: Permissive v Restrictive.’ Firearms & Violence in American Life: A Staff Report submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.Washington, DC:US Government Printing Office,1 January. (Q22)
  13. ^ a b Pakistan.1965.‘Pakistan Arms Ordinance.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q4156)
  14. ^ a b Pakistan.1965.‘Unlicensed Possession of Arms.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2242)
  15. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Prohibition of Going Armed Without Licence.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2241)
  16. ^ Pakistan.2010.‘Marking and Record Keeping Requirements.’ National Report of Pakistan on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York:Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations,1 June. (Q2392)
  17. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Power to Make Rules as to Licences.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2243)
  18. ^ Pakistan.2005.‘Legislation, Administrative Procedures, Law Enforcement.’ National Report of Pakistan on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York:Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations,1 June. (Q2394)
  19. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Power of the Federal Government.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2244)
  20. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Unlicensed Sale and Repair Prohibited.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2239)
  21. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Power to Prohibit Transport.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2240)
  22. ^ Pakistan.2010.‘Marking and Record Keeping Requirements.’ National Report of Pakistan on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York:Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations,1 June. (Q2391)
  23. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Prohibition of Keeping, Carrying, or Displaying Arms.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2245)
  24. ^ Pakistan.1965.‘Penalties.’ Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (W.P. Ord. XX of 1965).Islamabad:Central Government of Pakistan,8 June. (Q2237)
  25. ^ Pakistan.2010.‘Initiatives of Government of Pakistan.’ National Report of Pakistan on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York:Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations,1 June. (Q2393)
  26. ^ http://www.demotix.com/news/1412940/pakistani-army-displays-confiscated-weapons-peshawar
  27. ^ http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/4458419/content/40862378-guns

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