There is no denying the fact that the government of Pakistan is fully committed to tackling the war-like situation in the Northern Areas. Creation of peaceful conditions in the country is their prime job, after all. The whole country is in the grip of violence with dacoities, robberies, murders and rapes being committed every day in every city. With almost every person in possession of firearms, the level of gun running in the country has crossed all limits. If strict countrywide checking is carried out, 1 am sure most of the weapons found will be unlicensed. The practice of issuing small arms licenses has been the routine in every government. But the automatic weapons, being the weapons of mass destruction, were only meant to be used by the security forces. While the use of these weapons was banned for the civilians, keeping of illegal Kalashnikovs was somehow allowed. It is distressing to note that the present government has legalized even the illegal. It is learnt that thousands of 'prohibited bore' weapon licenses which include Kalashnikovs, G-3 rifles and other automatics have been issued by the Prime Minister's Secretariat since the PPP government took over. The Minister for Interior Rahman Malik in a speech in the National Assembly the other day revealed that 2788 prohibited bore arms licenses were issued during March 1, 2008 to August 30, 2008 with the approval of the Prime Minister. The government perhaps does not realize the consequences of this policy. Such a circulation of automatic weapons among the masses can bring doom to the country in the event of civil/political strife. -RAFI NASIM, Lahore, January 27.