LAHORE –  Interior Ministry remained failed on Friday to submit its reply in the Lahore High Court hearing different petitions of arms license holders, who challenged the direction of Ministry of Interior ordering the license holders to surrender their licenses to Nadra by Dec 31.

Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan on Dec 31 last year provisionally had restrained the federal government from implementing deadline for surrendering arm licenses to Nadra. The Judge had also directed that the publication for surrendering of arms licenses shall not be implemented till the decision on the matter.

On Friday as the court resumed hearing the ministry’s reply was not submitted. At this, the court adjourned the hearing till Jan 12 and directed the ministry to submit its reply.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, petitioners counsel, pleaded that the process for issuance of arms licenses, ownership of firearms, their sale, purchase and exchange as well as the issuance of ammunition was regulated and prescribed by Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965 and Arms Rule 1924.

He said the only method of amending these rules was through a Gazette Notification.

He argued that instead of amending the rules after due consultation with all stakeholders, the government had instantly issued the impugned directions. Barrister Zafar stated although the government had issued a notification delegating powers to make rules to Nadra, this was not a notification of the rules but also was illegal because there was no power to sub-delegate.

He said there was no harm in computerisation of the licenses but the entire process should be contained in duly notified rules which provide for all aspects, relating to possession, transport, sale and transfer of firearms.