ISLAMABAD -  As part of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s policy to make the country free of automatic weapons, the Ministry of Interior has decided to suspend arms licences of all automatic weapons.

“The competent authority has decided to suspend all prohibited bore (PB) licences, on which full automatic weapons have been entered, in the large public interest with immediate effect,” said a notification issued by the Ministry of Interior on Saturday.

The government has given two options to the licence-holders having automatic weapons. They have been asked either to convert their automatic weapons into semi-automatic ones through licenced arms’ dealers or return such arms to the offices of district magistrates, district coordination officers, deputy commissioners or political agents.

“All licence-holders of afore-mentioned weapons are directed to get their weapons converted into semi-automatic weapons through Pakistan Ordinance Factories/ Licenced Armours and get it verified by armour of concerned District Police Officer (DPO) by 15th January 2018 or licence-holders of full automatic weapon may return their weapon in the office of the District Magistrate/DC/DCO/ Political Agent and get Rs50,000 as compensation of their weapon,” the notification says. The ministry has warned that failure to comply with one of the two options will entail the cancellation of PB licence.

PM Abbasi in his maiden speech, after taking the oath of office, on the floor of the National Assembly had expressed his resolve to make the country free of automatic weapons. He had said that he wanted to ban automatic weapons in the country if all stakeholders agreed to the proposal. After that, a cabinet meeting had formed a committee to propose recommendations on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior in a separate notification has allowed dual nationality to those overseas Pakistanis settled in Demark. The notification was issued after Denmark and Pakistan signed an agreement to allow the dual nationality. “Thirty thousand Pakistanis living in Denmark would benefit from the arrangement and be able to hold Danish nationality without renouncing the Pakistani nationality,” says the cover letter of the ministry sent along with the notification to the departments concerned. The letter says that more than 5,000 Pakistanis settled in Denmark visit Pakistan every year.

The matter had been pending with the federal government for a long time. Besides Denmark, Pakistan also has a similar arrangement with a number of other countries.