LAHORE Everybody, whe-ther a Pakistani citizen or not, can buy arm licence, even the weapons prohibited by law in only Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 from the Arms Licence Branch of City District Govt Lahore despite ban on such kind of weapons, TheNation has learnt. Citizens can easily 'purchase all type of licences even of the weapons prohibited under the relevant laws like 'Kalashnikov, guns, automatic pistols and other banned weapons, they added. The officials are selling each copy of arm license (bookbinding) in Rs 15000 and licence on a single page in Rs 10000. However, the insiders informed this scribe that some officials of the branch concerned in fact are not issuing arm licences but are selling licences in violation of all the laws and directions of the higher authorities and are minting millions of rupees through this illicit practice. They alleged that some officials of the concerned branch of the office of District Coordination Officer in general and other branches in particular are involved in this unlawful practice and they used to distribute such amounts, charged as licence fees among themselves equally and every body gets his due share from such amounts. They also are trapping those citizens who are fond of arms and those desirous to possess arm licences usually seemed willing to get permits at any cost, and Rs 15000 is a very nominal amount for them, they said adding that these officials in fact are promoting crime by issuing weapon licences illegally and by ignoring all the rules and regulations. They said such officials also have hired private persons as touts on commission for securing 'clients for the purpose and such touts are working in connivance with the officials of the arm license branch and are getting 25 percent share from the total amount, they are charging from the applicants of licences. They said the contractors of parking stands and cafeterias are also playing role of touts besides the other private persons. However, when this scribe entered into the premises of the DCO office, dozens of touts, standing on every 10 feet distance from each other from the entry gate to the branch concerned and they were insisting this scribe to hire their services for getting arm license without filling any legal requirement for the purpose. An official of DCO office said on the condition of anonymity that the officials of Licence Branch are issuing duplicate copies of the licences of those arm licences issued by the authorities concerned during the last two decades by taking benefit of the fire incident in the record room of Zila Katchehri Lahore, which turned the entire record of arm licences into ash. The officials have issued uncountable weapon licences so far after the fire eruption incident and even they issued arm licences to the persons, having no personal information or bio-data in the newly compiled record of the government and even such malpractice of issuance of illicit weapon licences is not to the knowledge of the higher authorities, he added. He further informed this scribe that an organised mafia is also backing up these officials and allegedly the members of such gang have friendly connections with the officials and they are partner in the entire illicit business of issuance of arm licences. Further, the persons belonging to such mafia also are visiting the branch concerned regularly and are providing 'fake tickets to the officials which were pasted on the 'fake licences in a dark room of the DCO office. He said that such illegal practice continued from years and still is unchecked by the authorities concerned. However, DCO Ahad Cheema said in this regard that the government allowed arm licences of some approved weapons only while the licences of prohibited weapons are not allowed at any cost. However, he said that getting arm licences through touts is a routine matter because such practice is continued in almost all the government departments and could not be checked.