LAHORE - The Punjab government is likely to extend its contract with Nadra on computerisation of arms licences as the exercise could not be completed in three years.

Nadra has computerised 700,000 licences while around 1.7 million manual licences are yet to be computerised. Most of the licence holders are from Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

In January, the Punjab government notified Punjab Arms Rules 2017 to detect and cancel bogus licences, the number of which is unknown yet.

The finance department has set a target of Rs744 million on account of arm licences in this fiscal. Nadra gave Rs808 million cheque to the Punjab government from June 2016 to February 2017 in connection with licence fee and penalties while the amount of processing fee was still due.

In a recent meeting, the finance department had reminded the home department of stepping up its efforts to ‘meet the target’.

An officer of the interior ministry said on anonymity the arms culture was on the rise as the leading politicians were having dozens of licences for personal security.  Former president Asif Ali Zardari, Senator Mir Nematullah Zehri, former NA speaker Fahmida Mirza, PM Nawaz Sharif, Baluchistan CM Sanaullah Zehri, PPP’s Faryal Talpur are among those who got arms licences more than one.

He said that the interior ministry had time and again ‘pledged to take action against those who had bogus licences’ but to no avail.