Mr.Justice Gulzar Ahmed 19 November 2020
Honorable Chief Justice,
Supreme Court of Pakistan,
Constitution Avenue, G-5/2 Islamabad,
+92 5192 20 581-600
Request for Suo Motu notice , against Government orders that violate fundamental rights and promote Inequality, Discrimination, Militancy and Private Armies.
On 21 August 2019, Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan issued S.R.O (1)/ 2019, lifting the ban on issuance of licenses of prohibited bore weapons for nine specific categories of individuals. Of these the first seven are Constitutional Office Holders, i.e. President, Prime Minister, Chairman Senate, Speaker NA, Governors, Chief Ministers, Federal Ministers and Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts. These Constitutional Office Holders can now acquire lethal weapons of prohibited bore category, provided that the weapons are either gifted to them or procured from the Pakistan Ordnance Factories.
- Article 25 of the Constitution mandates that all citizens are equal before law and entitled to equal protection of law. The R.O (1)/ 2019 dated 21 August 2019 blatantly violates this principle as it discriminates citizens on the basis of the position or office that they hold. This SRO is designed specifically to suit and favour a special category of already highly protected and privileged individuals.
- The first seven categories of persons mentioned in the notification are constitutional office holders and include the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. As per their respective oath of office / third schedule to the constitution, they must abide by the constitution and the law and act without favour. This aspect of ‘acting without favour’ is hugely compromised if they are legally allowed to start receiving gifts or favours.
The S.R.O (1)/ 2019 dated 21 August 2019, by permitting receipt of gifts of prohibited bore weapons by Constitutional Office Holders, legalizes such favours. It is now possible for a gun smuggler to gift an illegal weapon to a judge or any of the seven Constitutional Office Holders and the same will become ‘kosher’ as the SRO permits the acceptance of such gifts. The SRO therefore opens a huge window of opportunity of legal ‘favours” for our top Constitutional Office Holders, who can now receive illegal gifts and make them legal by quoting this SRO.
- R.O (1)/ 2019 dated 21 August 2019 also acts to promote and proliferate weapons and private armies in Pakistan. It erodes the government’s legal and moral authority in tackling the spread of weapons by encouraging the spread of yet more lethal, prohibited bore weapons amongst its elite office holders.
- Protection of life and property is the responsibility of the state. Issuance of gun licenses is not constitutionally binding but a discretionary and discriminatory act, often used as bribe or appeasement to friends, relatives or people of influence. Those who do not have the influence or the status to get gun licenses, do so by resorting to procurement of illegal weapons. The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Pakistan has risen to 43,917,000 as reported by “Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 2018”,
- Worldwide data on gun ownership has unmistakably shown a direct correlation between guns and violence. Nothing could illustrate this better than USA, which experienced 283 mass shootings in 2019. On the other hand Japan and UK are perfect examples of negligible gun violence because their governments do not allow citizens to possess or carry weapons. The Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the Suo Motu case 16 of 2011 directed the Sindh Government in these words, “Karachi is full of arms and ammunition of prohibited and non-prohibited bores including licensed and illicit, therefore, Karachi has to be cleansed from all kinds of weapons by adhering to the laws available on the subject, and if need be, by promulgating new legislation.” His orders still await implementation.
It is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may please take a Suo Motu notice of this matter and order the following:
- The R.O (1)/ 2019 dated 21 August 2019, be set aside, as discriminatory and violative of Article 25 of the Constitution.
- The government be directed to stop further issuance of all types of weapon licenses, as it is the responsibility of the state to protect the life and property of its citizens.
- The government be directed to task the armed forces and police to implement a nation-wide de-weaponisation programme to recover all illegal weapons that are held by public after the expiry of the announced deadline