An alarming analysis of the statement of assets declared by the members of parliament and provincial assemblies for the year 2018 has revealed dozens of lawmakers with a large assortment of arms and deadly-military weapons in their personal arsenals. These battle-grade weapons are designed to inflict heavy casualties.
An assessment of the statement of assets declared by the lawmakers for the year 2018 revealed that many of them possessed countless prohibited and non-prohibited weapons, including MP-5 submachine guns, Russian AK-47s, German G-3 battle rifles, and shotguns of a wide range, from the Austrian Glock to Russian Makarov pistols.
Lawmakers with Military-Grade Weapons
In total, 99 lawmakers declared their weaponry arsenal, though most of the legislators provided incomplete details. Many neglected to specify the numbers and types of weapons they possess, while others did not mention the costs, claiming that the weapons were either inherited or accepted as gifts.
The legislators who declared their weapons in assets’ statements include 19 lawmakers of the National Assembly, 10 senators, 47 lawmakers of the Sindh Assembly, 9 legislators of the Punjab Assembly, 6 members of the KP Assembly, and 8 from the Balochistan Assembly.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Federal Minister for Railways, declared the value of his unspecified number of pistols and guns at Rs630,000
Former President Asif Ali Zardari declared the value of unspecified number and types of weapons in his arsenal at Rs16.60 million, and reports suggest that he owns more than 100 weapons. The value of the unspecified number of weapons possessed by Senator Mohammad Azam Khan Swati of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government is Rs5 million.
Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani, hailing from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Balochistan wing, declared the value of his arms and livestock he possessed at Rs1.5 million.
Dr. Fehmida Mirza, the Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, who secured the NA-230 seat from Badin on a Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) ticket declared the value of her warms around Rs906,000, which have been purchased under her own name. Other than that, weapons valuing Rs1.62 million have been registered under the name of her husband, Zulfiqar Mirza.
Ghulam Ali Talpur, who secured NA-299 on a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket declared an unspecified number of weapons valued at Rs2.5 million. While Zardari’s brother in law, MNA Munawar Ali Talpur, elected from NA-219, possessed weapons and ammunition worth Rs1.24 million, while his wife and Zardari’s sister, MPA Faryal Talpur, owns arms and ammunition worth Rs1.48 million.
Read more: The killing of Qaiser Butt: A new weapon of war
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Federal Minister for Railways, declared the value of his unspecified number of pistols and guns at Rs630,000. His nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, who secured Rawalpindi’s NA-60 on a PTI ticket, declared the value of his weapons at Rs200,000.
Legislators of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Sabir Hussain and Salahuddin claimed to possess weapons worth Rs210,000 and Rs130,000. PTI MNA Saif-Ur Rehman from Karachi’s NA-242 declared the worth of his weapons to be Rs.160,000.
PPP MNA Syed Ali Shah from Sujawal possessed 12 weapons, including give rifles, six shotguns and one pistol, worth Rs.360,000. Another legislator of the PPP from Jamshoro’s NA-233 possess six weapons, including one rifle, three shotguns and two pistols worth Rs825,000.
PPP lawmaker from Dadu, Rafiq Ahmad Jamali, possessed 29 weapons, including three G-3 rifles, one MP-5, four shotguns, 10 AK-47 rifles, and other unspecified arms. He notified the value of only eight weapons, including two shotguns and six unspecified guns, as more than Rs.500,000.
Usman Kakar, Senator from Balochistan’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party revealed that he owns a Kalashnikov rifle, but neglected to declare its value
PTI MNA Rana Mohammad Qasim Noon from Multan possesses two AK-47 rifles, one 12-bore repeater gun, two pistols, and one-semi automatic rifles, worth more than Rs1 million. PML-N’s MNA Rana Mohammad Qasim, who secured Kasur’s NA-139, claimed to possess weapons worth Rs. 800,000, including two AK-47 rifles, one G-3 rifle, and another non-prohibited unspecified weapon.
PML-N MNA Ibadullah Khan, elected from Shangla’s NA-10, shared the value of his unspecified weapons at Rs. 450,000. Retired Major Tahir Sadiq, PTI MNA who won Attock’s NA-55, did not declare the value of his assets, but revealed that he owns a 38-bore revolver and a 12-bore shotgun.
The Senators of Balochistan’s National Party (NP), Kabir Ahmad Shahi and Mohammad Akram, declared the values of their weapons to be Rs. 1.5 million and Rs. 950,000 respectively. Sardar Mohammad Shafiq Tareen, an independent senator from Balochistan, possessed two rifles and two pistols valued at Rs. 350,000.
Shahzad Wasim, PTI senator from Punjab possessed weapons worth Rs. 223,000. Usman Kakar, Senator from Balochistan’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party revealed that he owns a Kalashnikov rifle, but did not declare its value.
Read more: New Zealand bans assault weapons less than a week after massacre
Speaking to a private news channel, a former legislator of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly said that the weapons declared by the legislators was only the icing on the cake. He frankly admitted, “Balochistan and KPK have a culture of weapons. I possess dozens of weapons that I have never declared as part of my assets.”
Many legislators and politicians deem weapons necessary to ensure their protection given the gravity of the security threats they face in different areas, especially remote quarters of the country.