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Assault weapons outlawed in Pakistan

A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop, in this Nov. 7, 2017 photo, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has officially suspended all automatic weapons licenses issued since the 1970s with immediate effect in “public interest,” except to some state security agencies. Previous attempts have failed.
Security expert Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa told Arab News that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will face two hurdles that could cause a backlash: Canceling MPs’ licenses, and taking weapons from internationally banned militant organizations that Pakistan does not view as a threat.
Gun enthusiast Sadiqan Hyder told Arab News: “If the suspension is impartially implemented, I fully support it.”
He added: “This notification should apply to all, with no relaxation for certain influential, elite and political personalities, because if they are spared, people who own expensive weapons won’t accept turning them in. This would make the law selective and unacceptable.”
License owners have until Jan. 15, 2018, to replace their automatic weapons license with a semi-automatic one, and have an authorized dealer or authority convert their weapons to single-shot action.
The other option is to surrender their weapon to the district administration and receive 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($476) in compensation. Failure to do either will render the license void and the weapon illegal.
During his maiden speech at the National Assembly in August, Abbasi said: “There isn’t a single country in the world that allows the licensing of automatic (guns) for citizens. If you go outside Parliament right now, you’ll see a private militia.”
He added: “The federal government will seize all automatic weapons and in return, compensate the people.”