In his address to the members of the Lahore High Court Bar Association on March 3, our Interior Minister generiously announced issuance of “Blue Passports” (which is gratis i.e. without any fees) to all the Office bearers of the Bar Associations and Bar Councils across the country, along with licence to keep assault weapons of prohibited bores. There appears to be no logic or justification for this announcement except to attempt to win over the lawyer’s community.
In the first place prohibited bore are assault weapon and not weapons of self-defence, hence none of the sections of public including our worthy ministers, members of Parliament, bureaucrats, generals, judges or journalists should be favoured with such lethal weapons, which are capable of being misused and would inevitably add to the rampant violence and killings across the country. The authorities should be conscious of the fact that no matter how many arms you may possess, the person who pulls the gun first, becomes the master of their fate.
Instead of pursing the policy of deweaponizing the society, which was the agenda of Chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, much to our disappointment the present governments both at Federal and provincial levels are continuing to follow policies of General Pervez Musharraf to weaponize all the rich and influentials by dolling out to them lacs of licences to possess prohibited assault weapons to further assert on the poor, oppressed and unarmed citizens particularly in the rural areas.
Federal and provincial governments are also not mindful of the fact that with the proliferation of the weapons in our society, there is a consistent unchecked rise and rise in militancy and incidents of terrorism. Not only people of Pakistan are already suffering immense sense of insecurity but the terrorism is the biggest enemy and threat to the integrity of our country as well.
As regards, the plea to secure the ruling elite, it may be remembered, that they are already enjoying protection free of charge from the soldiers of Para-military forces, commandoes and police in more than required numbers. On the contrary, what is more important and deserving is the security of the life and properties of ordinary citizens. This is the paramount duty of the State as guaranteed under Article 9 of our Constitution.
The policy of the Government to encourage and promote private security agencies, are capable of assuming the role and shape of private armies and impinge upon the privacy of the citizens as well. It must be noted that the private armies are clearly forbidden under Article 256 of the Constitution. Despite, this clear constitutional prohibition, we witness huge number of licensed and unlicensed private arm groups under one garb or pretext or the other. By promoting these private security agencies, the governments are implying that they have failed to discharge their basic obligation to protect life and property of ordinary citizens.
Another pertinent question arises as to why should lawyers alone be favoured with a blue passport and licences to possess assault weapons. Why not the same privilege is granted to all other professional bodies. After all their contribution in the society is not less than the lawyers. I would advise all professional bodies to hurriedly invite Mr. Rehman Malik, (before he changes his mind) as their chief guest on any pretext, praise him so much that he is swayed to pronounce the same privileges to the members of the respective bodies.
Assuming, if all other professional bodies are treated at par with the lawyers community, which will be in accordance with the Constitution and all of them are granted “Blue Passports”, then an amusing aspect would emerge that colour of most of the Pakistani passports will change from “Green” to “Blue”, which is the colour of the ordinary passports of Indians.