Senate body unhappy with reported irregularities -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Senate body unhappy with reported irregularities

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Technology on Monday expressed concern over reports of irregularities in the issuance of arms licences by the Interior Ministry.

A subcommittee — headed by Senator Azam Khan Swati — has been formed to look into the alleged ‘corruption and discrimination’ and make proposals to improve the system in month’s time.

The Senate committee met here at Parliament House under Senator Abdul Raziq for a briefing on an ‘E-government programme’ and the implementation of a computerised system in the issuance of arms licences by the Interior Ministry, by the Information Technology Ministry.

The Senate body observed that the record of the arms licences was not being maintained properly. Members underlined the need to organise the process according to scientific lines and make it free of ‘human interference’.

Extension: The committee asked the government to extend until February 28 the date a ban on new licences comes into effect, to allow the subcommittee to finish the job it has been tasked with.

The Interior Ministry also briefed the meeting on the issuance of computerised arms licences. The committee was told that computerised arms licences were no longer issued, as there were several flaws in the system and several security features missing.

The meeting was told that 32,146 computerised licences had so far been issued. The Interior Ministry is currently working on a new system with more embedded security features and the ability to trace licence holders through the NADRA database.

The Information Technology Ministry earlier briefed the committee on the E-government programme.

SIMs: Representatives of cellular-phone companies told the Senate body they had reached an agreement with NADRA to verify details of applicants before the activation of their SIMs. They said they would stop issuing pre-activated SIMs after February 1.

The committee observed that some of cellular-companies’ print and electronic advertisements were ‘not in line with social norms and ethical values’, and directed them to ban all such advertisements.

Source: Daily Times

Date:1/20/2009