A thorough analysis of the statements of assets declared by the members of parliament and provincial assemblies for the year 2018 showed that many of them were in possession of multiple prohibited and non-prohibited weapons ranging from German G-3 battle rifles and MP-5 submachine guns to Russian AK-47 commonly known as Kalashnikov, and from shotguns of different calibres to Austrian Glock and Russian Makarov pistols.
In all, 99 legislators declared their weapons, though most of them provided sketchy details. Many have not mentioned the number and type of the weapons they own while many others have not cited the cost, claiming that the arms were gifted or inherited. Those who have declared weapons in their assets’ statements include 19 members of the National Assembly, 10 Senators, 47 members of the Sindh Assembly, nine members of Punjab, eight members of Balochistan and six members of the KP Assembly, excluding those elected from the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari, who was elected to the National Assembly from Shaheed Benazirabad constituency, declared the value of unspecified type and number of weapons he possessed at Rs16.60 million. It is estimated that he owned over 100 weapons.
The declared value of an unspecified number of weapons owned by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Mohammad Azam Khan Swati was Rs5million.
A former lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told Dawn that what had been declared by the elected representatives was just a tip of the iceberg. “Weapons are part of the culture in KP and Balochistan. I have dozens of weapons but have never declared them in my statements of assets,” he candidly conceded. Besides, many consider it necessary for their protection considering the level of threat to themselves and the security situation in different areas.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Federal Minister for Railways and Awami Muslim League chief, who was elected from Rawalpindi’s NA-62 owns unspecified type and number of guns and pistols valued at Rs630,000. His nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, who won from Rawalpindi’s NA-60 on a PTI ticket, declared that the value of weapons he owned was Rs200,000.