KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Thursday passed ‘Arms and Ammunition Bill 2013’, declaring the possession of illegal weapon as non-bailable offence and increased the punishment to 14 years imprisonment.

The provincial Assembly also passed four other bills into law, including establishment of Sindh Higher Education Commission, establishment of Institute of Arts, Science and Technology in private sector at Hyderabad, and Shahbaz Qalandar University of Modern Sciences at Tando Muhammad Khan.

Another bill was passed into law to regularise the services of the contractual employees from grade one to 20-grade working in the Sindh Revenue Board.

After the passage of the repealing of the SPLGA 2012 and reviving local government ordinance 1979, the house took up other bills for legislation in absence of MQM lawmakers who boycotted the session, while lawmakers from other opposition parties were present in the house and took part in the legislation.

Speaking about the salient features of the Sindh Arms and Ammunition Bill 2013, Sindh Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro said that the illegal weapons available in large quantity in the province especially in the Karachi, which caused increase in the lawlessness, terrorism, extortion and deteriorating law and order.

He said that the following the orders of the Supreme Court, the Sindh government had prepared the arms and ammunition bill, which aimed at controlling the transportation and availability of illegal weapons.

The law minister said that the possession of illegal weapon has been declared non-bail able offence the new law, besides the punishment has been increased to the 14 years of imprisonment in jail.

He told the House that if any police officer proved implicating any innocent person in false case, he will be punished with imprisonment of three years in the jail.

Under the new law, the police was given powers to take action and initiate drive to recover the illegal weapons.

He further said that this bill aimed to reform the legislation pertaining to arms and ammunition in the province to curb the proliferation of arms and ammunition, whether licenced or not, which disrupts the social harmony and development, vitiates the law and order affairs.

The law will ensure that arms licenses are issued to the bonafide persons in the province as no person shall acquire, posses or carry any firearm and ammunition unless a licence is issued to him in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules.

No person shall manufacture, sell, transfer, convert, repair or test the arms and ammunition. No person shall import or export arms, ammunition in the province without licence under the new law. Acquisition/possession/sale or transfer of arms and ammunition is prohibited for the person who is below the age of twenty five years and who is not permanent resident of province of Sindh, besides a person who has been convicted of any offence involving in violence or moral lapses leading to imprisonment for minimum term of six months would not be liable to acquire\posses arms and ammunition.

Meanwhile, Sindh Assembly also passed ‘Sindh Higher Education Commission Bill 2013’ into law, which aimed to establish higher education commission for promotion of education in the province. Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar said that Higher Education Commission at federal level ignored the students of Sindh in awarding them foreign scholarships.  The Assembly also passed ‘Hyderabad Institute of Arts, Science and Technology Bill 2013’, establishment of Qalandar Shahbaz University of Modern Sciences Bill 2013 at Tando Muhammad Khan in Private sector and Sindh Revenue Amendment Bill 2013 into law.

Talking about the revenue board, senior minister Pir Mazhar said that federal government was deprived of its rights of GST on Services as it was getting only Rs2 billion against its contribution.

He said after this NFC award, Sindh government took control of the GST on Services and established Sindh Revenue Board for collection of this tax, adding that this year the Sindh has set target for collection of Rs32 billion on this account.

Under the revenue amendment bill, the services of employees from grade one to 20-grade working in the Sindh Revenue Board would be regularized, he announced.

Later, house also adopted a report of the Standing committee which recommended for regularization of services of contractual employees working in National Improvement Water Programme (NPIW), male mobilizers and Lady Health Workers of population department and lecturers of education. The house will regularise their service through passing a bill into law.

Meanwhile, house also adopted a resolution moved by culture minister Sassui Palijo, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and others, urging the Sindh government to approach federal government to declare the Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Pashtun and other regional languages as national languages by legislation in federal parliament.

Later, Khuhro administered oath from the newly elected MPAs finance minister Murad Ali Shah and Muhammad Sadiq Memon, who won in bye-elections. Later, the Speaker adjourned the session till next Monday.