Punjab Information Minister Fayazul Hasan Chohan has made headlines again. Not for his comments about the opposition’s all parties conference (APC) in a video message from Monday afternoon, but for getting it recorded with an assault rifle in the background.
The video shows the weapon, which appears to be an M16A4 assault rifle, leaning against the wall.
According to Chohan, the gun is licensed and he carries it with him and keeps it at his office because he has been receiving death threats.
“I received a letter from terrorists threatening my life two months back,” he told SAMAA TV. “There are three other guns in my office and all of them are for security and are licensed.”
He said the person behind the camera, who was one of his office staff, forgot to remove the gun. “I didn’t see the video myself because I had to rush for a meeting after the recording,” the minister added.
The guns are usually hidden under the table in the minister’s office.
According to Section 11B of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965, “the carrying or display of arms at fairs or in gatherings or processions of a political, religious, ceremonial or sectarian character or in the premises of courts of law or public offices” is prohibited.
Noncompliance can result in the suspension or cancellation of the weapons’ licence, fines and imprisonment for at least seven years.
Earlier, Chohan said that the APC was “nothing but an attempt to protect corruption and find more chances to plunder public money”.
While the minister spoke at length against rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), opposition members have hit back at Chohan with the demand for his arrest.
PPP lawmaker from Punjab, Syed Hassan Murtaza, demanded that Chohan be arrested for display of weapon in his video message.
Murtaza stated that displaying a gun in a video message by a provincial minister was tantamount to threatening political rivals, adding that a common citizen would have been arrested and tried for such a vieo.
“It is strange how ‘non-political’ police have not taken any action against the minster so far.”