Pakistan has suspended licences for all automatic weapons as part of a commitment by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to ban deadly firearms in the country by January.

Abbasi in his inaugural speech in Parliament after assuming office in August had promised that he would outlaw all deadly weapons.

An official of interior ministry said the ministry through a notification on November 7 has suspended all licences for automatic weapons.

It has also asked owners of automatic weapons to swap them with semi-automatic ones or surrender them for Rs 50,000.

“We have given the owners of automatic weapons a deadline of January 15, 2018 to surrender the weapons,” the official said.

Another official said the step has been taken as part of efforts to rid the country of the menace of dangerous weapons that end up in the hands of criminals and terrorists.