Why are 3D Printers Banned In Pakistan?

Do you know what 3D printing is? It is a way to make things special by using special computer programs. It builds the object by putting one layer at a time. With the help of this method, we also make tools and parts in industries like manufacturing and cars. With the betterment of this machine, it keeps getting more and more valuable. Experts are thinking that by 2029, this industry will be worth $84 billion! This means that we are going to see many more products being made with 3D Printers - and you can even count on houses and buildings being made with the help of it.

Is The 3D Printer Banned in Pakistan?

It is not technically banned, but to bring 3D Printers in Pakistan, you need to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC). This is done in Islamabad; you need to go to the Ministry of Interior there to get it. However, you should know that the bureaucratic procedures usually take a long time and can last between three to six months - also there is no guarantee that you will be receiving it in the end or not. It is quite discouraging to see that many of the people who are genuinely interested in innovation have to opt to leave this place entirely to get past these restrictive rules.

All these restrictions are because our government tends to think that these printers can print guns. The gun could end up shooting and would not be detectable through a Metal Detector Walkthrough Gate. Because of that - it can be a matter of National Security threat, especially at sensitive locations like airports. However, there are experiments in which some pieces of the gun were printed through these printers but no one has been able to make a whole one up until now.

Importing a 3D Printer into Pakistan: Procedure and Challenges

To do this, you have to follow a specific procedure. We are going to mention it below so that you can easily get it done without any hassle.

  1. You have to send an original request along with twelve copies of many different documents to the Ministry of Interior which is located in the city of Islamabad. We are going to mention all the documents below:
  • For the Security Ministry of the Interior, you have to write up a formal letter. In this one, you have to write the detailed technical specifications of the particular 3D printer that you are looking to get imported. This should also include the complete brochure.
  • The profile of your company.
  • You also need an affidavit that affirms the intentions for your use of this product and you also need to state that you will not be using it to manufacture any kind of weapons.
  • You also need to add the photocopies of your Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) and the National Tax Number (NTN) of your company.
  • You need to send all these documents.
  • After the submission of these forms, you have to be patient and wait for many months. In the meantime, the Intelligence Department is going to wait to look it all up and then verify all the details that you provided.
  • In the end, they will decide if they will allow you to have a NOC or not.

You need to know that this procedure is very time-consuming and can be quite tedious. You can get months and months of hassle to get yours cleared from all these procedures.

Impact of 3D Printing

There are many environmental impacts of these types of Printers. We have mentioned all these below:

  • Environmental Problems:

Many challenges are faced by our planet, and most of them are related to environmental issues. Now this method can add to these concerns. While 3D prints are very innovative, they lack efficiency in using energy. The procedure of this goes through pre-heating which moves on to printing. Then there are the phases of cooling and each of the phases consumes significant energy.

Just like the traditional manufacturing procedures, this one also ends up emitting a lot of pollutants, and these are caused by the higher energy demands as compared to the standard methods. Also, advancements in this technology could end up mitigating the environmental impacts by reducing the time to print and utilizing low-temperature materials.

  • Controversy Surrounding 3D-Printed Guns

As mentioned above, there are raised concerns regarding the creation of unregulated firearms due to the accessibility of blueprints and the lack of serial numbers. Now, with this machine, the tracking and regulation of the 3D printed weapons is going to end up posing many difficulties and hence the reliability will be quite questionable.

  • Drug Production

As you may already know, this also offers the potential for home-based drug production, which will end up raising concerns about regulation and safety. While the promise for medical innovation will remain steadfast, the misuse of drug printing technology poses risks, and this also includes the proliferation of dangerous substances.

  • Intellectual Property Issues

Nowadays, Intellectual property (IP) infringement is a growing concern in 3D printing, which is reminiscent of digital piracy. The lack of regulation is going to enable the black markets to thrive, which will undermine the rights of IP holders and complicate legal enforcement.

  • Safety of Food Contact Items

Now, for those who don’t know, the use of ABS plastic in this also raises safety concerns for items in contact with food. This is because the bacteria can thrive on improperly cleaned 3D printers, posing risks when printing kitchenware.

  • Risks of Property Damage

There can be defective products produced by these machines which may end up causing property damage, leading to legal liabilities for manufacturers.

  • Potential for Bodily Harm

If faulty products are being created by these printers, it may result in accidents and injuries. This will place the responsibility on manufacturers for inadequate warnings or instructions.

  • Cybersecurity Threats

Cybercriminals can easily end up exploiting vulnerabilities in 3D printing systems to steal blueprints or produce counterfeit goods.

  • Health and Safety

Melting plastic during printing ends up emitting substances that can potentially be harmful. This requires precautions such as proper ventilation and material selection. Adherence to safety standards and reliance on professional printing services can minimize health hazards associated with 3D printing.