In the aftermath of what was arguably one of the biggest jailbreaks in Pakistan’s history, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s government has demanded the federal government to repatriate the Frontier Constabulary force back to the province.
“The provincial government has asked the federal government that at least half of the FC forces must be repatriated to K-P to avoid more incidents of jailbreaks in the future,” a senior official in Peshawar told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity.
The source added that out of an approximate 30,000 personnel that belong to the FC, at least 15,000 were being demanded by the provincial government. This was not officially verified, though.
More than 200 heavily armed Taliban militants travelling in several vehicles attacked the Central Jail in Bannu on April 15, releasing 384 prisoners in a pre-dawn assault. The Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) had claimed responsibility for raiding the jail — an incident that has raised security concerns in the K-P.
FC Commandant Abdul Majeed Khan Marwat confirmed to The Express Tribune that the province made a demand of repatriating the FC personnel at a recent provincial cabinet meeting in Peshawar — without referring to the Bannu jailbreak incident specifically.
“FC’s main function is to police the border of K-P and the tribal areas against tribal incursion, criminal gangs operating across the border and to check the smuggling of contraband items,” Marwat asserted.
The provincial government will negotiate the issue with the federal government for the repatriation of the FC to K-P, the commander of the force said without commenting on the number of personnel being demanded.
Given that a majority of the personnel of the FC – which is a federal paramilitary force – are drawn from K-P, the provincial government claims that priority should be given to the province while deploying its troops in different parts of the country to maintain law and order.
A large number of the FC personnel are deployed in Islamabad and different parts of the country since a couple of years, with the exception of Punjab.
About 65 teams of the FC are serving in different parts of Sindh for several months while over 40 teams are serving for multinational companies, embassies, foreign missions and other such important establishments.
“However, the FC is not serving in Punjab,” the commandant clarified.
“The monthly salaries of the personnel deployed in Sindh are being paid by the government of Sindh,” he said, adding that the monthly salaries of the 45 teams deployed with various multinational companies and foreign missions were being paid by those who have hired them.
“The provincial government of K-P is demanding the repatriation of FC to the province since the district police forces are not equipped to face militants in the regions bordering FATA. The issue is pending before the federal government for the last several years,” Marwat revealed.
A formal demand by the provincial government to the Ministry of Interior was forwarded after the K-P cabinet meeting discussed the Bannu jailbreak incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.
More in KP & FATASecurity risk: Kidnappings threaten Pakistan aid work