The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has given a final warning to the interior ministry to return Frontier Constabulary (FC) troops to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, otherwise their deployment outside the province will be made illegal.
In the third hearing of a writ petition filed by the provincial government to send back 83 platoons of FC deployed outside the province, the interior ministry was yet to convince the PHC about the legal status of the deployment.
A division bench, represented by PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaisar, on Tuesday was told by Deputy Attorney General Iqbal Mohmand that the deployment was a dispute between the provincial and federal governments, and that the case should be heard by the Supreme Court and not the PHC.
However, CJ Khan questioned the status of Mohmand’s statement in reference to the 18th Amendment. “After the 18th Amendment, law and order is exclusively the domain of the provincial government,” said CJ Khan, adding that since the FC falls under the provincial government, it is meant to maintain security on the buffer zones between the settled and tribal areas.
CJ Khan also said that the K-P governor, chief minister, home department and chief secretary had requested for FC personnel to be sent back, but the interior ministry was not bothered.
Interior Deputy Secretary Muhammad Mureed informed the bench that 48 platoons were currently deployed in Islamabad for the security of foreign missions, embassies and other sensitive installations.
“We have more than 80 security check posts where FC has been deployed, including at the foreign office and for VVIP duties,” said Mureed.
Referring to the resolution passed by the K-P Assembly and provincial cabinet’s demand to call back FC for the deteriorating law and order in the province, he said: “You have left these people at the mercy of intruders and invaders.”
The representative for FC, Sohaib, informed the bench that currently 80 platoons were within the province, 35 in Sindh, while another 140 had been assisting military operations against militants in the tribal areas.
He said that the FC has been deployed in Frontier Region (FR) Drazinda, Hangu, Tank, Bara and Shabqadar.
“You (Mureed) should discuss this with the law secretary as they cannot keep the FC after the 18th amendment, otherwise we will declare the deployment illegal,” said CJ Khan. He asked the interior ministry to reply to the court before November 6.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.