The federal government’s decision to deploy 500 Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel to restore law and order in Karachi has forced the FC to withdraw security officials from a number of federal ministers, foreign dignitaries and other prominent politicians in Islamabad, The Express Tribune has learnt.
An official source, requesting anonymity, said that the FC in the capital – guarding diplomats and other dignitaries – has run short of its personnel after the interior ministry moved more than 500 personnel from Islamabad to assist the Sindh authorities to control the current law and order situation in Karachi.
Sources said that the FC was responsible for the security of 192 important locations in the capital including diplomats and ministers’ residences and offices.
“Except the platoon commander, all FC personnel including its staff in Islamabad will be on active duty now,” an official said. He added that the FC was facing difficulties performing its duties since out of the 43 platoons deputed in Islamabad, 13 had been moved to Karachi, increasing the burden on the rest of the force.
He said that some of the ministers have expressed displeasure when the FC personnel were removed from their residences. The capital police alone are now responsible for the security of political dignitaries, it was revealed.
“Since a significant number of FC personnel have been moved to Karachi, it is not possible for the FC to protect some of the VIPs because the prime duty of the FC is to protect foreigners,” sources said.
Most of the FC personnel have been posted in the Diplomatic Enclave and at the residences and offices of foreign diplomats in the capital.
Various diplomats, who have been visiting the foreign minister’s office from time to time, expressed reservations over the security measures, the source said. It was further revealed that some ambassadors have already left Islamabad since security measures were not taken up to their satisfaction.
The source said that the capital police’s operational division was also affected as more than 6,000 policemen had been deployed for the security of VIPs after the departure of the FC personnel. Around 3,000 policemen are now posted in different police stations who are supposed to man checkpoints across Islamabad, the source added.
In 2010, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had asked the then Islamabad inspector general police (IGP) Kaleem Imam to submit an evaluation report for a new force to be constituted for the protection of diplomats, which is yet to be set up.
The official said that the purpose of the proposed force was to guard VVIP routes and foreign dignitaries visiting the capital. Initially, the force was planned to comprise at least 1,000 security officials, the official said, adding that it would work under the command of the Islamabad IGP.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.