FC in diplomatic enclave despite fears


Sohail Chaudhry April 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Paramilitary Rangers have not replaced Frontier Constabulary (FC) troops in the Diplomatic Enclave, as was urged by diplomats after officials from the FC were found to be involved in terrorist attacks. Questions are also being raised over the validity of the demand to replace the FC, which is predominantly Pakhtun, with a paramilitary force that belongs to another ethnic grouping.

It may be recalled that the interior ministry was asked to replace the FC with Punjab Rangers after FC officials were arrested for attacks in the federal capital, including one at the World Food Programme office and at the Naval Headquartres in Sector E-7. “A few days ago, the Punjab Rangers were ordered to report within 24 hours but they said it was impossible for them to depute more personnel in Islamabad,” a senior official in the interior ministry said.

The interior ministry also approached the Sindh Rangers, which also showed its unwillingness. “Sindh Rangers authorities say their total strength is 20,000 and it will be difficult for them to replace FC in the federal capital,” the official further said. Officials told this correspondent that the interior ministry was left with no option but to replace “selective” FC personnel with their counterparts who are not working in operational areas. “We have been weighing an option to replace FC personnel with those belonging to ethnic groups unaffected by the ongoing military operation,” a top level interior ministry official confirmed.

A few days ago, officials had said that security agencies had informed the interior ministry that some FC personnel deployed in the diplomatic enclave were from families whose blood relatives had been killed in recent military operation in tribal areas. The government was warned that the FC personnel could be potentially helpful to terrorists in attacks on the diplomatic zone. Officials in the interior ministry told The Express Tribune that 43 platoons of FC consisting of 1,290 people have been deployed at the diplomatic enclave to guard embassies and other foreign missions located inside the sensitive zone.

COMMENTS (1)

saadia khalid | 11 years ago | Reply excellent investigative story!
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