PESHAWAR, Nov 6: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition regarding posting of platoons of Frontier Constabulary outside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the federal government declared that it would fulfil the need of the provincial government by withdrawing some platoons in other areas and raising 126 new platoons (each having 43 personnel) under the Malakand Package and prime minister’s directives.
Disposing of the petition filed by the provincial government, Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth warned that if the assurance given by the federal government wasn’t fulfilled within two months, then the court would reopen the case.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through the home department had requested the court to order the return of FC platoons, saying the platoons’ posting to tribal and federal areas was against the spirit of the law under which their force was raised.
During the last hearing on Sept 18, the court had directed the interior ministry to hold a high-powered meeting and decide about the return of FC platoons to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Karachi and warned that if that didn’t happen, then the court would issue an appropriate order on the matter.
Deputy attorney general Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand and deputy secretary of interior ministry Mohammad Mureed submitted a reply on behalf of their ministry wherein it is stated that a high-level meeting was held under the chairmanship of the interior secretary on Oct 22 in Islamabad which was also attended by the additional interior secretary, FC commandant and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home secretary.
They said during the meeting, it was unanimously agreed upon that the current law and order situation in the province required enhancement of deployment of FC to strengthen the provincial government.
The reply states: “The need of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will be met by thinning the platoons of FC deployed with Pakistan Army, Sindh government and Gilgit-Baltistan government. Moreover, the court is informed that the raising of 75 platoons (3,225 personnel) under Malakand Package and the raising of 51 platoons (2,193 personnel) under the prime minister’s directives are in progress, which will strengthen the security position of the provincial government.”
The chief justice asked the deputy secretary that the reply didn’t mention whether platoons performing VIP duty in Islamabad, too, would be repatriated.
The official said methodology would be developed soon about how many platoons would be withdrawn from different areas of the country.
He added that a sizeable number of FC platoons would be deputed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to build the capacity of police on counterterrorism.
Additional advocate general Naveed Akhtar said he had not received any instructions from the provincial government on the matter.
The bench observed that a responsible official of the interior ministry had given the statement and submitted the reply which showed that the provincial government had agreed to the decision made in the meeting.
The high court has conducted several hearings in the instant writ petition.
On several occasions, the chief justice had observed that the history of FC showed that this force was raised by the British rulers for the buffer zone between the settled districts and the tribal areas. He had added that when the entire force was raised from amongst the tribes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa then how it could be said that the force was meant for the entire country.
The petitioner has claimed that currently, 294 FC platoons were operating outside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa though the force was basically meant to protect the areas bordering Fata. It was requested that around 180 platoons must be sent back to the province at once.