PESHAWAR, Feb 19: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday gave last opportunity to the interior ministry for redeployment of around 80 platoons of Frontier Constabulary (FC) to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from other parts of the country, warning if that didn’t happen by March 13, then contempt of court proceedings would be initiated against the responsible officials.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth was informed by deputy attorney general (DAG) Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand that the interior ministry had filed a reply in the case and that it had also taken the stand that under the Constitution, the high court had no jurisdiction in a dispute between the federal and provincial governments.
He said under the Constitution, any dispute between a federal and provincial government could be decided by the Supreme Court only.
The bench overruled the objection, observing that once the government had accepted jurisdiction of the high court and had made commitment before the court in Nov 2012 that the platoons would be redeployed, then it could not make the said objection at such a belated stage when the court had already conducted several proceedings. It adjourned the hearing into the case until Mar 13 warning that it would be the last chance for the interior ministry to implement its order.
The court had on Nov 6, 2012, disposed of a petition filed by the provincial government seeking redeployment of FC platoons in the province from the rest of the country.
On that date, the bench had issued the order after commitments were made by deputy attorney general Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand, deputy secretary of the interior ministry Mohammad Mureed and official of FC Haroonur Rasheed that the need of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be fulfilled by withdrawing some platoons from other areas before redeployment to the province.
It had issued directions for fulfilling the commitment within two months.
Instead of following the court orders last month, the interior ministry filed a review petition against its earlier order.
However, the bench rejected the petition and directed the government to implement the order.
When the bench took up the case on Tuesday, asked Iqbal Mohmand and section officer of the interior ministry Arif Wazir why the government had been backing out on its commitment.
The chief justice observed that FC was a valuable force, which had been made a useless entity by deploying its personnel for the security of VIPs.
The officials said the Election Commission of Pakistan had requested for FC platoons for voter verification in Karachi and that due to the delicate law and order situation in parts of the country, it was difficult to redeploy platoons in the province for the time being.
The chief justice observed that FC was raised to act as a shield between the settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas but those volatile areas were without that shield as platoons were withdrawn and shifted to other provinces.
He added that several incursions by militants from tribal areas to settled districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took place due to absence of FC platoons.