—Will govt offer Khasadars a golden handshake or merge them with Levies Forces?
—Khasadar officials form 80-member committee to secure their services after extension of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017, to tribal areas
—Officials demand proper representation in any committee tasked with deciding fate of 25,000-30,000 personnel
ISLAMABAD: Despite the passage of the 31st constitutional amendment that paved the way for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the fate of the Khasadar force hangs in balance as no framework has been developed so far regarding the future of the force in a post-merger KP.
A senior official told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity that it was imperative to redefine the roles and responsibilities of the Khasadar force after the merger of FATA with KP, but there was complete silence over this issue, thus leading to frustration within the force’s ranks. The Khasadars have played an integral part in maintaining law and order situation in the tribal regions by rendering matchless sacrifices during the war against terrorism, he added.
The official said that various proposals were under consideration regarding the future of the force, including offering them a golden handshake or upgrade and merge them with the Levies Forces.
Besides, he said that it was proposed that the existing posts of the tribal force would be maintained and new recruits would be welcomed. He said it was unfortunate that no clear-cut policy had so far been formulated in this connection.
Further, the official said that even though personnel of the Khasadar force were being paid a meagre sum of Rs 17,400 in the form of salaries, nevertheless it was an important force to keep law and order intact in the tribal areas.
Subedar Major Said Jalal from North Waziristan said that the Khasadar force from seven tribal agencies and six Frontier Regions were on one page regarding the merger of FATA with KP and were even supporting the step, but the silence regarding the future of the force had caused great resentment within their ranks.
He said that the confusion surrounding the future of the force should be cleared at the earliest to address the issue of growing resentment among the personnel.
He further said that jobs in the Khasadar force were considered as inheritance posts in the tribal areas, passing from father to son and so on. Hence, the force should be given proper representation in any committee that would be tasked to decide the fate of 25,000 to 30,000 personnel, he added. He went on to say that if a policy had been developed in regard to the Khasadar force, then it should be made public.
Further, Subedar Major Jalal said that the livelihood of the tribal people was linked with the Khasadar force. “We do not want to lose our jobs under the guise of a merger plan,” he added.
He lamented that the policy regarding FATA’s merger with KP was formulated by those people who were extremely ill-informed about the way of life in the tribal areas.
Jalal warned that they would take a peaceful, legal and constitutional route if they were not given their due rights, while adding that all paramilitary forces in FATA and the Frontier Regions should be involved in the process of chalking out a future policy for the force.
He said that Khasadars have rendered matchless sacrifices since 1940, but the government did not even bother to take them into confidence, despite taking such an important decision.
He vowed that they would not allow anyone to abolish the Khasadar force and no compromise would be made in this regard come what may. He demanded that the government should sign an agreement with the Khasadar force ensuring a place for the personnel in the new set-up.
Earlier, officials of paramilitary force formed an 80-member committee to secure their services in the wake of the government’s decision to extend the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017, to the tribal areas.
Hundreds of officials from the tribal force met to discuss the situation arising after the federal government’s announcement regarding the abolishing of the force and converting the existing tribal Levies Force into a regular police force, along with establishing police stations in the entire tribal region.
Said Jalal said that the 80-member committee would knock on every door to demand justice and security of jobs for thousands of Khasadar personnel, adding that they would not hesitate in approaching the Peshawar High Court if their genuine grievances were not addressed.