23 July, 2014 / Ramazan 24, 1435

PESHAWAR, Jan 10: A two-member Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday issued contempt of court notices to two federal government officials over non-compliance of its order about the return of around 150 Frontier Constabulary platoons to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from other parts of the country.

Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Khalid Mahmood adjourned the hearing into the case to Jan 31, directing the two officials, including deputy secretary of the interior ministry Mohammad Mureed and PSO (V) of FC Haroonur Rasheed, to show up and clarify their position.

On Nov 6, a bench had disposed of a provincial government petition after the federal government gave the assurance that the need of the government would be met by lowering the number of platoons in other areas and raising 126 new platoons under the Malakand Package and the prime minister’s directives.

The court had ordered the fulfillment of the assurance given by the two officials on behalf of the federal government and FC within two months.

On Thursday, the bench was hearing a review petition filed on behalf of the interior ministry seeking more time for fulfilling the assurance given to the court.

Deputy attorney general Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand said the interior ministry had already prepared the relevant summary for returning of platoons of FC to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and some other areas. He said the summary had to be approved by the interior minister but since the minister was busy due to the long march announced by Professor Tahirul Qadri on Islamabad, the approval had been pending.

He requested the court to provide more time to the government for compliance of the court order.

The chief justice observed that the law and order situation in the province was precarious and the government had been putting forward lame excuses for delaying the matter.

He added that personnel of FC were deputed on VIP duties instead of performing their original task of defending the buffer zone between the province and the adjoining tribal areas.

Justice Dost Mohammad observed that the government had turned this very effective force into ineffective by deputing it on VIP duties.

The bench pointed out that several incidents of terrorism had recently taken place in the province, especially in the provincial capital, due to the delay in the return of FC platoons to the province.

The petitioner had claimed that 294 FC platoons were operating outside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa though the force was basically meant to protect the areas bordering Fata. He requested the court to order the immediate return of around 180 FC platoons to the province.

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