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ISLAMABAD: Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Area on Wednesday recommended to the federal and provincial governments to strengthen levies force and bring it on par with police.

The committee, which met here at the Parliament House with Senator Mohammad Usman Khan Kakar in the chair, appreciated the performance of levies in Malakand Division.

Commissioner Malakand Division Zaheerul Islam told the committee that levies force was raised in 1895 and since then, the policing in Malakand was under their domain. He said that levies’ performance was very good than police.

Initially, the main duties assigned to this force were to protect government’s key installations and communication routes.

With the passage of time, this force was given multiple duties. This is the only law enforcing agency in District Malakand and is performing its duties like police.

Mr Islam said that levies are responsible for complete policing such as registering FIRs, investigation in criminal cases, execution of summons, warrants, etc.

Making his point, the commissioner said in Malakand the levies cost government Rs550 million whereas the expenses of the same number of police officials in Buner district eat away over Rs 1.3 billion annually.

“On ground, the performance of levies is better than police as crime rate is low in Malakand,” he said, adding that currently the total strength of levies in Malakan is 1835, which works under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner, who is their commandant.

He said that levies in Malakand were financed by the federal government while levies in Dir and other parts of the province fell under the administrative control of provincial government.

While discussing the development projects that were executed during the last five years in Fata, the committee stressed the need for more investment in Fata.

The committee also showed its displeasure over incomplete briefing regarding Fata, saying that the area was blessed with minerals but in briefing there was no mention of minerals.

A sub-committee was constituted under the convenership of Senator Fida Muhammad which would look after the projects of Fata including mineral resources.

The committee chairman said that boarding schools should be established in all agencies of tribal areas. He also called for immediate recruitments of 8,000 teachers for Fata schools and upgradation of schools with special focus on girls’ schools.

Earlier, during the meeting, committee member Haji Momin Khan Afridi said in Khyber Agency, a contract of construction of 15-kilometer road was given against the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules some months ago. The committee decided to take up this issue in next meeting.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018