PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has drafted a bill to bring over 15,000 Federal Levies Force operating in seven tribal districts and six sub-divisions of defunct Fata under its control.
“This Act may be called the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Transition Act, 2019,” says an official document.
The bill will be introduced in the provincial assembly after the cabinet’s approval.
The Levies force in seven merged districts and six sub-divisions, previously called Frontier Regions (FRs), currently functions under the Federal Levies Forces Regulation, 2012.
“Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Force shall have the same duties and functions as those specified in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017,” says the draft.
Unlike the KP police, the Levies force will work under the home department, which is contrary to the recent decisions of the provincial government and the apex committee.
“The superintendence, control and administration over the Force shall vest in the government. And the Government shall exercise superintendence, control and administration over the Force through Home and Tribal Affairs Department. The supervision of the Force shall vest in the director general and operational control of the Force shall vest in the commandant,” the bill said.
Bill for the purpose to be tabled in PA after cabinet’s nod
The proposed law said the force would consist of a director general to be appointed by the government and such number of other officers/officials as might be prescribed, including but not limited to the commandant.
“Provided that both the director general and the commandant shall be officers of the KP police and the district police officer shall be assigned the additional charge of the position of the commandant of the Levies force in the same district.”
Defining the powers of the Levies force, the draft said notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the force would have all the powers conferred on police by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, as exercised by the provincial police under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017, for the performance of their duties and functions.
It added that notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the force would have the same duties and functions as those specified in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017.
The current strength of the Federal Levies Force in defunct Fata is 15,673 against the 16,053 sanctioned posts. In addition, 15,673 personnel of the centuries old Khasadar force are performing their duties along with Levies men. Before the merger of tribal districts with the province, the secretary (law and order) was serving director general of Levies force, too.
Officials said the Khassadar force had become a ‘liability’ for the government after Fata’s merger with the province.
They said the government would work out mechanism for the regularisation of the Khassadar force.
The government has planned the recruitment of 6,000 police personnel for merged tribal districts. In the first phase, the police department has proposed the creation of 393 posts of police personnel for seven districts and six sub-divisions.
The department has proposed the creation of a total of 39 posts for each tribal district including one post of senior superintendent of police (SSP) and two assistant superintendent of police/deputy superintendent of police.
Similarly, 20 posts of personnel have been proposed for each sub-division. Official of the rank of ASP or DSP will command the force in each sub-division.
Sources said the proposed strength of the police force for the merged areas requires Rs 176.433 million and personnel will be deployed from the provincial police.
The bill is meant to provide for the maintenance of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies force and to enable its transition to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police. The existing federal regulation will be called the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Act, 2019, after passage of the bill from the assembly.
The Levies force is being made a provincial subject in line with the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through the 25th Constitutional Amendment in May 2018.
The bill says it is necessary to bring the Levies force governed by the Federal Levies Force Regulation, 2012, under the control of the provincial government.
The draft said the force would consist of a director general to be appointed by the government and such number of other officers/officials as may be prescribed, including but not limited to the commandant, provided that both the director general and the commandant would be officers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police, and district police officer would be assigned the additional charge of the position of the Levies force’s commandant in the same district. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, members of the Force may be absorbed in the provincial police subject to the procedure as prescribed.
Until their absorption in the police, members of the force will be governed by their existing terms and conditions of service under the Federal Levies Force (Service) Rules, 2012.
The provisions of this Act will be enforced notwithstanding anything repugnant or contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, said the bill.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2019