PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has requisitioned paramilitary troops for deployment alongside the country’s border with Afghanistan in case of the shifting of the Pakistan Army to the eastern border.
“The provincial government has requisitioned the platoons of Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary, which will be deployed alongside the Afghan border if regular troops are moved towards border with India,” information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai told reporters while giving details of the cabinet meeting here on Thursday.
The cabinet held a special meeting, which discussed the overall security situation, including preparedness for emergency and relief operations in the wake of escalation with India.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chaired the meeting.
On Wednesday, the government had declared a high alert in the province and cancelled leaves of the officials of the health department.
Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary to be deployed on Afghan border if army shifted to eastern border
Mr Yousafzai said the cabinet decided to make arrangements for the protection of the country’s western border in case the Pakistan Army’s troops were moved to the eastern border.
The provincial government requisitioned the platoons of paramilitary troops. The Pakistan Army’s troops were deployed on the border with Afghanistan, particularly in the erstwhile Fata to defeat insurgency in the region.
The minister said paramilitary troops and Levies Force would also be assigned duties at checkpoints and checkposts if the Pakistan Army vacated sensitive locations in the province, including merged tribal districts.
The cabinet also decided about the establishment of a control room at the home department for maintaining a liaison with the federal government.
The minister said control rooms were being set up at all district headquarters, while the deputy commissioners concerned had been designated focal persons of the control room.
“Sleeper cells still exist, which may be reactivated to take advantage of the situation and therefore, our law-enforcement agencies will remain vigilant to keep an eye on miscreants,” he said.
Mr Yousafzai said the involvement of miscreants couldn’t be ruled out in the attack on the Peshawar High Court judge in Hayatabad on Thursday.
He said the cabinet would hold a meeting every week to review measures for coping with all types of emergencies.
The minister said the cabinet ordered the release of funds and resources for fulfilling security and emergency needs.
He said Rs80 million was sanctioned for relief fund for the purpose.
Mr Yousafzai said the cabinet endorsed the prime minister’s stand that Pakistan was not afraid of war but wanted peace in the region.
“If war is imposed on us, then the whole nation is ready to fight, and support our security forces,” he said.
The minister said the cabinet hailed the heroic role of the armed forces, especially Pakistan Air Force.
He said the cabinet approved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Transition Ordinance, 2019, to bring the Federal Levies Force operating in seven tribal districts and six subdivisions of the defunct Fata under its control.
Mr Yousafzai said the Force would have the duties and functions as specified in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017.
He also said the federal government had released Rs1 billion for the payment of salary to the Khasadar Force in the merged tribal districts.
The Khasadar personnel had begun protests against delay in salary payment.
The minister said the release of salary for Khasadar personnel would begin in the next few days.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2019