Khasadar, Levies personnel to get policing powers in tribal districts

Updated March 11, 2019

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Khasadar and Levies forces will enjoy parallel policing powers as assigned to KP Police under the code of criminal procedure. — AFP/File
Khasadar and Levies forces will enjoy parallel policing powers as assigned to KP Police under the code of criminal procedure. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has sent two separate ordinances to the governor to be promulgated for regulation and maintenance of Levies and Khasadar forces functioning in the erstwhile Fata.

Sources said that the ordinances were likely to be promulgated on Monday after seeking approval of Governor Shah Farman. The provincial cabinet had recently approved the ordinances. Levies and Khasadar forces have been operating in the seven merged tribal districts and six sub-divisions.

Significantly, Khasadar and Levies forces will enjoy parallel policing powers as assigned to KP Police under the code of criminal procedure. Secondly, both the forces will also perform such institutional and organisational functions and duties provided in the KP Police Act, 2017.

Comprising 25,551 personnel including 15,673 khasadars, the two forces would get the powers of the provincial police. Unlike Levies personnel, khasadars are considered ill-disciplined, untrained and loosely organised.

Ordinances sent to governor for regulation, maintenance of the two forces

Khasadari has something of a hereditary right -- an asset, which can be bought, sold or transferred among inhabitants of the respective tribes or sub-tribes. The value of a khasadar does not lie in his individual efficiency but instead it is in the extent to which he is a representative of his tribe. Khasadars are paid through a stipend provided directly to the tribe by the government.

Levies and Khasadar personnel are currently operating in the tribal districts under the federal ministry of state and frontier regions. After promulgation of the ordinances, these federal forces will work under the command of the KP government.

The provincial assembly is not in session and therefore government sent these ordinances to the governor. The assembly’s session is starting from March 15.

The proposed ordinance is to regulate and maintain Khasadar Force, previously working in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas and now in the merged districts of the province.

Similarly, the second ordinance is aimed at regulating and maintaining Federal Levies Force, previously working in the erstwhile Fata and now in the merged districts of the province. Defunct Fata was merged with KP in the wake of 25th Amendment in May 2018.

The draft ordinance says that Khasadar Force, which was established in the erstwhile Fata through executive orders and instructions for management of the said areas within the framework of territorial and collective responsibility, has now been lost its legal status for working in the merged districts and sub-divisions.

“And whereas it is in public interest to allow the Khasadar Force to continue its functions for better public order, peace and security in the merged districts and sub-divisions; and to achieve the objectives, it is expedient to give legal status to Khasadar Force in the merged districts and sub-divisions, and to revisit its institutional structure and functional assignment for effective discipline, better performance and optimal utility,” says the document.

The ordinance may be called the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khasadar Force (Maintenance, Regulation and Protection of Service) (Transition) Ordinance, 2019.

The Khasadar Force will be organised in senior ranks and junior ranks officers and officials. The senior rank officers will consist of commandant, who will be district police officer, having additional charge of the commandant in the district, while the junior ranks will consist of subedar major, subedar, naib subedar, havaldar and khasadar.

The general administration and operational control of Khasadar Force will vest with the commandant and may be absorbed in the KP Police in accordance with prescribed procedure and the commandant will be authority for posting and transfer of members of the force within the district.

Another proposed ordinance will be called the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force (Transition) Ordinance, 2019 and will apply to all the members of the force. The draft says that on promulgation of this ordinance, the Levies Force will be re-constituted and maintained by the government in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance and will be known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force.

The force will consist of the director general, deputy director general, commandant and all existing strength of the members of Levies Force, working in the merged districts and sub-divisions. The director general, deputy director general and commandant will be the officers of police and DPO will be assigned the additional charge of the commandant in the same district.

The regional police officer will be assigned the additional charge of the deputy director general in their police region.

The general administration and operational control of the Levies Force will vest with the director general to be exercised by him either directly or through the commandant in the district.

“Notwithstanding anything contained, in any other law for the time being in force, the Levies Force shall have the parallel policing powers as are assigned to the police under the code,” said the draft.

The Levies Force will be an essential service and every member thereof will be liable to serve whenever he is required to serve by the director general and the commandant will be competent to post and transfer members of the force within the district.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2019