ISLAMABAD, Nov 1: A small contingent of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC) has taken up guard duties in Bahria Town, allegedly to protect the property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain who is facing land fraud charges in a Rawalpindi court.

Police sources told Dawn that it was unusual to deploy a paramilitary force to protect a private person, that too at the cost of the FC's more pressing task of providing security to VVIPs and sensitive places.

They said the Islamabad police and the Ministry of Interior had to make extraordinary efforts to secure their services for Malik Riaz who feels hunted by people with political clout in the hugely profitable but murky business of property development.Beset with litigations on several fronts, the Bahria Town tycoon used to move in a convoy with personal bodyguards.

Islamabad police were already trying to call FC to his protection when the arrest warrant issued by the Anti-Corruption Court in Rawalpindi for him last week made the tycoon feel more vulnerable.

According to police source, SP Rural Zone visited the FC Headquarters in Islamabad on October 15, on the initiative of the

Central Police Office and the Interior Ministry, to seek a platoon for his protection but was told that none could be spared.

But the top police and interior ministry officials persuaded the FC command to withdraw one of its two platoons guarding the Army Aviation Heliport in the sports complex grounds and redeploy it in Bahria Town.

Next day DSP Rural Ahmed Iqbal appeared at the gate of the heliport with police trucks to pick up the platoon but the army officer incharge rejected the idea. He informed his superiors who took up the matter with the prime minister's secretariat and the transfer of FC personnel to police was abandoned.

However, the Islamabad police hierarchy persisted in their efforts and offered the local FC command policemen exchange for FC personnel. It was after this deal that some 20 FC men took up duties in Bahria Town on October 23 and policemen replaced them in the Diplomatic Enclave, the sources said.

In addition to the FC contingent, which has been put in a house, a police post, manned by about a dozen policemen, also exists in the Town which has its own well-organised security system and guards.

Questioned about the deployment of FC, a Bahria Town guard merely said: “They are for the boss.”

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