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Qadri’s long march: Centre asks KP for FC reinforcements

January 12, 2013

PESHAWAR, Jan 11: The Interior Ministry is bent on violating the recent Peshawar High Court order as it has asked for fresh Frontier Constabulary reinforcements for beefing up security during Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Jan 14 long march on Islamabad.

The ministry has asked the Commandant Frontier Constabulary to provide 4000 more personnel by Jan 12, 2013, for performing security duty during the upcoming march against the federal government.

The interior ministry’s instructions are in total disregard for the PHC’s earlier instructions, which require it to return 150 FC platoons it has deployed in different parts of the country to perform security duties.

A PHC bench, hearing a case on Thursday last, served contempt notices on two interior ministry officials for not adhering to its earlier order that asked for returning the FC platoons to improve security in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Out of the 83 FC platoons currently placed with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police, some 2,500 personnel have been required to be withdrawn for the Islamabad march.

Besides, the ministry has also directed the commandant to withdraw 1,700 FC personnel from the security duties with multi national companies, oil and gas companies, and other similar entities.

The FC men have been required to reach Islamabad by Jan 12, 2013 and report to the Inspector General Police, Islamabad Territory for further deployment.

This has apparently put the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government at a difficult spot. It was originally the provincial government’s initiative pursuing which the PHC had ordered the interior ministry to return the 150 FC platoons and deploy them to perform security duties in the restive areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar could not come up with a clear answer at a press conference on Friday when asked about the interior ministry’s fresh instructions.

“We are bound to cooperate with the federal authorities and would do our best to ensure enhanced security on the occasion,” said the minister when asked about the interior ministry’s instructions to the FC commandant.

About the PHC’s instructions, the minister said the provincial government saw the court’s instructions with ‘great respect,’ adding that it was the provincial government’s demand that the FC men deployed in other provinces should be sent back to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take on the security challenge.

Later, he told Dawn that the interior ministry should use the FC men it had already got.

“Why do they ask us to provide more FC platoons when they already have 150 platoons,” said the minister, adding that the federal government should divert some of those platoons to take security responsibilities during the protest march.

However, according to sources, the interior ministry’s move has put the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government between a rock and a hard place as the FC commandant had been asked to provide the personnel without consulting the provincial government over the matter.

Feeling bypassed by the interior ministry, the provincial government moved quickly and wrote a letter to the federal authorities concerned against the decision to divert 2,500 FC men from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police to Islamabad. The provincial home department has taken the plea that the interior ministry’s decision would create problems for the provincial government, which is already exposed to multiple risks as a result of fragile security in the province.

Meanwhile, the provincial information minister said the government would not create hurdles in the way of those wanting to attend Dr Qadri’s march on Islamabad.