Raise of a century for Levies Force

Published February 22, 2010

PESHAWAR, Feb 21 More than a century after being set up by the British Raj, the Levies Forces serving in the tribal areas have been granted a higher pay scale and the perks and privileges enjoyed by the police and the paramilitary forces in the country.

Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Najmuddin Khan told a press conference here on Sunday that the decision notified by the federal government would benefit the 20,000 Levies now employed in the Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Fata and Pata) in NWFP and Balochistan would benefit from the measure.

In many districts of Malakand division both Levies and police are jointly operating.

“This is our frontline force, rendering sacrifices in the ongoing war on terror,” Mr Khan said, adding that the government had realised the importance of Levies and upgraded it.

The new service structure o f the Levies Force also “regularised” the Levies personnel serving in Fata.

Until now a Levies sepoy drew just a monthly salary of Rs4,500 and was not entitled to food ration, medical and other allowances.

According to the government notification, the basic pay scale of a sepoy has been upgraded from BPS-1 to BPS-5. The scale of Lance Naik has been raised from BPS-2 to BPS-6.

The grade of Havaldar/Dafadar has been increased from BPS-2 to BPS-8.

Similarly the post of Naib Subedar/Naib Risaldar/Jamadar has been upgraded from BPS-4 to BPS-11. The scale of Subedar/Risaldar has been upgraded from BPS-5 to BPS-13 while the post of Subedar Major, the highest rank, has been raised from BPS-7 to BPS-16. Under the package, the services of Levies personnel functioning in Kurram, Bajaur, Mohmand, Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions were also regularised.

The minister said that late prime minister Benazir Bhutto during her visit to Orakzai tribal region had made commitment with the elders to regularise the services of Levies personnel, but the matter was put in cold storage.

He said that president and prime minister had approved upgradation and regularisation of the force and Rs2 billion had been released to the Ministry of Safron for purchase of weapons, vehicles, construction of pickets and barracks. A committee had been set up in this regard, he added.

Mr Khan said that federal government had sanctioned 5,713 posts of Levies for Fata and 3,100 for Balochistan. He said that political agents had been directed to start recruitment of new personnel and observe merit.

The force is being extended to North Waziristan, South Waziristan, six Frontier Regions and Swat district in Malakand division. In Waziristan and Frontier Regions, Khasadars have been functioning in the absence of Levies.

He said that 500 posts had been sanctioned for Khyber tribal region and 300 posts for Shangla district. He added that 15,000 additional personnel would be inducted in Fata and Pata.

He said that Levies Force would be deployed where army accomplished its task in the conflict-hit areas.

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