Ex-FATA Administrative officers oppose extension of Police to tribal districts

Said Nazir

PESHAWAR: The Administrative officers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Civil Services (PCS) have warned the government to put on hold the extension of Police to the recently merged tribal districts as it may lead to any untoward situation in case the force was extended to former FATA in unilateral and hasty manner. The officers said that there is resentment and uncertainty among the Khasadar and Levies  forces and local people regarding the extension of the Police into the merged tribal districts.

The PCS Officers Association in a letter sent to the KP Governor and Chief Minster on October 17, 2018 shared their recommendations for the administrative transition of merged tribal districts into KP.

Since the tribal areas have been merged into KP following the passage of 25th constitutional amendment by the parliament, the process of administrative transition of FATA is complicated and ought to be dealt with caution, ensuring the feasibility of each sector and to proceed in an inclusive manner, the letter said.

It added the civil servants from PMS, PCS and PAS being responsible for over administration of erstwhile FATA  felt obliged to advise the government in this regard.

The officers requested the government to retain both Levies and Khasadar forces and take measures for strengthening them instead of merging them into Police.  Giving the example of Levies in Malakand division and Balochistan, they said the force is responsible for maintaining routine law and order situations in the two regions despite meager resources as compared to police. They advised the government to strengthen the levies force on functional line of watch and ward, investigation and intelligence and structure it with a proper hierarchy under administrative control of the directorate of Levies.

They said the century old Khasadari system is an established and efficient model of community policing and maybe retained though reformed in order to make it more effective. Even in KP districts, community policing has recently been introduced to curb crimes through engaging communities, they elaborated.

The officers supported the century old Jirga system and said it is an old institution for arbitration among the locals and comparatively proved to be far more effective than other administrative tools of dispute resolutions. “The only issue with Jirga was that it was not bound to ensure the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of 1973. However, the same has now been resolved through extension of the writ of the High Court and Supreme Court to the merged area tribal areas”, the letter said.

While stressing the importance of Jirga, they said the settled districts have realized the same and an attempt has been made by KP government to establish Despite Resolution Councils (DRCs) at Thana level. “The DRCs in settled districts are not delivering though, as they are wrongly placed with the police rather than district administration as practiced in erstwhile FATA”, the letter explained.

The officers suggested that Jirga may be retained in its original form and the Riwaj maybe codified accordingly. The writ of High Court maybe extended with the establishment of a separate bench and may function as an appellate authority besides taking suo moto action as and when it deems necessary, they advised.

They appreciated the commitment made by the federal government to earmark 100 billion rupee per year for ten years for the neglected ex-FATA region wherein people have lost confidence in the government. To restore the trust of tribal people and let them taste the fruits of the merger, they requested the government to honor its financial commitment for the development of the region at the earliest.