Police system in tribal districts

Barkatullah Marwat

Soon after the FATA merger, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government launched development projects with the financial support of the Federal Government for the welfare of the tribal people where steps were taken to establish lasting peace in health, education, roads and other sectors.

The first step was to introduce a police system which was apparently a difficult task, but in order to enforce the law in the tribal belt, the existing Khassadar and Levies Forces were converted into regular police who were trained to deal with anti-social elements.

For this purpose, the provincial government, especially the provincial police chief, Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, made strenuous efforts. In this regard, he himself visited the tribal districts where he inspected the training centers after transferring the levies force to the police force. The task of training the new police force of the tribal districts was entrusted to the Pakistan Army which gave them good training in their respective districts.

The second step is to set up police stations buildings. During a meeting with Regional Police Officer Bannu Awal Khan at his office, it was learned that notifications were issued for setting up two more police stations in FR Bannu and FR Lakki Marwat like other tribal districts with the cooperation of the provincial government.

In FR Bannu, one police station is already functional in Wazir Gombati but now two more police stations will be set up at Ahmadzai and Athmanzai. Similarly, FR Lakki Marwat also has a functional police station at Shadi Khel but two more new police stations which have been approved will be constructed at Vargari and Azadkhel. With the establishment of these police stations, far-reaching results will begin to emerge in the concerned areas.

It was further learned that the efforts of DIG Bannu Range Awal Khan in this regard are commendable. He said that in the past, a Levies man used to get a meager salary and there was no special office or building but now he has been given full training and equipped with modern weapons and at the same time his salary is at least Rs 40,000. Vehicles are being provided for regular police stations and patrolling etc. So aren't these privileges?

It is an established fact that before the integration of FATA, the condition of the tribal areas was quite precarious where people were kidnapped in broad daylight for ransom and criminal elements from the settled areas easily would take refuge in the tribal areas and lived comfortably for years but it won't work anymore.

During an informal conversation with a senior official at the provincial secretariat last week, it was learned that most of the educational institutions are in FATA but the area remained neglected due to being tribalism.

Similarly, a few years ago, I happened to visit FR Lakki Marwat with a friend where there were schools but they were being used as guesthouses (hujras). Teachers were drawing salaries at home while the children were busy playing in their villages but this will no longer be the case. Enough is enough. Now, inshallah, the situation in FATA is improving and the people of the tribal areas will be on the same path of development as the settled areas.

The writer is a senior journalist and analyst. He can be contacted at: bumarwat@gmail.com

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