Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police

Special Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police
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Khasadar and Levy force in an earlier protest, demanding the force be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police with all incentives. They threatened to stage sit-in in Islamabad if their demands are not met. (AN photo)
Special Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police
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Khasadar and Levy force of tribal region in a meeting, demanding merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police. They threatened to stage sit-in in Islamabad if their legitimate demands are not met. (AN photo)
Special Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police
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In an earlier meeting, Syed Jalal Wazir, president all Khasadar and Levy Committee, addresses his personnel in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. They demand merger with KP police with all incentives, threatening to stage sit-in in Islamabad if their demands are not met. (AN photo)
Special Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police
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Holding photos of those colleagues who died in line of their duties in tribal areas, Khasadar and Levy force demand merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police. They threatened to stage sit-in in Islamabad if their demands are not met. (AN photo)
Updated 12 March 2019

Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police

Tribal militias threaten boycott until full merger with provincial police
  • Levies and Khasadar forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa say they will shun all duties, including guarding an upcoming polio vaccination drive
  • The forces are to be merged with the provincial police under a new law to align the tribal regions with the rest of the country

PESHAWAR: Two tribal militias in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will boycott all responsibilities, including guarding an upcoming polio vaccination drive until they are merged into the official police force of the province, a representative for the tribal forces said. 
Last year, Pakistan’s parliament passed legislation to merge the country’s tribal regions along the Afghan border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a key step in ending the area’s colonial era governance system and giving equal rights to around five million people who inhabit the restive tribal belt.
The move includes merging the Levies and Khasadar forces, both locally recruited government-backed militias, into the provincial police force. The tribal forces are widely seen as being ill-funded, equipped and trained. 
“We had reached an agreement with former Inspector General police Salahuddin Mehsud that 28,000 to 30,000 Khasadar and Levy forces will be merged into KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] police but now the issue has been politicized,” Syed Jalal Wazir, president of the All FATA Khasadar and Levy Force Committee, told Arab News. “The KP government is backtracking.”
Wazir said the Committee was weighing its options and considering taking its protests to Islamabad, the federal capital. 
No date has been announced for the merger but after the passage of the law last year, all tribal departments are meant to be aligned with the political, legal and security mainstream of the country. 
On Monday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor signed two separate ordinances granting special policing powers to Levies and Khasadars in the newly merged tribal districts. The forces will now have a separate director and deputy director general selected from within the police force. Their salaries and other benefits would also be enhanced. 
On Monday and Tuesday, members of the tribal security forces, backed by tribal elders and members of the public, staged protests in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the northwestern province, and parts of the tribal areas, demanding their merger with KP police. 
The semi-autonomous tribal regions that have been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa comprise seven big district and six towns previously known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The region was governed for over 150 years by colonial-era tribal laws and had provided a haven for militants, gun runners and drug smugglers. Without provincial status, the region has also suffered from a lack of national investment in health care, education and telecommunication and other infrastructure. 
“We have done our duties when the region was experiencing militant assaults and now you want to sideline us,” Wazir said. “This won’t work.”