ISLAMABAD: With the advent of the war on terror and the subsequent military offensives in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to eradicate the menace of terrorism, the role of Frontier Constabulary (FC) has drastically changed.
The pivotal function of FC was to police the border between the settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and tribal areas against tribal incursions and criminal gangs operating across the border.
Owing to the prevalent reign of terrorism, militancy, belligerency and deteriorating law and order situation in the country, FC has been entrusted with numerous multifarious and multidimensional tasks in addition to its cardinal function.
FC’s duties include supporting law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in controlling law and order situation and providing security to diplomats, vital government installations, VVIPs/VIPs, multi-national companies (MNCs) and hydro-power projects (HPPs).
However, despite the fact that the role of the force had changed altogether since the launch of the war against terror, the FC remains one of the less-paid forces in the country. Former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ahmed, during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plan to lockdown Islamabad, promised to bring the FC salary at par with Islamabad police.
However, they have yet to get the promised pay raise.
A senior official told Pakistan Today that FC personnel are fit to be deployed anywhere in the country. Hundreds of FC men embraced martyrdom in the line of duty, but unfortunately, their sacrifices were never recognised in a true sense.
He said that though the FC personnel were performing multiple duties since the advent of the war on terror, which completely changed the force because additional duties were assigned to FC, however, instead of giving them extra perks and privileges, they were deprived of the allowances being given during their deployment in Punjab and federal capital.
The official lamented that since 2010, the FC personnel were not being given any allowance during their deployment in Islamabad and Punjab, adding that they were only given allowances when they were deployed in Karachi or Gilgit Baltistan.
The official said that the government was not sincere in increasing the pay of the force, but the then interior minister made the announcement just to boost the morale of the force to foil PTI’s bid to lock the capital.
It is pertinent to mention that Chaudhry Nisar had announced that salaries of the personnel of Frontier Constabulary would be increased by 50 per cent to bring them at par with the pay package of Islamabad police after June 30, 2017. He had said that a constable of Islamabad police takes home a monthly salary of Rs30,000 while FC personnel get just Rs17,000 per month.
Furthermore, besides enhancing salaries, it was also announced that the FC personnel would be given internal security duty allowance and service duration of FC personal would be increased from 35 to 45 years. The announcement was made in view of the meritorious services of FC officials for internal security and maintaining law and order situation.
FC is a federal paramilitary police force, commanded by senior police officers, which is largely drawn from KP but operates in all the provinces as the federal government is empowered to deploy FC in any part of the country for better protection and administration of those areas.
The force was created by amalgamating Border Military Police (BMP) and Samana Rifles (SR) in 1913. Both of the forces were guarding the border between the then settled areas of formerly NWFP and tribal areas. Its main function is to police the border of KP and the tribal areas against tribal incursions and criminal gangs operating across the border and to check the smuggling of contraband items.
However, now its original function has been overshadowed by an increasing involvement in the internal security duties and protection of vital installation as well as embassies.