SAFRON ministry asked to release Khasadars’ salaries to end polio campaign boycott


ISLAMABAD: The Khasadar force’s threat of boycotting polio campaign in the tribal district of South Waziristan in protest against non-release of their seven month-salaries proved somewhat successful, as the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) has been asked to release the long-delayed amount to clear their pending salaries.

A summary in this regard was sent by the Merged Areas Secretariat to SAFRON secretary for the continuation of a smooth and uninterrupted polio campaign in the trouble-hit area.

It is pertinent to mention here that the cash-strapped khasadar force in the trouble-hit South Waziristan district had decided to boycott the ongoing polio campaign in protest against the non-release of seven-month on February 14.

Subedars and hawaldars of the khasadar force belonging to all nine main tribes of Ahmadzai Wazir, SlaimanKhel and Dothani decided that they would vacate all check posts and stop performing duties unless pending salaries were released, giving a deadline of February 25 to the concerned authorities.

The summary, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today reads, “Khassadai is a corollary of collective and territorial responsibility system prevailed in the Merged Areas (erstwhile FATA). It is a privileged bestowed upon section or sub-section of a tribe for assuming the responsibility. Since, the British Regime, they have been appointed and drawing salaries through DDO.”

According to details, the salaries of khassadars were stopped due to non-computerisation for the last seven months.

However, to regularise the salaries of levy and khassadars, in the year 2015, it was decided that all political agents be asked to ensure disbursement of salaries through bank account instead of a manual system. Accordingly, these directions were issued to all concerned for compliance.

Earlier, a demand for Rs54.191 million was made by tribal district South Waziristan DC but now, the concerned DC has requested for the release of Rs1,518.574 million on account of salaries of Khassadars for the remaining period of the current financial year 2018-19 i.e. January to June 2019.

It is pertinent to mention here that the additional demand was made due to inadequate allocation of funds to Deputy Commissioners Tribal District South Waziristan during last three years i.e. 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 and revision of pay scales in 2017, besides payment of arrears to those levy/khassadar personnel whose salaries were stopped due to non-computerisation.

The summary reads that in the current financial year 2018-19, against the original demands Rs1276,379,294/- of Tribal District South Waziristan, the ministry of SAFRON have allocated Rs737,358,000 to deputy commissioner of the district for the Employees Related Expenditure (ERE).

The actual expenditure amounting to Rs578, 433,357 under the head of ERE up to December 2018 of DC South Waziristan of the computerised khassadars and whose payment of salaries have been stopped due to non-computerisation for the last seven months has been reviewed, revealing an anticipated expenditure of Rs1518.574 million for the whole financial year.

This means that there will be an excess expenditure of Rs5390,212,94 and additional funds under ERE are required in the current fiscal year, so as to avoid the anticipated excess expenditure

In view of the above and to redress the issue regarding salaries of khassadar at once, the request of additional funds seems justified; therefore, it is proposed that SAFRON may like to release Rs1518.574 million to South Waziristan on account of the delayed salaries.