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    Life in the Frontier Constabulary

    by Rumbold on 8th May, 2009 at 12:22 pm    

    Being a member of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps Constabulary, a paramilitary force based throughout the country, sounds grim:

    “Sher Afzal is a young soldier who joined the FC seven years ago and belongs to Tank in Pakhtoonkhwa province. He leaves for duty [in Islamabad] in the morning after having only one cup of tea and nothing else. No, it’s not about any freaky dietary habit but a compulsion of poverty.

    “What else do you expect me to eat on my salary? It costs me Rs12 just to go to Aabpara and I have to maintain my family back home. It has been one year since I received my ISD (special allowance to serve in non FC area), and now from this summer this special allowance will also be stopped as Islamabad is now an FC area. At times I wonder what I am doing here. Some of my colleagues here have not received ISD for the past four years”, laments an otherwise proud looking Afzal.

    Others want to know that while the cost of living in Islamabad is same for them and for their colleagues in the Islamabad Police then how come the ‘style’ of their colleagues is so different and wonder if they are children of a lesser god.”

    Pakistan would be wise to look to another South Asian country whose paramilitary forces felt ill-treated recently.

    (Hat-Tip: Platinum786)

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Pakistan

    8 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. platinum786 — on 8th May, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

      I think the article was somewhat alluding to that becoming the final outcome. It’s a really depressing read, these guys are the first line in the war against terror and most of them don’t have enough money to eat properly. You can’t blame any one government for it either, the entire system has been a shambled for years.

    2. Roger — on 8th May, 2009 at 4:59 pm  

      Why is the Frontier Corps…based throughout the country” anyway? A frontier corps surely functions to guard a country’s frontiers. In this case, presumably, the North-West Frontier.

    3. platinum786 — on 8th May, 2009 at 5:11 pm  

      Cheap labour. I don’t think they actually function in Sindh or Punjab as they have provincial rangers as a paramilitary force, but the Frontier Corp is operational in NWFP, FATA (the federally administered tribal areas)and I think fedral territory such as Islamabad.

      Why I can’t tell you as a matter of fact, but I’d guess cheap labour, or someone has a hand in a pie somewhere and thought they’d benefit personally by extending the remit of a force trained to do naff all and paid similarly.

    4. Tariq — on 10th May, 2009 at 6:00 am  


    5. Rumbold — on 10th May, 2009 at 2:25 pm  

      Oops. Thanks Tariq. I thought they were the same. Now corrected.

    6. Roger — on 11th May, 2009 at 7:19 am  

      Frontier Constabulary or Frontier Corps, what are doing so far from the frontier?

    7. Tariq — on 11th May, 2009 at 2:04 pm  

      Ok, the Constabulary is a force generation institution that is really with the Police. It is organised into platoons and these are dished out as per an operational/law enforcement requirement. Unfortunately the organisation does not have any integrated command and control structure and the platoons depend on task allocation, employment and deployment to whatever force they have been sent to reinforce. TRhe Force has a history and that does stretch over a century or so and is built on recruits drawn form the Frontier Regions, tier primary task was to establish a system os control between the tribal belts and the settled areas. Unfortunately, it has become a force provider for VIPs in Islamabad and that is why you see so many of these platoons there protecting individials or installations etc.This is precisely because it lacks senior leadership and is usually kicked about by any senior government official in the Federal Government. The Constabulary has to be totally overhauled and is in the process of that even as we discuss it but it is going to take a hell of a lot of time to expect anything from this force. The Frontier Corps on the other hand is only in the border regions and the adjoining tribal belts where there is trouble. It is a territorial Army and is 60000 strong with an integrated command structure. The officer leadership is provided by the Army on a secondment basis and each tenure in every rank is for about 3 years or so. They are responsuble for the tribal agencies. They have had a very bad time till a year ago but having reformed they now have 5 of the agencies under ‘reasonable control’, i.e. writ of the government and ownership by the people of their own territories. The Corps too is structured on tribal lines and has a history that is at least 150 years old. Swat is not a tribal belt region and Buner and Dir are semi tribal but the Corps is functioning in both as of now on a special requistion by the provincial government.Hope this will help in understanding the mechanism!! Take care Rumbold.

    8. Rumbold — on 11th May, 2009 at 4:38 pm  

      Thanks a lot for that information Tariq. I suppose it is the sad truth that in any government/state, the groups who don’t have friends at the top get kicked around. I wonder whether they would be happier back on the frontier, or whether better pay and conditions in the city would be preferable.

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