The Federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments seem uninterested in improving security at the Hazara section of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as no measures have been taken to strengthen the Karakoram Police Force (KPF), a source said.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police launched KPF on February 1 without any fresh hiring or allocation of funds, the force is supposed to maintain law and order on the route that connects China with Pakistan. The road has witnessed a number of attacks on convoys in the past.
The Karakorum Highway (KKH), which is part of the CPEC, also connects Gilgit Baltistan with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country.
A source said that other provinces had made adequate arrangements for fresh hiring and allocation of funds for protection of CPEC.
Several letters highlighting the issue were sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments through Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, chief secretary and others concerned in march and April 2015.
Letters were also sent to the interior minister in Islamabad in October last year for setting up and strengthening a dedicated force to maintain law and order on this important route.
“A comprehensive summary for creation of patrolling force for the security of KKH was moved by the KP police vide its letter no 2332/A-3 dated April, 8, 2015. The summary included recruitment of 532 personnel and construction of 20 patrolling posts,” the source told The Truth Pursuits.
The cost of the project was estimated at Rs. 603.797 million, which could have been reduced in case of hiring of ex-servicemen.
“Keeping in view the current challenges and the landmark project of CPEC, the KP police repeatedly and federal governments to take special measures and reserve dedicated sources for enhancing security of the 390 kilometers long KKH (350 kms in Hazara and 40 kms in Shangla) and CPEC,” the source said.
The source added that inspector general of police Nasir Khan Durrani sent letters to the chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in march 2015 and chief minister of KP in April 2015 to approach the federal government for raising a dedicated patrolling force for the security of the entire KKH on the pattern of motorway police.
“While realizing that the proposal will take considerable time for deliberations, the IGP suggested to raise a force of 300 personnel in the category of ex-servicemen for a period of one year on contract basis and to deploy them along the KKH quipped with ample and appropriate resources,” said an official.
After the provincial government took no steps to enhance the security of KKH and the proposed CPEC, the IGP took up the issue with the federal government through a letter addressed to secretary, ministry of interior in October, 2015.
The KP police had to set up KPF from its own resources after it didn’t get any response from the federal and provincial governments.
“The KP police set up the Karakoram police force from its own resources in February under the commitment made in the 43rd Apex Committee meeting. The Kohistan police have been integrated with the KPF to insure security.” Regional police office Hazara range Muhammad Saeed Wazir told The Truth Pursuit.
The force consists of 10 beats having 10 vehicles with 200 police personnel for manning the KKH.
The KPF has started patrolling and providing security to the commuters, foreigners, traders, tourists and others on the KKH. The convoy system for Gilgit-bound commuters, which was in vogue for quite some time, has been abolished.