Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil armed forces under-equipped due to fund shortage

The Senate’s Committee on Interior on Tuesday was informed that the civil armed forces of the country, including Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Corps (FC) and Pakistan Coast Guards lack necessary equipment and are understaffed due to funds shortage.

The Ministry of Interior accused the Finance Ministry for not releasing allocated funds for purchase of weapons and other necessary equipments for the civil armed forces.

“Parliament allocates budget for civil armed forces, but Ministry of Finance did not release funds to Ministry of Interior using various delaying tactics such as controlling the fiscal deficit,” said Additional Secretary Najibullah Khan during a meeting of the committee on Tuesday.

Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood, chairman of the committee, presided over the meeting and senator Sardar Ali Khan, Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Pervaiz Rashid, Begum Najma Hameed, additional secretary interior Najibullah Khan, the Pakistan Coast Guard director general, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) Dr Moen Masood and other senor officials attended the meeting.

The Pakistan Coast Guard DG told the committee that PCG is currently very much under-staffed and has no reserved unit.

“PCG has sent a summary to Ministry of Finance through Ministry of Interior for recruitment of two battalions, but the summary is pending with Ministry of Finance for the last several months”, he said. 50 percent of the PCGs are performing their duties without ammunition, he added.

“We do not have practice ammunition for the last many years”, he said. The PCG release human smugglers after their arrest in few days due to lack of space in the prison. He requested the committee that its service structure should be improved in the line with FC.

“A number of PCG troops comprise soldiers beyond 45 years of age. Health and medical problems affect their efficiency and render them only for administration duties,” he said.

He requested the committee to allow PCG to recruit doctor on contract bases as army medical crops is unable to provide doctors to the PCG on deputation due to excessive commitments. On this senator Talha Mehmood directed secretary committee to call secretary ministry of Finance, representative of Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) in the next meeting.

The committee expressed serious concern over the absence of minister for interior and secretary interior in the meeting. Senator Tahir Mashhadi said that under the rules even the PM could not call a Minister when parliament calls him. The minister is bound to attend standing committee meeting, he said.

Senator Sardar Ali Khan asked the chairman to take stern action against the Minister and secretary interior for not attending the meeting. “If minister for interior is busy then it was the responsibility of minister of state for interior to attend the meeting,” he said.

While discussing the bill titled, ‘The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012’, moved by Rehman Malik, the committee also expressed concern over the amendment in Section 116-A by addition of Sub Section 6. Dr Moen Masood said that some of the traffics violations by the drivers have been accepted internationally as hazardous and potentially dangerous. Therefore these violations are necessary to be included in the list of declared traffic violations, which are being enforced in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). “Due to lack of law, ITP are facing many problems”, he said.