By Fazal Khaliq
MINGORA: Over 2,000 community policemen in Swat have been facing financial problems as they have not been paid salary for three months.
Community police or the special police was introduced in 2009 after the militants were eliminated from the area following a military operation. During militancy in Swat, majority of regular policemen had left their jobs due to fear of militants. To fill the gap about 4,000 community policemen were employed on contract basis. However, their number was gradually reduced to 2,300.
Faisal Nauman, community policeman in Mingora, said he was hired in 2009 along with ex-army personnel on Rs15,000 monthly salary. “Since then we have been performing duty to maintain law and order along with the regular police,” he said, adding about 40 of his colleagues had laid down their lives during militancy.
He said no increase was made in their salaries since 2009 while services of all the ex-army men had been made permanent.
Another community policeman said majority of the personnel were financially poor and mainly depended upon their salary. “Our salary has been stopped for the last three months which has caused financial troubles to our families,” said Umar Ali.
He added that in the first two months he borrowed money from friends and relatives to get food for his family but could not pay his children’s schooling. “The school administration has sent us notices for payment of fee and the shopkeeper also refused to lend us food and other daily use items,” he said, adding payment of utility bills was also overdue.
Farman Ali, another community policeman in Mingora police station who received severe injuries while fighting terrorists in 2013, said he was experiencing psychological issues due to financial problems.
“We have extended sacrifices to maintain law and order situation and even performed duty as traffic wardens in 2009 when the regular police left the job due to threats of militants,” he said, adding he had received notice from his children’s school for payment of fee.
When contacted, MPA Fazal Hakim Khan said that the government was fully satisfied with the performance of community policemen, but their contract had expired. “We are in the process of renewing their contract and I hope that their salary will be released during the current month,” he said.