The Highest Budget Ever For Islamabad Security

ISLAMABAD: In financial year 2021-22, the city’s capital administration received the highest budget ever for the maintenance of law and order.

Additional police are deployed, apart from obtaining services of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and other paramilitaries, to ensure that the sensitive areas in the city are secure as a result of protests, primarily by religious groups.

But the Interior Ministry, which is paid out by the capital administration, will bear financial burden on these extra deployments.

In the financial year 2020-21, Rs12.09mn was allocated under the heading “Forces Deployment in Civil Administration Support.” However, the year ended with Rs123.84mn spent on municipal government.

“The extraordinary spending was due to money required for erecting containers for blocking roads, food and transport for the large number of police personnel posted at Faizabad and the entrances to the Red Zone and other expenditure such as hiring the services of forces falling under the interior ministry like the FC,” said a senior official of the administration.

The financial year out saw several heavy police deployments and road blockades, most notably in November and April 2021 due to a sit-in at Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, which has now been banned (TLP).

For the fiscal year 2019-20, Rs170m proposed “Deployment of Civil Administering Aid Forces”.

In May, in the wake of the protests by various religion-political parties against Israel’s aggression in the Al-Aqsa mosque, the Islamabad police and other police force was on the toes.

Moreover, political parties even in the Red Zone held several protests. Heavy police deployments have therefore been carried out.

Budget documents demonstrated a rise in police travel and transportation costs to Rs87.48m against the allocation of Rs7.48m while food and other essential items expenditure was Rs13.13m against the allocation of Rs2.33m.

The cost of repair and maintenance in a car rose to Rs21.43m compared to the amount of Rs1.43m due to the massive movement and activity.

Three Punjab Rangers firms are currently permanently deploying in Islamabad, with an average annual budget of Rs10m being paid by the Interior Ministry.

The 2019 to 2020 budget for “Deployment of Civil Administration Assistance Forces” was Rs11.95 million and since there were no serious protests or threats, expenditure remained within the budget from July 2019 until June 2020.

For the next fiscal year 2021-22, however, the Rs170.70m budget for the same head was proposed with Rs88m for related staff, including police and other staff allowances during emergency. While the budget for food, transport and travel has been proposed Rs73m in case of an emergency.

In response to the question of the proposed “Deployment of Civil Administration Forces” allocation in the next budget, the Interior Minister’s officer said that the increase was made to streamline the system, with funds released annually on an emergency basis, but that special allocations were needed.

The official also added that, rather than moving files quickly if the situation arises, we want the emergency response funds to be made available to the Islamabad Administration.

Zainab Murtaza

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