Lahore: The Military Operations (MO) Directorate, General Headquarters (GHQ) has requested the Ministry of Interior to review its recent decision of imposing a ban on the deployment of police officials in various U.N missions.
Four reasons have been given as this decision will have negative ‘implications’ on the future prospects of Pakistan Army and Police’s involvement in the peacekeeping operations the world over.
This request was dispatched to the Interior Secretary’s office through letter number 57/12/PKO/0SL8G/MO-11C, dated December 31, 2013, under the subject: ‘Police Participation in UN Peacekeeping’. The copies of the letter were also sent to Director General UN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Joint Staff Headquarters, Permanent Representative (PAREP) in UN and Military Advisor (MA) to PAREP.
The letter referred to earlier letter, number 9/1/2014-Pol-L/2, dated December 18, 2013 addressed to MA to PAREP, wherein it notified discontinuation of the deployment of the Police Peacekeepers for the UN Missions on the pretext of precarious internal security situation with dearth of law enforcers further necessitating the measure being taken.
On information of the MA to PAREP, once the decision of the Ministry of Interior was conveyed formally to him on December 18, 2013, the MO Directorate took up the matter with the government on December 31, 2013, mentioning the repercussions of the decision along with explaining the benefits of these deployments in detail.
In the section 2 of the letter, the MO Directorate stated four reasons, which could prove costly in the backdrop of the aforementioned decision. The letter reads, “(a) raising of unnecessary alarm about Internal Security situation of Pakistan at international level, (b) retarding the chances of securing additional slot in UN both for army and FPUs, (c) vacancies once surrendered in a particular mission cannot be secured in future; as UN always has the leverage to select individuals from a large pool of nominations received from the entire world including war torn countries like Congo, Mali and Sudan, (d) decision would also debar police personnel from a great incentive both in terms of financial benefits as well as international exposure.”
In the end, the MO Directorate requested to review the decision and resume the deployment of the police officers for various UN missions ‘as per previous commitment’.When contacted, the official source confirmed about the correspondence, saying the government would surely consider the request. However, he went on to say, Pakistan didn’t afford to send the police as well as the army contingents on UN missions in view of the law and order situation in the country. Moreover, he added, the process of deployment was riddled with controversies in the case of police as officers wished to get their tenure extended, while the rest back home vie to get a berth in view of the lucrative package offered by the UN.
It is important to note that Pakistani contingents - army and police - are currently serving in seven countries, including Haiti, Liberia, (Darfur) Sudan, Congo, Western Sahara, Kosovo and Ivory Coast.
According to UN’s official website, a total of 8266 officials (including police and army) were serving in these countries till December last year (the figure varies month-wise). Pakistan tops the ranking as far as maximum participation of any country is concerned with Bangladesh and India following. In 2012, the total Pakistani deployment all over the world was 9253.
Interestingly, at an average, these officials get around $3500/-per month. This implies Pakistan gets around 20.9 million dollars in foreign exchange against these slots per month. In Pakistani currency, this amount stands at Pak-rupee 3.09 billion. So, the annual turnover comes out to be over 36 billion rupees. Add to this the sophisticated gadget that these troops are allowed to keep once the mission is over.
The UN provides weapons, vehicles and related gadget used in combat scenario, besides the machines annd other gadgetry required for support.
Under the UN condition for these deployments, it is mandatory for any country engaged in the peacekeeping operation to ensure the deployment of police officials along with military troops and other human resource wherever required. If the government doesn’t revert the decision, there is every chance that Pakistan might lose future peacekeeping assignments, which has already been apprehended by the MO Directorate in its letter.