ISLAMABAD: Federal government has moved to expand the scope of powers of the apex committees.
The move implies that the committees – functional in all the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir – have been mandated to directly call armed forces, paramilitary forces and security agencies in any area identified as a ‘conflict zone’.
Using the same powers, Punjab’s apex committee decided to engage the Rangers in the province for 60 days to assist in taking on terrorist networks in the province.
Constitutionally, provincial governments are already empowered to call security forces with the approval of the federal government.
The enhanced scope of powers means that the apex committees would be authorised to seek the assistance of security forces without seeking the federal government’s approval.
In such a scenario, the decision to engage the security forces from the forum of an apex committee completely rests with the provincial government concerned. The role of federal government in this regard would be to simply notify the decision.