120 Paktia policemen serving as bodyguards of public reps
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Dozens of police personnel are serving as security guards for parliamentarians and provincial council members instead of maintaining public order in southeastern Paktia province, public representatives said on Wednesday.
Abdul Rauf Zadran, the provincial council chairman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that more than a hundred policemen had been assigned to serve as bodyguards of lawmakers. The practice has been ongoing for years, he claimed.
As a result, Zadran complained, the security situation had nosedived in several areas, causing the police force multiple problems in performing its day-to-day duties.
He went on to seek an immediate end to the practice, urging parliament and provincial council members to keep as many security guards as permissible under the law and avoid encumbering the police force.
Under an Interior Ministry regulation, a public representative is allowed to have only two policemen as bodyguards. But many of them tend to keep larger numbers of security guards.
A provincial council member, BehramZoy, said: “The number of security personnel in remote areas has been inadequate on the one hand and the policemen deployed there have been assigned public representatives on the other…”
While asking how the far-flung areas could be secured in such circumstances, he said the 15-member provincial council had debated the issue several times, but there had been no positive outcome.
Asadullah Sherzad, commander of the 303rdSpinghar Zone, confirmed several policemen were serving as bodyguards of provincial council members.
“This exercise was initiated long ago. I’m reviewing the issue and will soon call the policemen back to their real duty of maintaining security,” he promised. Sherzad said 120 policemen were currently acting as security guards of public representatives from the province.
Meanwhile, civil society activist Siddique Himmat alleged the policemen were assigned to VIPs by regional commanders on a quid pro quo basis. “Commanders do this to muster up the support of legislators for retaining their jobs.”
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