The announcement of merging Levies and Khasadar forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police is a step forward in the right direction. The government, as well as the tribal districts, will benefit from the move. The most significant aspect of the decision is that the merger will save a lot of time for the government in establishing policing infrastructure and hiring of the police force.

Furthermore, the personnel of Levies and Khasadar force usually belong to these tribal districts. Therefore, making these forces part of KP Police will also prove helpful in solving issues that can stem from the differences in cultural values and norms. While it is true that the integration process will help the government in laying policing infrastructure promptly, however, there are few other issues that the government needs to be cognizant of.

Firstly, the biggest issue will be reforming the police department so that it can carry out its functions and duties in a prompt and public friendly manner. The state will have to work on the image of the police force. At present, law enforcement agencies do not have an excellent image in the tribal districts. This is a challenge for the provincial government as well as the higher-ups of the police department.

Secondly, the personnel of the two forces will also need training. We know that the staff of these two forces is not well equipped with the intricacies of policing. Without undergoing proper police training, the human resources of the Levies and Khasadar forces will be of no benefit. Though the Chief Minister (CM) of KP Mahmood Khan has already made it clear that the Khasadar force will be trained for maintaining law and order situation normal, however, we have seen the fate of many such announcements. Many a time these announcements are soon forgotten.

Thirdly, adequate funding should be there so that the first two issues can be addressed without any further delays. Ample funds will not only prove helpful in reforming and training the police force to cater with the needs and challenges of policing in the tribal districts, but the availability of funds will also keep away the police from meeting their expenses through other means. For instance, it will not take bribes from the common folks for running the expanses of the department.

If the government considers these three issues, then policing the tribal districts will be an easy task. Otherwise, thinking of providing the tribal regions of KP with modern and professional police force will remain a distant and elusive dream.