ISLAMABAD: The federal government has refused to provide Frontier Corps (FC) for the security of foreign companies working in the oil and gas sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it is learnt reliably here.

The KP government had asked the ministry of interior to sanction six platoons of FC for providing security to foreign exploration and production companies working in province’s oil and gas sector. But the central government has refused saying that they have changed the policy regarding the provision of FC, an official source told The Nation here Sunday.

This refusal will be raised with PTI chief Imran Khan, who is visiting the province today (Monday) to get briefing on three important matters. The first issue is related to disagreement with the federal government over oil and gas sector, the second is related to CPEC and the third one is related with the slow pace of work on different projects in KP.

The official said 17,000 regular armed forces have been made available for CPEC, hundreds of FC people are working with OGDCL in Balochistan, and rangers are working with Sindh government, but KP’s request for FC personnel for the purpose of security has been declined KP.

“Earlier we had requested the FC headquarters for one platoon and they provided us troops but when we contacted the ministry of interior they refused us,” the official said, adding that the one platoon of FC that has already been acquired is providing security to the exploration activities in Usterzai, near Kohat.

Since the exploration activities are picking up and foreign companies are coming to KP, the province needs more contingents of federal security for them. “But, in response to our demand the ministry of interior asked us to provide security to the foreign companies through KP police,” the official said.

“FC and army is much more capable of fighting the terrorists and they also have a far greater deterrence value in comparison with ill-trained and ill-equipped police,” he explained.

The KP government has managed to convince a number of companies to invest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but now the federal government is creating problems, the officials said. The refusal to the KP request will discourage foreign investment in the province. The Chinese are already working in KP while Russians and Polish companies have shown interest but in absence of foolproof security, they might rethink their decisions, he added.

Previously, there were no oil and gas exploration and production activities in the province but after the efforts of past two and a half years, now 10 drilling rigs, one Seismic Crew and a number of Geological and Geophysical crews are active, he said. The Seismic crews are waiting to get deployed for last two months but they cannot start work as the ministry of interior is refusing to give FC platoons, he said.

The federal government’s attitude is not only causing serious economic damage to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also a major dent to Pakistan’s energy security, the official said.

In today’s (Monday) meeting a strategy regarding the deployment of FC platoons with the central government will be finalised. Besides, important decisions about the pending issues in oil and gas sector with federal government will be taken, the official said.

The issues related to slow pace of work in health, education, energy and infrastructure will also be discussed in the meeting, he said. The KP bureaucracy too was creating hurdles in the approval of projects, causing delay in the implementation of several important projects, he concluded.