ISLAMABAD              -           The raising of Special Wing of Punjab Rangers for security of Kartarpur Corridor will require a budgetary allocation of Rs2402.037 million (2.402037 billion), official documents reveals.

However, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet wants to rationalize the cost and argued that there is a need to rationalize deployment of civil armed forces in the country, official documents available with The Nation reveals. The forces may be shifted from less-risk areas to the high-risk areas so that huge expenditure on the raising of special wings could be curtailed to manageable limits, the ECC noted.

On the summary of the ministry of interior raising Special Wing of Punjab Rangers, the ECC has advised the ministry to consult the finance ministry and work out a mechanism which ensures maximum utilisation of the available resources without creating fresh burden .It was also pointed out by the during the ECC meeting that Kartarpur corridor portrays the soft image of Pakistan and such heavy deployment of forces might defeat the spirit behind opening the corridor.

The meeting approved provision of Rs300 million through TSG to meet the instant need of raising of one special wing of HQ of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) for Kartarpur Corridor during current fiscal. The ECC directed that a three-member committee would look into details of the Kartarpur special force proposal and further rationalise the cost.

As per the documents, ministry of interior told the ECC that HQ Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) wass a civil armed force under its administrative control. They are stretched over a frontage of nearly 1,283 kilometres with primary role of guarding the Eastern International Border of Pakistan from Head Marala to Sadiqabad. Presently, all internal Security (18) Wings are deployed on internal security duties, besides five wings for operations in Punjab. Moreover, nine companies on various other internal security duties have been made available by pulling out troops from Working Boundary/International Border. This arrangement is impacting upon the primary task of border guarding. Moreover, in view of the current security environment and deployment of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) in intelligence based operations (IBOs) and Radd-ul-Fasaad in Punjab, the responsibilities of the force have been increased considerably.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended and advised the raising of one special wing of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) for the security of Kartarpur Corridor, in view of the acute shortage of manpower in the force. The budgetary estimates for the said purpose are Rs2402.037million. In this connection, a summary for ECC was moved through Finance Division in FY, 2019-20 for approval of raising of 1 x. additional Rangers Wing for Kartarpur Corridor, but Finance Division observed that fiscal position of the federal government is very critical, which does not allow provision of supplementary grant. Finance Division advised to meet the expenditure on “cost of land and accommodation construction” amounting to Rs1,182.03 million through PSDP allocation. The balance funds may be managed by Ministry of Interior within its available budgetary allocations through re-appropriation during current fiscal. However, ministry of interior refused to fund already facing shortage of funds and cannot meet the said expenditure through re-appropriation during CFY 2019-20.  However, Ministry of Interior is already facing shortage of funds and cannot meet the said expenditure.

Ministry of Interior requested the ECC the provision of Rs.300.00 million through Technical Supplementary Grant (TSO) to meet the instant need of raising of one special wing of HQ Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) for Kartarpur Corridor in CFY 2019-20.