ISLAMABAD - As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is visiting Quetta today to chair an important meeting on law and order situation in the province, the Balochistan police want clear directions from the premier at least on two issues - to meet shortage of police officers and implementation on policy of transfer of PSP officers in the province.

Officials aware of the development in the federal and provincial governments informed The Nation on Tuesday that the PM is scheduled to visit Quetta today (Wednesday) where he will hold an important meeting on law and order situation in the province besides participating in the passing-out parade ceremony of newly formed provincial anti-terrorism force. The PM will also review the implementation on National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism in the province. An officer of media team of PM also confirmed that he is visiting Quetta.

Balochistan that is hit by insurgency for the last many years is facing shortage of police officers while the federal government is not only unwilling to fulfil the needs of province by transferring more PSP (Police Service of Pakistan) officers but also reluctant to send fresh police officers to replace the already serving there. At a time when PML-N led federal government is burning midnight oil for effective implementation on NAP after December 16 incident of terrorism attack on school children in Peshawar, it is more significant for it to send more PSP officers in Balochistan to meet the security needs there.

Background discussions with some PSP officers in Balochistan indicate that bureaucracy of the Balochistan police want clear directions from the Prime Minister in this regard. A police officer said that they had come to serve Balochistan for a period of two years under the federal government policy but after the expiry of the tenure, they had been left in the lurch as the federal government was not replacing them. "When we talk with the provincial police chief on the issue, he says that we are already face shortage of police," a PSP officer said adding that the government should give up its 'pick and chose policy' as it has demoralized officers and implement the earlier policy in letter and spirit and across the board.

Another PSP officer, quoting Secretary Establishment Division Nadeem Hassan Asif, said that a new policy had been for the transfer of police officers to Balochistan and would be shortly sent to PM for his final approval. "But the outcome of the new policy is not yet clear and why the government is ignoring Balochistan," he questioned.

The last federal government of PPP under the directions of Supreme Court had devised a policy that PSP officers would be sent to Balochistan for a period of two years and then consequently replaced with the fresh ones. The issue had come to the limelight when Supreme Court was hearing a suo moto case on the bad law and order situation of Balochistan and the Balochistan government had told the apex court that it was facing shortage of police officers as no one was ready to serve in the province. The provincial government told the court that those officers who had been transferred to Balochistan were not even willing to go there. The SC in its September 4, 2012 order said that on whatever reason who so ever is transferred to Balochistan, he should be immediately relieved for the province.

Then federal government while devising the policy to overcome shortage of police officers in Balochistan had said that every police officer would serve there for a period of two years and upon completion of the tenure, such officers would either be given posting in their home province or given posting of their own choice.

Then federal government had transferred a number of PSPs in June 2012, September 2012 and so on for a period of two years. As the period of two years had completed last year, the government is reluctant to replace them apparently due to political pressures. Another PSP officer said that only those officers who have political clouts have managed to transfer back from Balochistan.

There is a long list of police officers that have completed their two-year service in Balochistan and are waiting for their transfer or replacements for the last some months.