ISLAMABAD - The manpower-strapped National Highway and Motorway Police will have to take the control of provincial road Swat Expressway beyond its mandate as it has been mutually agreed by the Ministry of Communications and the KPK government.

The said agreement was signed by the Additional Secretary Ministry of Communications and the Special Secretary Finance, KPK in a ceremony held at Islamabad, which was also attended by the Chief Minister KPK Mehmood Khan and Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed.  

However, according to well-placed officials, it is going to be happened first time since the creation of NH&MP that its personnel would be deployed on a provincial highway as earlier they were only doing their duties on national highways and motorways across the country.

It is pertinent to mention here that currently the NH&MP is facing severe shortage of staff as informed by the Inspector General of NH&MP, AD Khuwaja to a parliamentary body few months back.

The operationalisation of Lahore-Abdul Hakeem Motorway (M-3) had also faced delays due to aforementioned unavailability of resources to deploy NH&MP. According to the official figures, the motorway police is currently deployed upon 2907km long national highways and motorways road network while 5400km is proposed for deployment in future. 

A senior officer of the motorway police while responding on the issue has said that the agreement was made in pursuance of the Federal Minister Murad Saeed’s wish as he belongs to same area and he wanted to gain political mileage through deployment of motorway police.

“The move will not only increase staff shortage but also set a wrong precedent as other provinces can also demand similar services for their respective provincial roads”, he maintained.

Swat Expressway is an 81 kilometre long four line provincial motorway starting from Kernal Sher Khan Interchange, district Nowshera on M-1 and terminates at Chakdara, Malakand via Swabi and Mardan districts.

As per the agreed terms and conditions, the motorway police would be deployed on Swat Expressway for next twenty five years for policing and traffic control functions but the ownership of the road and its maintenance will remain in the control of provincial government. 

The agreement can be revoked from any party by serving one year prior notice but after first five years as earlier the agreement can only be terminated with the consent of both parties.     

According to the agreement, the financial resources to arrange manpower, logistics, buildings, vehicles, machinery and equipment would be provided by the government of KPK in addition to bear the pension liabilities of the employees deputed on Swat Expressway.  

Meanwhile, the working model between National Highways Authority (NHA) and the NH&MP would be replicated with few minor changes. The fine would be collected by the provincial government and shared the revenue with motorway police while the proper signage, line marking and other international standards would be ensured by the provincial government.

According to the agreement, the provincial government would ensure the job security of the employees recruited for the deployment on Swat Expressway and they would be absorbed in provincial police setup in case of the termination of said agreement.