Levies (Pakistan)

Country: Pakistan
Details of Formation: The Levies were established in 1859 in the Malakand area during British rule. They later expanded to Dir, Bajaur and Orakzai agencies. After independence, the Pakistani government continued to use the force. The date formed is the date of Pakistan’s independence.
Details of Termination: The Levies were still active in 2014.
Purpose: The main purpose of the Levies was to police the areas they were assigned and to provide security. They were also used against militant groups. They policed areas where army troops had withdrawn. Additionally, that they had better knowledge of the people and the geography compared to regular troops coming from other parts of the country (DAWN 2012).
Organisation: Levies are connected to the political administration. Levies are employed by the government as government jobs without pensions. While the government invested heavily in the Levies, providing them with weaponry, training and salaries, the Levies were responsible of policing their assigned area. Especially President Asif Ali Zardari was active in shaping the Levies’ functions and structure. In 2012, he decided to decentralize the Levies’ operational command and administration: The Director General Federal Levies was to be responsible for administering the budget and procurements of the force. The Director General Federal Levies in turn was to act under the supervision and directions of the federal government. Political agents and district coordination officers are the commandants of the Levies in their respective jurisdiction.
Weapons and Training: In 2006, the government started a plan to provide levies with modern and latest training. In 2008, the federal government provided Levies with military counter terrorism training, in collaboration with the USA. This training ran under a program of the International Criminal Investigation of America and was provided at the Islamabad Police Academy. In 2010, President Asif Ali Zardari decided to yet again train the Levies and provide them with weapons and equipment. The weapons the government provided were service rifles.
Size: A news source from 2008 mentions 23,000 Levies while another news source from 2010 says that there are more than 17,500 Levies members.
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: We found no evidence of mistreatment of civilians by the Levies; nor do we have evidence that they protected civilians aside from their general policing and security function.
Other Information: While one news source suggests that the levies were recruited from tribes co-operating with the government, another news source says tribal identity was not important at the time of hiring. Although Khasadars and Levies fulfill similar functions, the Khasadars are recruited by tribal authorities, while the Levies are appointed by the political administration. In Baluchistan, the levies had been dissolved during the Musharraf’s regime in 2003 and were revived under the PPP-led government (DAWN 2012).
References: DAWN. 2010. “Balochistan assembly takes up Levies restoration bill today.” April 05. https://www.dawn.com/news/952062/balochistan-assembly-takes-up-levies-restoration-bill-today

DAWN. 2012. “Balochistan police may assume Levies functions.” February 23. https://www.dawn.com/news/697724/balochistan-police-may-assume-levies-functions

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD