Pakistan rewarded its Army with a pay hike on Wednesday, and said a committee would be set up to consider the increase in salaries that striking policemen in Balochistan province are demanding.

Officers of the Army will get a 15 per cent increase in salaries, while jawans will get a 20 per cent raise.

The government had earlier raised by the same percentages the salaries of officers and soldiers deployed in the war on terror as the Army began operations against the Taliban in Swat.

The latest decision, taken at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, extends that raise to all officers and soldiers, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira announced at a press conference.

He said policemen in Balochistan had been on strike since Monday, protesting that their salaries were too meagre compared to those of policemen in other provinces, and did not compensate them for the risks they faced daily due to the nationalist insurgency.

With large sections of policemen not reporting for work, the government deployed the Frontier Corps (FC) to maintain law and order and for security duties in the capital Quetta, the Daily Times reported on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Balochistan government arrested 15 policemen, including three officers and registered cases against 250 policemen, while the government also suspended 30 others. Cases have been registered against protesting policemen for resorting to violence during a rally on Tuesday. The policemen used official weapons for aerial firing, burnt tyres to block various roads, damaged several vehicles and beat up civilians.

The newspaper said the FC had been called in to guard official buildings, including the houses of the Governor and the Chief Minister ransacked by the protesting policemen on Monday.

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