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IDPs returning as areas get denotified



PESHAWAR / BANNU: At least 261 displaced families from North Waziristan returned to their native lands on Wednesday as 350 areas in Fata have been denotified by the Pakistan Army – clear for repatriation.

Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune the families were sent home through an embarkation point set up at Mirzail check post in Frontier Region Bannu. The families were escorted to their houses amid tight security.

A large number of IDPs were also repatriated to Orakzai Agency. Political Agent Muhammad Zubair Khan visited Togh Sarai IDP camp in Hangu to oversee the process. He has issued directives to ensure suitable arrangements are made to repatriate them.

Slow and steady?

The repatriation process kicked off in March once again – shortly after areas in Orakzai Agency, South Waziristan, Khyber Agency, Kurram Agency and North Waziristan were de-notified. It was carried out under the supervision of the FATA Disaster Management Authority, army and the government. According to documents available with The Express Tribune, nearly 99,438 IDPs families have been sent back. However, the initial phases of repatriation were slow and marred by delays.

All clear

“About 350 areas were de-notified between 2011 and 2015,” stated a copy of one of the documents available with The Express Tribune. “About 40 areas of North Waziristan have been cleared. However, Utmankhel, Mandi and Khaddar Khel have yet to be cleared.”

As per the document, 37 areas of Orakzai Agency were not de-notified in the past. “At least 148 areas of Kurram Agency were cleared between 2011 and 2014,” it added. In Khyber Agency, only Ziauddin area of Bara subdivision was cleared in May while a majority of areas had been cleared for repatriation in December 2014. “One of the villages was de-notified on May 21.”

“Around 119 areas of South Waziristan have been cleared so far,” stated a document.  “At least 47 areas were cleared this year.”

High point

August was an active month for repatriation as a large number of families returned to their native lands.

According to an official document, 38,152 families were repatriated. Of these, 22,182 families have returned to North Waziristan whereas 15,722 families were repatriated to Khyber Agency. At least 248 families returned to South Waziristan during this period.

A large number of the displaced families repatriated so far belong to Khyber Agency. “A total of  64,463 families of Khyber Agency returned home.

Host communities

“Out of 203,181 IDP families, 200,734 are living in host communities,” stated a report available with The Express Tribune. “Around 99% IDPs are living in various areas of Peshawar, DI Khan, Hangu, Khyber, Kohat, Kurram, Nowshera, Tank and Bannu.” It went on to add, “The remaining families live in IDP camps.”

IDPs from Khyber Agency are staying in Jalozai camp in Nowshera.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.

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