PESHAWAR: Displaced people from North Waziristan started a three-day protest on Monday, demanding that the federal government facilitate their repatriation and reconstruct houses destroyed in the military operation.
The tribal elders set up their protest camp on Sher Shah Suri Road outside Peshawar Press Club.
They said Waziristan was badly affected by the war on terror and now it was the duty of the federal government to work on reconstruction. The protesters said the government could not afford to abandon these people in IDP camps.
“The problems of all tribespeople in Waziristan must be resolved on a priority basis,” said All Parties Siyasi Ittehad, Utmanzai Chairperson Nazar Gul Wazir. “All the tribesmen should have the right to construct plazas and buildings at the same places where they stood before security operations began.” He said locals should be provided resources to reconstruct their buildings, shops and markets. Khalil Khan Wazir, another tribal elder, said all government and semi-government organisations must provide the children of displaced people with scholarships and jobs.
Some people from South Waziristan also present demanded free of cost medical facilities at all hospitals across the country, adding their sacrifices must be recognised. “We left our homes and all sources of income are completely destroyed. We need help to start from scratch,” Khalil said.
Earlier this month, at least 261 displaced families from North Waziristan returned to their native lands on Wednesday as 350 areas in Fata were de-notified by the Pakistan Army.
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. They 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 issued directives to ensure suitable arrangements are made to repatriate them.
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 families have been sent back. However, the initial phases of repatriation were slow and marred by delays.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2015.