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Over 63,000 displaced families deregistered over refusal to return

The Fata Disaster Management Authority has deregistered 63,297 internally displaced families since March 2015 following their refusal to return to their homes in five Fata agencies.

These figures come out as the population census began across the country on Wednesday.

Officials said enumerators would struggle to carry out the house listing when families were away.

They said there were a variety of reasons like unavailability of health and educational facilities, unemployment and shortage of other basic needs, which discouraged the Fata people from returning.

Officials say lack of basic necessities, joblessness stopped Fata people from going back

FDMA assistant director (operations and relief) Mian Adil Zahoor said a majority of Fata families became displaced in 2008 who had socially and economically integrated in the settled areas of the country.

“This may be one of the reasons,” he said.

The official said the tribal areas had been cleared of militants but the displaced families did not return.

He said the IDPs’ deregistration process began in Jan 2015 and that a total of 63,297 displaced families had so far been deregistered.

Mr. Zahoor said the government had made a policy to remove from the ‘system’ the names of those, who did not return despite the fact that their respective areas were cleared.

He said the provision of food rations to such families was stopped after deregistration.

The displacement of civilians from tribal area began from Bajaur Agency when security forces launched the Sher Dil (lion’s heart) operation against militants there in August 2008. Lawlessness and military operations forced millions of Fata people to flee to settled parts of the country.

Another official dealing with the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Fata, told Dawn that the tribesmen didn’t return to their homes as basic needs of life didn’t exist there.

“Life is very tough. It becomes very difficult to stay without basic facilities. No school, no health, no shelter and no drinking water. What they (returning IDPs) will do there,” he said.

The official said many families had returned to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab after getting the Watan Cards due to the shortage of basic facilities in hometowns.

The decision about the IDPs’ deregistration was made during a meeting held in Peshawar last January.

KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra had chaired the meeting in which the FDMA was directed to cancel the registration of displaced families reluctant to return.

The FDMA, which oversees the repatriation of IDPs, has deregistered 25,832 families in North Waziristan Agency.

According to the details, 4,490 families have declined to return to South Waziristan Agency, 4,646 to Khyber Agency, 16,977 to Orakzai Agency and 11,352 to Kurram Agency.

The FDMA said 90 per cent of the displaced persons’ return had been completed and that a total of 205,922 families had gone back to those five agencies.

The government has planned to complete the repatriation of IDPs by the end of April.

Ali, Zulfiqar. Over 63,000 displaced families deregistered over refusal to return. Dawn, March 16, 2017.

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