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Repatriation of Tirah IDPs

Despite several assurances from the federal government as well as the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA), no repatriation plan of thousands of displaced families of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency is announced yet. The government had earlier announced that the internally displaced persons of Fata would be sent back to their homes until the end of 2016. Reports suggest that around 1,800 Kukikhel families were even denied registration since their displacement in 2012 from Tirah. They said that not a single family from the region had returned since the start of repatriation of Tirah IDPs in 2014 nor were they provided with any assistance. Officials of the political administration have said that the Kukikhel areas are yet to be de-notified by the security forces despite the announcement of the end of the Khyber-II ground operations in the region early this year.

Reports suggest that the FDMA had suspended the monthly ration of Bar Qambarkhel families belonging to Jutt Dara, Owch Naw, Tajju and Yagu Mela in the start of the year. Afterwards, it closed down the New Durrani Camp near Sadda in Kurram Agency where most of the Bar Qambarkhel people were residing after most of these families were issued Voluntary Returns Forms (VRF). The people from these displaced families say that no specific reasons have been provided for such treatment of their families. During the cold weather, these families are rendered homeless without making any alternative arrangements. Over a thousand families were expelled from New Durrani Camp without any plans of repatriation for
these families.

The people of Fata have been a victim of negligence for decades as even after the creation of Pakistan; no government focused on the uplift of the region to bring it at parity with the rest of the country. The region has been at the forefront of the militancy that has emerged from across the western border. Innocent people of the region had to leave their houses for the sake of Pakistan following the initiation of military operations in the region. Such treatment of these families is reprehensible.

The current government’s focus on Fata reforms in recent times is appreciable, but the most important of all will still be the repatriation and rehabilitation of the thousands of internally displaced families. This should be on the priority list of the reforms committee formed by the government. It’s about time that the centre started treating all subjects as equals.

In current circumstances where hundreds of families have been rendered homeless, without any economic assistance, people are bound to develop a negative image of the authorities. When people see no hope in the government’s fake promises, they are only left with the option of agitation on streets. People from Fata have already sacrificed almost everything for the sake of Pakistan, and it’s about time that the authorities realise the value of this sacrifice as well.

Source: Daily Times

Byline: Reporter

Dec 28, 2016

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