BANNU / HANGU: Even as the second phase of repatriation continues and 157 families were sent back to North Waziristan Agency (NWA) over the weekend, internally displaced persons (IDP) remain unhappy with the pace of return. Tribal elders and political leaders held a protest rally in Bannu, organised by Waziristan Youth, on Monday to pressurise the government into granting their demands.
The participants held placards and marched through various routes in the district to reach and gather at Bannu Press Club eventually. The president of the IDPs committee, Nisar Ali, and other speakers said the government has to increase the pace of the phase-wise repatriation of IDPs.
“The area has been cleared after Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the relevant authorities should start to repatriate at least 5,000 to 10,000 families a day instead of its current rate of 150 families,” said Ali. The protesters also pressed the government to provide basic amenities like food, water and electricity at the IDP camps.
The families who were repatriated on Sunday were given Rs10,000 for transport, Rs25,000 as a stipend and other amenities. The 157 families included 192 men, 255 women and 295 children.
Wanting to go home
A jirga of 18 tribes of Orkazai Agency, headed by Muttahida Qabail Party (MQP) Vice Chairman Malik Noor Habib Afridi, was held at the political administration office in Hangu.
The political administration officials also attended the jirga to discuss the issue of repatriation.
Representatives told the political administration Orakzai Agency’s tribespeople have made sacrifices for the country, and “have spent seven long years” in IDP camps in Hangu and Kohat. The tribespeople demanded the repatriation process follow the pattern of NWA IDPs’. “The areas [in Orakzai] have now been cleared by the army and repatriation must commence,” said a speaker.
Orakzai Agency Political Agent Muhammad Zubair Khan said, “The governor also wants immediate repatriation for Orakzai IDPs and we will ensure this starts in the next two months.”