LADHA, Sept 26: A total of 721 families from Mehsud tribe have returned to their homes in various parts of South Waziristan Agency from Tank and DI Khan in the 9th three-day phase of government-sponsored rehabilitation process for internally displaced persons.
In the phase, which began on Sept 24 and ended on Wednesday, displaced families sheltering at Kawar IDP Camp Centre in Tank and Ratha Kulachi Stadium in DI Khan were sent to their hometowns in Sara Rugha, Kotlay and Shaur areas of South Waziristan.
Officials said the returning families comprised 3,141 members.
They said the registration of the returning families continued from Sept 12 to 14.
On Wednesday, special functions were held at Kawar IDP Camp Centre in Tank and Ratha Kulachi Stadium Camp.
In Tank, Brigadier Mohammad Asghar bid IDPs adieu on the camp premises.
He was accompanied by APO Hameedullah Khan Khattak, APA Nawab Khan Safi, SP Fareedullah, DCO Amir and other government functionaries. On the occasion, IDPs were garlanded.
In Shaur area of South Waziristan, IDPs were welcomed by Brigadier Azhar Abbas and APO Hameedullah.
According to people, IDPs were given a warm welcome at various places on the way to their homes.
Soldiers and people sprinkled rose petals on them and also served them food and water. Traditional tribal dance by troops and locals was presented. They were dancing to the drumbeats to welcome people displaced over four years due military operation against militants.
Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier Mohammad Asghar and Brigadier Azhar Abbas said tribesmen had rendered sacrifices, bear burn of displacement, sufferings, losses of properties and human lives due to the militancy. However, by the grace of Allah peace has restored to their region. Now tribal people are secure and can spend peaceful lives. They said developmental work had been started in their regions. They said the Pak Army jawans have also rendered sacrifices to restore peace in your area.
They said the militants have been rooted out and they can no more dare to return and create law and order situation.
They called upon the tribal people to keep vigil on the movement of a handful of militant. Don’t let them enter in your areas.
Take arms against them while the security forces will stand on their back. They asked them to cooperate with security personnel in establishing government writ in the tribal areas.
The tribal people also presented longi (traditional tribal cap) to Brigadier Azhar Abbas and assured him of full cooperation with security personnel and carrying out their responsibilities.
The returning IDPs will be given six months ration including sugar, rice, ghee and oils, pulses, flour, and other food items. Apart from it food packages for three days including water, food were given free of costs. The children were also applied polio vaccinations at various points.
APO Hameedullah told Dawn that T-Iron, bricks, corrugated sheets and Rs8,000 cash to each IDP family would be provided for construction of house.
To another question he said that talks were going on with government to ensure full compensation to Mehsud IPDs like displaced people in other regions. He said compensation will be given to heirs of deceased, injured persons, and also of houses destroyed during the operation.
The returning IDPs expressed satisfaction over their return to hometowns after four years of refuge in camps and rented house.
They said they have suffered huge losses, their houses have smashed, crops were destroyed and relatives were killed or injured. But they were pleased to see their houses once again.
IDP Hazrat Bacha told Dawn that he felt that he had come to paradise.
“The plants, the trees and the open fields, where I spent most of my life are very dear to me,” he said.
Another IDP Malak Gul Din said he would never forget his misery in camps, which had no electric supply and little food to offer.
Another IDP Asghar said he had returned hometown after spending four years away from his region. He said he felt happiness and wished peace and harmony remained in his village.