PESHAWAR: The federal government seems to have turned a blind eye to the plight of at least 160,000 internally displaced families from Fata amid fresh displacements from the volatile North Waziristan Agency.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), which had prepared contingency plan in last February, insists over 600,000 IDPs will go to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from North Waziristan if the army gets orders for operation against militants there.
According to the plan, dislocated families from North Waziristan will require around 20,000 tents, 500,000 blankets and other nonfood items. Currently, the PDMA has 10,000 tents and the Fata Disaster Management Authority 2,000 tents in warehouses.
The officials and residents said dislocated families of North Waziristan were heading in different directions: some were going to South Waziristan, some to areas bordering Afghanistan and others to Bannu and other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Fleeing tribesmen face extensive checking
They said the vulnerable tribesmen failed to figure out where they should go. Currently, there exists as no mechanism on the ground to monitor the displacement of North Waziristan tribesmen.
People, who are fleeing the troubled area, are subjected to extensive checking at checkposts on Miramshah-Bannu Road.
“People are asked at checkposts to unload belongings from trucks for checking and then reload it back on trucks,” said Khalil Wazir of Datakhel area.
Dawn correspondent in Miramshah Pazir Gul said the displaced people had been going to hilly areas like Swat and Mansehra districts as they were not used to warm weather.
Safdar Dawar, another resident of Miramshah, said there was shortage of houses in Bannu and other areas adjacent to North Waziristan and the affected people had no option but to move to other parts of the country.
He said people of Waziristan would not opt to stay in tents and therefore, they were looking for houses in border areas of Afghanistan or settled areas of Pakistan.
The tribesman said owners of the houses in Bannu had increased rents due to the arrival of fresh IDPs.
The people of Dawar tribe, the second largest clan after Ahmadzai Wazir in North Waziristan, have mostly moved out to safer places.
The Dawar tribesmen are in majority in Mirali tehsil, which reportedly has hideouts of hardcore elements of foreign origin and local militants, including those of banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
Senior officials in the know said the federal government was silent about the IDPs from Fata as well as the emerging crisis-like situation in North Waziristan.
They said the government had left 160,000 IDPs verified by the National Database Registration Authority in the lurch.
An official of the FDMA said the Economic Affairs Division and the Foreign Office didn’t realise the agony of IDPs as it had even stopped foreign dignitaries from visiting their camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said the Foreign Office had opposed the visit of UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung Wha Kang to Jalozai Camp on May 8 and therefore, the Governor’s House had to intervene.
The official said the Foreign Office insisted that the UN representative should not visit the camp first for security reasons and second because it could ‘tarnish’ the country’s image internationally.
The FDMA officials said the return package of the IDPs required Rs4 billion, but the centre released Rs100 million to be disbursed among 12,000 families of Tirah Valley. They said each family would get Rs25,000 cash assistance.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2014