Kabul asked not to shelter fleeing NWA tribesmen

Updated 17 Jun 2014


Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan. — File photo
Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan. — File photo

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan on Monday asked the Afghan government not to provide shelter for the North Waziristan people fleeing their homes due to the uncertain security situation.

Addressing a news conference at the Governor’s House here, Sardar Mahtab said the Afghan government should refrain from encouraging Pakistani tribesmen to take shelter on its soil and that Islamabad had already taken up the matter with Kabul through the Foreign Office.

“This is inappropriate. The Afghan government should not offer refuge and incentives to the dislocated people on its territory,” he said while replying to a question about the movement of the people from North Waziristan to Afghanistan.

The governor said the Afghan government was also offering cash assistance to tribal people but its repercussions would be very severe for the entire region as Pakistan did not want to interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs.

He said security forces had sealed checkposts in Ghulam Khan area and other frequented routes along the Afghan border to stop miscreants, especially foreign militants, from entering Afghanistan from North Waziristan.

Governor says action targeted, not to last long

“This is not humanly possible to seal the entire border and some people might have slipped away before the military action began in North Waziristan,” he said.

The Afghan government has said over 6,000 people of North Waziristan have reached Khost province due to clashes between Pakistani security forces and the Taliban and that such people have been provided with relief assistance.

Last week, spokesman for the Khost governor Mubariz Zadran had told Dawn that the Afghan government was ready to welcome Pakistani tribesmen by providing them with shelter on humanitarian ground.

Talking about the ongoing military operation, Zarb-i-Azeb, the governor said the army action would be targeted and would be completed in a short time to avoid and minimise the suffering of the affected people.

He said the large-scale displacement was possible from Waziristan, which had been declared a conflict zone.

“Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Khalid Rabbani has assured me that security forces will try to ensure the minimum possible collateral damage,” he said.

Sardar Mahtab said the authorities would not repeat what had happened during some previous military operations, where civilians suffered from huge damages to life and property.

He said militants had destroyed the tribal system and were using civilians as a human shield.

The governor said local tribesmen were sick of the Waziristan situation and therefore, they wanted the military to take action against miscreants.

He said the North Waziristan political administration was likely to relax curfew for three days from today (Tuesday) for the evacuation of civilians from the area as hundreds of thousands of people were stranded there due to the four days long curfew.“I understand the misery of displaced population but there’s no option with the government but to launch military action against militants,” he said, adding that the government had tried its best to resolve the issue through dialogue.

Sardar Mahtab said the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) had begun registration of the internally displaced persons and around 50,000 people had been registered so far.

He said Lt-Gen Rabbani and FDMA director general visited Bannu on Monday to examine relief operations, including establishment of camps for fresh IDPs.

The governor said health teams had been mobilised in the area to vaccinate children, who were earlier stopped from taking polio drops.

He said relief agencies had been given funds to provide the maximum relief to IDPs, who were not coming to tents and taking shelter with host families.

Sardar Mahtab said IDPs would be accommodated in the buildings of government schools.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2014