Government says no to foreign help for N. Waziristan IDPs

Published June 19, 2014
Pakistani civilians, fleeing from a military operation in North Waziristan tribal agency, arrive in Bannu district on June 18, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Pakistani civilians, fleeing from a military operation in North Waziristan tribal agency, arrive in Bannu district on June 18, 2014. — Photo by AFP

PESHAWAR: As Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is bracing itself for the influx of people from North Waziristan after the launch of military offensive against militants there, the federal government is understood to have decided not to ask the United Nations and other foreign relief agencies for help and support for the internally displaced persons.

An official dealing with the ongoing relief activities told Dawn on Wednesday that the federal government had stopped the relevant agencies from receiving assistance from foreign relief bodies, including the UN.

“We (the federal government) have issued clear directives to all concerned not to ask the UN or any other bodies for relief assistance,” he said.

CM rules out army deployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Also in the day, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak insisted the government didn’t need relief assistance from any donor agency and could help and support the North Waziristan IDPs on its own.

During a news conference here, he said there was a war-like situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the army began an operation in North Waziristan, but that was the government’s responsibility to cater to the needs of displaced population.

“There is no need to request UN and other humanitarian organisations for help. The federal and provincial governments have sufficient resources to fulfil the needs of affected people,” he said when asked if the government will seek the UN help for IDPs.

The chief minister said the provincial government had released Rs350 million for the new IDPs, the federal government Rs500 million and the Civil Secretariat, Fata Rs100 million.

He said the Fata Disaster Management Authority had set up a camp in the Frontier Region, while the Provincial Disaster Management Authority had made arrangements for IDPs in Kasho area of Bannu district.

Pervez Khattak said 70,000 fresh IDPs had been registered in the province so far and more were expected to follow.

He said all basic facilities were available at the IDPs camps but many displaced persons had opted to take shelter with relatives.

About security situation, the chief minister said the record of every displaced family was being properly maintained and that the security-related matters would be discussed during a high-level meeting today (Thursday).

He said the government had provided free transport for evacuating stranded people from Waziristan.

Pervez Khattak said the record of the displaced families, which wanted to move to other districts in the province, was also being maintained.

He said the province was the frontline province in the war on terrorism but unlike other provinces, his government won’t request the army for security.

“We trust our police and will not ask for the deployment of military troops in the province,” he said.

About relief assistance for IDPs, the chief minister said every dislocated family would get Rs7,000 per month, while the onetime Rs5,000 cash would be in addition to it for purchase of non-food items.

He said besides, free treatment would also be provided to IDPs in hospitals.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan and federal states and frontier regions minister Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch jointly reviewed arrangements for the relief and shelter of IDPs from North Waziristan during a high-level meeting here on Wednesday.

A handout issued here said the commissioner of Bannu division had been appointed the focal person for such arrangements. It said the Bannu commissioner would directly oversee arrangements for lodging IDPs, facilitating them and alleviating their difficulties.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2014

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