BANNU: The Pakistan People’s Party on Friday demanded better facilities from internally displaced persons of North Waziristan in Bannu, end to power outages at their camps and dispatch of Frontier Constabulary troops to the district for better security.

The demand came during a visit of PPP leaders led by former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to the district.

Other visitors included Syed Khursheed Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Khanzada Khan, Faisal Karim Kundi, Zamarud Khan, Nafeesa Begum, Robina Khalid, Fakhar Azam.

They visited IDP camps, distributed relief goods to displaced persons, attended a briefing at the Commissioner’s House and addressed a tribal jirga in the district.

The PPP delegation reached Bannu on the directives of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by a helicopter from Islamabad to evaluate the needs for IDPs.

Gilani told reporters here that the mass displacement from North Waziristan was a national issue, which could be addressed if the nation remained united. He said there was a need to mitigate the sufferings of IDPs.

The former prime minister said armed forces and IDPs were rendering great sacrifices for the future of the motherland. He urged the government to end loadshedding in Bannu forthwith, deploy FC personnel in the district for better security and send more policemen to maintain law and order in the wake of the arrival of over one million IDPs from North Waziristan.

Gilani said PPP would stand by displaced tribesmen in the current testing times and would help them in every possible way. He announced the party would ensure repair of 25 faulty tubewells and hand pumps for IDPs, while money would be provided to the administration for sinking more tubewells and pressure pumps to supply potable water to the displaced families. The former prime minister also demanded uninterrupted supply of water and power at IDP camps. He also appealed to the international community to come forward for the help of IDPs. Other PPP leaders, too, expressed concern over the lack of facilities at IDP camps and problems faced by displaced persons.

They urged the government to exempt Bannu district from loadshedding saying around 50 IDPs lived in a room, which has the capacity for five people only.

The PPP leaders said their party’s federal government had provided all possible facilities to the people displaced from Swat and Malakand due to military operation against militants in those areas.

They said the PPP government ensured completion of Swat operation in 90 days and ensured the IDPs’ honourable return to their homes. The PPP leaders urged the government to ensure early end to the North Waziristan operation and the subsequent speedy repatriation of IDPs.

They appreciated the Bannu residents for hosting one million IDPs. Earlier, a tribal jirga from North Waziristan apprised PPP leaders about the IDPs’ problems.

Khursheed Shah said he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for corrective measures, while his party would provide every possible help and assistance to the displaced persons.

Published in Dawn, July 19th , 2014

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