Operation in Khyber triggers mass displacement

Updated November 09, 2014

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—File photo
—File photo

With the Khyber One military operation against the outlawed militant group, Lashkar-i-Islam, in Khyber Agency completing its three weeks, the number of displaced families from both Tirah and Bara has reached 34,054.

According to the Fata Disaster Management Authority data released on Friday, 245,482 people, including 136,713 children and 55,229 women, moved out of Akkakhel, Sipah, Akkakhel and Kamarkhel areas of Tirah and Bara during the last three weeks.

The FDMA had established four registration points for the dislocated Bara and Tirah families soon after the start of the Khyber One operation.

Also read: Khyber residents given three-day deadline to surrender arms

These points were located in Kata Panrha in Orakzai, Lala Kandaw in Jamrud and Batta Thal and Peshtakhara in Peshawar.

The Orakzai point was closed after one week of registration of families displaced from Tirah while the FDMA staff was still busy in registering dislocated families from Bara. Figures released by FDMA said so far, 2,784 families were registered in Kata Panrha, Orakzai, 17146 families at Peshtakhara, 10807 at Batta Thal and 3317 at Lala Kandaw in Jamrud.

Officials of the FDMA said with most of the new displaced families already registered with them since 2009 and 2010, they were providing one time cooked food and free transport to the news families.

Also read: Nine killed as military operation launched in Khyber

They said registration of the new families would be started and all possible assistance provided to them once the registration of all displaced families from Bara and Tirah was completed.

With no or little assistance from government authorities, over five thousand displaced families, mostly from Akkakhel and Sipag areas of Tirah have shifted to Jalozai camp near Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Jalozai camp is already housing 5000 Bara families for the last five years.

Bismillah Khan, who along with nearly 120 members of his extended family shifted from Shadala village of Akkakhel in Tirah to Jalozai two weeks ago, told Dawn that with no assistance from either provincial or Fata disaster management authorities, he along with his family members had been living under the open sky with very food and medical care available to them.

He said he and hundreds of Akkakhel residents vacated their houses in Shadala and surrounding localities under the directives of the political administration but so far, no official assistance had been extended to any of them.

“Most families can’t afford to rent a house and thus, coming to Jalozai for temporary shelter,” he said.

The IDP said with limited number of tents at the camp, two to three old and new families were sharing one tent now.

Gulabat Khan, a member of the old Bara IDPs shura at Jalozai camp, claimed no government authority was willing to extend any help to the new dislocated families.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Agency political administration on Friday announced to start registration of all Zakhakhel families from coming Monday (November 10).

Hundreds of Zakhakhel families who had been residing in different parts of Tirah and Bara were denied registration by both the political administration and FDMA on the grounds that security forces had not notified the Zakhakhel areas as affected by militancy nor any military operation was started in Zakhakhel area.

The Zakhakhel tribesmen predominantly live in Landi Kotal tehsil but a number of Zakhakhel families had in the past migrated to Tirah and Bara.

Despite living in Bara and Tirah for over four decades, most of the migrated Zakhakhel families still possess CNICs with Landi Kotal tehsil as their permanent address.

It was due to this reason that Nadra would refuse to recognise Zakhakhels of Bara and Tirah as militancy affected tribe.

After a long struggle and persuasion, Zakhakhel elders from Bara and Tirah finally succeeded in convincing the relevant authorities to start their registration and thus entitling them to all official assistance for IDPs.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2014