PESHAWAR: The security forces have formally cleared most of Bara tehsil of militants setting the stage for the repatriation of around 100,000 displaced families next week, say official sources.
The sources told Dawn on Friday that last week, the Civil Secretariat Fata withdrew the notification, which was issued some years ago to declare most parts of Khyber Agency’s Bara tehsil conflict zone, after the security forces restored peace there by eliminating militants.
Know more: Bara IDPs hesitant to return home
They said the Fata Disaster Management Authority had sought Rs3.5 billion from the federal government for the repatriation of internally displaced persons to Khyber Agency.
The repatriation programme was to begin last week of the current month but it was deferred due to financial constraints
Return of 0.1m families to tehsil begins next month
An official said the FDMA had asked the finance division to release the required amount of money immediately to start repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from January 15.
He said Rs2.5 billion was needed as cash grant for the IDPs and Rs800 million for transportation cost.
The official said the authority had planned to pay Rs25,000 cash assistance to each displaced family, while Rs8,000 would be paid as transport charges.
“The area is clear and FDMA is ready to start repatriation of all IDPs to their homes in Khyber Agency provided the federal government transfers money,” the official said.
Earlier, the Civil Secretariat Fata had asked the federal government to pay cash assistance to IDPs of other tribal agencies consistent with what was paid to those from North Waziristan Agency.
The federal government has yet to approve the package.
Every displaced family of North Waziristan Agency is receiving Rs12,000 cash from the federal government a month, while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments are paying them Rs3,000 and Rs7,000 respectively.
The Fata displaced families verified by the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) total 288,603.
Most of these families are from Khyber Agency followed by North Waziristan Agency.
The security forces had launched offensive against militants in North Waziristan Agency in June and the FDMA had initially registered 102,047 displaced families.
The number of affected families came down to 81,030 after verification by Nadra.
The officials said by a notification last week, the law and order secretary had de-notified several areas of Bara subdivision as conflict zone.
They said the FDMA would send IDPs to Shalobar, Malikdinkhel, Storikhel, Sipah, Qamberkhel, Akakhel and Adamkhel.
The officials said the team of United Nations Department for Safety and Security had recently visited affected areas and expressed satisfaction over the security situation but the UN team had yet to release its report.
The FDMA had registered about 31,000 displaced families after security forces launched the ‘Khyber-1 Operation’ against the banned Lashkar-i-Islam and other outfits in Bara adjacent to Peshawar on October 16 this year.
The officials said 69,000 displaced families were displaced from the area due to insecurity.
The sources said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had also agreed to provide tents and non food items to the IDPs of Khyber Agency. The UN agency would manage funds to assist the IDPs.
The sources also said the World Food Programme and UNICEF would also facilitate returning IDPs.
They said the UN food agency would provide food rations for six months to every family.
Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2014