MAKEEN (South Waziristan): With the development work in once militant-infested areas of South Waziristan tribal agency in progress, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra on Saturday said the government was making efforts to ensure the return of all displaced persons from tribal areas to their homes by the end of the year.
He assured the security forces that the government would ensure the early release of funds to compensate the returning IDPs for damaged houses.
Briefing the governor, who was on a whirlwind visit of some areas of the agency to inaugurate several recently completed development projects, the security officials said they had planned to complete the return of around 2,100 displaced families in Makeen sub-division by the end of next Sept.
They said they had divided the return of IDPs to Makeen in three phases of which the first had already been completed.
KP governor promises early release of funds by govt to compensate displaced persons
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 9 Division Major-General Khalid Jawed received the governor in Makeen where the governor inaugurated the Makeen Complex comprising a children park, stadium, school and mosque.
The GOC said it was the security forces’ endeavour that the moment the displaced families returned to their homes, they should be given compensation amounting to Rs400,000 each forthwith.
He requested the governor to help expedite the release of around Rs1.2 billion for early payment of compensation to IDPs.
“It is necessary that the commitments which we have made to the people should be fulfilled so that the trust between the security forces and the displaced people remains intact,” he said.
The governor directed the secretary of the social services development at the Fata Secretariat, Waqarul Hassan, who accompanied him, to ensure the smooth supply of funds and thus, preventing delay in the payment of compensation to IDPs.
Another issued raised by the GOC was the scarcity of health professionals, especially doctors, in the agency.
He pointed out that while the security forces had been constructing hospitals of high standards, they faced the shortage of doctors.
The governor assured him that he would take up the issue with the provincial government for corrective measures.
The relevant official suggested that either Fata Secretariat be permitted to directly hire doctors for tribal areas or the provincial government ask the Public Service Commission to expedite appointment of doctors there.
The GOC said in the annual development programme for the agency, the security forces could be brought in the loop and could be assigned the monitoring responsibility as they had observed that the quality of work on the ADP schemes was not up to the mark to the resentment of the people.
Mr. Jhagra said it was a valuable suggestion, which would help improve the quality of work.
The security officials said in the first phase, IDPs from nine villages had returned to their homes, while in second, IDPs of the same number from villages would go back to their homes.
They added that in the third phase, which would start in Aug, the IDPs of 19 villages would return.
According to them, the Makeen bazaar having around 660 shops was completely damaged. The rubble has been removed and that the Nespak has been assigned the responsibility of carrying out the town planning.
Now, the security forces intend to build around 730 shops there to start economic activity in the area.
The governor inaugurated the newly-constructed building of the Government Degree College Ladha (GDCL), which was fully equipped and now only awaits the arrival of students.
Brigadier Fawad Khan briefed the governor about the GDCL saying the construction work had begun in 2012 initially through civilian contractor, who left it incomplete for multiple reasons including fragile security situation at that time.
He said subsequently, construction of the building was taken over by 2 Engineer Battalion.
The college was built at a cost of Rs144.25 million with the support of the UAE government.
At the college, GOC 45 Engineering Division Major-General Anwarul Haq, Senator Saleh Shah, MNA Jamaluddin, DI Khan commissioner Akhtar Nazeer, political agent of South Waziristan Zafarul Islam and other officials were also present.
Mr. Jhagra also formally inaugurated the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Mulla Khan Serai area of Sarwakai.
He visited different parts of the hospital and asked staff members and patients about their problems.
At both the places, the governor addressed gatherings of tribal elders.
Some elders said the compensation amount of Rs400,000 for a destroyed or damaged house was very meagre and therefore, it should be enhanced to Rs1 million.
However, the governor asked them to accept this amount of money for the time being and said once they started the reconstruction of their houses, they should put forward more demands.
He said the provision of education, health facilities and civic amenities including drinking water to the people was the government’s priority.
The governor said it was his desire to see literacy rate increase in Fata to 100 per cent.
He commended the security forces for construction of schools and hospitals and launching other developmental schemes and said the standard of work was even better than he had seen in the settled districts.
Mr. Jhagra said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been focusing on the mainstreaming of Fata inhabitants.
He said a reform committee constituted by the prime minister, of which he was a member, had completed its visits to all tribal agencies and that it was in the process of compiling its report on the matter.
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2016