PESHAWAR: The Fata Disaster Management Authority has set April 30 as the last deadline for the repatriation of around 1,500 families from Afghanistan to North Waziristan Agency.

FDMA assistant director operation and relief Mian Adil Zahoor said on Wednesday that the government would facilitate return of the tribal people from Afghanistan by the end of April. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting, he added.

He said after expiry of the deadline the tribal people could return to their homes, but would not be entitled to any assistance from the government.

He said the authority planned to complete return of the dislocated persons from Afghanistan during the stipulated period. “People who have Pakistani nationality can come anytime to their country but will not be eligible for receiving any assistance beyond the deadline of their repatriation,” he said.

Thousands of people living adjacent to the border had migrated to Afghanistan in the wake of operation Zarb-i-Azb in June 2014. The Afghan government with the assistance of UN and other humanitarian agencies provided shelter and other basic facilities to the tribal people. Camps were set up for them in Afghanistan’s Khost province.

The FDMA official said a total of 6,000 families had returned from Afghanistan in two phases and remaining 1,500 families would also be brought back to their homes. He said the authority in collaboration with the army and political administration had worked out their return plan.

He said the remaining families would be brought to North Waziristan via Ghulam Khan border crossing point. The returnees would be registered at a centre set up at the border and would be transported to Bakakhel camp in the Frontier Region of Bannu.

After completion of the verification process at Bakakhel camp they would be taken back to their respective areas in North Waziristan Agency, he added.

Meanwhile, relevant officials said the decision regarding return of internally displaced persons was also under consideration and the government would announce schedule for their repatriation.

They said return of IDPs to South Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai agencies had been completed and that over 16,000 families would soon return to North Waziristan and Khyber agencies.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2018