PESHAWAR, April 3: The voluntary repatriation of internally displaced famil-ies from the conflict-hit Bajaur and Mohmand ribal regions will start from April 11.
The Fata Disaster Management Authority said on Sunday that the programme of voluntary return would continue till May 20. However, officials said that none of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) would be forced to leave the camps, set up for them in Jalozai and Risalpur.
Presently around 15,000 IDP families have been residing in these camps.
The plan of voluntary repatriation is also applicable to around 65,000 displaced families living off-camps.
“The return of these IDPs will be in accordance with international standards, which does not allow forced return,” said Allah Dad Khan, in-charge of Jalozai camp, situated around 10 kilometres off the G.T. Road from Pabbi town.
Most of the IDPs have been dwelling in the two camps for the last over two years. Some of them have left their respective agencies in late 2008 and early 2009.
The director general of Fata Disaster Management Authority, Arshad Khan, also told journalists that they had finalised arrangements so that all Bajaur and Mohmand IDPs, who left their homes as a result of operation against militants in their respective areas, could go back with honour and respect.
He said that the returning IDPs would have to fill a form prior to their departure. The forms had already been distributed in the camps, he added.
He said that other IDPs, who intended to go back, could collect the said forms from the Benazir Bhutto camp in Risalpur and Jalozai camp.
Mr Khan said all returning IDPs would be provided free transport while with the support of World Food Organisation (WFO) food would also be provided to them for two-years.
According to Fata Disaster Management Authority, the number of displaced families from Bajaur Agency are 50,000 whereas the displaced families from Mohmand Agency are over 30, 800.
The IDPs living off-camps include 37,000 families from Bajaur and around 29,000 families from Mohmand.
Mr Allah Dad said that Jalozai camp, the largest of all, housed over 13,000 displaced families from Bajaur and over 1,500 families from Mohmand Agency.
The same camp also provides shelter to over 4,000 families belonging to Bara, Khyber Agency, but so far that area had not been cleared by the security forces and no returning plan has been announced for them.
One of the displaced person from Charmang area of Bajaur informed Dawn that their respective areas were completely devastated during the three-year conflict and they had no place to go back.
He was not optimistic about the plan, saying unless government announced a plan for reconstruction of their residences and markets they would prefer to stay in camps.
The IDPs from Bajaur Agency mostly belong to Mamond, Nawagai and Khar tehsils of the agency.