JANDOLA, March 31: The Pakistan Army has managed to clear of militants most areas in South Waziristan Agency. However, there still are flashpoints near the Afghan border and efforts are underway to flush out militants from there as well.
The army is currently in the process of rehabilitating and developing the conflict-hit region and waiting for remaining displaced persons to return. The army has decided to involve local jirgas in the rehabilitation work for which multinational agencies and donors are willing to provide the funding.
As many as 115 locals, 66 per cent of them Mehsuds, have been enrolled in the army since August 2011. The locals have sought the induction of another 55 people in the army.
Work on the infrastructure along the Tank-Jandola-Makeen-Razmak road is under way. The road is likely to become the third international trade corridor after the Khyber and Chaman routes.
These views were expressed by commander of the South Waziristan operations, Maj-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, during a briefing to Lahore-based reporters at the Jandola Fort Camp the other day.
He told reporters the military operation launched in 2009 in the triangle of Jandola-Miramshah-Wana ended successfully, resulting in the dislodging of terrorists and dismantling of their hideouts and training camps.
He said the three-D strategy — involving dialogue, deterrence and development — was being implemented on the pattern of Swat.
He said the people of the agency, which was deprived of development schemes and socioeconomic upgradation projects, engaged in narcotics and weapons business before the start of the military operation. He said that Khasadars, Levies, Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary had almost lost their writ and Taliban dominated the region, adding the capacity building of local forces was in progress to take over after the complete departure of troops.
He said the army initiated rehabilitation and development in the area in January 2011 in association with government schemes, philanthropists, international donors and the army itself.
The turmoil especially in the Mehsud region left a large number of tribal displaced and after achieving stability in the area, the Pakistan army faced the mammoth task of rehabilitating these homeless.
The rehabilitation did not entail mere move back of displaced persons (DPs) to their respective areas, but involved construction of houses and markets, renovation of health and education facilities, restoration of electricity and waterways and above all provision of livelihood opportunities.
The general said repatriation process started in December 2010 with arrival of 1,300 families and gained momentum in June 2011 with another influx of over 2,200 families.
Until October 2011, 6,616 families returned home with a total of 30,191 individual. He said many more were expected in impending spring.
He said that army engineers had so far constructed 100 houses for the poor, including 26 houses for widows. Moreover, building material has been provided to a large number for self-help construction, he added.
He said that model villages at Kotkai, Chagmalai and Jandola had been commissioned in a record period of about six months and model village
Sararogha was near its completion. He said that army engineers had so far constructed five markets complexes with 160 shops. He said that 10 poultry farms had been built and another 10 were under construction in the area.
In addition to it three goat farms, two cattle farms and one duck farm had been set up and handed over to villagers at Sararogha, Kotkai and Murghiband.