LANDI KOTAL, May 7: Hundreds of families began to leave Shalobar area of Khyber Agency on Monday after receiving final directives from the political administration.

The authorities set a 48-hour deadline to Shalobar tribe to leave the area where a military operation against militant groups is on card. An official said that the area dominated by Shalobar tribe in Bara tehsil was already notified as conflict zone and residents were directed to move to safer places.

He said that the newly displaced families had already registered themselves with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and United Nations’ partners in Jalozai camp.

Political Tehsildar Ghulam Farooq, who issued notices to tribal people, said that Shalobar area had become a den of militants and outlaws where they had established a parallel administration.

The notice said that no government official could enter Shalobar territory as local elders and residents had failed to fulfil their legal responsibility, therefore, the administration was left with no choice but to order eviction.

Women and children were seen boarding tractor trolleys, pickup trucks and donkey carts along with their luggage to reach Peshawar from where they would move to Jalozai camp.

Many desperate people rushed to Peshawar to hire vehicles on rent to evacuate their families and luggage from the area. The displaced people said that authorities had relaxed curfew in the area from 6am to 6pm.

However, people are facing difficulties owing to non-availability of transport and bad condition of narrow road from Sango to main Bara Road. Vehicular traffic remained stuck up at various places that added to the miseries of the affected tribal people.

Drivers of the pickup truck charge up to Rs4,000 from each displaced family from Bara to Jalozai camp. Workers of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf have set up camp in Sango, on the border of Khyber Agency, to facilitate the displaced tribal people.

The displaced people criticised administration for forcing them to vacate their houses. Amin Khan, 75, said that situation was normal in Shalobar and administration had deliberately put innocent people in trouble.

“The operation instead of addressing the core issue will create more problems for people,” he added.

Bazaar Gul, another elder, alleged that the eviction orders were issued in haste and they were not given enough time to pack their luggage.

He alleged that instead of a peaceful repatriation of internally displaced families and ending the 30-month long military operation, the local administration was forcing them to leave their homes and become dependent upon aid agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Tehrik-i-Mutasireen Bara, headed by its chairman Shah Faisal Afridi, met Political Agent Mutahir Zeb and apprised him of the plight of fleeing Shalobar families.

The delegation demanded of the political agent to extend the deadline for eviction and provide free transportation to Shalobar tribal people. The delegation also demanded an end to Bara operation.

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