Return of thousands of IDPs continues in Pakistan’s volatile north-west
To see this news alert with links to sources, click here
Over 2,362 internally displaced families (8,826 individuals) from the Bagh Maidan area of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have received assistance to return home, according to FATA Disaster Management Authorities. They had been displaced as a consequence of the conflict between non-state armed groups and government security operations in March this year, when over 17,000 families were forced to flee. Since January 2013, 14,620 families have returned to Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand and South Waziristan agencies; authorities wish to repatriate 97,600 families (585,600 individuals) before the end of the year.
Returns to Tirah Valley have been delayed due to disputes between tribal elders and local authorities, along with concerns over transport and access to monthly food rations. According to a 2009 Return Policy Framework, FATA authorities must ensure that IDP returns meet national and international standards and are safe, voluntary and well-informed. On this latter issue, however, consultations with IDPs have revealed that they lack access to information on the returns process, and on compensation available, for instance for damaged housing. Ongoing insecurity in Khyber Agency also remains a significant concern for some IDPs.
Officials announced the planned returns in June and requested the support of the humanitarian community with returns being set to continue until 15 October, with a second phase of repatriation in March 2014.
For more information, see IDMC’s country page for Pakistan.