Around 0.1m people sent home through IDP repatriation programme

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PESHAWAR: A meeting of the Apex Committee held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Khyber Pakhtukhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi revealed that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) return programme had successfully repatriated 100,000 IDPs, and Operation Khyber-2 was on its way to achieving the desired results.

According to a press statement, the meeting was held to discuss the security situation in KP and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) during which the attendees were briefed on progress made in Operation Khyber-2 and the first phase of the IDPs repatriation programme.

KP Governor Sardar Mehtab said all resources will be utilised to facilitate the return of IDPs to their native areas. He said that, if required, the Fata Annual Development Fund would be utilised for the return of IDPs, instead of waiting for additional allocated federal funds or other pledges.

The governor said that so far Rs55 billion of Fata development funds have been spent on the repatriation of IDPs.

The committee also approved upgradation of the emergency service Rescue 1122, already functioning in Mardan and Peshawar.

The Apex Committee was formed in the wake of the brutal Army Public School attacks to coordinate security and to implement the National Action Plan at a provincial level.

Repatriation of IDPs

The repatriation process of internally displaced people (IDPs) to North Waziristan began on March 31, with a conditional agreement drafted by North Waziristan's political administration and some tribal elders.

The eight-page draft of agreement contains two parts: one for the political administration and the other for IDPs to abide by after they return to their homes.

A caravan of 26 vehicles carrying 219 IDPs belonging to 62 families left Bannu for Spin Wam and Shahmeri in North Waziristan on the first day. Stringent security arrangements were made on the Miramshah road from the Mirzail checkpost to North Waziristan.

About 1,200 families had been registered at the sub-camp of the political agent from March 18 to 20. They will return to their homes in Sin Wam, Shamiri, Mirali and Bubali areas in the first phase of repatriation which will continue till April 24.

Besides the Pakistan Army, the political administration and the Fata Disaster Management Authority are facilitating the process.

About one million registered IDPs are living in camps and rented houses in Bannu district.

Officials said that each family had been given Rs25,000 as cash assistance and Rs10,000 as transportation expenses at Mirzail. They said that food ration for six months and a kit containing non-food items would also be given to each household.

Children under five years of age were administered anti-polio vaccines and under 10 measles vaccines.

By April 2, the 12th phase of IDPs’ return to South Waziristan from Tank was complete, with the departure of the last caravan of 720 families for their homes.

A total of 5,122 IDP families were repatriated during this phase which began on March 16.

About 79,000 Mehsud families had to leave their homes when security forces launched the Rah-i-Nijat operation against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in the region in June 2009.

Operation Kyber-2

The committee was informed that the Khyber-2 Operation is getting the desired results, as terrorists are on the run from the area. The committee was told that a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism in KP is being implemented.

Operation Khyber-2 entered its last phase recently, when the military took on militant stronghold Tirah Valley. The Commandant of the Khyber Rifles, Col Tariq Hafeez, had said earlier that Khyber-2 military operation against the Taliban and other terrorist groups hiding in different parts of the Tirah valley would begin in March.

Speaking to journalists at an army camp on Feb 24, he pledged that security forces would reclaim all areas under the control of several outlawed militant groups in the Khyber Agency and Fata.

“We will not spare anyone and will go after them no matter where they are hiding and will smash their operational structure to reduce their striking capability,” he said.

Col Hafeez said that with the arrest of 25 hardcore terrorists, security forces had achieved much of the objectives of the Khyber-1 operation.

He said that security forces were now determined to annihilate all anti-state elements operating on Pakistan’s soil.

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