The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are among the most underdeveloped regions of Pakistan. Since 2008, large populations were frequently displaced to and from FATA, from all the agencies. The latest wave of displacement has brought the total FATA displacement caseload up to an estimated 310,729 families – around 2 million Temporarily Dislocated Persons (TDPs) – of which around 70% are women and children. Although the Government and its humanitarian partners are continuing their important efforts to provide relief to this vulnerable population, more sustainable solutions are needed to support the return of TDPs to their areas of origin. The government has put in place a phased plan of returns for the TDPs, beginning with the first phase of returns to South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies in March 2015.
The FATA Secretariat, with technical support from UNDP, has developed the FATA Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy, which aim to ensure the progressive and sustainable return of the entire TDP population to FATA. To encourage their safe, voluntary return, this comprehensive strategy aims to establish an enabling environment in TDPs’ areas of origin in FATA.
While there has been considerable effort in the past to organize TDP’s return to FATA, this is the first time that the FATA Secretariat has set out a comprehensive return and rehabilitation plan for the entire region. As part of this effort, the civilian authorities, FATA Secretariat, federal government and armed forces would be working hand in hand to ensure the safe and sustainable return of the TDP population.
The initial focus shall be implementation of five key pillars of action over 24 months across entire FATA. The budget for the rehabilitation activities is USD 120 million. The five main pillars of rehabilitation include: (i) rehabilitating physical infrastructure, (ii) strengthening law and order, (iii) expanding government service delivery, (iv) reactivating and strengthening the economy, and (v) strengthening social cohesion and peace building. The strategy seeks to bridge long-term development and governance reforms in FATA. The strategy is part of a larger rehabilitation and reconstruction effort, including return grants, conditional cash transfers, housing rehabilitation and infrastructure reconstruction, which would require about $800 million.
Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on this occasion said, “The launch of the Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy for FATA is indeed a moment of satisfaction for all of us. The need for such a strategy has been evident for a long time and I am delighted that the launch of the strategy has coincided with my administration’s efforts to facilitate the return of the TDP families. I firmly believe that “rebuilding lives” in FATA is the most important task at hand for my administration and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we support the people of FATA to rebuild their lives in a suitable manner”.
Muhammad Azam Khan, Additional Chief Secretary, FATA said, “This strategy needs to be seen as a first step and guiding document for the coordination of the human recovery and rehabilitation efforts and to achieve our vision of a peaceful, prosperous and developed FATA. The strategy not only focuses on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged facilities, but also prioritizes restoration of livelihoods and interventions in education, health, housing and improving governance and service delivery functions.”
Dr. Jacqui Badcock, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, a.i. said, “The Strategy is indeed an exemplary effort by the Government of Pakistan to link the ongoing humanitarian and recovery efforts with reconstruction, long term development and reforms in FATA. The United Nations is proud to have been able to support the development of such a comprehensive strategy and we look forward to working together with the Government of Pakistan during the implementation stage.”
Mr. Shakeel Qadir Khan, Secretary Planning and Development, FATA Secretariat, presented the salient features of the strategy and said, “The strategy itself takes inspiration from the Post-crisis Needs Assessment strategy and focuses on trying to remedy the limited progress to date in the areas of governance, law and order, economic development and social cohesion. It also seeks to address pending infrastructure rehabilitation needs. This strategy is in line with the longer development plan presented in the FATA Sustainable Development Plan 2007-2015 and the reforms agenda being developed by the FRC to establish a roadmap for constitutional, institutional and legal reforms.”
Engr. Shah Nasir Khan, Infrastructure & Resilience Specialist/Donors Coordinator RRU
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