Thirty-eight per cent of tribesmen – officially designated as temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) – have been repatriated to their homes in five tribal regions after terrorists had been flushed out from the areas that were earlier infested with militants, according to figures released by the military on Saturday.
“Of the 291,827 displaced families, 108,503 have returned to their homes,” the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement. Giving the breakdown, the military said 15% TDPs each returned to North and South Waziristan agencies, 35% to Kurram, 34% to Orakzai, and 78% to Khyber Agency.
Army chief General Raheel Sharif visited North Waziristan on Saturday and spent the day with troops and tribespeople. He was satisfied with the pace of rehabilitation in the tribal areas. “He directed all concerned to ensure a dignified return of the TDPs
to a better built and rehabilitated area,” according to the ISPR.
The army chief was briefed by the formation commander on progress in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, IBOs and repatriation of the TDPs. Appreciating the progress, Gen Raheel vowed to continue military operations until all terrorists were eliminated.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in mid-July, last year, in which, according to military figures, over 3,400 terrorists have been killed and their 837 hideouts destroyed thus far. Their command and control centre, communication network and bomb-making factories have been decimated.
While talking to troops, the army chief “commended all officers and soldiers for their courage, determination and spirit of sacrifice in the war against terrorism”. Appreciating the hard work of intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, Gen Raheel said terrorists’ networks and their linkages were being unearthed across the country and this nexus would be broken at all costs to bring enduring peace.
More than 13,200 intelligence-based operations have been carried out across the country over the past 18 months in which 183 hardcore terrorists have been killed and 21,193 arrested.
The army chief, who also interacted with tribal elders and TDPs, assured them that the army would stay in the region until the resettlement of the TDPs was completed.
The tribal elders paid rich tribute to the army for successful operations, and affirmed that with the army’s help, terrorists would never be allowed to return to the region.
The army chief also inaugurated 110-bed Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Mir Ali, which has been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. He appreciated army engineers for their dedicated efforts in executing quality construction work.
To enhance education standards and help locals benefit from the emerging economic opportunities, gen Raheel announced construction and opening of a cadet college around Mir Ali for children of Waziristan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2015.
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