Head back home: Displaced families living in Khost told to return

Published: July 19, 2016
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Officials in Bannu said at least 47,700 registered and verified displaced families have been repatriated to various areas of North Waziristan.  PHOTO: AFP

Officials in Bannu said at least 47,700 registered and verified displaced families have been repatriated to various areas of North Waziristan. PHOTO: AFP

BANNU: The political administration of North Waziristan asked displaced tribespeople residing in neighboring towns across the border in Afghanistan to return to camps in Pakistan on an immediate basis. The families were displaced during military operation Zarb-e-Azb in the middle of June, 2014.

While talking to The Express Tribune, an official said registration staffers at the border received at least 2,400 families from Khost, Afghanistan so far. He also said elders approached the displaced tribespeople and handed around 6,000 registration forms to them. Most of the displaced families residing across the border belong to two tribes, he said.

Their repatriation to native villages and hamlets will be completed along with the other IDPs in camps such as Bannu. However, most of the displaced tribesmen families from Khost fear prolonged stays and victimisation at the Bannu camps. In response, the political administration threatened to end their tribal status if they refuse to return to the camps.

North Waziristan Political Agent Kamran Afridi said July 25 was fixed deadline for all displaced people to move to the camps. A jirga was also held in order to re-approach the tribal leaders.

According to Pakistani officials, the estimated number of tribespeople residing in Khost since June 2014 ranges from 30,000 to 40,000, while Afghan authorities say refugees from North Waziristan are at least 100,000. The Afghan government established a camp in collaboration with the UNHCR for the displaced people. Authorities across the border also allowed the tribespeople to stay with their friends and relatives in rented houses.

Officials in Bannu said at least 47,700 registered and verified displaced families have been repatriated to various areas of North Waziristan. On the other hand, efforts are under way to repatriate the remaining 44,300. This does not include the displaced families who migrated to Khost in Afghanistan following the operation. Moreover, repatriation of IDPs to areas like Darpakhel, Shehzadkot and Khushhali Turikhel, along with 11 other sensitive areas of Speen Wam Tehsil, is also in progress. Majority of the displaced families complained they were not provided with the basics.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2016. 

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