The government intends to quicken the Khyber Agency military operation but has very few options to achieve quick restoration of peace in the area, a Pakistan Peoples Party legislator said on Friday.
“This military operation is different from those conducted in other areas because those were carried out against Taliban and foreign militants. But, in Khyber Agency, the army had to intervene because clashes between two rival groups Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansarul Islam turned bloody,” said MNA Asma Alamgir, who is an adviser to the prime minister on IDPs affairs, at a joint press conference with Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi at the Fata Secretariat.
Speaking about those who fled the Khyber Agency operation, she said that so far, 21,000 families from the area had registered at the Jalozai camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar has ordered that a hospital and education facilities must be established at the camp, she said. He has also instructed that more registration points for the camp should be established in Nowshera district.
“Teachers who fled Khyber Agency and moved to the camp will be appointed to educate displaced children,” Alamgir said. “Children who couldn’t be administered polio drops because of the operation will be vaccinated at the camp.”
The decisions come days after the Peshawar High Court took suo motu notice of the severe lack of facilities at the Jalozai camp which is bursting at the seams, housing 178,911 displaced persons.
Some of these displaced families appear to have resigned to their fate and accepted Jalozai camp as home.
“Schools have been established in the camp but there is no teacher,” Ibrahim, vice chairman of a body set up by Khyber Agency IDPs, tells The Express Tribune at the camp.
Some IDPs complain the registration process is lengthy and faulty and that even after registration they receive no mattresses, juicers and blankets, items which were included in the package.
Others complain that those who are Afridis but have been residing in Orakzai Agency for the past one hundred or more years are denied registration. Such families can take shelter with their relatives in the camp, but receive no rations or space and tents.
An IDP, Rasool Khan Afridi, told The Express Tribune that he is an Afridi by tribe but has been residing in Sultanzai area of Orakzai where he cultivated his ancestral land and there are two addresses on his national identity card. When the circumstances in Orakzai forced him to migrate, he went to Hangu to register his family in a camp for Orakzai IDPs. Since he is an Afridi, the staff there directed him to Jalozai.
“I reached Jalozai with 10 family members and the staff refused to register people like us because we have two addresses on our CNICs,” he said.
Rasool lost his brother Hassan to violence when a mortar shell fired by troops hit him killing him in Baz Garhi in Bara. “The operation has done more harm to the ordinary man than providing any benefit and the government should engage the militants in talks to clear this mess.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.
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