PESHAWAR/ BANNU: Locals in North Waziristan asked the government on Monday to ensure safe passage to leave the tribal agency after the authorities blocked all roads from the area ahead of the military operation.
“Bannu and Thal roads should be opened so people can leave and the extensive time-consuming security checks should be relaxed,” said Malik Gul Naeem of the Waziristan Qaumi Welfare Jirga at the Peshawar Press Club. Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) Director General Arshad Khan said that unless the curfew in the area is not lifted, the FDMA is unable to help those stranded in the area. “We will provide free transport to tribesmen wishing to leave once the curfew is lifted,” he said.
According to ISPR, all potential terrorist bases have been cordoned off and the local population will be permitted to leave once transport is arranged and a camp established for them.
“The operation was initiated all of a sudden and left no time for most people to vacate their houses properly,” Naeem said, adding that contact with those left behind in the agency has been cut off. Several tribal elders accused the FDMA of failing to provide for the displaced people and those still trapped in the area. Speaking with The Express Tribune, Arshad Khan explained that during previous operations in the region, the FDMA was given at least two weeks warning in order to finalise provisions for aid and the sudden operation has left the FDMA scrambling to provide for an estimated 600,000 IDPs.
The FDMA says registration of displaced people on the Bannu-Miramshah Road has commenced. The FDMA director general told The Express Tribune that migration has been under way since May 22 towards Bannu where security sources confirmed that camps have been established. “So far, we have registered 4,350 families, with 60,000 individuals including women and children,” he said.
He added that a camp near the Barani dam was being established to house the IDPs. Tube wells will be installed at the camp within two days,
he said. The FDMA has no plans to distribute food packages among the displaced families and Rs7,000 will be provided to each family instead, Khan said.
Some families, however, left the agency before the operation was officially launched, said Naeem, explaining that those people opted to move to Afghanistan as it is closer than the settled areas of K-P. “The few camps established in Baka Khel area of Bannu are lacking facilities,” he added.
According to independent sources around 20,000 tribesmen from Miramshah, Mirali and Ghulam Khan tehsils have evacuated their houses and travelled to Afghanistan. Sources say many families are staying on the outskirts of Khost province, where the Afghan government has allocated roughly 4.04 square kilometres of land for tribesmen fleeing Waziristan.
Khyal Muhammad, one of the settlers here, said half the members of his tribe have migrated to Paktia province while the other half have travelled to Paktika province. “We are fine here and have been welcomed,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ