As many as 450 families which had shifted to Khost province of Afghanistan because of military operation Zarb-e-Azb have returned and have been registered as displaced persons by the FATA Disaster Management Authority.
Shadid Khan, FDMA’s coordinator at the IDP registration camp in Hayatabad, told The Express Tribune on Monday that in the last eight days 450 displaced families returning from Afghanistan had been registered in Peshawar.
According to Khan, all the families returned via Alizai in Kurram Agency and the Jalalabad-Torkham route.
Khan added the displaced persons were told that they would not be allowed to repatriate without showing their IDP registration numbers, which is why they are arriving at registration centres.
He added Monday was the last day to register for those returning from Afghanistan. He said since the number of such people has declined, the registration deadline is unlikely to be extended.
“Once the registration of IDPs is completed, we will be in a better position to focus on their welfare and lodging,” said Khan.
Earlier this week, Khost Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi told The Express Tribune via phone that 60,000 to 70,000 people from North Waziristan shifted to the Afghan province. However, Pakistani authorities rejected these numbers claiming only 10,000 people migrated to Afghanistan.
Naeemi said a relief camp was set up on 20 acres for the displaced people of North Waziristan in the Afghan border area. “We are visiting the camp and keeping track of essential facilities being provided to the people. Polio vaccines are also being given to children,” the governor said.
A journalist from Khost, Ilyas Wahdat, told The Express Tribune that the Pakistani government had expressed resentment over the displaced persons moving to Afghanistan and warned them to return and register with Pakistani authorities.
“The Pakistan government had set a deadline of 15 days for uprooted families living in Afghanistan to return, otherwise their record and NICs would be cancelled,” said Wahdat. He added after the deadline passes, displaced people will not be registered by authorities in Pakistan and ultimately not allowed to return to their homes on the completion of the military operation.
According to Wahdat, around 100,000 people have thus far migrated to the neighbouring country. “These families are living in various border areas and not facing any problems,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.
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