Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi on Friday asked the Kabul administration to focus its resources and energies on repatriating Afghan refugees living in Pakistan instead of luring tribesmen from North Waziristan Agency to seek refuge in its country.
Speaking to a group of journalists at the Governor House, Abbasi said this would relieve the economic and infrastructural burden placed by Afghan refugees on Pakistan’s shoulders. He was responding to a query on the financial incentives offered by the Afghan government and its plans to establish refugee camps for people displaced by the military operation in North Waziristan.
“We are delighted that Afghanistan has the capability to attract people from other countries to seek refuge on its soil, but we believe that these resources would be better spent on repatriating and rehabilitating those suffering Afghans who have placed an enormous burden on other countries.”
Abbasi said the people displaced from North Waziristan exhibited the resilience of Pakistani people. He added the entire country stands by the army and those displaced by Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Following clear directives from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as the federal and provincial governments, Abbasi said every measure was being taken to cater to the large number of people displaced.
The governor rejected the impression that civilian lives were lost during the operation, stating that the locals had been given ample time to move to safer places.
He said Zarb-e-Azb was moving towards achieving its objectives in the quickest time possible so that the local population could return to their homes.
Abbasi also said establishing lasting peace would pave the way for real progress and development along the tribal belt of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.