No timeframe for return of IDPs, says minister

Baloch says tribal people not returning till Waziristan is cleared of terrorists


Our Correspondent November 21, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Over 90 per cent area of the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) has been cleared of terrorists in the on-going Zarb-e-Azb, but there is no timeframe for the return of around two million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

This was stated by Minister for State and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch while addressing a press conference on Thursday.

“Unless the area is hundred per cent cleared of the terrorists, we cannot give any timeframe for the return of the IDPs,” said the minister.

“We cannot afford to let the terrorists use the tribal people as a human shield by sending the IDPs home amid a battle,” said Baloch.

Differentiating the battle for North Waziristan with the Swat operation, he said, the Waziristan was tougher and the terrorist network has also become much stronger than in the past.

He said that at present, there were 1.5 million registered and more than 0.5 million unregistered IDPs in different government sponsored camps and government fully supports them.

“We don’t claim that the situation is ideal for the IDPs or we are able to provide them home-like environment. But we have made utmost efforts to facilitate them,” said the minister.

The minister said that the resources for the IDPs are getting depleted due to their huge numbers and there is a need for Pakistanis to show generosity in the manner they had showed for the victims of the earthquake and floods.

He said that the federal government provides Rs19,000 per month to each 7-member household in addition to Rs3,000 provided by the K-P government and Rs7,000 by the Punjab government.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2014.

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