Pushed out of their homes due to a military operation and forced to stay in tents or small but exorbitant rented houses, the miseries of people displaced from North Waziristan Agency are only increasing. Many have complained about the non-payment of monthly cash assistance promised by the federal government since the last five months.
“My office has received around 9,500 complaints from IDPs, most of these are about the non-payment of promised financial aid and non-availability of edibles,” said Syed Zeenatullah Shah, in charge of the Chief Minister Complaint Cell for IDPs in Bannu. The cell was formed in July last year specifically to cater to issues faced by IDPs.
Shah told journalists that displaced families had also complained about lack of adequate health services as well as prolonged power outages and other problems. As summer swiftly takes over, these problems are in all likelihood to be exacerbated.
“Compared to Bannu, the weather in Waziristan is pleasant. Displaced people living here are fed up with the frequent and prolonged load-shedding and they want to go back to their homes as soon as possible,” said Shah.
According to Shah, when the families fled North Waziristan, a large number of them arrived to the province in their non-customs paid vehicles. Initially, the government allowed tribesmen to keep their vehicles, but now complaints have also been received that 70 vehicles have been impounded by the police and law-enforcement agencies, said Shah. He added tribespeople want these to be returned.
Breakdown of problems
Elaborating on the nature of complaints received by his office, Shah said over 3,000 are about the non-payment of cash grant for the past several months.
In June last year, the federal government announced Rs12,000 as monthly aid for each registered displaced family. The FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) was authorised to disburse this amount through a cellular network’s SIMs. “However, now tribesmen are complaining that they have not been receiving the grant,” said Shah. He added more than 4,000 complaints had been received because food items are not available.
Numerous have complained they have not been registered as IDPs because of they have dual addresses on their national identity cards.
According to the FDMA website, 128,646 displaced people from NWA have been registered with the authorities. A majority of these are residing in a camp set up in Bannu, have rented houses in the district or in other districts of K-P.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2015.
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