Repatriation of displaced families to South Waziristan Agency has nearly come to a standstill as not a single family has been sent back to their villages since April.
According to the data provided by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), there are 62,000 displaced families from South Waziristan Agency; of those only 3,238 families had returned to their areas by March.
Since then, not a single family from the agency has been sent back home as clearance has not been given by the government and security forces.
However, the UNOCHA data reflects the number of families from other agencies that have returned and how many are in waiting.
Ready to go
The repatriation of families from the Eidak tribe of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) is scheduled to start from July 1 (today). Around 100 families would return daily under the supervision of security forces.
Families belonged to the tribe were evicted from their area in the last phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and would be repatriated in the second phase that is to begin today.
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Moreover, registration of 40,000 individuals—roughly 4,000 families of the tribe—has been completed. According to the FATA Disaster Management Authority, all facilities, including health, education and other services, have also been completed.
There are those who want to be sent back due to the undesirable circumstances at the camps of internally displaced persons. Those living in a camp in Bannu have demanded they be sent back to their native areas after an IDP protest in Baka Khel camp promoted the troops to react. As a result, two displaced persons were killed while 10 were injured. The report stated 10,149 families, including those from North Waziristan and Khyber agencies, returned to their areas in June.
Next in line
The number of families, both in and outside camps—repatriated to Khyber Agency is higher than other agencies.
The data shows 32,165 families have returned to Khyber Agency since March. Of these, 8,563 families returned in March, 9,836 in April, 4,187 in May and 9,579 in June.
The most recent repatriation was from Jalozai camp and host families to Akakhel and Shalobar areas. An estimated 200 families from the areas remain displaced.
An UNOCHA official said families would continue to return in the coming weeks, completing the return plan for those belonging to Akakhel and Shalobar. Repatriation to Qambar Khel and Bar Qambar Khel is scheduled to begin on July 6.
Longing for home
Although announcements were made about repatriation halting for Ramazan, families have expressed their wish to return. Those who have gone back are being facilitated by FDMA.
Families from NWA are willing to return to their native villages in the agency despite the military operation that is going on there. So far, 1,452 families have been repatriated between March and June. Of the total, 44 families returned in March, 178 in April, 660 in May and 570 in June.
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However, 88% or 218,887 families still remain displaced. Of those, 54,651 belong to Khyber Agency, 102,236 to NWA and 62,000 to SWA.
The government has been asking the North Waziristan tribes to sign a social contract to ensure peace in the region once they start life there anew.
The contract involves three parties, the political agent of the agency representing the governor of K-P, the federal government, and the people of Utmanzai, Wazir, Dawar, Saidgai and Kharseen tribes.
Through the contract, the government wants to bind the tribespeople to remain loyal to the Constitution of Pakistan, FCR and local customs, prohibiting them from taking part in anti-state activities.
However, the tribespeople did not agree to sign the contract and so far no progress has been made in this regard.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.