The long-awaited repatriation process of internally displaced persons (IDP) started on Wednesday when 93 families were sent back to their native areas in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
“The families repatriated on the first day comprise around 450 individuals, mostly women and children,” Mirali Assistant Political Agent Zaheeruddin told The Express Tribune.
Since most of the displaced people belonging to Eidak are living in Baran camp on the outskirts of Bannu, the area was bustling Wednesday morning as families prepared to board buses for what a return journey which was a long time coming. Trucks had been arranged to transport the belongings of the IDPs.
After the families settled down and their luggage was loaded, the convoy left the camp for Eidak, an area where militancy was considered to have less of a hold, compared to other areas, until June 2014. The tribespeople were forced to evacuate their houses around September and October to facilitate Operation Zarb-e-Azb in the agency.
In response to a question ,the APA said repatriating families were provided with food and non-food items in addition to transportation facilities. They were also given tents, cooking utensils and other essential items of daily use.
However, the repatriation package of Rs35,000 that had to be given to each family could not be released. Zaheeruddin blamed the delay on the new financial year that began two days ago. The delay in repatriation was also caused after tribespeople refused to sign an agreement set as a pre-requisite for their return by the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.