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Fazl regrets sluggish repatriation of displaced people

Fazl regrets sluggish repatriation of displaced people

PESHAWAR: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday complained about sluggish repatriation of the people displaced from conflict-stricken areas of Fata, especially North Waziristan Agency, and asked the government to expedite the process.

Talking to media at his party’s secretariat here after meeting elders of Utmanzai tribe from North Waziristan, the JUI-F chief he said his party would convene jirga of Pakhtun leaders within two weeks to discuss issues and grievances of the IDPs.

He said senior politicians, including Asfandyar Wali Khan, Aftab Sherpao, Sirajul Haq, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and other leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal elders, would be invited to the conference.

“I don’t understand the logic behind slow return of IDPs to their homes. On one hand, the government claims 90 per cent area of North Waziristan has been cleared but on the other, it is repatriating eight to 10 families daily on average,” he said.

Fazl said if the area had been secured, then the administration should not create hurdles and let the people go back home.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman said repatriation of IDPs was extremely slow and return of one million IDPs to North Waziristan would take years and years if the process continued at such a slow pace.

“Tribal people have suffered a lot due to conflicts and the government should take pity on them,” he said, adding that he had already discussed issues of IDPs with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The JUI-F chief said IDPs led a miserable life in tents and therefore, they deserved relief.

He said agreements with people should be made in accordance with the Constitution and Frontier Crimes Regulation.

“Unilateral agreements will create complications in future,” he said.

Around 100 elders of Ahmedzai Wazir and Dawar tribes of North Waziristan called on the JUI-F chief and expressed anger at the slow repatriation process and said tough conditions were made part of the agreement.

The government had begun return of IDPs to North Waziristan on March 31.

Officials say 110 displaced families have gone home so far.

In first phase, 18,000 displaced families will go back to Mirali tehsil of North Waziristan. Before return to their homes, every displaced family will have to sign an undertaking with the political administration.

Elder Malik Khan Marjan Wazir told Dawn that tribesmen were frustrated at the slow repatriation process. He said instead of obtaining undertaking from every family, the government should discuss the whole package with Utmanzai elders.

“The government has put the cart before the horse by forcing the people to sign an agreement before returning to their homes,” he said.

The elder said first of all, the administration should send IDPs to their homes, open educational institutions and allow them to start businesses to restore their confidence.

He said displaced persons were not interested in any cash grant or compensation under the agreement and instead, they wanted immediate return to their homes.

“People have no shelter and no cash for rebuilding their damaged properties but the administration is forcing them to give guarantee of collective security and responsibility, which is wrong,” he said.

Malik Marjan said like tribal elders, Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan was also helpless in the situation.

“He (governor) could do nothing for the people of Fata,” he said.

The elder said local administration never discussed the new agreement with the elders of Utmanzai tribe and that people in Razmak, Datakhel and other areas of North Waziristan were forced to sign the agreement.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2015

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