ANP chief calls for immediate resettlement of IDPs in ‘cleared areas’

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Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said Monday that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) should be sent back to their homes in areas which were declared clear by the Pakistan Army, adding that an announcement in this regard should be made without any delay.

While addressing a jirga from North Waziristan, Khan said that it seemed displaced persons had been forgotten in the grand scheme of things, adding that the most important thing was to overcome the losses suffered by school-going students as “a student will make tomorrow’s Pakistan”.

The ANP chief said that there should also be reserved seats in schools, colleges and universities for displaced persons.

Nearly a million people vacated the North Waziristan tribal region as military operation, Zarb-e-Azb was launched following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport. The operation was aimed at wiping out longstanding militant strongholds in the area.

According to July 08, 2014 statistics by Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA), the total number of the displaced persons registered with the authorities was 787,888. The total number of families counted was 62,493, including 211,549 male and 236,883 female members, while the number of children was 339,456.

Moreover, as many as 2,437 displaced families comprising 19,806 individuals have also migrated from Khyber Agency, according to FDMA.

On the other hand, the army has refused to give a timeframe for winding up the ongoing operation. While talking to reporters on Oct 23, ISPR DG Major General Asim Bajwa said the operation was bearing fruit as most areas had been cleared of militants.

He, however, added that the people displaced from the conflict zone would be allowed to return to their homes soon “but before that the volatile region will be cleared of mines and improvised explosive devices planted by militants”.

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