Rah-e-Nijat IDPs to return to SWA from March 16

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Around 8,000 IDPs will return to their villages in districts Sararogha and Sarokai in first phase of rehabilitation

The repatriation process of internally displaced people (IDPs) to South Waziristan will begin on March 16, a government official said Saturday.

Assistant Political Officer (APO) of South Waziristan, Nawab Safi said that people displaced during the military operation Rah-e-Nijat will return to their home from next month. Registration for the families will take place from March 8-11 in Tank and each family will receive Rs 25,000, he added.

Nearly 70,000 people had left South Waziristan during Operation Rah-e-Nijat (“Path of Salvation”), the Pakistan military’s air and ground offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants in the Mehsud tribal area of South Waziristan that began in 2009.

Safi added that in the first stage of rehabilitation, around 8,000 IDPs will return to their villages in districts Sararogha and Sarokai.

In July 2012, the repatriation of IDPs from Dera Ismail Khan and Tank to South Waziristan started under the supervision of army and civil administration.

Brig. Mansoor Aziz had told media representatives on the occasion that 426 families comprising 1,659 individuals had returned to their areas and were given food, dry ration and shelter kit containing tents and household items.

He had also said that in the previous four phases of repatriation, 8,177 families comprising 38,277 individuals had returned to their respective areas.

The IDPs of South Waziristan in Islamabad last year, demanded that the government should rehabilitate them in their native towns.

They had said the military operation launched in 2009 remained a futile exercise as the writ of the government was yet to be established in the area.

The IDPs had also staged a protest demonstration outside the National Press Club in Islamabad last year, chanting slogans and urging Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the then chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani to take notice of the plight of the children, elders and women who had to leave their ancestral places.