Tribesmen hold protest, demand early repatriation


PESHAWAR: In a bid to force the government for tribesmen’s early repatriation, a number of tribesmen from Mamozai tribe of Orakzai staged a demonstration in front of the Governor House in Peshawar on Thursday.

The tribesmen assembled in front of Peshawar Press Club and proceeded towards the Governor House, while chanting slogans.

However, on assurances from the secretary to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor and Federally Administered Tribal Areas Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) director general, they cut short their protest.

The concerned authorities assured the tribesmen that monthly ration and cash stipends will be restored starting October 15 whereas repatriation to Mamozai area will be commenced after four months. The protesters were informed that security forces were engaged in clearing the area of militants, who had acquired improvised explosive devices and other explosive materials.

Malik Abdul Rahim, an elderly amongst the protesters, said that the Mamozai tribesmen who had abandoned their homes in 2009-2010 and moved to Hangu camp, had been de-notified in March 2017, but they had not been repatriated to their homes yet. He said that most internally displaced people (IDP) had been given the repatriation package of RS 35,000, but there were still 400 families who were deprived of such facilities. He further said that after de-notification, their monthly stipends and rations had also been suspended.

Malik Abdul Rahim also said that there was a lack of living infrastructures in the Mamozai area in Orakzai Agency. He urged the government to ensure health, education, clean drinking water, electricity and other facilities in their villages and settlements throughout Orakzai Agency. He blamed FDMA, civil administration and security forces of adopting a discriminatory attitude with the Mamozai tribesmen, who were still scattered in Mohammad Khawaja camp in the outskirts of Hangu in the southern city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Many elders from the Sikh community were also present among the protesters. A large number of Sikh families had shifted to Peshawar two years ago when terrorists had made their lives miserable in the far-flung Tirrah valley. Almost all of these Sikh families have now established businesses and other economic activities in Peshawar and other cities and towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Besides Mamozai tribe, tribesmen from Dande Darpakhel and certain pockets of Mehsud-dominated areas of South Waziristan have also not been repatriated in spite of de-notification of their IDP status. The government had promised to complete IDPs’ repatriation by April 2017.