ISLAMABAD: While more than 120,000 displaced people have moved from North Waziristan Agency (NWA) to Afghanistan in the backdrop of ongoing military action in the tribal agency, Pakistan says their return would follow strict scrutiny and verification to stop the militants way into NWA.
An estimated 112,500 people from NWA have moved to the Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan, a fresh United Nations report says. It says an estimated 15,000 families (over 112,500 individuals) left NWA to Khost (10,000 families) and Paktika (5,000 families). As of 30 June, 9,731 of these families 6,131 families in Khost and 3,600 families in Paktika have been assessed, a situation report on NWA issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) states.
A top Pakistani government functionary says strict scrutiny and verification would follow the return of the people who have moved across the border, in order to block the militants from entering the tribal agency in the garb of civilians. “This is mandatory to ensure foolproof security,” Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lieutenant General (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch told Daily Times on Friday. “Those who have left for Afghanistan have gone their voluntarily. But their return would not be without proper check to avert any security situation,” he said.
The minister said that it was for the Afghan authorities, the UN and rest of international humanitarian community to facilitate the NWA residents presently sheltering in Afghanistan. He said most of the people having moved across the border were living with their relatives or kith and kin. “I believe majority of the displaced people in Khost and Paktika provinces is living with family members. They are not living in refugee camps, which implies that the host communities in those areas also need to be adequately assisted to help them facilitate the NWA affectees.”
To a query, the minister said that Pakistan did not seek international community’s help in dealing with the Internally Displaced Persons of NWA. “There have been problems pertaining to redressing the needs of the IDPs but it happens in large-scale emergencies. We have got the situation under control and the IDPs are being facilitated swiftly and adequately.” More than 470,000 have been out of the NWA and the evacuation is completed, following which, the ground action has been launched, the minister said.
Meanwhile, the OCHA update says some 862 families from NWA who arrived in Kurram Agency via Afghanistan have been registered. These families were provided with food packages and refreshments for the children and cooked food at a transit camp established at a school in Alizai, Lower Kurram, the situation report says. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) has provided transportation services for those who wanted to move to other districts with majority reportedly moving to Hangu, Kohat, Karak and Bannu districts, it adds.
By Wednesday, the FDMA registered 470,336 IDPs (38,296 families). This includes 148,244 women (32 per cent) and 198,802 children (42 per cent). The registration reopened Thursday with three registration centres for an estimated 60,000 individuals who had missed the initial registration. On funding for the IDPs, OCHA’s statistical details reveal that by Thursday, donors committed or contributed over $ 22.5 million. The Government of Pakistan has provided in-kind assistance of 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat to World Food Programme (WFP).
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