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January 9, 2015

Bara IDPs want immediate return to native areas


January 9, 2015

BARA: The internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Khyber Agency have asked the government to start their repatriation forthwith. They expressed concern over the earlier postponement of their repatriation that was scheduled to begin from December 25 last year.
Talking to The News, a displaced tribesman Muhammad Naeem Malikdinkhel said that the IDPs from Khajuri and Tirah valley in Bara tehsil were facing a host of problems in the settled areas.
He said the displaced people had been hit hard by financial problems as they could not afford to rent houses and meet their family’s needs. “Before Operation Khyber-1, I used to run a small business in Batathal Bazaar to earn livelihood for my 20 family members,” he said.
He said the government should give cash to the displaced persons to help them pay house rent and utility bills. Muhammad Naeem Malikdinkhel complained that the government had not given due attention to the IDPs of Khyber Agency the way it looked after the displaced people of Malakand division and North Waziristan Agency.
Dr Rehmanullah Afridi, another tribesman displaced from Bara, said the government had not informed the residents of Khajuri before launching the military operation. He said the people left behind costly goods while fleeing the Sepah area. “I along with my family fled home when the operation was launched. We just locked our goods in the rooms. We have come to know that most of the goods have been stolen,” he added.
The tribesman said his family had suffered Rs0.5 million losses due to the military operation.He complained that the national identity cards of thousands of tribal people had been blocked amid the ongoing Operation Khyber-1. The dislocated man said the government had not even provided relief package to the IDPs who have been registered.
About the rise in polio cases in Bara, Dr Rehmanullah Afridi asked the Health Department of Khyber Agency to start a major anti-polio campaign after repatriation

of the IDPs to root out poliovirus from Bara tehsil.
Another victim of the Operation Khyber-1, Shahid Khan Afridi, believed the militants of the Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and other banned organisations had fled Bara and gone to the Tirah valley.
He said though Khajuri area had been cleared and is peaceful for the last one month, yet the government was not announcing the date for return of the IDPs to their native areas.He alleged that policemen in the provincial capital harassed the dislocated people.
Citing an example, he said the police launched a crackdown against suspicious people in Gulberg locality a few days ago. “The cops, including a lady constable, entered my house without permission and asked irrelevant questions from my family members,” he complained.
He said the displaced people were living a miserable life at the IDPs camps and in rented houses.Several displaced people complained to The News that the infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, basic health units, roads and the lone college had been destroyed in the military operations in Bara tehsil during the last seven years.They asked the government to make arrangements for the return of the Khyber Agency IDPs as soon as possible after providing them proper relief package.

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