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Peshawar

January 19, 2017

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Repatriation of Pakistani refugees from Afghanistan continuing

Repatriation of Pakistani refugees from Afghanistan continuing

Livestock, 334 families back home to North Waziristan

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani authorities in North Waziristan have managed to facilitate the return of two batches of 334 families who had migrated to Afghanistan after the launching of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation and it is planned to bring home all the Pakistanis within a month.

Official sources told The News that the livestock owned by Pakistani refugees in Afghanistan had already been brought back to Pakistan. They said the livestock was brought back to North Waziristan through the Saidgi border town between the two countries.

The tribal families had taken their livestock to Afghanistan in the summer of 2014 when they shifted from North Waziristan to Khost and Paktika provinces in Afghanistan in the wake of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation.

Once the task of bringing home the livestock was completed, the civil and military authorities in the next stage made preparations to repatriate the more than 13,000 displaced Pakistani families via the Ghulam Khan border.

On the first day of the repatriation process on Monday, 200 Pakistani families crossed over to North Waziristan from Afghanistan’s Khost province via the Ghulam Khan border. The next day another 134 families were welcomed home. They were registered at the border and then transported to the Bakkakhel relief camp in Frontier Region Bannu for necessary background checks and security clearance before sending them to their villages in North Waziristan. It is unclear how long this process would take even though the returnees are desperate to go to their homes and villages after being away for more than two and a half years.

A senior army officer, requesting anonymity, said it is a beautiful feeling to get them back. “It is unbelievable to see their happy faces. It is very cold though and we are worried they don’t get sick as it is snowing in most parts of North Waziristan,” he remarked.

The army officer said elaborate arrangements have been made at the Ghulam Khan border to receive the Pakistani families returning from Afghanistan. “We have moved truckloads of beddings to the border. If returning families get late, we keep them at Ghulam Khan. They are provided bedding, tents and food and washrooms too have been set up,” the army officer added.

 

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