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National

October 24, 2017

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Bar Qambarkhel, Kukikhel IDPs demand return to Tirah

BARA: The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency have asked the government to allow them to return to native areas forthwith. They said that local people had vacated houses when the militants attacked their areas in 2013 and demolished houses and hujras in Tirah valley bordering Kurram Agency.

Talking to The News, the IDPs of Bar Qambarkhel and Kukikhel tribes belonging to several areas, including Jout, Eago Mela, Taro Qabar, Wach Nao, Tourkhel, Kando Gharibai and other areas had migrated four years ago.

They added that when militants attacked Tirah valley, people of various tribes shifted to Kurram and Orakzai agencies, Hangu, Kohat and Peshawar. "We have been living in rented houses, with relatives and in hujras for the last four years," stated Naseer Afridi, one of the displaced persons.

He added that about 1,000 families each from both tribes had been displaced. Naseer Afridi said the tribesmen had already signed Voluntarily Return Form (VRF) of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA). He said now the status of IDPs from a specified date was over but the government had failed to arrange their repatriation.

Another displaced person, Yasin Khan, told this scribe that the security forces had already cleared the areas that bordered Kurram Agency but the government did not allow them to return to native areas and as a result people were suffering due to poverty and joblessness.

He stated that all tribes belonging to Khyber Agency had returned to native areas but Bar Qambarkhel and Kukikhel tribesmen were still displaced. "We didn't get the status of the internally displaced persons like the other IDPs in the prolonged militancy," said Baseer Afridi, an IDP from Kukikhel tribe. He asked why they were not being repatriated when their areas had been cleared of militants.

He expressed concern over the statements of MNAs Shahjee Gul Afridi and Nasir Afridi, Senators Momin Khan Afridi and Taj Muhammad Afridi that Kukikhel tribe were not in their jurisdictions. "MNA Shahjee Gul is to be held accountable as he belongs to Kukikhel tribe and he neither raised our issues, nor solved our problems," Baseer complained.

He said that MNA Shahjee Gul was issuing false statements that IDPs had returned to their houses. "At least 2,000 Kukikhel tribesmen have been displaced from Tirah valley and living in Sadda, Hangu, Kohat and other areas," he added.

The tribesmen said the government should immediately launch a survey of the destroyed houses in Bar Qambarkhel and Kukikhel areas. When contacted, Member National Assembly (MNA) Nasir Khan Afridi said that problems of the IDPs belonging to the Bar Qambarkhel and Kukikhel tribes in Tirah valley would be solved soon. "We had already raised the issue of both tribes with the government and their problems will be solved as soon as possible," he assured.

The legislator said the government would provide basic facilities to the IDPs like the other displaced people once they returned to native areas in Khyber Agency.

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