IDPs give Aug 16 deadline for rehabilitation
By Kalbe Ali
ISLAMABAD: `The authorities are ready to send us back but the question is, where we will live? Miramshah is a picture of ruin,` said Abdul Sattar, a resident of North Waziristan currently living in Bannu as an internally displaced person (IDP).
Desperate to go back to his hometown after living in camps and in rented houses for more than two years, Mr Sattar was critical of the government, army and even the Zarb-i-Azb operation, saying his family has lost everything as a result of the operation.
He said: `When we were leaving our homes my children asked why is everybody on the road?` He was one of many residents of North Waziristan who slammed army and the federal government for failing to fulfil their promises with regards to rehabilitation and repatriation inMiramshah at a press conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
The press conference was addressed by the group leader, Haji Saeed Ayub, who gave the federal government a deadline of August 16 to fulfill their promise, and warned of a protest drive in the federal capital if the deadline was not met.
Mr Ayub said they had not been rehabilitated in 26 months after leaving their homes.
`We were told to leave our homes in three days but actually we were given less than one day,` said Mr Ayub, adding: `We took with us only food and essential clothing.` He said that 1.2 million people had been displaced as a result of the operation.
`I told my children that we were moving to save Pakistan,` he said.
`But even after 26 months we have not seen any visible steps for our rehabilitation.` He said everybody had left their household goods back in the homes, which been damaged ordestroyed.
He said that 600 houses and around 700 shops had been destroyed in Miramshah.
`The federal government, army and the political administration say that we will all be sent back to our homes by the end of November this year but the main issue is that we have no houses there,` he said.
The group of North Waziristan residents presented three demands, which included payment of compensation for the belongings destroyed in the operation, rebuilding of homes at the same site and halting of the demolition process as the area has been cleared of extremists.
Other speakers said that only 150 shops had been rebuilt in Miramshah.
They said the main issue was that the army, the political administration, Khyber Pakhtukhaw`s governor office and the federal government were blaming each other for `gobbling up` foreign and local aid meant for IDPs.