No money to compensate militancy-hit tribesmen
By Zulfiqar Ali
PESHAWAR, Oct 13: Although the scourge of militancy has resulted in the destruction of 58,312 houses in three tribal agencies of Fata, yet the question about compensation to the affected families is still unanswered.
A baseline survey conducted by Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) in South Waziristan, Orakzai and Kurram agencies shows that reconstruction of the damaged private houses requires approximately Rs17 billion. The FDMA has conducted door-todoor survey to assess damage in the militancy-stricken areas of the three agencies.
An official said that FDMA had approached the federal government and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide funds for the housing compensation project in three tribal agencies.
`The authority has yet to receive an affirmative response from any of them,` the official said, adding that request about release of funds for damaged houses had been pending with the centre for the last two months.
If the funds were released, the authority would pay Rs400,000 for completely damaged house and Rs160,000 for partially damaged house.
The federal government, USAID and other foreign donor agencies had paid compensation for the damaged houses in Swat, Bajaur Agency and parts of Mohmand Agency at the rate of Rs400,000 for fully damaged and Rs160,000 for partially damaged house. `Like Swat, Bajaur and Mohmand, the government is bound to pay housing compensation to the people in these three agencies,` said another senior official. He added that internally displaced persons had made makeshift arrangements for shelter after returning to their areas.
IDPs from Malakand division including Swat district were sent back to their area within three months after completion of military operation in May 2009 and the returning people were compensated. Unlike Malakand, officials said, displacement from South Waziristan and Orakzai agencies started in 2008 and even after lapse of five years they had yet to return to their homes. Displacement from central subdivision of Kurram was initiated in 2011.
Militancy and subsequent military operations to flush out militants and establish state`s writ caused widespread damaged to public and private properties in Fata.
Officials said that total 391,627 families had displaced from Fata during the course of action of which 151,287 families had returned to different tribal agencies since government de-notify those areas as conflict zones.
The survey has declared that 31,902 are completely damaged and 26,410 are partially damaged in South Waziristan, Orakzai and Kurram agencies. Officials said that 39,902 displaced families, who had returned to the de-notified areas in those three tribal agencies, needed compensation. They said that one of the major factors in the slow return of IDPs was non-payment of compensation money.
The area dominated by Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan where security forces had launched operation against banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in mid-2009 is the most affected area where number of damaged houses is 27,107 followed by Orakzai with 22,965 damaged houses.
In Kurram Agency, the survey was conducted only in central subdivision where total 8,240 houses had been declared completely or partially damaged. The upper and lower subdivisions of Kurram, which witnessed the worst sectarian clashes between 2007 and 2008, had not been included in the baseline survey.
The government had confirmed involvement of various militant outfits including TTP in the violence escalated in Kurram valley. According to official statistics, over 3,000 houses had been destroyed completely in sectarian clashes in upper and lower Kurram.
The survey also reported that 1,917 residential compounds had been declared either fully or partially damaged in parts of Mohmand Agency and affected families had not been compensated so far.
Similarly damage need assessment survey in militants-infested Khyber Agency has not been conducted. The National Database and Registration Authority`s verified data shows that 82,907 families were displaced from Khyber Agency. It is the highest number of IDPs from a tribal region in the entire Fata.