LAHORE - Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch on Wednesday said the military operation would not only be carried out in North Waziristan but also in all the seven tribal agencies, Karachi and Lahore.
Speaking to media persons after participating in a programme on internally displaced persons (IDPs) here, Abdul Qadir Baloch said secrecy and surprise was essential in the military operation.
He said if the government had started evacuating the people from North Waziristan before, it would have disclosed the launch of the military action.
He sought business community’s help for providing pedestal fans, water coolers and tents for around one million IDPs for their survival in this hot and humid weather.
Earlier, talking to the business community at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said Zarb-e-Azb was a bigger and difficult war than those of 1965 and 1971, so the entire nation would have to show solidarity with their displaced brothers and sisters (IDPs).
The minister said the ongoing war was very difficult in the sense that the enemy was from within while in the wars of 1965 and 1971 the targets were very clear and out of the border.
The internally displaced persons (IDPs), he said, were national heroes and the government and the nation valued their sacrifices. He said the federal government was providing all possible facilities to the IDPs with the coordination of Pakistan Army and local administration, adding the government had deputed medical teams from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and the Punjab government to provide medical facilities to the IDPs.
Qadir Baloch said that ration had been provided to 100,000 IDPs’ families and each food packet contained 100kg commodities, while the federal government had allocated Rs 2 billion for cash grants to the IDPs and more would be provided as soon as this amount was exhausted. He said Rs 1 billion was given by Pakistan Army in Bannu for providing various facilities and 60,000 metric tons of wheat worth Rs 2.28 billion donated by World Food Programme for distribution among the IDPs.
The minister said the federal government was also providing cash grants to each family of IDPs, including Rs 12,000 per month as subsistence allowance, Rs 5,000 one time for non-food items and Rs 20,000 one time as Ramazan package. He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was providing cash grants, including Rs 3,000 per month as house rent allowance and Rs 5,000 one time as Ramazan package.
Baloch said the Punjab government was also providing a monthly cash grant of Rs 7,000 to each family. He asserted that after the holy month of Ramazan combined monthly grant per family by the three governments would be Rs 22,000.
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Engineer Sohail Lashari presented the address of welcome and Vice President Kashif Anwar also spoke on the occasion.
Engineer Sohail Lashari, in his address of welcome, said the business community would extend every possible help to the IDPs, adding they were Pakistanis and would not be left alone in this hour of need.
He said the business community saluted the armed forces for their sacrifices for the cause of peace in this country. He said that at a meeting he had assured Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would extend maximum financial support to the IDPs in next few days.