ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch, while terming the ongoing war on terror in North Waziristan a war greater than those of 1965 and 1971, called upon the political parties to play their role in helping the displaced persons.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said there was no room for failure in the war against terrorism. He added elimination of terrorists and their sanctuaries was not a difficult task.
Abdul Qadir Baloch said the first major success in the ongoing battle against the scourge of terrorism would be the rehabilitation and return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their abodes. “So the entire nation should come forward and reach out to them for extending help,” he asserted.
Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch further said that terrorism caused a huge loss to the economy of the country, adding targeted crackdowns on criminals will be undertaken in major cities, including Karachi and Lahore. He said registration of one million IDPs had so far been completed while National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) had verified 50,000 families.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch cautioned that there could be targeted operations in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other major cities through police, Rangers and FC. He added the military could also participate in the operations if needed.
The federal minister was of the view that after the completion of the operation, it will at least take three months for return and rehabilitation of IDPs.
The minister said it was not difficult to eliminate the terrorists’ hideouts, but the real challenge was honourable return of the affected people to their homes.
The minister also urged the countrymen to play their role by taking an active part in relief activities for IDPs. However, he added, the government has ample resources to tackle this issue, no matter any person comes forward or not.
Federal Minister for State and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch denied that civilians were killed in last week’s air strikes conducted in Shawal valley in North Waziristan.
“There is a very small civil population in Shawal valley which has yet to be evacuated, but I assure you there were no reports of civilian casualties,” Baloch told a news conference in Islamabad.
He also said Mullah Fazaullah-led militants hiding in Afghanistan were planning attacks on the Bajaur tribal region. He added Pakistan Army would foil their plans of capturing Bajaur Agency.
He admitted the government had failed to mobilise the nation over the IDPs issue, but said they would be rehabilitated through local resources. He opined the total number of IDPs from North Waziristan could reach two million. He urged the nation to play its role by taking an active part in relief activities to win the hearts and minds of the IDPs.
Abdul qadir Baloch claimed the ongoing operation in North Waziristan was bigger than the wars of 1965 and 1971, and victory was the only option against the terrorists.
He reiterated that Pakistan is an investment paradise, but due to this menace, neither international investment is coming, nor are local investors ready to invest.
Earlier, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz chaired an inter-ministerial meeting to review the issue of rehabilitation of IDPs.
The Economic Affairs Division secretary gave a presentation, outlining various options based on past experience.
The representative of SAFRON told the meeting that FATA Secretariat was already in the process of preparing a damage-assessment report, on the basis of which needs in terms of rehabilitation and reconstruction would be assessment.
The meeting was attended among others by the Economic Affairs Division Secretary, the NDMA chairman, representatives of SAFRON and the Military Operations Directorate.