PRESIDENT Asif Zardari's statement that each and every internally displaced family and person will be rehabilitated with honour and dignity, is welcome. So is his instruction to the government to immediately release Rs 500 million from the Baitul Maal fund for those living in makeshift camps in the NWFP. The President issued these orders at a meeting with a delegation of parliamentarians from Malakand who expressed their reservations about a meagre amount of Rs 25,000 earlier promised for each displaced family. The announcement coincided with a go-ahead from the government to the IDPs from Buner to return to their homes, with the Interior Ministry also directing the officials serving in the district to resume their duties. That the civil administration would start functioning immediately in the areas already cleared of the militants would give hope to the people coming back from the camps that their grievances would be redressed. It would also put to rest the rumours that those evacuated from the troubled region, after the Army had launched the operation almost a month ago, would stay in the camps indefinitely. The assurance came from the highest level with a person no less than President Zardari telling a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday that the IDPs would return to their homes sooner rather than later and their properties, damaged or destroyed, would be repaired and rebuilt by the government. The Army's success in regaining the control of Mingora marks a significant milestone but it is disturbing to find the people living there suffering severe hardships without sufficient water, electricity, gas and food for over a month. During curfew relaxation for six hours on Sunday, there was hardly any transport available to the people who wanted to reach the camps set-up in Mardan and Swabi. There is no denying the fact that the ongoing operation has to be pursued to its logical end but it is equally important to focus on the reconstruction phase once the government is through with the resettlement issue in the areas that have so far been declared safe for the return of the IDPs. This includes reconstruction of the infrastructure destroyed by militants, the proper functioning of government hospitals and educational institutions and repair of the communication network. The sooner the government ensures basic amenities to the people returning to their homes, the quicker the crisis caused by the largest ever internal displacement of the country's history would be resolved. There is also a need to pursue foreign donors to fulfill pledges of assistance they had made for the affected people.