ISLAMABAD - Demanding early return of the IDPs to their homes in an honourable way, grand tribal jirga on Saturday demanded the government take the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb to its logical conclusion swiftly and involve tribal elders in deciding the fate and future of the people of these restive areas.

In a joint communiqué issued on the conclusion of the grand tribal jirga, sponsored by JUI-F and attended by over 2,000 participants from various religious and political parties, tribal elders and people from every walk of life, demanded grant of powers to the people of the tribal areas to decide their fate.

In daylong deliberations, scores of suggestions and proposals came from the participants representing different shades of life to bring a durable peace to the areas with a consensus on the point to empower the tribal people to decide their fate.

In the joint communiqué the tribal jirga also demanded a comprehensive package for compensation to the heirs of the martyrs as well as for damages to property, treatment of the injured and restoration of the damaged infrastructure in the tribal areas. It was stressed in the communiqué to establish medical and engineering colleges and other technical training institutions in Fata to bring them on a par with developed areas of the country.

The grand political jirga also demanded immediate revocation of “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation” and other draconian laws in vogue in these areas and introduction of laws to strengthen the institution of jirga.

The jirga, held at the Convention Centre, was addressed by JUI-F Amir Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party President Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, PkMAP President Mahmood Khan Achakzai, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, Shahji Gul Afridi, Senator Saleh Shah, Malik Khan Marjan and tribal elders and maliks representing various clans and areas.

In his address to the participants, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the war had been imposed on Fata by the United States, adding Washington had sinister designs against the Muslim Ummah and developing countries. “Whatever is being witnessed in the Arab world and Middle East is beginning of geographical division,” he said adding this war was not needed by the Muslim Ummah.

He further said during every operation it was claimed that terrorists had been eliminated and the area had been cleared, but this practice should cease now and the people of these areas should be told truth. He further said this game of blood and bullet must end now and the people of the tribal areas should be given chance to bring peace to the restive areas on their own for which they needed to be empowered to do so.

He further proposed that the people of the tribal areas should be given role in bringing peace to their areas and hoped the government would pay heed to their proposals.

He urged the government to make every possible effort to reduce the sufferings of the IDPs from North Waziristan besides taking concrete steps to send them to their homes at the earliest.

Mahmood Khan Achakzai demanded grant of constitutional rights to the tribal people, end to FCR and right to vote to them. He also demanded a province from Bajaur to South Waziristan. He asserted lawlessness in Fata impacts Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, so there should be no interference in Fata.

He questioned how Uzbeks, Tajik and Chechens came to the tribal areas, advising the government to talk to their countries for their repatriation. Achakzai said the tribal people should be given all the rights like Saraikis, Punjabis, Sindhis and others.

He said hundreds of people were killed during attacks on Asfandyar Wali Khan, Fazlur Rehman and Aftab Khan Sherpao, but there was no clue to the perpetrators.

ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan said the sit-ins at D-Chowk were staged to divert the attention of the world from the sufferings of the NWA IDPs. He added the federal and provincial governments ignored the IDPs and focused on the tug of war for power.

Asfandyar Wali said the tribal people should be taken on board to bring peace to the tribal areas. He said the displaced families should be allowed to go back to the areas cleared of militants.

He said no camp was set up for the people displaced by Khyber-I operation and they are being told to make their own arrangements. He questioned why the houses were got vacated and then bombed. He said the tribal people should be sent to the areas which had been cleared. He called for taking the tribal elders into confidence for peace in the tribal areas.

Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said the political situation had put the tribal issue on the back burner. He said tribal elders were targeted under a conspiracy to make the people leaderless.

Tribal jirga chairman Malik Shahnawaz Khan said tribes were Pakistan’s soldiers who were defending the frontiers of the country without any demand or desire. He appealed to the government to resolve the tribal issue through dialogue and make arrangements for the return of the IDPs to their homes.

The jirga was also addressed by Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Malik Khan Marjan Utmanzai and Badshah Khan. They said they had given sacrifices for Pakistan and would continue to do so in the future. They warned they could also stage sit-ins for the rights of the tribal people.