The return of the families displaced by the Zarb-e-Azb military operation in tribal areas faces a bleak future. With the reconstruction phase in the war-torn areas proceeding at a snail’s pace and the government providing no information as to when it would be completed, there is little to hope regarding the fate of IDP’s.

It has been more than 18 months since tens of thousands of persons left their homes. With more than 40,000 families of North Waziristan and 30,000 families of South Waziristan stranded in Bannu, Kohat, Karak and Tank areas, apart from the displaced people of other tribal agencies- the authorities find it hard to repatriate the IDPs. The only development it sees is that the state has spinned the term IPD- they are now called ‘temporarily displaced persons’ (TDPs).

Interaction with officials of various departments looking after the TDPs reveals that the displaced people will not be able to return to their native homes in the year 2016 claiming the civil administration lacked the capacity to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure. They have also made it clear that the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has no role in rehabilitation, where the job is only being done collectively by UN agencies and departments working under the FATA Secretariat.

The government recently announced that nearly 40 per cent of the internally displaced persons in North Waziristan Agency have so far returned to their homes. This means nothing if there is no concrete rehabilitation. The IDPs cannot be rehabilitated until the authorities complete restoration of four sectors in the volatile region i.e. education, health, clean drinking water and electricity. Officials involved in overseeing the reconstruction phase have said that little progress has so far been made the up-gradation of all four.

The freezing winter ahead has multiplied the worries of thousands of families who have been spending their bitter nights in the hope of a better tomorrow. Some of the IDPs have been languishing at these camps for years now.

Information about the exact damage to the region during the almost 15 years of continuous war in the area has been scant, which is why the government has unlimited ability to flash its so-called achievements. The social fabric of North Waziristan will need to be rebuilt from scratch, but how and when is unpredictable.