PESHAWAR - The ongoing Azadi March of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in Islamabad not only added to the miseries of internally displaced families of North Waziristan Agency but it also diverted the attention of the government and donor agencies from managing the peaceful repatriation of IDPs to their respective villages.

The internally displaced families living in various areas in Bannu told The Nation that the ongoing 'Azadi and Inqibal Marches' have badly affected the routine facilities being provided to them. They said that earlier military and civilian leadership were completely united to facilitate the NWA's IDPs but after the operation the attention of the government has been diverted to political issues.

The IDPs said they are also going to hold long march in Islamabad for provision of basic facilities to them and their peaceful repatriation. They said this was not the right time for conducting long march, as the entire nation should focus on the problems being faced by the IDPs. Some of internally displaced families of Edak tribe trapped in Pir Kalay area where security forces are not allowing relief goods at Seedgi Check Post. The residents said that around 30,000 families of Edak tribe migrated from their areas after the assurance of the government that they would be repatriated within two days but despite the passage of several days they were neither compensated nor they were provided any relief goods. The families of Edak tribe have appealed to the agency administration, governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take steps for their facilitation.

They said that on self-help basis they are carrying edible items to Pir Kalay area but security forces have banned the entry near Saidgi Check Post due to security concerns.

Another tribal elders ef Haji Sher Muhammad also criticised the PTI's Azadi March and said that this is not the time for holding marches but it is time to facilitate the repatriation of IDPs. He said they will not stay here for years and the government should take steps to repatriate them to the clear areas of NWA.

He expressed concern over giving deadline to Waziristan's IDPs to vacate government schools' buildings by August 31. He said that internally uprooted families were not yet provided alternative places to take shelter but they were being directed to vacate the schools' buildings, which is a sheer injustice with the militancy-hit people. They warned to hold long march towards Islamabad against the forcible expulsion of dislocated families from government schools' buildings.

Sher Muhammad said that a large number of families fled from their respective hometowns in wake of the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan Agency and compelled to take shelter in Bannu, D.I.Khan and other parts of the province. He said the displaced families were facing numerous difficulties and lack of basic facilities at makeshift camps. But, he said, now the deadline given to IDPs to vacate government schools' building by the end of this month was very shocking. The tribesmen, he said, have always been rendered numerous sacrifices for the protection of frontiers of the state. He urged upon the government to take practical steps to ease their miseries instead of creating more difficulties for them.