ISLAMABAD - Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, former prime minister and PPP vice-chairman, has advised PM Nawaz Sharif to launch international humanitarian assistance appeal for reconstruction work in North Waziristan, as internally displaced persons (IDPs) will face hardship on their return after military operation.

"Prime Minister Sharif should now seek international humanitarian support for reconstruction in conflicted area of North Waziristan in order to facilitate around one million IDPs," said Gilani while talking to The Nation on Friday.

There is a need to involve United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for reconstruction in the area to facilitate around one million refugees on their return. "IDPs residing in Bannu as well as in Afghanistan will start returning after the operation and their hearts and minds can be won by providing them maximum facilities," said Gilani, adding that it would be difficult for the government to manage damages in the area and therefore humanitarian support should be sought.

The former PM said that he had also appealed to the international community and philanthropists to step forward and help the government for rehabilitation of flood victims in the past. "It is right time to seek their support so the reconstruction work could timely be started after the completion of military operation in North Waziristan," the PPP vice-chairman said.

Gilani also raised concerns over long absence of PM Sharif from Pakistan at a time when the country is facing different challenges. "Nawaz Sharif should have returned soon after performing Umrah due to difficult situation in the country...PML-N used to criticise Asif Ali Zardari on his foreign tours in PPP's era," he added.