PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan said on Friday that instead of tempting displaced families from North Waziristan Agency, it would have been much better if the Afghan government focused its energies on honourable repatriation of about two million Afghan refugees presently living in Pakistan for the last several decades.

"Divert your resources and energies towards the repatriation of Afghans, who have been living in Pakistan since long as refugees. Help your own people in sending them back to their motherland, as their repatriation will relieve economic and infrastructural burden on our country," the governor said this while talking to a group of journalists met him at the Governor House.

Replying to a query about establishment of camps and financial assistance being offered by the Afghan government for the IDPs from North Waziristan Agency, he said, "We feel happy that Afghanistan has now been able to facilitate people from neighbouring countries. However, had not it been better, if it had had the same offer for those two million Afghan refugees presently living in Pakistan," he questioned. "The Afghan government should consume it resources on the repatriation and rehabilitation of its own people," the governor said, adding, "The repatriation of Afghan refugees should be initiated from Pakistan. Our infrastructure and economy have been badly damaged just because of these refugees."  He said this is the responsibility of Pakistan to ask Afghan government to make arrangements for sending Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan.

As far as displaced families are concerned, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said that Pakistanis despite ahead with numerous challenges were capable to cope bravely with this crisis too. The entire nation was standing side by side with armed forces and those displaced due to military operation "Zerb-e-Azab" in North Waziristan agency, he added.

Following the directives issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, federal and provincial governments and Pakistan Army were taking every step to cater to huge exodus of displaced persons. When asked about the possibilities of collateral damages in the ongoing operation in Waziristan, he categorically rejected the impression and added that local population was given adequate time to migrate to safer places before launching the operation.

"We are hearing good news about the operation as it is progressing successfully. It is a big operation. It is a begging of the end.  If we have people support, we will win it. If tribal people stop providing shelter to non-locals, we will eliminate this menace at all," he added. "We hope to complete the operation at the earliest possible so that the local population displaced could return to their native areas," he told the journalists.

He said that approximately two million people have left their homes. They have not only shifted to downtowns of the province but many of them have also taken shelter in neighbouring Orakzai and Kurram Agencies. He said owing to militancy, government buildings, schools, hospitals and other installations have been destroyed completely.

"International community should help us. It is a big human tragedy. We will need rehabilitation of displaced people as well as reconstruction of damaged infrastructure. The present government was striving hard to restore peace, send the IDPs back to their homes and start a real process and development in the region," the governor added.

Talking about reforms and future scenario in FATA, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said that fragmented efforts were made in the past to introduce reforms in FATA but they ended in fiasco due to lack of proper homework. "Soon after taking charge as a governor, I first of all set up the FATA Reforms Commission so that to recommend comprehensive reforms plan for tribal areas aligned with and reflecting tribal norms and aspirations of tribal people," he explained.

Moreover, he said the present government was planning to ensure border management system at Torkham border with Afghanistan. "These are the preliminary recommendations, so it will take time but I am sure it will bring a new era of progress and development in this ever-neglected tribal areas," he concluded.