ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged unlimited funds for support and sustenance of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the ongoing military operation against terrorists in the North Waziristan tribal region.
The PM said his government would work with the military and provide all possible resources for support and rehabilitation of the affected, as he visited camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bannu on Friday.
The number of displaced people is now officially said to be 456,292 and is likely to go beyond half a million in the weeks ahead. The prime minister was received by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Khalid Rabbani at the helipad.
Addressing the IDPs, the premier announced to increase the assistance amount to Rs40,000 per family during the month of Ramazan. He acknowledged that it was not easy for people to evacuate their homes but added that the army and the civilian government would continue combined efforts to alleviate the problems faced by the people of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) due to operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“We realise that this is a very difficult stage for all of you and we are working day in and day out to ease your difficulties... The IDPs are sacrificing their today for a better tomorrow of the country and as result of their sacrifices the curse of terrorism will be rooted out from Pakistan, Insha Allah.”
PM Nawaz appreciated the army officers and jawans for their sacrifices and commitment for the national cause. “Army is giving their lives and salaries for IDPs, and for this they deserve praise from the whole nation. Insha Allah, terrorism will be banished and Pakistan will prosper.” He said the entire nation was united against the menace of terrorism and militancy.
The prime minister told the IDPs, “We are with you in this difficult time and for this purpose (support and rehabilitation) we have put in force all of our resources”.
“The government would spend maximum funds for IDPs, even if the amount is in billions or trillions,” he promised.
The PM announced that an additional amount of Rs20,000/ month would be given to each family during the month of Ramazan. He said that allowance of Rs12,000 per month, apart from Rs3,000 per month house rent and Rs 5,000 per month food allowance, are already being given to each dislocated family. So the IDPs would be getting Rs40,000 for the month of Ramazan, he said. “This is no favour but only the duty of this government and the right of the IDPs.”
The premier further said medical dispensaries will soon be installed where free treatment and medicines will be available. He said that the government had already made arrangements even to provide fodder, grass and feed for the livestock of the IDPs. Pak Army will arrange polio vaccinations, he said.
The PM also appraised the gathering about the future developmental plans in the affected area. “We are also planning and analysing for the reconstruction of the effected houses in the area of operation in order to rehabilitate the IDPs once the operation is over. We are simultaneously planning to develop the Fata region with roads, houses, water and sanitation facilities, and other civic amenities so that the standard of life becomes at par with that is in the rest of the country.” He also distributed relief goods and food packages amongst the IDPs.
On the occasion, military officials gave briefing to the prime minister on the arrangements made for the IDPs at the relief camps. Major General Akhtar Jamil led the briefing. The PM also met the soldiers and officers of the Pakistan Army.
On the occasion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, KPK CM Pervez Khattak, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and State Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch were present. The PM had also extended an invitation to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to accompany him during this visit, but Khan excused citing his party’s upcoming Bahawalpur rally as the reason.