By: Khitab Gul Orakzai
As a result of military operation in Orakzai Agency in April 2010, more than 0.2 million people have been displaced from the agency. Where the operation is getting prolonged, the plight of Orakzai IDPs is becoming deeper. Majority of Orakzai IDPs are settled in Hangu and Kohat districts.
Each month, International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is providing food ration to almost 32,000 internally migrated families who are now resided in Hangu. Some 13,000 Orakzai IDP families in Kohat, are assisted by World Food Program. Now most of the IDPs from Kohat are returned to their hometowns as security situation has improved in the lower part of the agency.
The IDPs from Upper Orakzai are still waiting for their turn to safely resume their normal life but they are quite pessimistic about the situation as fear and uncertainty still looms over them.
FRC correspondent in Hangu confirmed that there are handsome amount of IDPs who are unable to get ration and instead being looted for their registration by fake representatives of ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent Society, who jointly are assisting IDPs.
The unregistered IDPs complained that the procedure of IDPs’ registration is quite confusing. ‘We don’t know where to go for registration, there is no responsible office for it. We travel to distribution point, but no one listen to us there, we resort to office but they don’t open the doors of the office and pretend that a team will come to your village for registration. For sure teams, sometimes come for 2-3 hours to someone’s Hujra but goes back without even informing the IDPs. If you miss the team once, you have to wait for 4 months for your turn.’ An IDP told FRC researcher in a remote village in Hangu.
“I give 2000 rupees to a man who had pledged me for registration and issuance of card for food ration but soon he disappeared after looting score others like me,” another IDP told.
Some IDPs are confronted with the dilemma of proving their identity as IDP. FRC researcher founded that there are plenty of IDPs who have their NI cards on Hangu district but they were permanently living in Orakzai Agency. Some are those who have double addresses on their CNIC, one of Hangu and other of Orakzai Agency, such like card holders are bluntly denied of registration for ration.
It was further revealed that majority of IDPs prefer to live in rented houses and avoid to reside in IDP camp. The main reason behind it, observed was cultural as there is no proper arrangement of purdah which tribesmen usually practice rigidly.
The extremely poor section of the migrated population is resorting to the lonely Togh Sarai IDP camp in the district, which is running by CERD a local NGO and funded by UNHCR. Among 1587 families only 499 are left in the camp while others have either returned to their hometowns or they have managed to get rented houses in Hangu.
Talking to the home-returned IDPs in lower Orakzai Agency, FRC correspondent came to know that people are not happy with the security situation and the economic assistance for which they were pledged by the government officials.
“Many houses are damaged either by Army shelling or the devastating monsoon rains of August 2010. Our cattle are missing and many are fled to jungles and not been returning to houses. The security situation is uncertain and no economic activity is possible to be resumed,” a repatriated IDP in lower Orakzai told FRC.
It is notable that Orakzai people were scared of militants. Besides security issues and other multiple problems the IDPs prefer to partially pull out from Hangu so that their repatriated members of family may judge the exact situation in their respective villages in Orakzai Agency.