Habib-ur-Rehman is a college student, who fled his village Ladha due to the military operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2009 and shifted to Dera Ismail Khan, a nearby town of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Like the rest of 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) his family also suffered. He used to go daily to the government offices in D. I. Khan and request for support but they were never given any aid allocated for the IDPs. “Every time when we demand authorities at the ration centres, they refused to help us,” Habib told.
South Waziristan Agency, a unit of Federally Administered Tribal Area is one of the region most affected by war on terror after 9/11. Wazirs and Mehsuds are the two main tribes living in South Waziristan. Mehsuds are mostly living at the mountain tops of the valley. In winter when the the mountains covered with the snow, the Mehsuds descending from the mountains move to the plain areas of district Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, adjacent to South Waziristan. It was their common practice for centuries. Most of the Mehsuds families have temporary houses in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan and have their second address for summer times in both districts on their national identity cards.
“This double address has become a serious issue for Mehsuds now as the authorities are not considering them as IDPs. The authorities are now of the opinion that as we do have a house outside South Waziristan so we are not entitled to the aid and support allocated for internally displaced persons.” Arbab Khan, a permanent resident of Dwatoi now living a displaced life in D.I.Khan explained the issue.
Like, college student Habib ur Rehman’s family, there 59559 internally displaced other families who are deprived of the IDPs funds for the last 9 years and most of them live in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan (DIK).
A local officer of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA), Syed Umar Mehsud told Tribal Post that according to National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) these families have houses in the settle areas like Tank and DIK. “They are not categorized as IDPs by the government because they are not displaced due to the military operation of 2009,” he clarified. “A person who has different permanent and present addresses on his/her computerized national identity card (CNIC) will not be given the aid, it’s a rule,” Umar explained. “These tribesmen have houses and other properties here in Tank, DIK and other settle areas.” He maintained.
According the FDMA, 48,062 families have been registered as the IDPs families while 59,559 families not registered due to the issue of ‘double’ addresses on their CNICs. These families have not received any relief from the government yet as claimed by the tribesmen.
Though unregistered families are not categorized as IDPs officially by the government but they were given financial support and ration for the last 9 years on humanitarian grounds.
According to the FDMA data, 45% families are registered and 55% unregistered. Syed Umar told that about 41000 families were verified and registered out of 69000 and 28000 families were rejected to consider as IDPs in 2009.
Arbab Khan, who is suffering from this double address told The Tribal Post, “Forget about unregistered IDPs, the registered ones are also waiting to receive any aid from government,” he claimed, “Government issued Sada-i-Aman cards (ATM) to the registered IDPs but there is no credit in the associated bank accounts. Government has announced Rs. 4,00,000 as compensation for each destroyed house but most of them have not received it yet,” he said, “Actually our houses were of worth more than 4,00,000 each.”
He demanded that government should not differentiate among them, just because that they have double addresses on their CNICs. “We all are the victims, our permanent houses were destroyed and our children were killed.” Arbab complained.
These internally displaced families want to turn back to their homes but their homes are demolished and they cannot reconstruct their house to live in.
Rustam Shah, owner of a private school in DIK and his eight other family members have also different present and permanent addresses on their CNICs. He is graduated from National Textile University Faisalabad. “We lived in a rent-house for 5 years in D.I.Khan as IDPs but couldn’t get registered because of the double address issue,” he told “we want to get back into our villages but we can’t bear the losses and are not able to rebuild our properties. Due the issue our status in official documents is not entitled to get aid so government deny our rights.”
Several families returned to their villages but came back to Tank and D.I.Khan when they found their houses destroyed.
Adam Khan is another IDP who belongs to Ladha Tehsil of South Waziristan. He also left his village due to military offensives in 2009.
“We have returned to our village and authorities have completed survey of our destroyed houses but no compensation has been given for reconstruction yet.” He told The Tribal Post.
Adam Khan came back to D.I.Khan because he was not compensated. “My whole town seemed to me a ghost town. There is destruction everywhere. I need financial help to reconstruct my house and live their easily,” he added.
Government has announced Rs. 4,00,000 grant for reconstruction of the damaged houses of the IDPs but Mehsud tribesmen say that the amount is not enough to rebuild their houses.
A social worker of the Mehsud area Saeed Anwar thinks that government did a lot of paper work and most of the rehabilitation is done just on papers. “Mehsud tribe has a lot of infrastructure for decades which was destroyed in months in the military operations.”
He said that many families went back to their villages but they faced lots of hurdles there.
“They cannot live there after they return. Their houses were demolished, agriculture fields were devastated and roads were damaged. No one would wish to live there,” he stated.
“We have protested over this issue of double addresses on CNIC. We appealed in several meeting with SAFRON and parliamentarians to help those deprived IDPs but they are still deprived of any help,” he added “About 29 thousand families were rejected for the registration.”
A tribal elder Malik Hassan who belongs to Kotkai village of Mehsud area, said that he is also one of those deprived IDPs who were not considered as IDPs. “Displacement is itself an injustice but it’s more cruelty we are not considered as IDPs.”
He said “Like the registered IDPs our houses were also demolished in the operation. When registration started, our people travel from far away areas and stayed here in hotels but when they went for registration their claims were rejected.”
Coordinator FDMA South Waziristan Syed Umar said “Those unregistered IDPs have been included in the survey of destroyed properties and other development works, so we can support them after they return home.”
“In government schemes, of course, the registered IDPs are preferred,” Umar said.