Khyber IDPs seek end to operation
PESHAWAR, Jan 30: Internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Khyber Agency on Monday staged a sit-in outside Governor`s House on Sher Shah Suri Road here against the ongoing military operation in their areas and warned that they would converge outside Parliament House in Islamabad for stage a sit-in if the offensive wasn`t halted without delay.
IDPs, who were called in by Tehrik-i-Mutasireen Khyber Agency (movement of Khyber Agency operation`s victims), reached the Peshawar Press Club in processions from different parts of the province, including Jalozai, and later marched towards the Governor`s House amidst sloganeering against the government.
They also demanded early registration of all displaced persons and provision of food and necessary non-food items to them.
Protestors were jointly led by chairman of the movement Shah Faisal Afridi, president of Khyber Union of Journalists Haris Khan, former Khyber Agency councilor Sohbat Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Ikhtiyar Badshah Afridi, local business leader Maqbali Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Sohail Khan. They criticised the government for ignoring Khyber Agency IDPs in cold weather and said displaced persons were without basic facilities of life.
IDP leaders urged the government to immediately stop the operation in their agency, saying its ultimate sufferers were poor people. They said the area had been under curfew for the last 30 months paralysing people`s life and forcing them into deserting their houses.
IDP leaders said the delicate security situation had led to the closure of the main Bara Bazaar to the suffering of local businessmen. They demanded announcement of a financial package by the government for rehabilitation and reconstruction operations in their areas.
IDP leaders said durable peace in Khyber Agency was possible only through dialogue and therefore, the government should speak to all stakeholders to sort out the matter. They called for early resumption of IDPs` registration at Jalozai camp, saying displaced persons direly needed food and non-food items.
IDP leaders demanded early end to Khyber Agency military operation and said under current circumstances, people couldn`t return to homes. They also demanded free treatment of the injured and compensation of families who had lost their members to the offensive.
Earlier, district coordination officer of Peshawar Siraj Ahmad Khan showed up and asked protestors to avoid a march on the Governor`s House. However, they were later allowed to proceed as they promised not to disturb peace. The protest caused massive traffic jam on Sher Shah Suri Road as one of its lanes remained blocked for quite some time. —By Ali Hazrat Bacha