Court asks centre to fund IDPs’ care
PESHAWAR, Nov 21: A bench of Peshawar High Court here on Wednesday expressed displeasure over non-provision of funds by the federal government for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from tribal areas.
The bench directed the finance division to release handsome amount to Fata Civil Secretariat within a week so that it could be utilised on provision of facilities to the displaced persons in different camps.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth observed that it was the prime minister on whose order armed forces were called in aid of civil power in tribal areas, therefore the federal government could not avoid to discharge its legal obligation of looking after the IDPs.
The PHC chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the issue in April this year and issued several directives to Provincial Disaster Management Authority and subsequently to FDMA to provide all required facilities to the IDPs at Jalozai camp till their return to their areas of origin.
Few weeks ago the court had taken notice of sharing the responsibility of the IDPs mainly by PDMA and directed FDMA that they should share the burden with the provincial government.
The bench observed that millions of people got displaced and they had to take shelter in Peshawar, Nowshera and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the provincial government had been facing the brunt of obligations of the IDPs.
The bench maintained that under the constitution it was the duty of state and on top of it that of the federal government to come to the rescue of its citizens when they were in trouble. The bench ordered that the finance division should provide funds on regular and long term basis. The court directed that copies of its order should also be sent to the principal secretaries of the prime minister and president so that they could discharge their obligation.
The bench also raised the issue of future general elections in tribal areas and directed that the IDPs should be provided facilities to exercise their right of franchise in the camps where they had taken shelter.
The court directed chief of Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) Asghar Ali and additional advocate general, Naveed Akhter, to contact provincial election commissioner and to arrange on war footing the casting of vote for IDPs in their notified camps where they were now housed.The bench referred to certain news items that electricity supply to Jalozai camp was disconnected owing to non-payment of dues. The chief coordinator of PDMA, Faiz Mohammad Khan, said that provincial government had so far paid Rs40 million on account of electricity provision and charges that were applicable till Oct 31.
Advocate Malik Mujtaba appeared for Fata Civil Secretariat and said that they did not have any budget provided by the federal government for the IDPs. He added that they had written to the federal government but so far it had not released any fund.
The court also directed the additional advocate general to ensure the provision of anti-rabies vaccine in the camp. The AAG said that the vaccine could not be maintained at the camp but were available in the nearby health facilities at Pabbi town.