Members of the Madakhel tribe from North Waziristan held a protest in front of the Bannu Press Club, demanding the government’s assurance of the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
They also called for the reinstatement of allowances per family and the resolution of other pressing issues. Should their demands remain unmet, they threatened to initiate a sit-in protest in front of the Temporary Displaced Persons’ (TDP) camp on Tuesday.
The demonstration saw the active participation of numerous victims, with Malik Rehmat Ghulam Wazir, the head of the Victims Committee, leading the gathering. Protesters carried placards and banners bearing their demands.
Speaking to the assembled crowd, Malik Rehmat Ghulam Wazir and other speakers expressed their frustration at enduring a decade of displacement. They highlighted that they were uprooted from their homes and communities as a consequence of the 2014 anti-terror operation in North Waziristan, subsequently leading a life as IDPs. The government had previously provided a subsidy of Rs 20,000 per family, but this support has since been discontinued, making it increasingly challenging for them to cope with the current era of inflation. Despite repeatedly voicing their concerns to the relevant authorities and staging protests, their pleas have gone unanswered.
Furthermore, they drew attention to the abrupt cancellation of aid funds for 1,700 Madakhel Saidgai families without a clear justification. Additionally, the aid funds for 18,000 families have been withheld for the past two months.
The protesters demanded the restoration of mobile SIM aid and urged swift action for the return of the IDPs. They warned that the scope of their protest would expand if their demands continued to be ignored.