Security bars many displaced to return to Swat

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Peshawar, July 14 (ANI): Amidst fear and confusion, the repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) belonging to Swat and other parts of Malakand division started from Jalozai Camp, Nowshera, and two other camps in Charsadda.

However, according to other reports, the volume of the return was very low mainly due to security restrictions.

The first convoy of IDPs entered Swat Valley after a journey of around six hours. The passengers were checked time and again at several checkpoints on their way to Landaki.

No one was allowed either to embark or disembark from the buses during the journey. The civil and military authorities, however, distributed water, juices and biscuits amongst the passengers. At different points, packets of food and drinks were also distributed amongst the returning IDPs.

On their arrival at Landaki, the gateway to Swat Valley, the IDPs were welcomed by the NWFP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Provincial Forest Minister Wajid Ali Khan and MPA Sher Shah Khan.

The convoys of IDPs were escorted by contingents of the security forces. Curfew was imposed in several cities and towns of Malakand Agency to ensure safety and security of the IDPs.

The NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti inaugurated the repatriation process of IDPs by seeing off the dwellers of Palosa Camp in Charsadda, The Nation reported.

On the first day of repatriation phase-1, 108 families from Jalozai and 96 families from Palosa and Salim Sugar Mills Camp, Charsadda, returned to their homes.

The repatriation phase-1 is focused on the returning home of IDPs who are residing in camps whereas in the next phases, the displaced persons residing in schools and other rented and gifted houses would be repatriated.

Seeing off the IDPs at Charsadda, the NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti reaffirmed government's stance of continuing assistance to these people at their hometowns and villages.

The NWFP Chief Minister appreciated the contribution of IDPs in the elimination of terrorists and militants and said, "They fought a war for the survival of the country in particular and the rest of the world in general." (ANI)

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