Pakistan officials say military offensive displaces over 5,72,000 people

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Military offensive displaces over 5 lac
Islamabad, July 4: Over 5,72,000 people have been displaced in Pakistan military's offensive against Taliban in the restive North Waziristan province, an official said today.

"The number of displaced people registered so far is 5,72,5295. They belong to 44,600 families," Commissioner of Bannu Syed Mohsin Ali said. He said government has set up special registration point for these people.

The government is providing help in a well-organised manner to the main city of Bannu where displaced are being kept, Ali added. Ali said that "Financial support of Rs 12,000 per family has already been given to 28,000 families and soon we will begin the second phase of more cash support and each family will be given another Rs 28,000."

Total cash support was enhanced to Rs 40,000 after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the displaced last month. More than 70 per cent of the displaced people were provided with the food and other essential items, military spokesman in Bannu Brigadier Aftab said. "So far 40,000 families have received ration," he said.

The Pakistan government had tried to negotiate a peace deal with the banned militant group to find a solution to the decade-long insurgency that has claimed over 40,000 lives. But peace talks failed and after a series of terror attacks, including one on Karachi international airport.

The army launched operation "Zarb-e-Azb" on June 15, an all out assault against local and foreign militants linked to al-Qaeda. So far a total of 386 militants and 19 soldiers have been killed in the offensive. The operation is slowly moving due to Ramadan and scorching summer as military is clearing the areas.

A military official said that so far major parts of Miranshah town have been cleared. The militants have not posed any major challenge to the army and there are reports that most of them have fled to Afghanistan.


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