Pak govt. must ensure security of Swat displaced before asking them to return: UN

Published: Thursday, July 9, 2009, 15:39 [IST]
 

Islamabad, July 9 (ANI): The United Nations (UN) has said that the Pakistan government must ensure the safety and security of all those people who have been displaced due to the military offensive in Swat and Malakand Divisions of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), before asking them to return to their homes in the valley.

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, who arrived here on a four day visit, said displaced people must not be forced to return to their homes, and added that the UN is concerned and trying hard to address the problems of over two million homeless people.

"We are trying to make sure people are not pushed to go home too quickly. Of course we have no wish for people to stay in camps or in host communities longer than necessary because it puts such a huge strain on everyone and on infrastructure. These are the balances we're trying to strike," Holmes said.

Talking to media persons after visiting a refugee camp in Mardan, he said the displaced people were at a "critical turning point" because the security forces have declared their operation in the valley successful and claimed that it is now safe for the people to return to their homeland.

"We are at a critical turning point when people may start to go home and may not. The conditions need to be right, that is the security needs to be right, the basic services need to be there," The News quoted Holmes, as saying.

UN officials are also worried about the education scenario in the troubled region, as over 3,700 schools remain occupied by the displaced people.

The new school session is beginning from September 1, but it is highly unlikely that the situation would improve by that time.(ANI)


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