BARA: District Police Officer (DPO) Khyber tribal district Dr Muhammad Iqbal Khan on Tuesday participated in the sit-in of affectees of Tirah, Kokikhel.

During his address to the sit-in participants, the DPO said police shares the grief and happiness of the Kokikhel tribesmen. He urged the sit-in participants to set up a committee of representatives to hold negotiations with the civil and military leadership after Eidul Azha regarding the procedure of repatriation of affected people to their homes and their rehabilitation.

“We will stand by you as and when needed. We will be with you till your genuine problems are addressed. We will try our best to resolve your problems as soon as possible,” the Khyber police chief assured the protesting tribesmen.

The protesting Kokikhel tribesmen thanked the district police chief for participating in their sit-in and his assurances about resolution of problems.

The people belonging to Kokikhel tribe, who had shifted to Jamrud from Tirah, Rajgal, due to security concerns, have once again started protests and Jirgas for acceptance of their demands. A sit-in of Kokikhel tribesmen is continuing near Bab-e-Khyber for the last several days.

People of Kokikhel tribe migrated from their areas after the 2011 operation, but they did not get the status of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) or other privileges even after nine years of displacement.

One of the problems with Kokikhel tribespeople is that most of them have made computerised national identity cards (CNICs) with the address of Jamrud. The second reason is that the government did not ask Kokikhel residents to leave the area and they left on their own after Taliban occupied their areas.

The Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) spokesman Ihsan Dawar told TNN that most people from Kokikhel have address of Jamrud as well as Kokikhel on their CNICs which is a stumbling block in their TDPs status. “Since these people are not recognised TDPs, so they can’t get other facilities associated with it,” he said.

Ihsan Dawar said many people have returned to their native areas. He said TDPs returning to their areas no longer remain on the list of beneficiaries.

The main demands of Kokikhel tribe include honourable return to their native areas; TDPs status; survey of damages with help of tribal elders and political parties and provision of ration.

The FDMA says it can only give status of TDPs to any affected people who fulfil the criteria under the government SOPs.