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IDPs return to home
July 28, 2009

On 13 July, the Government of Pakistan launched a programme for the return of internally displaced people (IDPs) to the Swat valley and neighbouring districts after a two-month assault against Taliban insurgents in the region ended. Only a fraction of the nearly two million displaced Pakistanis went home on the first day of the organised return, with many fearing for their security.

The North West Frontier Province government is conducting the return in phases, starting with over 20 tented camps where about 280,000 IDPs have been living. The majority of the IDPs are living outside camps with host communities and will have to wait if they want to go back under the government programme; the government is allowing people to return on their own, but they face long identity checks, and many lack the cash to manage when they return. Officials have said that they hope returns can be completed in 40 days, but aid workers believe it could take months. 

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes has continued to stress that the process should not be rushed, particularly as the security situation in the Swat valley remains fragile, and that basic security as well as power, water, law enforcement and administrative services must be in place prior to return.

 
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