Government of Punjab not allowed IDP camps

The government of Punjab has decided in principle not to permit camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the province.
“The IDPs can cause trouble for the province just like the Afghan refugees. So, we have decided not to allow their entry or setting up of camps for them in the Punjab,” sources in the provincial government said.

However, the Punjab government has formed an inter-provincial coordination committee (IPCC), after discussion with the ANP-led Frontier government, to provide aid to the IDPs at their camps in the NWFP.

The IPCC comprises two members each from the Punjab and the NWFP. “The NWFP members will inform the Punjab government of the requirements of the IDPs.” The director general relief and the district coordination officer (DCO), Attock, would coordinate with the NWFP members of the IPCC as representatives of the Punjab.
“If it becomes mandatory for us to accommodate the IDPs any way, a computerised registration system would be set up to ensure strict check on their activities till their return,” the Punjab official sources said.

As the Punjab describes such restrictions as part of its security policy, the Frontier government believes that such a step would create provincial disharmony as no Pakistani citizen could be barred from staying at any corner of the country.
Director Public Relations (DPR), Punjab, Mohiuddin Wani, while speaking on behalf of the provincial government, said any final decision about the issue would be taken once the IDPs started migrating to the province.
Responding to a query, the DPR said the Punjab government would welcome the displaced persons whenever it deemed necessary. Presently, the NWFP government is absorbing all the IDPs.Also, Director General Relief, Punjab, Rizwanullah Baig, said the people of the province were donating generously for the IDPs. We will provide all kinds of material assistance to the displaced persons through a coordination committee.

However, ANP Vice President Haji Muhammad Adeel said: Yes, we have heard that the Punjab is not willing to take the IDPs and this step will send a wrong message to other provinces. Adeel said the Punjab should also declare war on terror as the Frontier province had done. “Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced assistance for the IDPs, which is only peanuts in view of the fact that Punjab is the elder brother.”

PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, in his talk with this correspondent on Monday, had given “rising temperature” as the major reason for not allowing the establishment of the IDPs’ camps in the Punjab.

A PML-N consultative round held in Islamabad last Monday with Nawaz Sharif in the chair had first discussed to adopt a policy of extending help to the displaced persons while retaining them within the NWFP.