Displaced Pakistani Sikhs return back to their homes in NWFP

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    Displaced Pak Sikhs return back to their homes in NWFP


    Updated on Thursday, July 16, 2009, 23:16 IST
    Lahore: The first batch of Sikhs displaced by the military operations against the Taliban in Pakistan's northwest returned to their homes in the Malakand division today.

    A total of 250 Sikhs went back to their homes in Swat, Buner and other parts of the Malakand division, officials said.

    "We are very happy that the return of Sikh IDPs (internally displaced persons) to their native towns has begun today," Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi told agencies.

    "The Sikh IDPs from Buner and Swat will return safely as the army has given a green signal. However, the IDPs cannot go back right now to some areas of Malakand which have yet to be cleansed of militants," Hashmi said.

    The Evacuee Trust Property Board looks after Sikh shrines in Pakistan and has also been taking care of the relief and rehabilitation of members of minority communities displaced by the military operations.

    About 3,000 Sikhs took shelter in Gurdwara Punja Sahib at Hasanabdal near Rawalpindi in April after the military launched a crackdown on the Taliban in Swat and nearby districts.

    Hashmi said the Board would facilitate Sikhs in going back to their homes. He said he could not give a timeframe for the return of all the Sikh IDPs.

    Gurdwara Punja Sahib wore a festive look as the Sikh IDPs began going back to their homes. "The Sikh families are very happy and we pray that peace should last in our areas," Surang Sing, a doctor from Buner, told news agencies.

    The government of Punjab province has announced a special relief package of Rs 6 million to help the Sikh IDPs return to their hometowns.


    Pakistan Sikhs return news-Displaced Pak Sikhs return back to their homes in NWFP
     
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