PESHAWAR - In the wake of looming fear of military operation in North Waziristan Agency, hundreds of families have started migration to safer places including Bannu, Lakki Marwat and other adjacent localities.

Local sources said that there is severe shortage of houses available for rent in urban areas of Bannu, FR Bannu and Lakki Marwat areas, as most of the people have handed over their houses to their relatives coming from the restive North Waziristan Agency.

During the last couple of days, thousands of people belonging to various villages of Mir Ali and Miran Shah reached FR Bannu, Naurang, Bezen Khail, Tall and Lakki Marwat areas to find safe residential places. The house rents have also increased in residential areas of Bannu city.

Hashim Dawar, one of the residents of Miran Shah who migrated to district Kohat, told this scribe that they are paying Rs 10,000 monthly for a two-room small house in Kohat and it is very difficult to find a house at reasonable rent. He said that though government has established camp in FR Bannu near Bakka Khail area yet the people are reluctant to avail the facility, as there are no proper facilities in these camps. Those who are leaving the area are being registered at entry point of FR Bannu.

Sohail Khan, a media person in Bannu, told The Nation that around 800 families have been migrated from North Waziristan Agency to district Bannu. He said that due to scorching heat, these people are not interested to take shelter in any camp as these camps lack basic facilities. He further informed that there is no accommodation facility in the surrounding areas, as most of the houses have been rented out on handsome rents and there is no capacity in both rural and urban areas to accommodate more people.

The migration of internally displaced people gained momentum when a former warlord and militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar directed the local people to vacate the areas and said that the government has violated peace agreement by starting military operation without taking him onboard. He also stressed the residents not to take shelter in any government camp, as they would face humiliation and shortage of basic facilities. He said that it would be better to migrate to Afghanistan instead of government camps.

On the other hand, the tribal elders have also started holding their Jirgas and urged upon the political administration and the federal government to choose the way of dialogue instead of going for military operation. The tribal elders have expressed severe reservations over the military operation and warned that this operation would have serious repercussions for the local population.

Following a series of armed attacks across the country by unidentified militants last month, the government and army have been planning to build up pressure on those who are not ready for talks. They have also carried out small-scale air strikes in the northern areas of North Waziristan. Due to these strikes hundred of families have fled the area.