Saturday, July 12, 2014


When Operation Zarb-e-Azb was declared against militant strongholds in North Waziristan last month, the federal government made a very surprising announcement: it said that it does not wish to receive any international foreign aid from donor agencies, the UN and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for the management and care of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were fleeing from their homes in North Waziristan. With the number of IDPs rising fast — latest estimates put them at close to one million — the government has once again reiterated its position on the subject of international aid with the Foreign Office announcing that no appeal had been made to the international community for help in meeting expenditures concerning the IDPs. One wonders why the PML-N government is so adamant about this point seeing that we can ill-afford to pass up any chance in which we are helped in the IDP crisis. We need money, rations, food items, clothing, shelter and all sorts of rehabilitation tools to aid in the timely relief of the many hundreds of thousands who are homeless and resourceless in the wake of the ongoing operation where their homes used to be. 
This is a mindboggling decision of the government. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is an ongoing war against the militants without any specific timeline or schedule. It is a full-scale operation for which the army has brought out its big guns: air strikes and ground offensives. When the battle is as big as this, the trauma being faced by the IDPs is bound to go on for an indefinite amount of time. Where are all these people supposed to go? How are they supposed to survive? The government’s track record really does not provide any solace to the people when it comes to taking care of their welfare. We still have IDPs from the army’s offensives in South Waziristan and Swat who are suffering without homes and relief. We even have flood-affected IDPs from the catastrophic floods of 2010 stuck without a hope in the world. How on earth is the government going to cater to this new influx without welcoming all the help it can get with open arms?

The Nawaz government has to come clean on why it is snubbing potential international efforts to help the IDPs. They are our people who have sacrificed their homes and peace of mind for the security of the nation. How is the government planning on doing them justice? While it is being reported that the UAE is donating to the IDP cause, we need to make a concerted effort to appeal to the international community to help the IDPs. It is the least we can do. 

Courtesy Daily Times 

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