THE exodus of displaced persons from Malakand Division to the rest of NWFP and other areas of Pakistan, the provision of the daily necessities of life to them at the camps set up to temporarily house them and their return to homes where they could pick up the threads of normal life once again - this basic reality that has issued from the acts of terrorism and the military action that followed, constitutes a crucial dimension of the battle to win the hearts and minds of the people concerned. Considering the huge number of nearly three million uprooted persons, it is no mean job. The government, the society as a whole and the international community, all of whom stand to benefit from the campaign's success, need to attend to this humanitarian catastrophe with single-mindedness. While one must make some allowance for initial lapses in handling the growing number of people who have lost all their belongings and even kith and kin, there should be no reasons now for complaints, which somehow keep coming before the media. There is urgent need for the authorities to persuade the donor agencies to give a greater amount of aid than they have already committed in view of the demand, not only for the maintenance of these persons for the present, but also for the reconstruction of their towns and villages and businesses. The international community has, indeed, reacted positively with substantial funds, though in face of such a large number of the needy persons. The President has, therefore, made the right move by approaching Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Oman for more help. One hopes that, considering the strong ties of religion and brotherhood that Pakistan has with these Middle Eastern countries, they would make generous contributions. We must ensure that the assistance from the various sources is utilised in a manner that helps the IDPs the most. However, it is about time the real task of return and rehabilitation was earnestly taken in hand in areas that have been cleared of the insurgents. One would like to think that the government has already worked out a comprehensive plan to do so. Transporting the IDPs back, meeting their immediate needs of food and healthcare, rebuilding the basic infrastructure destroyed during the insurgency like roads, bridges and culverts, schools, healthcare centres, shops and commercial centres and homes - every aspect has to be taken care of. But the most important thing would be to keep the Army deployed in the region until the time the police becomes capable of taking care of the security of the people returning to their homes. At the same time, activating the vigilance committees comprising local people would be reassuring for the IDPs to restart their normal activities without any fear.