The important role that International NGOs play in Pakistan will only be realised once they are gone and the government will be forced to confront the humanitarian crisis alone. The UN agencies, UNHCR and Unicef, have announced that they will have to phase out relief for the internally displaced persons (IDP) of FATA. The decision comes from the acute lack of funds faced by the UNHCR and the unfolding of the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Whoever thought the refugee crisis in Syria was not our problem, needs to think again. The global refugee crisis will manifest itself on every country, related directly or indirectly to the country of conflict. In Pakistan’s case, we now have 283,463 families to feed, which were taken care of by the INGOs.

Unicef had stopped running education and child protection programs at Hangu and Nowshera camps. The need to provide education to children especially those affected by conflict is utmost necessary to their rehabilitation process. UNHCR was responsible for providing food and medical assistance to the IDPs living in various camps. They were also contributing to infrastructure development so that the IDPs could be repatriated back to their homes that were destroyed due to the military operation. UNOCHA has issued a statement saying one third of the returnees of Khyber Agency do not have access to basic healthcare and physical infrastructure like schools have to be rebuilt.

The government has a tough job ahead in facilitating the IDPs return to their homes. The UN will leave a vacuum, and the risk is that the IDP crisis will become a permanent problem. So far the army and NGOs have played an active role in repatriating the families displaced by conflict. The government has a penchant for ignoring the needs of the people until a humanitarian crisis unfolds. Provincial cooperation is key in addressing this crisis. Hopefully the plight of the IDPs will be highlighted before the next election, when all political parties are motivated to outperform the other.

As a sovereign country we cant expect to be given a handout all the times. The thing about aid and donation is that donors want to help the worst hit people. Aid is directed towards the crises most visible on media, and the Middle East is the centre of the world right now. Aid should always be treated as a temporary fix, and after a short period the state should be ready to step in. Maybe this is the shock that we needed for the government to make a concerted effort for IDP resettlement.