More than 400,000 persons from North Waziristan have had to leave their homes and travel to different cities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other parts of Pakistan to find refuge. We are faced with a large-scale humanitarian crisis which will certainly create massive, long-term issues for the entire country if not dealt with effectively and in time. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is in full flow, as the ground offensive continues in an attempt to clear the agency of various terrorist groups. The threat of violent backlash in cities across provinces remains ever-present. Everyone agrees that the country is indeed passing through a critical phase.

Unfortunately, the leader of the party heading the government in the front-line province, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, is more interested in getting people out of their houses instead of helping the homeless. His timing may have been good with the bat, but its shockingly poor when it comes to politics. He wants to take care of the IDPs. But he also wants to march to Islamabad with “at least a million people” and sit there until his demands are not met. While he is busy invading the capital, he wants the PML-N government to focus on rehabilitating IDPs. He believes the federal government is illegitimate. He has also threatened to dissolve the KP assembly. But then, he also wants the federal government to provide funds to the KP government for relief work. All very confusing. It appears that a sense of injustice and self-importance has blinded the PTI Chief towards the crisis unfolding right in front of him, and the opportunity that lies in it.

People expect him to rise to the challenge, not run away from it. That is exactly how his movement is being viewed; a needless and potentially devastating distraction from the governance issues in KP and Operation Zarb-e-Azb and its fallout. Who will remember the IDPs when the PTI will begin its march? Will they be lucky enough to find two minutes of coverage during the marathon transmissions on the media? Will the IDPs be left at the mercy of organisations such as Jamat-ud-Dawa, which seem to be far more involved in relief efforts than both PTI and PML-N? People tend to remember who came to their aid during desperate times. Mr Khan would do well to snap out of it, and look around. He has a serious role to play, and it definitely doesn’t involve creating political turmoil for personal ambitions.