The plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) may not have the ear of the local populace, but international organizations are tuning in to alleviate a measure of their suffering – and none too soon. A donors’ conference held in Islamabad on Tuesday led to various international organizations pledging $700 million for the IDPs from the tribal belt and the flood victims. The World Bank, Department for International Development, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, European Union, Italy, and Japan, amongst others, donated this amount under the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and Recovery Framework (PDNA). With the government’s treasury under strain and the rehabilitation programme stuttering, the assistance is a welcome event, and the contributing members’ generosity is appreciated. Like always, foreign aid in Pakistan opens various avenues as well as throwing up many pitfalls.

PDNA is a joint venture of the UN, World Bank and the European Commission. It brings with it experience and a concrete recovery policy based on research of the affected area. The sum is substantial, and once a Damage Need Assessment report is complete, it can be doubled to $1.4 Billion. All this can lead to a comprehensive plan to accommodate IDPs, who are beginning to show resentment towards the government’s lacklustre and half-hearted efforts. At a time when intelligence reports indicate heightened militant activity, and ISIS propaganda is beginning to appear in cities like Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi; bringing the IDPS into the fold of the government is of utmost importance. Militants routinely recruit from disillusioned youths, who perceive that they have been wronged by the state. In shambolic IDP camps, terror outfits will find many eager ears, in a well managed camp, less so. Despite this timely windfall, foreign aid and Pakistan have a chequered history together; missing goods and embezzled funds being a common occurrence. The government must ensure a transparent system for the dissemination of the funds and effective oversight. Not only are future pledges conditional on complete transparency but the fate of the IDPs, and by extension, militancy is also on the line.