ISLAMABAD - Terming the IDPs as national heroes, Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari has called upon the incumbent government to give up its callous attitude towards the internally displaced persons of North Waziristan Agency living in camps.

"Gear up the relief and rehabilitation work on a war footing... IDPs are our national heroes in the war against terror and neglecting them in this hour of trial is a criminal and callous act that will not be condoned under any circumstances," said Farhatullah Babar quoting Asif Zali Zardari.

The former president said that their neglect by the government on the one hand and the reports that some charity organisations of defunct militant groups are secretly engaged in indoctrinating the vulnerable displaced people using the cover of philanthropy is a sure recipe to turn the IDPs into sympathisers of militants and extremists. "This is a grim prospect Pakistan can ill afford," he warned.

He further recalled that the PPP government in 2009 faced IDPS issue as a result of action against militants in Swat and the way the crisis was handled and the refugees safely rehabilitated in their homes in a matter of few months. He further said there is no reason why the challenge posed by the displacement of people from NWA cannot be handled.

The PPP co-chairman said that in the wake of horrendous floods and huge displacements caused by it in 2010 the PPP government had invited Secretary General UN Ban Ki Moon who launched a global appeal to help the flood victims.

"War against terror is a global fight and if the international community is supposed to assist Pakistan in it, there is no reason why the international community must not be asked to help in the rehabilitation of the IDPs in accordance with the recognised principles of such assistance," he said.

He said special attention must be paid to the vulnerable groups among the IDPs including women and children, prevention of epidemic and trauma rehabilitation.

IDPS ISSUE TEST CASE FOR GOVT: EX-PMS

Assuring their full support to IDPs of North Waziristan, former Prime Ministers Yusuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf Monday said IDPs issue is a test case for PML-N government and it can learn from the precedent set by former PPP government by managing IDPs of Swat.

"The country is facing a big task in the shape of these IDPs and it is the actual time to win their hearts and minds through help," said the former PPP PMs talking to the media at PPP's Central Secretariat.

The PPP leaders sent off trucks loaded with goods for IDPs of NWA. They also announced all support for IDPs of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) due to military operation in their area.

Both the former prime ministers avoided speaking on the issue of the deal with military establishment to provide safe passage to former President Pervez Musharraf. They also declared to send more relief goods for IDPs of North Waziristan in coming days.

To a question, Gilani paid rich tribute to armed forces for their courageous and bravery to fight for the security of the country. "They are fighting to secure our future by sacrificing their lives...they need our full support at this juncture," the PPP leader said adding that the PPP government handled big figures of IDPs in Swat where 2.5 million people were displaced due to military operation. "We successfully handled 2.5 million IDPs of Swat and also ensured their return to their homes," he added.

Pervez Ashraf said that Pakistan armed forces have waged the offensive for a noble and great cause. "The PPP would go to any extent to help IDPs of NWA," he added. "We would go to Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to help the IDPs," Raja said and termed IDPs of NWA as heroes of nation.