It gives one a lot of pleasure to see the resurgence of cultural activities in Swat and other terror-stricken areas of the Upper Pakhtoonkhwah. The peace-loving people of these areas finally have something to cheer about after their long fight against terrorism. Thanks to the Pakistan Army and the civilian government, life is back to normal. But there are other deprived areas in Pukhtoonkhwah today whose issues need to be addressed with the same urgency. It has been almost a year now since a military operation started in Tank, D. I. Khan and Bannu districts alongside the operation in South Waziristan. Thousands of tribal people had migrated to these districts at the beginning of the operation. Camps were established, financial aid poured in, they were fed and provided necessities of life. A large majority of them have been since deported back to their respective areas. But some have stayed. After all of what they had done, people of these districts had to pay a huge price for their hospitality. Crime rate has amplified. The mobile phone service is suspended and ban on pillion-riding on motorcycles is still clamped. In D. I. Khan in particular, the people are in great distress due to lack of communication. Curfews are still in place in Tank and the adjoining areas. All this has affected the local businesses and markets where people have started packing up and moving to other cities. Even the roving traders from outside that used to visit the area are reluctant to visit here. The only place of recreation for families in D. I. Khan, the Indus River bank, is a no-go area now. We have heard the Army spokesmen say many a times that all these areas have been cleared of militants and insurgents. If that is the case, why arent the normal activities being restored by administration in these cities? And if there are still problems, why is the Upper Pakhto-onkhwah getting so much of media attention while the Lower Pakhtoonkhwah areas are ignored totally? Yes, we admit that Swat is important to the government as it is one of the biggest tourist location in the country but is it fair to dispossess the Southern Pakhtoonkhwah inhabitants of their peace and then do not even bother about them? We have also offered sacrifices to uproot terrorism just like people of Swat and Dir. Nothing has been done so far to give the desperate population of these areas a sense of hope. Not a single high official of the ANP government has visited these places. Our people have started to believe they have been left behind. -DR INAMULLAH KHAN BHITTANI, New York, July 20.