After a rather tumultuous week in the field of international relations, there appears to be some good news and movements too for Pakistan.

The World Bank has approved $114 million to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in Pakistan. About 87% of the $75 million loan or $62 million will be used to provide cash grant to around 120,000 or over one-third of the total families affected by the ongoing military offensive in tribal areas. Families to be benefitted from the World Bank’s ‘Fata Temporarily Displaced Persons Emergency Recovery Project’ are from five Fata agencies - North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber. Most exemplary is the project’s emphasis on service delivery and inclusion, the lack of which has tarnished previous such efforts.

This is a good move on behalf of the World Bank. The military had launched the offensive against militants in June last year and since then; there have been large number of displaced people in the region. Fata was lagging behind in terms of child health indicators compared to the rest of Pakistan. With the return of displaced families, the already inadequate child health outcomes are expected to deteriorate further.

The silence of the world on their displacement had the potential of producing resentment in the IDPs against the government and the international arena. If the project is implemented effectively, it could go a long way in restoring confidence in the government system.

This is also good for Pakistan’s relations with World Bank, which had been weakened earlier this week by the institution’s ineffective role of mediating the Indus Water Treaty talks between India and Pakistan. World Bank sidelined Pakistan’s concerns on the water issue, allowing India to exploit delays. This new loan development has reaffirmed Pakistan’s trust in World Bank as an organization it could work with.