It seems that the decision to launch an operation against militants in North Waziristan did not have meticulous planning behind it. Planning could have helped overcome complications this operation yielded. The growing problem of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) is one direct consequence of the impetuously decided operation. According to a report almost 97,000 families have been displaced with intimation that more are yet to come. Part of the large influx of refugees has moved to nearby districts and large cities.

It is the inherent responsibility of the authorities to provide tentative accommodation for these IDP’s along with relief and health supplies before the process of rehabilitation can begin. Unfortunately, owing to miss-governance by every successive government, this was not going to be a swift and efficient process either. Only one camp, close to Bannu was erected for the over one million displaced families. If the refugees were not able to secure shelter in rented accommodation they could be seen lying under the open sky in ragged tents on road sides. It can be appreciated that funding has been arranged for the IDP’s. So far the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) has disbursed over Rs. 2 billion amongst the affected.

The requirement to registration, verification and receiving the fund via a mobile SIM created more obstacles in receiving payments. So far, long queues in the scorching heat, with regular beatings by truncheons and body checks by the police, as well as the slow ‘work in progress’ productivity of NADRA has caused only half of the IDP’s to be registered. This registration should have been done decades ago. The predicament of the unregistered IDP’s is completely different as they are left to fend for themselves without any help or support.

These people are in dire need of medical help as they have suffered over the years. The government is facilitating vaccination drives as well as medical camps but they are still not enough. In the past the whole nation rose in unison to help these battered individuals get back on their feet. International aid, coupled with government’s alertness and the country’s sympathy and self-less contributions created an environment conducive enough to assist them in rebuilding their lives. Now the PML-N government seems to be more focused on its own survival by staying mum and diverting all its attention towards the dharnas. If we continue to ignore the problems of the IDP’s, soon it could become an epidemic since we are still unsure about how long operation Zarb-e-Azab will take.

BARRISTER MOBEEN SHAH,

United Kingdom, October 27.