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The Dawn

Published Date: Jul 16, 2014

Experts, politicians express concern over IDP crisis

Former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira lashed out at the
government on Tuesday for alleged mismanagement of the IDPs. He claimed
that there was no coordination between the government and the armed
forces.

Speaking at a dialogue, ‘The worsening IDP crisis 2014 and
role of society’, Kaira said during the Swat operation, conducted
during the tenure of the previous government, the information minister
and director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) used to
hold joint press conferences daily due to which the media did not get
the chance to exploit their communication gap, as it does now.

“During
the Swat operation, a committee of three federal ministers, who could
easily contact the prime minister, supervised the relief activities.
Currently, the bureaucrats are performing this duty, who cannot contact
the prime minister easily,” claimed the former minister.

Talking
about the operation itself, Kaira said it is imperative to understand
that people have been displaced due to the policies of the Musharraf
government and western countries.

Government and the armed forces need to conduct joint press
conferences to show they are on the same page, says Kaira

He asked for a targeted operation against Taliban all over the
country and said that the mindset of Taliban-apologists had to be
changed.

Federal Minister for States and Frontier Region (Safron)
retired Lt-General Abdul Qadir Baloch claimed that the North Waziristan
operation was launched without any announcement to keep the element of
surprise for the terrorists.

“The government knows that the IDPs
have been suffering and that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(Fata) comes under the administrative control of the federal government
which has been providing aid to the IDPs from the area.”

He said
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) got Rs22 billion from the divisible pool under
the National Finance Commission Award. “The KP government should spend
that amount on the IDPs,” he maintained.

Infections haunt IDP children as displaced number crosses 0.9m

He
said Rs22,000 per month would be given to each displace family.
Additionally, Rs20,000 worth of Ramazan packages will be given to these
families. He said NGOs first have to get a clearance certificate to work
in the area.

MQM’s Member National Assembly (MNA) Rashid Godil
said it was the demand of his party to launch the operation against the
Taliban.

“However, the registration of IDPs should be ensured as there is the possibility of terrorists settling along with the IDPs.”

MNA Ayesha Gulalai of the PTI said the operation was launched before the prime minister took the nation into confidence.

“Currently,
75 per cent IDPs are in Bannu due to which the burden on the services
there has increased. The KP government has decided to provide
electricity to 389 tubewells through solar energy,” she said.

Ms
Gulalai said other provinces should not close their doors on the IDPs
because the constitution gives right to every person to travel across
the country.

UNDP Pakistan country director Marc-André Franche
said, “We need to understand the nature of displacement. Setting up
camps for the IDPs was surprising because the people of Fata have never
lived in camps. They go and live in a host community.”

Zardari slams govt over IDPs issue, urges it to seek world help

He
added: “At the moment, two million people from Fata are living outside
the tribal areas. They can play their role in developing the region, but
it will be difficult to bring them back.”

Defence analyst Ayesha
Siddiqa said the residents of Fata had been displaced many times but the
government never made proper arrangements for them. “The government
should ensure that the money coming for IDPs is spent on them, not on
terrorism,” she said.

Meanwhile, at another dialogue, “IDP
crises: assessing gaps in humanitarian response”, organised by the
Jinnah Institute, the participants reached a unanimous consensus that
the humanitarian crisis in the area would continue to grow as a result
of the operation.

According to a press release, the participants
expressed concerns over the lack of a contingency plan before the launch
of the operation.

The location of the IDP camps currently set up
at Bakkakhel was also a major source of contention. The participants
noted that only 350 people were currently living in the camp while the
rest have probably been absorbed within the Bannu district itself.

One
of the most pressing concerns was the issue of the schools in Bannu.
According to people who had visited the area, there were IDPs living in
the 1,100 schools within the district, and the concern was that once the
schools reopen in August this population would be displaced once more.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1119562/experts-politicians-express-concern-over-idp-crisis