Published Date: Jul 16, 2014
Govt. making all-out efforts to provide relief to IDPs
At a seminar held to discuss the plight of the Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs), one of the speakers said Pakistan had been facing the
IDPs crisis since 1947. Dr Abid Suleri Executive Director of SDPI said that it
was not the first time that Pakistan had to cope with the challenge of IDPs.
Pakistan has been living with the crisis of IDPs since 1947.
Lately the country took care of IDPs of earthquake, IDPs of Swat, IDPs of
floods, and now the IDPs of North Waziristan who had been leaving their homes
in anticipation of military action. General (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch Federal Minister
for SAFRON was the chief guest on the occasion.
In his speech, Baloch said the government was making all out efforts to provide
relief to the people displaced as a result of military operation in the North
"The federal government has started this operation and is mindful of its duty
to deliver for people who are getting displaced", said Baloch.
The minister said that due to confidentiality and as part of security strategy
it was not possible to inform the KPK government about the operation
Zarb-e-Azab in advance.
However, he emphasized that Chief Minister KP and Commissioner Bannu were on
board about relief provision initiatives.
There are a number of institutions at the federal as well as at provincial
level to take care of these IDPs, however, we have not learnt anything from the
previous crisis and are repeating the same mistake which earlier governments
made during previous crisis. Commenting on very few number of IDPs in the
relief camps, Dr Suleri said that apart from the fact that the camps are set up
in security sensitive area (FR Bannu), those camps are also weather unfriendly
and don’t suit the socio-cultural values of the IDPs.
In the end, the plight of IDPs reflects the state of governance i.e. who is
deciding what, for whom, in which manner, and through which forum etc.
Dr Suleri also highlighted the issue of defunct and banned organizations
working as relief provider to IDPs and demanded a strict scrutiny of fund
raiser collecting donations for IDPs.
He demanded better access of think tanks and civil society organizations in
military operation affected areas so that they may guide government and UN
agencies on how to improve relief operations through independent analysis. Dr
Suleri also emphasized that there were opportunities in the IDP crisis for
eradication of polio in NW through organized vaccination of all registered
Mark Andre Franch, Country Director UNDP shared the relief initiatives of UN
agencies. Discussing short term, medium term, and long term strategies for
IDPs, Mr. Franch suggested that government would have to ensure that water,
sanitation, and other social service delivery infrastructure does not get
chocked off in host communities due to IDPs.
He also emphasized the need for work on rehabilitation of IDPs in their
homelands at the end of military operation. The returning IDPs should have
proper incentive to return especially through better provision of water, sanitation,
livelihoods, legal identity and other basic services.
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, defence analyst pointed the potential linkage between the
emergence of ISIS and deprivations of internally displaced people in Syria and
Iraq. Endorsing the lack of organization among public sector relief agencies,
she highlighted that humanitarian wings of banned organizations were most
organized and were providing the efficient relief to IDPs.