Displaced Civilians Of Bajaur Agency: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

The continuation of military operation in Bajaur Agency has forced some 100,000 people to migrate putting them at risk of abundant grievances. Majority of these people have migrated to Mardan district and some have taken refuge in the homes of their relatives. A very rare number of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) have selected the government established camps. The government supplied these IDPs tents but due to lack of ill devised planning within these camps the number has been quite small. These tents are without any mats or sheets. Therefore the people, who were compelled to disburse nights there, were exposed to snake bites and scorpion stings.

In Mardan Khas, approximately 1,200 IDPs, comprising of women and children are accommodated in Government Primary school and Government High school No 1. Bahram of Bajaur Agency says he had to leave his home because, “the military gunship helicopters had started pounding civilian targets.” Another tribesman said, he was not concerned about why the military operation was taking place but was anxious that the government was suppose to take necessary measures to cope with the dilemma’s created for civilians in the aftermath of this operation.

Roha Bini, 50, who is also a kidney patient, left her home with her four daughters, two sons and husband. She said they had had become sandwich between the local Taliban and the military. “We can’t communicate it to the Taliban that their activities have rendered hundred of thousands of people shelter less. At the same times we don’t have any hopes with the government that it would do something better for us.” She claimed.

Nazim Ajaml Khan, Mardan Khas Union Council who is managing the relief activities at both schools in Mardan said all the relief activities were conducted with the help and aid of local philanthropist. He also said that the local prerogatives instead of providing any support or assistance were asking the refuges to vacate the school buildings. He said, “They were not allowing us to shift the IDPs to schools but we broke locks and shifted these people to the schools.” He added that the government must take urgent steps for temporary settlement of these people because the schools would open after a couple of weeks after summer vacations. The daily expenditure of food items for these 1,200 IDPs was Rs.40, 000 and it wont be possible for them to continue it on self help basis for any longer span of time, Ajmal said.

Few schools billeting the IDPs comprehend: three schools in Gujar Garhi and Guli Bagh, two government schools in Kas Koroona, one each in Sheray, Landakai, Muslimabad, Bari Chum, Chakaro Pul. Almost 400 of IDPs have been provided shelter at the Jamaat-e-Islami-run Iqra Public School. With no end to the military operation in Bajaur agency the residents have found themselves amid the devil and deep blue sea as till now neither the government nor any non governmental organization has taken any step to relief these hundreds of IDPs.

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