Waziristan Refugee Crisis

An internally displaced boy, fleeing from military operations against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.jpg

After successful Swat offense Pakistan Army is fighting to flush out Taliban and extremists from the country once and for all. Pakistani civilians continued to flee South Waziristan over the weekend following military operations against insurgents, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis compounded by dangerous conditions and the onset of winter weather. Since May 2009, the UNHCR has registered more than 112,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Pakistan.

According to United Nations More than 100,000 civilians have fled the offensive in South Waziristan, with about 32,000 leaving since October 13. Aid agencies said that the number of displaced people could rise to 250,000 in coming weeks as the fighting intensifies.

Refugees fled to Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, the two major towns in North-West Frontier Province on the border of South Waziristan. Aid workers said humanitarian access to the refugees remains the key challenge for the government given the area’s volatile security environment.

The government denies there is any refugee crisis, saying it had made arrangements for the displaced, including a system to provide them with cash support and food items. It wasn’t feasible to set up camps, in part because of concerns about tribal violence because of traditional rivalry. The displaced are mostly staying with relatives or clansmen. Registered refugees are getting cash or food, but a large number of migrants have to find their own means to survive. According to information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira today the government has released Rs2.5 billion to meet the urgent needs of the dislocated persons from South Waziristan.

Pakistan Army is near to achieve the operation target according to Army Chief and the whole operation has been conducted with own resources. I hope that Pakistan army will once again succeed and nip the evil forever so that we would not witness any refugee crisis again.

Image: Dawn

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