Mass Displacement After Pakistan Offensive
by Kokab Farshori June 28, 2014
As Pakistani forces target Islamist militants in the country's volatile northwest, the government is attempting to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the military operation.
The number of internally displaced people is now about half a million. Many have complained of inadequate government camp facilities and uncertainty about their future.
The military operation to crush the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and affiliated militant groups was launched after peace talks between Prime Minister Sharif's government and the TTP failed to produce results.
The military is calling the operation a success despite the humanitarian crisis it has triggered.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited a government relief camp Friday to assure the people of the government's support.
'The government and military together are trying to ease your problems, and I am hopeful that soon, step by step, these difficulties will end,' Sharif said.
But VOA's Deewa Service reported from the area that many people complain they find it difficult to get food and access to badly needed health facilities. There are also complaints that the use of force is causing loss of lives and property of innocent civilians.
'I did nothing wrong and still suffered a lot,' said one man at the camp. 'Those responsible for terrorism have already fled the area but our houses and belongings are being destroyed.'
According to army officials, civilians are given adequate advance notice to leave the area before the offensives begin. They also say armed forces take maximum caution in making sure that only terrorists' hideouts are destroyed.
But even with advanced notice an offensive, many of the families forced out must travel for days to reach a safe destination.
'I have been on the road for two days and nights,' one another person as the camp for the displaced persons. 'There is no food to ear or anything to drink.'
Sharif announced financial assistance to these families for the month of Ramadan. International help from the United States and World Food Program is also pouring in to help ease the burden.
While humanitarian aid efforts may bring some relief to those adversely effected, analysts say, the real solution will come only when security forces manage to crush the militancy that claims thousands of lives in Pakistan each year.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|