Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Refugees in their homeland

The Globe and Mail editorial on May 05 appropriately highlights that "Pakistan's real interests lie in reasserting its national unity." While the Pakistan's political and military leadership is being pushed to confront Taliban, the real price of military intervention in the tribal regions is being paid by the civilians whose lives and livelihoods have been threatened by the conflict between the State and the militants.

At present, more half a million civilians have been displaced from the conflict-ridden tribal regions of Pakistan. Yesterday, the government of the Frontier Province appealed for assistance because it believed that the rise in hostilities would produce additional half a million internally displaced persons. The provincial government is asking the donor agencies for assistance because it does not have the means to look after a million refugees.

It is incumbent upon those who are pushing the Pakistani authorities to confront Taliban to provide immediate relief and support for hundreds of thousands who have been displaced by this war. The lack of food, water, medicine, proper shelter, and the uncertainty about their future is creating agony in the refugee camps near Peshawar and Mardan. Already, news reports from Pakistan suggest increasing signs of anger and despair amongst the displaced young men in the camps.

Unless massive aid is provided immediately to those displaced by the war in Pakistan, these refugee camps may end up becoming the recruiting grounds for the Taliban.

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