The Norwegian Refugee Council has reported that Pakistanis were the most displaced people in the world in 2009. The military operations against the Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas forced 3 million people out of their homes.
The economic cost of violence and instability has been even larger. The latest trade statistics revealed that in 2009 Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan fell by over 44% in the past 10 months. In the 10 months ending on April 30 a piddly $1.77 billion were invested in Pakistan, down from $3.2 billion for the same period a year earlier. Pakistan’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.3% this year, even lower than the rate of inflation!
Things did improve in Pakistan by the end of 2009 when the number of internally displaced in Pakistan reduced from 3 million to 1.2 million. Pakistan reported 2 million refugees returning to their homes, or whatever was left after a (temporary) lull in the hostilities. Given that the disputes in Pakistan’s tribal areas have not yet been settled, it is quite likely that more waves of internally displaced will arrive in the months to follow. The outcome may be different if the military ends its operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
At the end of 2009, 5.0 million individuals were internally displaced in Sudan. The table below shows that Muslim countries represent a large number of internally displaced globally.