By: Zar Ali Khan Musazai

It was shocking news for the people like us to hear that people in a large number were displaced from their native areas mostly in Bajor , Swat and other areas of FATA due to fighting between military and militants. SRD (Society for Rights and Development) a civil society organization working for the welfare of the marginalized people of the society and their development. The number of camps surveyed:

Total four camps of IDPs established in the different districts of NWFP were visited where the condition of the internally displaced people was keenly witnessed; their needs and problems were heard and various issues related to their trouble and miseries were also discussed with them. During survey it was observed that IDPs were mainly from the areas where the fighting was going on between the government forces and Taliban. Most of the camps studied were having people from Bajour while there were few people who had come from the adjacent turbulent Agency like Mohamnd, but the number of such affected people in camps was negligible. Till filing of this report there were such reports that mass migration have started from the Mohmand Agency where it is stated that government security forces and Taliban have stuck the horns and a fierce fighting has initiated where vulnerable civilian population was easily to be hit and that, s the reason that people have turned towards relatively safer places of the NWFP while some are reported to have migrated towards neighboring Afghanistan where these people have started living in camps established by the Kabul Govt. for the convenience of these affected people. People who are coming from the Mohmand Agency have faced myriad problems and one is very horrific when the affected families were crossing the river Kabul in a boat which unfortunately suddenly capsized due to apparently stray bombardment of the security forces on the boat of affectees. The local persons came to the rescue of the drowned and saved them all after hectic efforts but it was sad to hear that one child lost his precious life in this incident.

The migration is still on and people are worried looking for shelter. Some people happen to get space in the houses of the relatives who are already residing in Peshawar and surrounding villages. But the problems of IDPs so much that it is not easy for one to sort them out and co-ordinated efforts are needed to be taken.

Total No. of the families in Kachagari is 1137

Total No. of families in Palosa is 475

Total No. of families in Benazir Camp is 399

Total No. of families in Sheikh Yaseen Camp is 516

This is the number of families till filling of this report but it is expected that the number is going to increase with each passing day as situations in the warring areas are intensified and more and more people are coming to camps which are already having no space for the IDPs.

People in camps usually complain that they are not provided with what they are needed and the attitudes of the camps administration is not satisfactory. Muhammad Akbar a victim of Bajour who recently resides in Kachagari camp complained that he had been in camp for last two months but he was not given any thing by the administration or any aid agencies. It was also found that electricity facility was not provided to any of the camps mentioned above and when the administration was asked their reply was that they could not do it as soon as people are more and resources are few. As for as sanitation and drinking water were concerned the people in camps said that they were facing problems to fetch water while in Benazir Camp Risalpur it was witnessed that small children were fetching water on their heads and shoulders from the mosque which was at a distance of more than one furlong. Children complained that they were molested by some of the people in mosque and directed not to use the facility. The water of Risalpur is not favorable to be used as for drinking purpose and it is the main reason that people in camps were having problems of stomach , constipation and other related diseases. One affected person who disclosed his name as Sardar from Loye sam area of Bajour said that he had 9 children but still he lived with his nephew because camp administration was unwilling to register him as IDP, though he was badly hit and his entire resources left there and came to camp empty handed to save his and his children heads. A child Amanulla khan who was named after King Amanullah khan of Kabul and a well known reformer who wanted enlightenment and education for his people , said in a choking voice that he was in class 6 in Nawagi a tehsil of Bajour, before crisis started but here he was not going to school as the camp had not such facility up to middle classes. He was living in camp of Kacha gari Peshawar along with his family for last one month.

As for as security of the kacha gari is concerned it was the worst because just in front of my own eyes a man was deprived of his Toyota double cabin on the gun point. Inayat rehman a small child who was playing in the dust of the camp said that he had a nice school in his village but his present school though does not match but still he can not say the word bad for his present school in camp. The flower like sweet faces of the innocent children were gloomy unknowingly while playing in the dust which had affected their hair and faces badly. The numbers of the latrines/baths were more but due to unhygienic condition they were so smelly that a living being could not have to stay along with. Fuel facility was not provided to the affectees and they were to bring the gas and wood from the nearby market if they could afford to buy while most of them were not in position to purchase items from the market due to non availability of the money. Schools in camps were mostly of the primary level but the deficiencies of the teachers have also hit the school going children badly. Small girls were found not going to school due to several reasons but the most prominent was that female teachers were not employed in the schools and girls in most cases are not allowed to get admitted in boy's schools. Most of the people expressed the fear of being vulnerable as the security of the camps were not satisfactory except Palosa where constable was found standing alert before a closed door. People also demanded for the wall around them as kacha gari camp has no such basic need. In Benazir camp Risalpur it was heard from the wise people that their women in camp wished to sew clothes for market and for their own children but they needed sewing machines which had not. If provided either by government or some aid agencies or individuals their miseries would be minimized to some extent. It was observed that the women were skilled in sewing and other embroidery works. It was demanded that such women should be utilized for their skill. There were most families in al most all camps which were unregistered and wanted to be registered but due to bureaucratic tactics such families were put in trouble and asked to leave camp while the families were reluctant to leave as they have no other alternative.

In Benazir Camp, which is named after Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister of Pakistan who was mercilessly assassinated in last year December in Rawalpindi a city of the Punjab province of Pakistan after a rally which was addressed by her, there were two small sisters who were blind were found helpless who had a teenage brother and was not able to provide them with basic necessities of life. The scene of the two blind sisters was so sad that one had to shed tear. Their names were usmania and Nasia. They were in a very shabby position.

Gulzada ,a senior man from charming of the Bajour was looking gloomy and could say nothing while Muhammad Haleem of Riasat Bajour was very upset who had some problem of tumor in his throat recalling good old peaceful days in his native village before the crisis. Badil Haram was a lady of 40 years but looking of 60 years due to miseries whose husband had died and she was heard to be living with his relative in their tent. She was a mother of several orphan children who had nothing to eat. The said lady was heard while weeping that her children slept last night without having anything to eat. She was really in a distress. Said Raheem an octogenarian was found ill and poor saying that he buried several of his family during crisis. He was sad and gloomy .He complained that administration was not distributing items equally. Subhan khan a young man of 25 and graduate had volunteered himself to the cause of education of the small children of his camp (Benazir Camp) though himself he was a victim of the war and living in the same camp along with his people. Bilal a a small boy narrated his ordeal while carrying his jar of the water on his head saying that both Taliban and Pakistan Army were hitting them while he was sure that Afghanistan would never hit them. School books, pencils and copies were the demand of the school going children and teachers a like. People in Sheikh yaseen camp Mardan hesitated to leave the camp for another place of Jalozai, a village near pabbi Nowshera where Afghans were residing during their ordeal in Afghanistan . Raheem Gul who identified himself as the president of the camp though the camp administration rejected it , saying that they were not ready to leave the place rather a camp should be established for them in Dir district which is bordering Bajour Agency. It was also demanded if the government of Pakistan is unable to lessen our troubles it will be better to open Afghanistan – Pakistan border(Durand line) for them so that they may go to Afghanistan.

(The writer is the Executive Director of SRD, based in Peshawar and this report was written some times back in Nov. 2008)