Few days back I and my mother were returning from market when we noticed a contented family riding on a Gadha Gari (Donkey Cart) along with their baggage including trunks, bales and few of kitchen utensils; for sure they were going for long stay. My mother appreciated and said in Punjabi “kuj v hovey, swari apni honi chahdeay aey”(Whatever the circumstances are; one should posses at least own conveyance). This sense of belonging- element of human instinct probably was the impetus behind the introduction of property rights in capitalism. Human beings are born to dream; dream about their own homes; their own businesses; their own properties; their futures; their writings and all the material they can proudly introduce as their belongings.
In my school days; I read a story subjected “Katba” (epitaph or plaque) in my Urdu Text Book. Writer elaborated the optimism of a man who bought a marble plaque from shop where old things were sold where second hand things were sold. He yearned for positioning it on the door of his house he; whole of his life endeavored to construct. But in end same plaque with his name engraved on placed on his grave for identifying him.
I watched 1 million people migrating to safe areas leaving their houses, their crops their animals and probably their future; vacating Malakand soon after prime Minister announced a decisive ascendency against the militants in this region. I felt dreams of these people were trampled on every step taken towards Lower districts including Mardan, Peshawar and rest of the country. Their houses were built by their forefathers with dreams of having generations dwelling and chirping in the courtyards. They were trudging with the burden of those dreams.
Every family traveling from Malakand division to the other parts of country has a distressing story to tell. Thousands of them probably have traveled for the first time in their lives. Regardless of individualistic quandaries; afflictions of leaving a complete civilization is becoming a dilemma. Besides re-habitation and rehabilitating these people is biggest issue; government is confronting these days. Moreover victims are not habituated with the hot weather of Punjab and other areas.
They repositioned themselves for saving their lives on the instructions of government to vacate Malakand division; where security forces are battling to curb militants and has been declared a War Zone. I do not want to discuss the reason of the militancy but I want t draw attention towards the upcoming liability of government towards these people. Who; though; are clear about this Military operation against the miscreants but long for safe returns to their homes.
The day Prime Minister announced ascendancy against militants; he should have perceived the idea for the civilians residing in conflict area. Parliament was not consulted before announcing this operation; had this operation been delayed till these evacuees reach safe places where sufficient facilities could have been given to them; would have added laurels in government’s crown. However in wake of being a third world country; we once again have started begging alms from America, West and rest of the world to donate for these self-restraint victims who probably have never thought of having Sadqa (giving alms in the name of Allah) in their whole lives are now dependent upon the assistance from those who are responsible for their sufferings. Several NGOs and semi-governmental organizations, chambers of commerce and alliances UN agencies, Red Crescent and many others are collecting money and important things required to help IDPs. Relief activities are continued and similar touching scenes are being noticed that helped Pakistan and Pakistanis to cop up 2005 earth quake. I request overseas Pakistanis to help their suffering brothers and sisters rather than begging from others. Once again Pakistan is in dire need of support from inside. Regardless of what government is doing it is responsibility of every Pakistan inside or outside Pakistan to step forward to help kids, old aged people, women and displaced men. Today we need fortitude that was shown by Muharjreen-e-Makkah and congeniality and selflessness shown by the Ansaar. All political parties should forget their conflicts and should pay consideration to the major problem nation is facing.
Meanwhile Prime Minister of Pakistan has approved an amount of Rs. 508 million for rehabilitation, provision of shelter and 5000 ration packets for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of NWFP. Emergency Relief Cell (ERC) of Cabinet Division has released Rs. 500 million and cheque has been dispatched to Government of NwFP which has been received by the Provincial Government. In his addressed to nation he reiterated his commitment to help these people saying Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would be supported under Benazir Income Support Program and a Cabinet Committees would soon be constituted for day to day monitoring of the IDPs issue and also for areas where action is being taken. The Prime Minister held out an assurance that there would be total transparency for utilization of the funds to be received for relief and rehabilitation of the IDPs, reconstruction of affected areas and capacity building of the law enforcing agencies. America has announced US $49 million for helping these IDPs. Similarly many other countries would come forward to help Pakistan including its friend countries.
It is difficult to hunch how long this war will last and what repercussions it is going to bring; but what I am sure is these victims have lost their identification and now labeled as IDPs Internally Displaced People. I agree challenge in front of government is big; but it is advisable for the government to deal with it as soon as possible because a long treatise of Muhajir coming from India and Bengali Muhajir are still Muhajirs. People from the Bajaur and Afghanistan are also Muhajirs. Pakistan cannot afford another muhajir community.
It is desirable that before the dreams of these people die; government should find a solution of this problem… otherwise a plaque might have been waiting for it to be placed on its grave.