Unattended IDPs: Fodder for terrorists

Published: May 18, 2011

Ministries should sacrifice their budget for the coming fiscal year and forego funds to rebuild affected regions.

Fifty five year old Haji Khatab Khan has lived in the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar as an IDP for the last two years. On June 7, he will face the dreary reality of returning to what once used to be his home in Bajaur Agency, but the homecoming will not be festive.

“Security forces demolished our houses in Mamond [Tehsil of Bajaur Agency], so where should we go now?” he beseeches, adding that he wants compensation to rebuild his house that was destroyed in the army operation to wipe out militants from his area.

The situation is alarming. A blogger for these pages explains why:

“The desire to resort to terrorism doesn’t take place overnight. It is a process of indoctrination; a change of thought and mindset. And all changes can be reversed when there is a plan.”

People like Haji Khan are easy prey for hungry militants who have been hit hard by our security forces. These terrorists are looking to recruit susceptible and disillusioned people like Khan to brainwash and convert into walking bombs – which negates the very purpose of why these military operations were launched in the first place.

The plight of the Bandai villagers is another cause for concern. This Swati village that resisted the destruction of schools and property perpetrated by the oppressive Taliban is now neglected by the government. After the devastation and psychological trauma suffered by the villagers due to militancy, floods washed away most of their land and irrigation channel. Azizur Rehman, a farmer from Bandai tells his story:

“My two children, a girl and a boy were killed and my house was destroyed when a mortar shell hit our house.”

What way will these disgruntled people go? If the government does not increase the funds allocated for the development of these areas, how long will it be before these people turn to militants who lure them with incentives of paradise and virgins?

Ministries should sacrifice their budget for the coming fiscal year and forego funds so these areas can be rebuilt. Here’s a shout-out to the defence ministry that has asked for more funds to sustain the ongoing war against terrorism.

What good is this war if it is breeding more disillusionment, desperation and terrorists?


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://zohawaseem.wordpress.com Zoha Waseem

    Another well-written piece Atika. Military might won’t solve our problems; militants have returned to Swat and other areas after ‘successful’ operations were carried out..there’s no concept of securing these areas which makes it easy for them to strike again. IDP’s are victims, and sadly, many of us forget that they’re Pakistani civilians as well..Recommend

  • Rockefeller

    It’s the economy stupid.Recommend

  • http://sadaefaqeer.wordpress.com Asghar Malik

    Really disturbing situation, which needs quick remedies and solutions, but who cares? Why don’t terrorist get the advantages? We are providing them what they want, a real ready to use fodder. Recommend

  • Hassan

    War is only good for those who arent affected by the killing and suffering!!!!Recommend

  • Talha

    Alluring and well informed, I give five out of five stars. :-D

    The article was a good too.Recommend

  • Talha

    Correction, The article was good too.

    I blame that earlier mentioned allure for this mistake.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    This ignorance of forgetting IDP’s will not only leave them for curses like terrorism but will sprout other vices like human trafficking, prostitution, illegal organ scavengers, street begging mafia, drug distribution as well. Yes Of course terrorists will also find them easy to convince against government and to initiate armed suicidal anarchy.
    But you know what we can’t all expect government to do all the efforts, specially when it come to cutting spendings and increasing it for IDPs will be a huge task. I think NGO’s should also come into play of more serious and concrete planning to prevent IDPs from such scenarios.
    These destitute families should not be treated as unwanted and told to go back their destroyed areas, but should be rehabilitated amongs other areas of Pakistan all over. They are one of us. What if we were facing the same situation (God forbid).Recommend

  • parvez

    Your write ups are always thought provoking.
    I have repeatedly asked the question : Why would the 2% who rule Pakistan, willingly give up their gravy train ride for the betterment of the remaining 98% ??
    Even if their mothers told them to, the answer would be no.