Unattended IDPs: Fodder for terrorists
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?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.