ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ai Zardari Monday asked the party leadership to reach out to the internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and render all possible assistance in their relief and rehabilitation.
A large number of tribal families have moved out of North Waziristan due to the military operation against militant hideouts, adding to the already bulging population of IDPs in the province. Official estimates put the figures of registered IDPs at over four hundred thousand, and many more are still pouring in. “The internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are our heroes and heroines who are undergoing untold sufferings and miseries in the nation’s drive against militants and they must not be left alone in their hour of tribulation,” Zardari said in a message conveyed to the party leaderships at the Centre and all the provinces.
According to a statement issue by spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar, the former president directed the provincial PPP President Khanzada Khan to draw up a workable plan in consultation with the party officials for the rehabilitation of IDPs in the province involving also party chapters in other provinces in providing material assistance in the gigantic task. He said special attention should be given to providing transport, shelter, food and healthcare besides cash relief to the streams of people pouring out of troubled tribal regions.
The spokesperson said that the former president also directed the parliamentarians of the party to raise their voice in parliament for addressing the problems faced by the IDPs and for setting up of Victims’ Rehabilitation Fund for the relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons. He also directed the party’s parliamentarians to brief the international community and the diplomats about the humanitarian crisis and the need for international assistance in the relief and rehabilitation of IDPs. “The fight against militants is a global fight and the world community must also fulfill its responsibilities in providing generous assistance for the relief and rehabilitation of the displaced families,” he said.
Zardari said that besides being a huge humanitarian issue, the displaced persons were also a national asset in the fight against militants. “We must do everything possible to make the displaced persons believe that the sacrifices made by them in leaving their hearth and homes and living in tented camps in scorching heat are being recognised and that they are not being abandoned. Abandoning the IDPs or mishandling the issue will give handle to the opponents of the operation to demand an end to the fight against militants,” the former president warned.
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