There will be no exaggeration to state here that Pakistan is in complete mess at the moment. The people have been killing each others without any reason. Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes. I am just sharing the editorial of a leading newspaper with you.
WITH the government still grappling to meet the needs of those displaced by the conflict between the Taliban and the military, it is encouraging that some families have begun to return to their hometowns. The gains made so far by the military appear of sufficient magnitude to lend these citizens the courage to brave the possibility of further strife and reclaim their homes, properties and livelihoods. There is little doubt about the devastation they will find; but fortitude, coupled with support from the state and citizenry, should help them take the first step towards resuming normal lives. Yet it would be dangerous to read too much into this development. Firstly, the sluggish response to the crisis has left many IDPs disillusioned. It is not inconceivable that returning to a recently secured area appears the better option for people forced to queue up for hours on end for food and water or left entirely destitute. Many displaced families earned from the agricultural sector and the wheat harvest is just being brought in, after all.

Secondly, the number of returning families is a mere drop in the ocean. The scale of displacement is massive: over 2.1 million people, according to the UN, and probably more. The immense challenge of rescuing the bulk of these people from poverty and facilitating their return still lies ahead. That will be possible only when the militancy problem has been resolved once and for all. The IDPs choosing to return home must be offered whatever material or financial help can be given. Yet security remains the most important factor: the government and military’s assurance that parts of Buner district and Swat are safe must hold true. Furthermore, in addition to the need to rehabilitate the IDPs, any possibility in the long term of an insurgency like the one fomented by the Taliban must be prevented. For this, it is vital that the constitutional, political and administrative structures in place across most of the country be extended to Fata, Pata and the Northern Areas, which have for years been differently administered from the rest of the country.

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Salaam my friend. Thank you for that bulletin. It is quite clear that there is an enormous amount to be achieved before any hope of a return to normality in the tribal regions. Whether overseas involvement is helping this process right now is a serious question. The situation is complex and so long-standing that it is difficult to see what might lead to the break-through that is so sorely needed. Be assured as ever my friend that I shall hold you and the whole situation in the light.
World must act to restore


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