Internally displaced people or IDPs have been forced out of their homes to other part of their countries looking for a safe haven where they could start a new life over again. And even this dream is not realized since they aren’t accepted thus all they can look up to is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) refugee camp where atleast they can feed themselves. War, conflicts, natural disasters or food shortages have created more than 26 million IDPs inside their home countries around the world (Reuters, 2008).
Countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Columbia and Iraq have had a history of displaced people, but now as focus of terrorism is shifting on another Asian country, eyes are upon Pakistan where in the past year about 2. 5 million people have been displaced (UPI, 2009). The provinces of Baluchistan, NWFP and the FATA have been affected with natural disasters like the earthquake of 2007 and constant conflicts. Al-Qaeda and Taliban members have surged in the FATA and NWFP regions where military action has forced millions to flee their homes.
These provinces have generally been in the control of a Pakistani cultural Pashtun group who are known for their rugged and tough sense of lives. This cultural group is a mix of locals and afghan refugees who came to Pakistan from Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion seeking refuge. Unfortunately the Afghani Taliban fled during the US attacks on terror in Afghanistan and were given refuge by the Pakistani Pashtun groups thus they were able to take control of these areas.
So the beginning of this conflict arose due to a cultural similarity of the Talibans and the local Pakistani Pashtuns however the core of the conflict is the religions extremity of these people who opt for terrorism in their desperation to regain their rightful land. (IDMC, 2009) Governmental stance to clear out the militants have left millions separated from their homes without proper livable conditions. IDP camps have been erected in large numbers and a lot of foreign aid has flown in to support them, it still is not enough to satisfy the huge number of people waiting for better conditions (IRIN, 2009).
The location of the camps is in deserted areas where the heat is unbearable and diseases are growing as more people are being accommodated in small camps (Bloomberg, 2009). One might think that being a tough people, the Pashtun might adapt to these tough conditions however one must not forget that without a proper home, food and water, no matter how tough a race is, it becomes unbearable. For this reason as soon as the recent military operation ended in the Swat area (headquarters of terrorists in NWFP), thousands of displaced people started moving back to their homes, now a wasteland, to rebuild their lives.
However due to the uncertainly and restrictions only about 67 thousand people have returned to their lands only to see more bloodshed in the area (News, 2009). For the IDPs living in camps it is only a matter of survival now. This is Pakistan’s worst refugee crisis since its partition and now it’s looking for foreign aid to keep the IDPs in isolated locations with livable conditions rather than spread out to metropolitan cities and cause further problems of urbanization (Newyork Times, 2009).
Although many have come to big cities of Pakistan like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, efforts are being made to curb the spread and atleast get the IDPs registered so that once conditions improved, they can be sent back to their homes. The situation needs to be solved quickly and for good so that the people can for once live their lives without external impositions and restrictions.