Press Release, May 07
Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the federal government to immediately set up a special task force to implement a crash plan for extending relief to the large number of people displaced in the ongoing conflict in the country’s northern part. In a statement issued today, the commission said:
The plight of the people displaced from their homes in Swat, Dir and Buner as a result of militants’ activities and the security forces’ operations against them is getting more and more serious day by day. The number of these IDPs may soon touch a million mark. The circumstances in which these unfortunate people have been forced to abandon their homes have made it impossible for them to find succour on their own. Many among them, from barbers and musicians to teachers and lawyers, lost their means of income weeks and months ago and are now in dire straits. Their needs for relief are both urgent and substantial.
HRCP believes the NWFP government’s plan to set up six camps in Swabi will not touch even a fringe of the problem. The matter is clearly beyond the provincial government’s means and capacity. The federal government must take matters into its hands and set up a special task force manned by people skilled in relief work. Since the number of IDPs is likely to grow it is necessary to draw up a master plan for looking after them in the days and weeks ahead. The civil society organisations also must rise to the occasion and convince the innocent victims of conflict that they are not going to be abandoned.