Lahore, July 12: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government to take urgent steps to assist the citizens forced to flee their homes because of military operations against militants in the tribal areas and violence in Karachi.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, HRCP said: “The Commission notes with concern the fresh waves of internal displacement reported from Kurram Agency in FATA and in Karachi. According to official figures, at least 6,000 families, or around 40,000 people, have fled their houses amid a military operation launched against the militants in Kurram last week. The number is expected to rise in the coming days. Most of these families have found shelter with host communities and in government buildings, rather than in formal camps. Lack of food and other items for the displaced population have already been reported by the media. In recent days media reports have also highlighted the difficulties displaced families from Khyber Agency face with regard to registration, which makes them eligible to receive rations.
There have also been reports of thousands of people fleeing their homes in Karachi for the sake of safety in the last few months. Many people have sold their properties in areas where they considered themselves unsafe because of extensive violence. Others have felt so unsafe that they have left even without waiting to sell their houses.
Furthermore, even as problems of the population affected by last year’s floods persist, there are apprehensions that floods may aggravate their plight this year as well.
In view of the litany of causes leading to internal displacement in the country, HRCP urges the government to take urgent measures to cater to the needs of the people and emphasises that the focus must remain on efforts to prevent displacement from occurring in the first place. Even when military operations become indispensable they must be conducted in such a manner that the citizens’ problems are minimised.
HRCP once again urges the government to urgently put in place a legal and policy framework that recognizes the needs and rights of the displaced persons and caters to their protection and assistance needs in particular.”