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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/19/09

Report from The Pakistani Drone War Front Lines

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I have just reached Peshawar after crossing the river of fire. I have seen a lot of death and destruction on my way to Peshawar.

All roads leading to Bajaur Agency remained closed as the Pakistan Army backed by the US drones and troops have been carrying out a big operation in tribal areas and some parts of North West Frontier Province. Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting.

It is interesting to note most of the victims are innocent people including women and children. My family has also suffered a lot, but still I am keeping my hope high. I have the expectation that someone from the United States will come to my rescue, but all my hopes have faded away. Now I am hopeless.


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I am grateful to all my friends, who kept me remembered in their prayers and thought. Just keep in mind that I am praying for your peace and prosperity. I want to inform you the people of Bajaur Agency have been crying for peace, but no heed is being given to their cries. Please spread the message of peace as lives of thousands of people are in danger. May God the Great give you all the happiness in this life and in the life hereafter if there is any. I just want to inform you that I have spent last 16 days in great trouble. I am just sharing a story about IPDs published in local newspaper.

Describing the situation in Pakistan as being ‘volatile’ and ‘confusing’ the  top United Nations top  humanitarian relief official said that so far almost 2.2 million people have been displaced as a consequence of the recent upheaval in the country.
Undersecretary General for Humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, told reporters that UN plans to increase the amount of flash aid appeal for Pakistan in view of the humanitarian crisis developing there.
So far the UN has received one-third of the $150 million it had sought earlier, but that amount won’t be sufficient with the number of uprooted civilians growing.
He said the money from some countries was still coming in, but the UN agencies are evaluating the needs for the increasing number of affected people and a new consolidated appeal would be issued next week.
Most of the people who have escaped the violence are staying with relatives or friends, or rented accommodation placing tremendous strain on the country, while over 250,000 others are seeking refuge in 24 UNHCR-supported camps, Holmes said.
The 1.4 million recently displaced from the Swat region join a further 550,000 Pakistanis uprooted by fighting since last August, boosting the total number to 2.1 million.
Obviously, Holmes said the task was huge and the UN agencies were scaling up their efforts to help Pakistan in its efforts to care for the displaced people. So far the UN agencies had provided for 780,000 as they expand their relief operations.
Holmes said the government of Pakistan was fully cooperating with the United Nations agencies in the relief effort.
He appealed for urgent international assistance for people displaced by clashes between Government forces and militants – whose numbers topped 1 million over the weekend – in the South Asian nation’s north-west.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres characterized the displacement crisis as one of the most dramatic in recent times, noting that aid workers are struggling to reach out to the growing number of displaced people. 

‘It’s like trying to catch something that’s moving ahead of us because the number of people on the move every day is so big and the  response is never enough,’ he told reporters before  ending his three-day visit to the region. 

‘Leaving this population without the support they need – with such massive numbers – could constitute an enormous destabilizing factor,’ Guterres cautioned. 

Most of the 1.17 million people who have escaped the violence are staying with relatives or friends, placing tremendous strain on the country, while over 130,000 others are seeking refuge in UNHCR-supported camps. 

The over 1 million recently displaced join a further 555,000 Pakistanis uprooted by fighting since last August. 

During his visit to Pakistan, Guterres was told by internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps that they are anxious to return to their homes. 

‘Each person has suffered a lot, having to abandon their community, sometimes their families, houses and properties, coming with nothing, and sometimes having to witness family or friends die,’ he said. ‘The amount of suffering needs to be recognized by the international community.’ 

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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