Pakistan: US Calls For More Help To IDPs
US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke, who is on visit to Pakistan has made call for more help for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Holbrooke visited a camp established for IDPs in whose areas Pakistan Army has been conducting operation against the militants. According to a rough estimate more than 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes. At the moment they have been living in the refugees camps established for them by the Emergency Response Unit working under the supervision of Provincial Relief Commissioner Muhammad Azam Khan.
US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke made an emphatic call for more international relief assistance for over three million displaced Pakistanis, particularly asking the European powers and rich Islamic countries to bolster Islamabad’s effort to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the high-stakes region. “The size of the problem is just overwhelming. And they do not have enough internationql assistance by a long shot,” he said after meeting with displaced people of Malakand division, who left their homes following Pakistan’s anti-Taliban offensive in the region.
Thousands of internally displaced persons from Swat and adjacent valleys are encamped in scorching summer heat in Swabi, one of the several camps housing the people in NWFP cities.
Holbrooke, who announced President Barack Obama’s promise to provide an additional $ 200 million for the refugees after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, noted some remrakable job by international partners but ssaid that is not enough.
“I think every country in the European Union, every OIC country, every Muslim country, the United States, the world community, we all have a stake in success in this area because of its unique strategic importance.”
“But the real issue is to create a security environment, which allows people to go back. That is a test. They cannot remain in these camps indefinitely--- these people are very near their homes, they should be able to go home. That will require security and reconstruction assistance from rest of the world.”
Holbrorke, who is meeting with top Pakistani leaders, renewed the Obama administration’s sustained support in relief and reconstruction phases, which would involve billions of dollars. If substantial international aid is not forthcoming immediately, the relief and rehabilitation tasks would add more strains to the economy of the South Asian country, considered critical to regional secuirty.
The diplomat met with refugees, listend to their accounts of the situation as well as their sufferings and anti-Taliban resolve as he carried President Obama’s message of support and solidarity for them in their hour of need.