Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of the Mehsud tribe from South Waziristan ended their ongoing hunger strike on Friday after receiving assurances from the political administration.
The IDPs, who were displaced in 2009 following an army operation in their home territories, are currently residing in camps in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts. They had been protesting over a reduction in rations allocated to them by the World Food Organisation (WFO).
Earlier, the WFO provided 80 kilogrammes of food items to each family. However, the ration has now been reduced to 40kgs.
Consequently, enraged IDPs refused to collect the reduced rations from established ration centres. On January 26, they set up a hunger strike camp in Topan Wala Chowk in DI Khan city, vowing to stay there till their demands were met.
Assistant Political Agent of Ladha sub-division in South Waziristan assured elders of the Mehsud tribe on Friday that the issue would be solved in a few days and that IDPs need to be patient. He informed them that 158,000 tonnes of flour will be arranged for them soon and made available within the next 15 days.
Jamal Hussain Shah, president of Mehsud Youth, a welfare organisation, said both the young and the old participated in the strike. Shah maintained two young IDPs even fell unconscious and had to be taken to District Headquarters Hospital, but neither the government nor the media paid any attention to their plight.
“We are ending the strike because of the government’s surety that the issue will be resolved soon,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.