From the front: Journalists discuss ground situation

Journalist Nizam Dawar said it is possible that the operation may stretch to six months.

Our Correspondent July 16, 2014


A group of journalists reporting on the crisis in North Waziristan gathered at the Jinnah Institute on Tuesday evening for a roundtable discussion to assess gaps in the humanitarian response to the crisis.

As operation Zarb-e-Azb continues, with the theatre of conflict expanding from Miranshah to the surrounding cities, as well as Bajaur Agency, reporters returning from the field questioned the government’s contingency plans to tackle the crisis.

Approximately one million people are reported to have fled their homes, with the majority residing with host communities instead of the camps. Journalist Asad Hashim explained that with just 350 people residing in IDP camps established in Bakkakhel, Bannu, it is obvious that IDPs are skeptical about the camps.

Journalist Nizam Dawar said based on his interaction with officials on the ground, it is likely that the operation could stretch to six months. He said with most of the families residing in schools in the area, the situation would take a negative turn when schools reopen in August.

An official from the FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) explained that as the registration of IDPs has been closed, NADRA will take a few days to filter those people who have registered themselves more than once. The actual number of IDPs is expected to decrease by a third once the verification is complete, he said.

Journalist Taha Siddiqui stressed on the need to establish an effective communication strategy. He said while registrations points are established, people migrating are not properly guided through the procedure.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.


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