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Around million displaced in 2008: HRCP

By: Saadia Qamar

KARACHI – The internal strife within Pakistan has left hundreds and thousands of people homeless, coming in the same context, HRCP annual report 2008, ‘State of Human Rights in 2008’ in Pakistan paints a very gory picture of the internally displaced people.

From the report alone, can one access the gruesome reality having struck the displaced people in 2009.

The report highlights that more than a million people have been displaced in 2008, including those who resided in Swat valley, FATA area and Balochistan province.

The report highlights the plight of refugees and internally displaced people in the same logo. With as many as 282,496 registered Afghans who were repatriated back to Afghanistan; Jalozai refugee camp was closed down and an estimated 80,000 Afghans were repatriated to Afghanistan or were relocated in Pakistan.

At least 0.6 million people were displaced by conflict in FATA; as many 50,000 refugees were given three days to leave the Bajuar tribal region.

The report highlights, “As in previous years, floods and an earthquake forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Massive conflict-induced displacement was also reported in Balochistan, Swat, and in Bajaur, North and South Waziristan and Kurram tribal areas.”

But it strongly asserts, “IDPs figures for some areas were very hard to verify because of fluid population movements, lack of security and displaced people’s flights to different destinations. Throughout 2008, the number of IDPs from conflict zones seemed to increase by the day.”

According to the statistics provided by International NGO Red Cross in August 2008, as many as 200,000 people have fled the intensified fighting areas near the Afghan border.

On the other hand, UNHCR reports that there were an estimated 90,000 IDPs in September 2008, alone in NWFP. Interesting, of course the number of IDPs kept changing as people arrived from the tribal areas. Actions by non-State Actors and military operations alike led to forced displacement of the civilian population in the north of Pakistan.

Source: The Nation