Help­ing with Open Hearts

It’s not with an open bor­der but with an open heart that the gov­ern­ments of Pak­istan and Afghanistan need to help their peo­ple.

Southasia - - REGION PAKISTAN - By Muham­mad Ali Eh­san

Com­man­der Zarb-e-Azb Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tion Ma­jor Gen­eral Za­far Ul­lah Khan proudly claimed that the Pak­istan Army has cleared 90 per­cent of the North Waziris­tan Agency of ter­ror­ists. No doubt this is a big mil­i­tary achieve­ment, but at what cost?

If ter­ror­ists aban­doned their sanc­tu­ar­ies and are on the run, the lo­cal peo­ple couldn’t stay in their


homes ei­ther. It is claimed that 676,000 peo­ple from war-torn ar­eas were evac­u­ated. But the fig­ure seems doubt­ful since the pop­u­la­tion of North Waziris­tan is 700,000 out of which more than 200,000 have cho­sen to take refuge in Afghanistan ac­cord­ing to the UNHCR.

Almost the en­tire Waziris­tan Agency has been af­fected by the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion. The ‘or­ga­nized evac­u­a­tion’ of the peo­ple that the au­thor­i­ties speak so proudly about was not as or­ga­nized as they would have us be­lieve. In fact, the or­ga­nized evac­u­a­tion of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion was never a se­ri­ous pri­or­ity for the au­thor­i­ties. If it was, we wouldn't have an un­prece­dented move­ment of over a quar­ter mil­lion peo­ple to­wards and across the Afghan bor­der.

Why did the peo­ple of North

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