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Help for Swat IDPs

Posted on 20 November 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 1,859

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The military operations in Swat and resulting humanitarian crisis are a test not only for the Pakistani government, but for Pakistani society as well.

Swat IDPs

In recent days, the general public and media in Pakistan have responded with great vigor to the call to support displaced residents of the Malakand Division. For example, many in Mardan have allowed Swatis to reside in their second or third homes. Other Swatis have found refuge in the homes of extended family. There are acts of great generosity — reflecting the values of Pashtun and, more generally, Pakistani, culture — being made by average Pakistanis.

The major news channels have had live coverage from the IDP camps, bringing images of the victims of war to homes across Pakistan. Pakistan’s most popular news channel, GEO News, had a telethon on Sunday night to fundraise for Swat relief.

But much more must be done. Pakistan’s civil society needs to utilize the same level of sustained commitment it did with the earthquakes in Balochistan and Kashmir and the lawyers movement. Hundreds of thousands have made their way to relief camps, where the provisions are inadequate. The void must be filled Pakistani citizens — especially those who live comfortably in air conditioned homes with high ceilings and flat-panel televisions.

Inside Pakistan, there are many ways to direct funds toward displaced Swatis, including the Edhi Foundation and Mir Khalil ur Rehman Foundation. Kalsoom Lakhani at Changing Up Pakistan has provided the names and contact information of other groups working in the region.

Pakistanis and individuals of Pakistani descent living in the United States, Canada, and Europe can help out by donating to:

  • Helping Hand
  • Islamic Relief USA
  • Islamic Relief Worldwide
  • Mercy Corps

As a Pakistanis remember Malakand Division IDPs, the tens of thousands of displaced Baloch as a result of the insurgency and military operations there should not be forgotten. Indeed, now is the time to reach out to them as well and work to heal the wounds reopened in recent years.



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