Displaced by army operation, 9 lakh Pakistanis fight misery

BANNU (TIP): The number of displaced people from North Waziristan, where the Pakistan army has launched a major anti-terror operation, has almost doubled to over 900,000 in the last few days. Most of them complain of official apathy and are living in terrible conditions without basics facilities in tents and slums in Bannu, 371km southwest of Islamabad. The misery of Arshad Daur (38) mirrors that of other displaced people. He left his village along with his ailing mother, three sisters-in-law and their five kids in haste when it was targeted in aerial strikes few days ahead of the mass exodus. They left everything behind.

Like many tribesmen, Daur’s three brothers work in the Middle East while he looks after their wives and kids. It took over 25 hours for them to cover their journey from Dande Darpakhel to Bannu. “For miles I carried my old mother on my back. After covering two-three miles distance, we took rest for few minutes and then embarked again on our journey for unknown destination. In the middle, I also had to carry my four-year-old nephew and niece on my back as they could not walk for long,” Daur said. When they finally reached Bannu, they did not know what to do next. “We stayed there for three days and then decided to leave for Taxila where some of our relatives are settled,” Daur said. A Punjab police team stopped the family when they finally reached Taxilla and asked them to prove their identity. “I have come from Waziristan.

I have neither identity card nor cell phone. I have relatives living on Khanpur road and want to go there,” Daur pleaded with a police officer. His pleas fell on deaf ears and after being slapped several times, the desperate family was taken to a police station. For several hours, they remained there before they were allowed to leave on the condition they would not enter Punjab. “We came back to Tarnol and were lucky to get seats late evening in a van for Kohat. They spent the night in the open in Kohat and next day went to Bannu. Daur’s wife and kids have been missing and are feared to have been killed in aerial bombardment which led to Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s death in November 2013.

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