Fifty-nine-year-old Sherdil Shah, a resident of South Waziristan – a hotbed of militancy in northern Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) – used to run a modest grain shop that fetched enough money to keep his family of 10 well-fed and looked after.
That is, until a 2006 army operation against the Taliban destroyed his business and devastated the arable land on which he cultivated his grain.
After that, “We couldn’t use our agricultural land,” Shah told IPS.
More than a million people displaced from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by growing militancy and military operations are facing severe hardship after losing businesses and work.
“We had a very good grain business back home but all is now ended because we left our village five years ago and live in a state of poverty now,” Muhammad Akram, 59, from Wana, which is the headquarters of the South Waziristan Agency, told IPS.
Thousands who fled their homes in the Taliban-led violence over the past three years have now returned to rebuild their lives, and their homes.
These residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) thank their luck, and the government for the grants they are getting.
“My house was already in bad shape when we left it three years ago due to Taliban’s violence.
Pakistan faces increased international pressure to extend the stay of Afghan refugees as it seeks to push them back to war-torn Afghanistan.
The government seems adamant in the face of such pressure. “When their refugee status expires on Dec. 31, they will have to leave,” Habibullah Khan, secretary of the ministry of states and frontier regions tells IPS over phone from Islamabad.
Pakistan’s efforts to contain polio in areas bordering Afghanistan may have received a setback following the conviction of a doctor who allegedly ran a fake vaccine programme to locate Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
>> Original article at BlogAsile <<