SHARP is currently engaged in registration of the Pakistani IDPs coming in to Islamabad and Punjab from the war affected areas of FATA and NWFP.
Intensified fighting between Pakistan’s government forces and the armed opposition on the bordering areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan has intensified recently with many tens of thousands of people forced to flee their homes. Government troops were dispatched into almost all the tribal agencies i.e. Bajaur, South and North Waziristan, Kurram, Khyber, Mohmand and Hangu in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as well as Swat and Dir in NEFP. It was carried out in order to take control of the areas and establish the government`s writ. Fighting with the pro-Taliban factors has been going on for a long time.
Similarly on 6th August 2008 Pakistani troops were deployed to seize control of the Afghan-Pakistan border crossing near the town of Loyesam from militants loyal to Tehrik-e-Taliban the so-called Pakistani Taliban. Fierce Taliban resistance inflicted significant casualties on Pakistani forces, forcing them to pull back to positions in and around the town of Khar, the administrative headquarters of Bajaur.
Similarly Swat is in NWFP and is one of the troubled regions. Swat was traditionally an independent state till 1967-68. The local population in Swat and Dir is particularly religious minded and religious elders have a strong hold in those areas. Swat came in trouble when militants from adjacent Bajaur and Mohmand started to get a stronghold in Swat and Dir.
Since 10th August 2008, the military has stayed in those defensive positions but aerial bombing and artillery barrages have been used to literally depopulate Bajaur and areas of the adjoining agency of Mohmand. After more than two weeks of attacks against alleged militant positions, it is estimated that 300,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes only from Bajaur and Mohmand significant proportion of the population in the areas not under government control.
Apart from that, the conflict is not only limited to Bajaur and Mohmand but, as mentioned earlier; it has engulfed the whole of the FATA. Unconfirmed latest reports unveil many more people displaced within the country. The latest statistics speak of about 450,000 people displaced by the conflict and the figure is expected to rise above 600,000 in the upcoming weeks.
With the upsurge of the military offensive in FATA, the IDPs have been seeking shelter in different areas with their relatives, family and friends so far or have otherwise used rented accommodation for survival. It is believed that with the passage of time the limited hosting capacity of the settled people is being exhausted due to the overall weak economic situation of the country. In the recent months thousands of IDPs have moved to Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh provinces in search of shelter and livelihood opportunities. Although there is no official figure available of the total number of IDPs in Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh, yet media and field reports as well as initial assessment surveys conducted by SHARP reveal the presence of significant numbers of the affected population in the given provinces.
There is felt an intense need for humanitarian assistance to the affected people of this crisis to address the needs of law and order situation, high inflation and displacement caused by the conflicts in NWFP and FATA. The registration of a significant portion of displaced people has been a critical step in management of the crisis. UNHCR, as the lead agency for the Protection, Camp Management and Shelter Cluster assisted the government of Pakistan to carry out registration of IDPs in NWFP where so far more than 64,500 people in 12 camps and another 245,000 non-camp IDPs have now been registered. Hence SHARP was assigned to assist UNHCR to conduct registration of IDPs living in ICT and Punjab.
The project under review is working with the following objectives:
- Identification of the IDPs in and around Islamabad and Punjab for population fixing purposes.
- Undertaking Registration and issuance of relevant ID documents to the IDPs in host families for better identification and protection of the population.