Wed, Oct 17, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Pakistani refugees caught in internal limbo


Returning home can also be fraught with difficulty.

People usually get six months of food from the World Food Programmeand compensation from the government if their houses or property were destroyed in the fighting, but many complain that the compensation is delayed.

Many report that schools and hospitals have been destroyed or that the doctors or teachers have not returned. The civilian government’s presence has never been especially strong in the tribal regions, one of the country’s least developed areas.

Zahid Mahsud said when he returned about a year ago to his home in South Waziristan, he saw that the military had built markets and was renovating damaged schools, but he was still waiting for compensation for his destroyed house.

Others complained about the military’s presence. Abdul Sattar, who returned with his five children to his South Waziristan home last month after three years as a refugee, said soldiers remain everywhere.

“We are facing great difficulties because of army checkpoints and their checking procedures. Sometimes we cover a distance of an hour in almost four hours,” he said. “Peace is in the area, but this peace is like you are in jail.”

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