Another generous UAE initiative in Pakistan

ABU DHABI: A local daily has lauded the rushing of humanitarian aid and food supplies to displaced people fleeing military operations in Waziristan considering it another highly laudable initiative by the U.A.E. Project to Assist Pakistan, U.A.E. PAP.

“The project, valued at $2.5 million, is being undertaken under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and aims at helping 50,000 families in displaced persons camps at the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,” commented the Gulf Today in its editorial on Wednesday.

Around 3,550 tonnes of food rations will be distributed in the form of 71kg food baskets, each containing various food products such as flour, rice, dates, sugar, salt, lentils, oil and tea, sufficient for one person. These aid baskets are delivered to help victims protect against hunger and malnutrition in the immediate future.

Pakistan s military has told residents of North Waziristan to leave the remote mountainous region ahead of a widely anticipated major ground offensive by the army against militants.

“The operation “Zarb-e-Azb” launched by the army last week in North Waziristan has forced some 435,000 people to flee, according to official figures, with many reaching the nearby town of Bannu just outside the tribal zone. This has been the biggest movement of refugees in Pakistan in years,” added the paper.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to engage militants in peace negotiations. Unfortunately, Sharif s peace initiative collapsed after the recent attack on Karachi airport, a turning point that convinced the government to abandon peace talks and announce military action.

Thousands of refugees face immediate concerns such as a lack of basic supplies, including food. They are forced to live either in tents under the scorching summer heat or to pay exorbitant rents for houses. Refugees say settlements in North Waziristan have been reduced to ghost towns.

At a time when other international organisations are yet to move in, it is a matter of great solace that the U.A.E. PAP is reaching out to victims at the Bannu district. The U.A.E. PAP has already distributed 103,000 food baskets since 2012, valued at $5.520 million, to displaced families in various districts across Pakistan.

“The present drive is another proof that U.A.E. generosity extends beyond borders,” concluded the Sharjah-based newspaper.