As govt provides 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat to WFP and braces for distribution of ration to IDPs through their ‘foreign partners of choice’, analysts term it a negative move, saying it will badly affect self respect of Pashtuns, who are sensitive to accepting food from foreigners
The federal government has provided 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat to the World Food Programme (WFP), asking the foreign donor to distribute the food among various groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs), including those displaced due to army operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
Experts see the development as negative, arguing why the government was using foreign agencies to distribute its own resources among its own people.
“It is very unfortunate that we cannot distribute our own food among our own people. This reflects that the political leadership is extremely incompetent otherwise what else can explain such empathy at this point of time when both the armed forces and IDPs need their leadership to lead them,” said Brigadier (r) Mahmood Shah, a top analyst on the tribal areas and terrorism-related issues. He added this reflected that the bureaucracy was at its “historic lows” and it wanted its job to be carried out by foreigners.
He said that the Pashtun population was very sensitive in accepting food and accepting from foreigners would have a very negative impact on them. “This would badly impact their self respect. The government should have distributed food through its own people and its army,” he added.
Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, another defence analyst, said that it was surprising that the government of Pakistan was failing to help provide its own food to its own people.
When all the IDPs are looking towards the government for help, it is astonishing that the government is seeking donors’ assistance to distribute food to its own people, he added.
Talking to Pakistan Today, WFP spokesman Amjad Jamal confirmed that the Government of Pakistan had pledged the WFP to provide 150,000 metric tonnes of wheat.
“Out of the total wheat pledged during year 2014, the government had provided 26,000 metric tonnes of wheat in first tranche while in its second tranche another 25000 metric tonnes of wheat has been provided for distribution among the IDPs,” said Amjad Jamal.
IDPS NUMBER RISING IN PAK, AFGHANISTAN:
With the army looking after around 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in and around Bannu district, another 100,000 IDPs have reached various Afghan cities.
As of Monday, FDMA reported registering some 468,000 IDPs. Verification of the registered families is ongoing.
Over 95,000 people went from NWA to Khost province of Afghanistan. Unverified reports indicate that another approximately 10,000 people are in Paktiya province.
“The main priority needs remain food, health, protection activities as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Urgent funding resources are needed to scale up the humanitarian response,” said a report issued by the United Nations Office for Coordination Humanitarian Affairs.
Amjad Jamal added that even before the displaced people from the NWA, the WFP was taking care of 930,000 already displaced persons.
“This coordination between the WFP and the government of Pakistan is under a partner of choice option. The government provides us wheat which is converted into wheat-flour. The donors provide us a matching grant while we have logistics, experts to distribute food among the IDPs,” he added.
He said that US government had provided $5.5 million dollar under its USAID programme. He added that the WFP is catering for the IDPs under a formal request made by the government of Pakistan.
“We are working with the FATA disaster management authority (FDMA) and PDMA (KP government),” he said, adding that the WFP was not looking after the Afghan refugees.
The WFP is aiming to provide food assistance to all those displaced families who have fled their homes and are staying in different parts of KP including Bannu, Lakki Marwat, DI Khan and Tank districts.