A human crisis, or one of the several human crises born on
this unfortunate land, displacement of North Waziristan residents on account of military operation has taken a heavy toll on over all wellbeing of the residents. It has been decades since people of this and adjoining areas had
sustainable peace. The law and order situation has been frail since the
invasions and wars started off many years ago and generations have passed
without an end to the misery. The latest in this story have been the internal
displacements to enforce writ of
the state, and in this particular case, writ of Pakistani state. Few years back
it was Sawat and Buner where military operation had to be launched, this time
it is North Waziristan, allegedly a safe heaven for terrorist for long time.
The people are asked to vacate their houses and move to another safer place
where camps are established to house them and provide them with necessary modalities of life. Being a far-flung
area, education and health facilities are not sufficient in the first place,
and such displacements destroy the existing social structure, stress coping
skills and monetary savings of the people if they had any. By all means life never comes to the normal
after such large-scale movements.
Dr. Asma Humayun has taken the camp initiative. She has been
doing unprecedented things in practice and academics in Pakistan. The drugs
selection and the preparation of data collection questionnaire were done
through discussion on a very active group of psychiatrists, through social media. It is
worth mentioning that no financial benefit was taken from any pharmaceutical
company, with zero sponsorships and advertisements. The provincial government of KPK has
recognized Dr. Asma's tireless efforts. Pakistan Army hosted the camp for visiting team of psychiatrists in the Khalifa Gul
Nawaz Teaching Hospital Bannu. They also organized our stay in circuit house
Bannu. It was 2nd in the series of camps for psychological help for
IDPs, 1st one for myself. Psychiatrists from Islamabad and Peshawar were invited to participate
in the camp. This camp was a particular success as over 170 patients were seen
on one day. The information w1as spread on radio and banners in the area. People
were informed about the arrival of expert psychiatrists and psychologists from
Islamabad and Peshawar. Many of them showed up for consultation regarding their
issues. Children in particular have been affected by the adversity in the worst
Patients at Khalifa Gulnawaz Teaching Hospital presented
with psychiatric problems that were precipitated or worsened by the
displacement in addition to those which were pre-existing. It was a blessing
that a child psychiatrist, Dr. Ambreen and a psychologist Miss Ruhi also accompanied
the team. Children got specialist’s advice and prescription as did the adults.
Psychiatrists from Peshawar made their presence felt and contributed in terms of exchange of ideas as well
as handling major turn out of great number of patients in the limited time slot.
Unfortunately the political thermometer in our country has
gone up at a time when military operation is in full swing and displaced
persons are left in vulnerable situation. The mainstream media has been busy
covering sit-ins in Islamabad and a very little time has been devoted to the
human tragedy taking place not far from the capital itself. Although the
situation in the hospital where the camp was hosted looked good, we couldn’t
actually visit the campsite so the exact situation couldn’t be seen.
Army is doing a great job in the war-hit area. By virtue of
their presence as an organized and resourceful institution, they have handled
the displaced people efficiently. Their treatment of civilians as we saw by the
way a whistling lead car escorted us, however, needs some humanizing.
Overall, it was a fine two day break from the routine days
at NUST. It was my first visit that deep in KPK, Bannu, discussed political and
social issues with the team, passed by KUST, Kohat, bought some guavas from
vendors by the roadside, took tea at roadside chhapper hotels, quite an impressive
scenery all the way and a hospitable night stay at circuit house rest house locked from
outside. The human side of the travel was priceless.