Authors Posts by Communications Office

Communications Office

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During April 2014, workshops which outlined the concepts of human rights and democracy were organized for sixty-five students from the University of Punjab and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Through the workshop, students also became aware of the social, legal, and political discrimination faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. This opportunity is the result of CWS-P/A forming working relationships with three institutions of higher learning.

Due to the positive response of the university faculties at the University of Central Punjab, the University of Sindh, and the University of Punjab, CWS-P/A was able to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with these esteemed universities. These universities all share a dedication to educating and supporting young people to become strong critical thinkers, leaders, and ambassadors of peace and unity.  In partnership with these institutions, CWS-P/A looks forward to engaging one of the country’s most valuable resources, its young people, to work toward eliminating the discrimination against religious minority groups and to promote a peaceful and prosperous society.

The students participated actively and enthusiastically in the discussions and activities, and demonstrated strong beliefs, knowledge, and understanding from a variety of perspectives as well as expressive, skilled, and respectful dialogue. Throughout both sessions, the students consistently exhibited sincere and committed political engagement and concern for the future and well-being of Pakistan.

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Background:

Today being the last day for locals to evacuate the North Waziristan Agency (NWA), the security forces and political administration in the agency continue to relax curfew hours as part of the three-day relaxation provided to people to allow maximum evacuation to alternate areas. News sources reported that yesterday families began evacuation from Miranshah and Ghulam Khan.

Additionally, checkpoints have been established by security forces at various places to provide displaced persons with administrative support, food, and medicines. At Saidgai Post, the number of registration points has increased to 20. These registration points, ten for men and ten for women, assist in speedy and organized evacuation.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that an IDP camp has been established in Bannu. At present, the total number of registered displaced families has reached 7,031 consisting of over 100,000 people.

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Background:

Latest reports state that a total of 31,264 families (394,319 individuals) have been registered at the Registration Point of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) at Saidgai checkpost. This was also confirmed by the chief secretary of the Control Room at the PDMA.

Families have brought along with them a large number of livestock.

One June 23, the World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing aid for hundreds of thousands of people who fled a military operation in North Waziristan tribal region. The WFP has requested the government for an immediate release of 60,000 tons of wheat to meet emerging food demands of the IDPs. So far, the WFP in Pakistan is the only UN agency that the government has requested assistance from.

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Background:

Latest records indicate that over 455,000 people remain displaced from North Waziristan Agency (NWA). More than 74 percent include women and children. The flow of people from NWA stopped following the Government’s re-imposed curfew on June 24.

Most displaced families have taken refuge in neighboring districts of Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, and Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Families have also moved to Bakkar and Fatehjang in Punjab Province and other parts of the country as well as Afghanistan. Reports show that families who moved to Bannu face many hardships due to overwhelmed facilities. Only 27 families opt to live in a camp in Bannu which has been set up by the Government, while the rest stay with friends and relatives, rented houses or public buildings such as schools. Owing to cultural norms, lack of privacy and services, many displaced families avoid staying at camps.

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Background:

So far, 52,978 families have crossed over from North Waziristan Agency (NWA) areas of operations and have been registered. The following table shows the breakdown of the IDP’s:

a.

Male

216,165

b.

Female

243,062

c.

Children

338,758

d.

Total

797,985

According to updates from UNOCHA, registration has re-opened for those families who could not register earlier for a variety of reasons. UNHCR has also reported that as estimated 112,000 people from NWA are in Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan.

Information Minister, Pervaiz Rashid shared that according to government estimates each family would receive 40,000 rupees (USD 404) in cash and rations worth 30,000 rupees (USD 303) in the first month. As per the Prime Minister’s orders, each registered family is expected to receive compensation through Zong mobile phone SIMs, starting July 8. WFP spokesperson, Amjad Jamal shared that it was difficult to be certain at the moment as more and more refugees continued to flood into government camps each day. “There are many cases where different male members from the same family unit have registered themselves separately. This is in addition to the scores of unregistered families and others who do not possess identity cards, which is a prerequisite for obtaining aid. Data-cleaning is under way and we will soon have a clear idea of the total number of internally displaced families,” shared Mr Jamal.

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Background:

Around 3,000 people have been displaced, 70 houses washed away, and 120 houses have been damaged due to flooding in Gumari Nalah of Tehsil Darel in Diamer District located in Gilgit Baltistan Province.

The floods hit the valley on the night of July 4. On the same night a 5.2 magnitude earthquake had also hit the valley at almost the same time.

Apparently, the scale of the disaster remained unknown for almost two days due to the remoteness of the valley as well as due to a sense of panic created by an attack on a police station two days prior and the resultant launching of a search operation by security agencies in Darel Valley.

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Background:

The yearly monsoon season is a natural phenomenon, which results in some degree of flooding in low-lying areas near Pakistan’s major rivers. In recent years, the country witnessed high levels of precipitation and flash floods. Coupled with the melting of snow and glaciers, the result has been severe flooding while low rainfall and extreme variations in temperatures in certain parts of the country have led to droughts. The unprecendented 2010 floods have been followed by more isolated areas of destruction during the monsoon season. As the current monsoon begins, the uncertainty of exactly where floods will occur and insufficient preparedness places millions of people at risk for loss of life, livelihoods, and property.

Despite efforts made to recover from previous years’ floods and to improve disaster resilience at the local and national levels, many communities are ill-prepared to handle a major or even minor flood. The northern areas will experience spurts of flash floods, for which only a few minutes will be available for people in the path of the water to evacuate. For people living along the riverbanks, saving their belongings and cropland will be impossible. As the monsoon continues and the increased river flow especially in Indus River travels South, Sindh will experience breaches in embankments.

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Background:

After a spate of cross-border attacks by militants on Pakistani border posts, political and military authorities have decided to launch a targeted operation in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency.

The decision has been taken in view of intelligence reports which state that militants are present in the area. It is also assumed that the decision to launch a targeted operation was prompted by Friday’s killing of three security personnel in a cross border attack claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

An alliance of political parties also met with Abdul Jabar Shah, the political agent of Bajaur Agency to seek an assurance that the planned operation would be targeted.

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Background:

More than 120,500 individuals have fled Pakistan to take refuge in Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan. The influx is the result of Pakistan’s ongoing large scale military operation against militants in North Waziristan, Pakistan. An urgency to provide support to the displaced families as well as the host communities is felt on both sides of the border.

In Afghanistan, UNHCR began distribution of NFIs, plastic sheeting, and WFP food rations in Matun, Khost. In Paktika Province, preparations for distribution are being organized through a local organization. Mobile health clinic needs are identified in Urgun and Barmal districts to respond to the large number of displaced families settled there.

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The construction of a delivery room in Paytag, Dawlatsha District is a milestone for efforts to improve mother and child health care in Laghman, Afghanistan. With generous support from CIDA through Presbyterian World Service & Development, CWS-P/A has completed the construction of six delivery rooms at the Maternal and Child Health (MNCH) project sites. These delivery rooms are handed over to the community and Laghman Public Health Department. With the aim to decrease maternal and neonatal mortality rates, the provision of quality services is attracting more women to the facilities. The construction process of these delivery rooms was completed under direct supervision of Laghman Public Health Directorate with close monitoring by the MNCH team and local health committee members.