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October 18, 2010

Displaced flood victims see new opportunities

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October 18, 2010

The devastated floods in Sindh have opened opportunities for several people as many shifted to urban centers are now reluctant to go back home. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) consider this displacement a blessing which enabled them to leave the shackles of life in tribal system.
Usman, 65, son of Saifal Naseerani, belonging to Shikarpur district, say people there they have become disheartened and do not like to continue living in the same atmosphere (back home). “Neither are our families safe nor we are living with free will. It is pathetic to narrate the plight the people face in their routine life in tribal system.
Tribal jury decides about the fates of our girls and boys. Killing people in the name of karo kari and persistent tribal feuds is a norm. Nobody can dare ask why their children are being killed,” he said. “In this situation, it is a better opportunity for us people to stay away from the tribal system.”
In a focus group discussion with the displaced families, males, females and youth, organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) at different camps, it was observed that the people have different perceptions about returning to their native areas in case the government offers some benefits to them.
The Piler questionnaire asked what the people think about the offers of the government regarding their early recovery and rehabilitation. The survey showed those having family land in their native areas want to shift back while those who lost everything including poor abodes, standing crops, live stock were reluctant to go back.
Abdul Ghafoor, son of Jan Mohammed of Osta Mohammed, want to stay in Hyderabad, wishing if government or any organisation gives him a plot or a built house. “Whenever we visit Nadra center they ask us to return back where we may get Watan Card, introduced by the government. But we know if we return to our native areas, the money will go to pockets of tribal

chieftains. We were living in slavery. That is why we prefer to stay here and we should be given compensation here,” he demanded.
Though the flood water is receding fast and the process of returning back to their native areas has started, several households belonging to the areas dominated by tribal chieftains are reluctant to return back. Majority of these people, mostly landless farmers want to stay in urban centers in Sindh, especially Hyderabad and Karachi and want the government to look into their problem sympathetically.
Allah Warrayo, 60, son of Mohammed Ali Chandio from Shahdadkot—Qambar said there is still seven-ft water in their area and will take one year to recede. “We cultivate land and get share in crops. We cannot enroll our children without prior permission of tribal chieftains there. Then why should we go back to face the similar mercilessness situation?” he asked.
Residents of Yousuf Kaliar Goth, Naushehro Feroz district, located in the catchment area, say the government should allot piece of forest land to these displaced families so they may cultivate it efficiently and live a better life. Imdad, son of Usman Kaliar of the same locality said there is no school, basic health unit or any other facility. The village comprising 40 households is located at a three kilometers distance from a road. For the last three—four years around 30 boys travel four kilometer distance daily to study in school. Hajan, son of Parial Katiar of the same village with 15 other elderly people say if the government does not have plots for us in the urban centers at least give us the piece of land outside of Katcha area to live safely.
Shujauddin Qureshi, senior researcher Piler, said the people displaced from different areas have different issues, and exploitation is a common problem for them.
Piler believes that the people, who are reluctant to go home has a valid reason and the government should look into the matter sympathetically. The people do not have security of life and job there. That is why they show resistance against their forced evacuation from various camps.

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