Pakistan charities fill aid void left by govt

Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation wing are among the groups active in Bannu.

Pakistan charities fill aid void left by govt

World Bulletin / News Desk

Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity based in cities in Pakistan's northwestern region of Bannu, have been helping families who fled their homes after the Pakistan military launched an anti-Taliban push in the border region of North Waziristan last month.

"The government bombed our villages and forced us to leave our homes but failed to register us and give us shelter and food," said father Qurban Ali in the village of Narrari.

"These people of JuD are better than the government. First they gave us cooked rice and cold drinks and now they are providing us rations."

The National Disaster Management Agency said nearly 900,000 people had registered for aid. But aid groups say the true number of needy is estimated to be below 600,000 as many entries are fraudulent.

The government says that families are getting food and cash and registration is being improved. The World Food Programme said it had provided 4,000 tons of food to 544,000 people. The army has also given out rations.

"It was like hell in the initial days but things are improving," said Abbas Khan, the commissioner in charge of aiding the displaced. "Now it is better. There is no scarcity of any sort. We just need to distribute fast and effectively."

Some families told Reuters they knew people who had received triple rations while they had received nothing. While the system is sorted out, religious organizations accused of having links to rebels are increasingly active.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation wing are among the groups active in Bannu. The U.N. and U.S. say the self-proclaimed charity is a proxy for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is accused of having militant-links.

However, Hafiz Saeed, who used to head LeT and now heads JuD, insists the organisation had no militant links. Mohammad Sarfaraz, the local JuD leader, also said the group was purely humanitarian.

They provided cooked food to 80,000 people, gave 5,000 families food packages and paid for others to leave North Waziristan, he said.

"Don't look for other (aid groups) to come and help you. They aren't sincere with Muslims and work only for the western agenda," he told families as he passed out dates and flour last week.

While most welcome food from anyone, the JuD's activism has perplexed some villagers.

"We left our homes due to militants but now we are receiving food and ration from another militant organisation," said displaced tribesman Shah Wali Khan.  

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2014, 12:20