Broken Promises: The Future Of Waziristan Remains Uncertain
The atmosphere of fear still exists in Waziristan. The people of Waziristan thought they would live in peace after the Zarb-e-Azb. But they were mistaken. So far, the ‘Naya Waziristan’ is not much different from PM Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’. Even after the merger of ex-FATA, the suffering of ex-FATA hasn’t ended. Waziristan and other tribal agencies are being ignored for the past 70 years. Imran khan visited ex-FATA many times and made tall claims, but promises alone cannot solve the problems and sufferings of the erstwhile FATA.
The people of Waziristan remain uncertain about their future. The cosmetic plans are nothing more than the piece of paper on which they are written. These areas were never given the attention they deserved by those in power, including the country’s bureaucracy, civil leadership, and the security forces. It is high time the genuine problems of the tribal people were addressed.
To begin with, one of the most important issues is peace and the security of the people of Waziristan. Even today, these people cannot exercise their right to free movement. The idea of roaming around the streets in the night without fearing for life remains a dream for the people of Waziristan. Thousands of people living in IDP camps have not been rehabilitated to date. This is just one example of how the people of these regions have been ignored by the government. The recent wave of target-killings is another serious problem. No practical solution has been put forward to protect the lives of the natives of Waziristan.
The second most important issue is education. With more than half of the schools in Waziristan lacking basic facilities, the institutions struggle to get the students and teachers to attend. More than 50% of the schools are ill-equipped and dysfunctional. And imagine an education system where there is no concept of a library. Hundreds of schools, including the private ones, lack libraries, and classes dedicated to book-reading or other creative activities, except a few schools which are under the control of security forces. Many still consider female education a taboo. The younger generation is willing to send their daughters and sisters to schools but the societal pressures are too hard to handle. Female teachers are not willing to come to Waziristan due to security concerns. For the prosperity of Waziristan, better education facilities is a fundamental requirement.
Thirdly, most people of working age in Waziristan are jobless and one can easily see them sitting idle on the roads, wasting their time. Families still rely on single bread-winners working in the Gulf states under questionable labour conditions.
Fourthly, poor health facilities and the shortage of female doctors are major concerns for the people of Waziristan. In the entire region, there are only a few proper hospitals that can handle emergencies to a certain extent. But the absence of lady doctors creates a big problem for them too. Most women are forced to give birth to children at home due to inadequate medical facilities, lack of female doctors, and poor transportation. This poses a serious threat to the lives of the people of Waziristan.
The PTI government must work on these issues and address the problems of Waziristan. The elected representatives also need to take these issues seriously and raise their voices for the people on forums like the national assembly and senate. Digging the past without working towards the future cannot bring development. It only brings disappointment.