Army to give part of its rations to IDPs
By Iftikhar A. Khan
Thursday, 14 May, 2009
ISLAMABAD, May 13: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has asked troops in Swat and its adjoining areas to go for precision strikes to avoid collateral damage even at the expense of taking risks.
The instruction came amid fears about the safety of people still trapped in troubled areas, with members of many families reportedly held hostage by militants.
In a statement released by the ISPR on Wednesday, Gen Kayani said the army was aware of the nature of ongoing operations and their likely fallout. He noted that issues of collateral damage and internally displaced people were always a natural outcome of any military operation in populated areas.
“In fact the overall success of operations in such areas is a sum total of the three efforts — conduct of military operations, minimising collateral damage and correctly managing IDPs.”
The army chief said the management of IDPs was as important as military operation in Swat. “It has been decided to provide all-out support to local and international agencies in management and rehabilitation of IDPs.”
He said that a corps headquarters, headed by Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed, the deputy chairman of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, had been tasked to form a special support group for coordinating and directing all efforts of the administration, army and other agencies for optimal utilisation of resources to provide relief to IDPs.
He said it was the first time in army’s history that it had decided to give part of its daily rations to the IDPs.
“This exemplifies the army’s spirit of sacrifice. The food items so provided will be able to feed about 80,000 adults daily,” he said, adding that the army was also deploying its medical resources in all relief camps. These medical camps will have adequate medicines for 90 days. Local military hospitals will also treat patients.
“Inshallah, together the nation and the army will provide relief to the IDPs in a manner which will rekindle the memories of 2005 earthquake relief efforts,” the army chief said